Sunday, 22 November 2015

SCBWI Mass Book Launch

Adventures of a Wimpy Superhero was one of the titles included in this year's SCBWI Mass Book Launch, hosted by Candy Gourlay. This is the sixth time I've been to the SCBWI Winchester conference, and it's always terrific fun. Thanks to everyone who helped to organise this fantastic event.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

UKMG Extravaganza

I had a wonderful time at the first ever UKMG Extravaganza in Nottingham last weekend. It was great to meet so many other authors who write for the same age group. I blogged about the importance of writing for reluctant readers as part of the UKMG blog tour. You can read my guest post at Sitting on a Cornflake.

Thanks to Kerry Drewery, Emma Pass, Jo Cotterill, Paula Rawsthorne, Waterstones and the librarians of Nottingham for this great event.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Wimpy Superhero

Adventures of a Wimpy Superhero is out today in the UK. Once again, I have been very lucky to work with the illustrator Andrew Pinder. This photo shows the book with my three other September publications. Dorkius Maximus in the Low Countries is out in Holland, Monstrous Maud's Fiery Fiasco is out in Germany and Mr Perfect is out in the UK. Here is the UK Amazon link for Wimpy Superhero.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Nurdius Maximus

A new volume of Dorkius Maximus has just been released in the Netherlands and it's being given a big push with outdoor and magazine ads. I'm very grateful to publisher Ploegsma for getting behind it so much. If you can read Dutch, you can find out more about it here.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Writing for Reluctant Readers

I’ve spent much of this year writing stories for reluctant readers, which are published through Badger Learning. I’ll post more about them soon, but in the meantime here’s an excerpt from a Q and A I did with them a while ago, which explains why I wanted to get involved with this important sector.

What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?

I believe anyone can become a reader if they’re given the right book and that becoming one will help them with many aspects of life. I’ve written series fiction for younger children as well as teen novels, so I was very keen to write stories with a high interest age and low reading age.

What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?

They’re often aware of tracking words on the page in a way that regular readers aren’t. We need to make them forget their physical experience of holding a book and draw them into the fictional experience of the characters. One way to do this is present situations and characters they can identify with and give them a fantastical twist.

What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that high interest appeal that really engages young readers?

In terms of content, I try to bring horror, fantasy or action into everyday life. In terms of structure, I try to write short chapters and keep them as single scenes. I try to enter the scene as the conflict is escalating, just as a screenwriter would, and go out on a cliff-hanger.

What difference do books like these make to children who are in need of literacy support?

I hope high-low books can stop reading feel like a stressful classroom chore and bring it into the realm of entertainment, along with fast-paced films, TV shows and games.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Kensington and Chelsea Young Writers Festival

Congratulations to Chelsea Young Writers for holding their first ever festival last weekend. It took place in the library of The Hampshire School Chelsea, which used to be the Chelsea public library. I appeared on a panel with fellow authors in residence Paul Bryers, Andrew Weale and Julia Suzuki and we had great fun answering questions about our favourite books and our most embarrassing experiences. You can find out more about Chelsea Young Writers, including details of my upcoming workshops here