Check out this beautiful little trailer Waterstones has made for the Waterstones Book Prize 2017 nominees in the children’s category. If you go to their instagram account you can see a trailer for each category of the prize — they are all brilliant. I am really looking forward to attending the awards ceremony this Thursday evening at Waterstones Piccadilly and meeting the other nominated authors and some of the fantastic Waterstones staff. Keep your fingers crossed for Cogheart, and I will let you know how it goes!
I am delighted to announce that this time last Tuesday, Cogheart won the Dudley Teen Book Award 2017.
I had a wonderful day at Dormston School, in Sedgley, where I got to meet three of the other shortlisted writers Ally Sherrick (Black Powder), Jane Elson (Swimming to the moon), and Stewart Foster (Bubble Boy). Each of us had the chance to talk to the invited audience of nearly 400 children from the 12 local schools who had read the shortlisted books and voted for the award, and then answer some questions about our books. There was a video message from US nominees Ann Martin (How to look for a lost dog) and Laura Martin (Edge of Extinction), and then the winner was announced…
I was elated that Cogheart won, especially against such amazing competition, and I got up to accept the award – a star shaped medal! – and even managed to muster up a short acceptance speech.
Afterwards there was time to meet some of the students and sign books, some of them showed me their fantastic colouring in of Becca and Kath’s beautiful cover. And a few others even requested group selfies.
Thanks so much to the staff and students – especially the amazing Bailey – of Dormston High School for looking after us during the event. and to Donna and Belle and everyone from Dudley Library Service for organising such a fantastic day. And congratulations to all the other nominated authors, it was so much fun to meet you and hear all about your books.
You can read Ally Sherrick’s take on it all, over on her author website here…
One of the most AMAZING things about World Book Day is seeing pictures of children ( and some teachers) dressed as the characters from your book. It is so strange that these imaginary people, who for a long time only existed in your head, have suddenly become the favourites of all these young readers. Here are a few of the pictures that were sent to me of various World Book Day costumes. As you can see Malkin comes out on top in terms of who kids like to dress as.
Cogheart World Book Day Outfits
I have also had a very busy bout of school visits around World Book Week itself, and dotted across the few weeks afterwards. At the same time I have been putting the finishing touches to the copy-edits of Moonlocket and then checking the proofs of that book – which has been hectic to say the least. The book has in fact gone to print today – just in time for the release date. But the Cogheart events that have been wedged in around it have been a lot of fun!
Over the month I have visited ten schools, and I must have done about fifteen talks altogether, because at some schools I did smaller sessions for single classes. I feel quite comfortable now presenting the smaller thirty to sixty sessions. They can be very enjoyable as they are more casual and chatty than larger groups and because there’s a chance in those workshop sized events to do some flip book animation with the kids. But to do three of those smaller talks in a row is tiring. I honestly don’t know how teachers manage a whole day of it! Some teachers and classes who I didn’t get the chance to visit sent me fantastic photographs of the Cogheart inspired activities they’d been up to with their classes too…
Cogheart Class Activities
Amongst the ten school I did get to visit, I found myself on occasion doing much bigger events than I’d done before, ranging from 150-200 students. At first this was nerve-wracking, but by the third go I had tweaked the content for that size of audience and felt much happier with the flow of the event. I think it helped that I had a microphone for that final large talk. It really made a difference to how confident I felt about performing. The kids at all the larger talks have all been lovely of course, and a big part of it is getting used to the sea of faces you encounter!
In the end all the different types of talk are worth it, because afterwards you get to meet your readers, discuss their favourite different types of stories, and hear about their enthusiasm for your book. And if they do love the book they will tell you in no uncertain terms how marvellous it is, which is the best thing ever to hear. Here are some pictures from the events of the past few weeks, thanks kindly to the teachers who took them, and to everyone who sent the photographs used in this post.
World Book Week School events
Just over a week ago today, Waterstones did an exclusive cover reveal for Moonlocket – the sequel to my debut Cogheart. Just like with Cogheart, the beautiful cover was designed by Kath Millichope and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander – they are geniuses both, and I think they have once again done a fantastic job in bringing my story to life in a single image. I love the theatrical flavour of the rich velvety background with its embroidered stars. The harvest moon, with the book’s characters dotted around, brilliantly recalls the clock face on the Cogheart cover. Plus, I adore the London skyline, with its hints of the dark places Lily, Robert and Malkin visit on their journey.
The cover got a fantastic response on twitter, and has been getting some oohs and ahhs from the audiences on World Book Week when I showed it off to them. I can’t wait now to see the final book in the shops. But in the mean time, it was great fun to have a chance to once again animate the characters and create a moving cover to show of the illustrations…
And if you enjoyed the trailer, here’s a little about the book–
An escaped convict.
A missing locket.
A woman from the past…
When infamous escapologist Jack Door breaks out from Pentonville Prison, he sets out for the town of Brackenbridge, determined to find his missing treasure – the Moonlocket.
But when Lily and Robert unwittingly find themselves caught up in Jack Door’s search, they discover that Robert’s history holds the secret to the Moonlocket’s whereabouts…
Another delicious slice of Victoriana, return to the mysteries locked at the heart of London’s dark and murky streets and a world of adventure and extraordinary invention.