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Moonlocket Nominated for the Books Are My Bag Readers awards

Moonlocket Nominated for the Books Are My Bag Readers awards

I am DELIGHTED to announce that MOONLOCKET has been NOMINATED for the BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARD.

It’s an fantastically strong list, so if you LOVED the book please go and VOTE FOR IT HERE !!

The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are one of a kind. They’re the only book awards with shortlists curated by bookshops – and the only major awards voted for by booklovers. Moonlocket is up for the Middle-Grade Category against some amazing books by many writers who I truly admire and I am honoured to be nominated along with them. Please go and vote. There are six fabulous books in the running and book token prizes up for grabs too!


 

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Cogheart Summer Events

Cogheart Summer Events

I haven’t posted anything for a while on these blog pages, because I have been so busy writing book three. There have actually been a few things I wanted to blog about to do with writing, but I haven’t had the time, yet. Hopefully soon, however.

In the mean time here are some pictures from Cogheart and Moonlocket events that took place over the summer – June and July mostly as I have tried to keep the whole of August free for writing.

On the 5th of July it was the Branford Boase Awards, which honours editors and writers together, and it was lovely to be there with my amazing editor Rebecca Hill, who on the same day was one of the Rising Stars at the Bookseller Awards. Here are a few pictures of the evening, congratulations to the winners, MG Leonard, Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leshon. The best thing about the evening is that there’s also an award for young writer – some of their fantastic short stories were read out – and at the end of the evening they receive copies of all the nominated books, so afterwards you get to meet them when they come up to ask for your signature.

In the last weeks of July I had a couple of final school events. Here are a few picture from my visit to King Edward’s Girls School in Birmingham on the 6th of July, where the year 7 girls had made lots of amazing artwork based on Cogheart as part of their end of year project…

On the 10th of July I visited Ashfield School in Kirkby where the Year 8s were doing a whole day of Cogheart themed events, I went and talked with them all and signed some books. And they had even made some airships…

Then on the 12th of July I was at the Warwickshire Junior Book Awards with Ross Welford who wrote Time Travelling with a Hamster, and Sue Durrant who wrote Little Bits of Sky. Congratulations to Sue, who won the award. It was fun day, especially seeing Ross’s magic act, and meeting all the students afterwards, who came to get their books signed.

On the 24th of July I was at Brentwood Literary Festival organised by the lovely Natasha of Chicken and Frog Bookshop and I got to meet some more readers and teach a little bit of animation at the end of my talk, which I haven’t done for a while!

Finally on the third of August I had afternoon tea with the winner of the Authorfy  Cogheart afternoon tea competition Megan Nichols and her friends, as well as Authorfy organisers Mel and Emily. Megan is an avid reader and book blogger. It was a great fun afternoon – thanks Mel and Emily for organising everything – and you can read all about that day, because Megan has written a post all about it on her Munchkin Megan book blog here… 

 

Podcast double- #DownTheRabbitHole & #WordMonkeys

Podcast double- #DownTheRabbitHole & #WordMonkeys

 This week I appeared on two podcasts: the Down the Rabbit Hole Radio Show and the WordMonkeys Podcast 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole Radio Show

Here’s me chatting to Polly Ho-Yen, and Katherine Woodfine and Mellissa Cox about three new books, each with a connection to poetry and spoken word: You Can Do Anything: Hip and Hop written by Akala, illustrated by Sav Akyuz Overheard in a Tower Block written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner and Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence…

WordMonkeys Podcast 

Here’s me chatting to Matt Brown over on his WordMonkeys Podcast this week — discussing writing Cogheart, Postman Pat, Children’s TV shows, and how I get mistaken for another 72YO Peter Bunzl — and if you like that, there are lots of previous episodes featuring Matt’s writer chats with the likes of Piers Torday, Holly Bourne, Robin Stephens, SF Said etc.

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My Cogheart events with the PopUp Festival

My Cogheart events with the PopUp Festival

This year – on the 22nd of June, quite a long time ago now, but that’s how I roll with the blogging – I took part in the PopUp Festival

The Popup Festival is celebration of reading, writing and visual storytelling, taking place annually in 500 classes in schools from regions of the UK with the greatest literacy needs. Every participating class, from nursery to year 9, is matched with an exciting, engaging book, and provided with a set to work with over a period of six weeks. Then, over two weeks in June, each class meets the writer or illustrator of their book for a creative workshop.

Genius Cogheart comic – of the moment Lily and Robert first meet.

Thanks to PopUp and the organiser Saul, I was able to visit schools I might not ordinarily. The best thing about it was the kids in the classes had ALL read Cogheart, or had it read to them in class, and they were ALL engaged with it and excited to meet me. And because they had been so engaged with the book recently, their questions in the sessions were very unique and interesting.

The two schools I visited were Priorslee Academy and Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge in Telford and they were both fantastic sessions. The kids had made artwork and done projects around Cogheart which are always amazing to see, and had great questions – even about specific characters and events in the story – that they had prepared beforehand.  Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge School had even made some fabulous book trailers. Here are a few pictures from various student’s gorgeous work around the book…

There are some PopUp Resources for schools, featuring books from their other events here

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All aboard for the Moonlocket Book Tour!

All aboard for the Moonlocket Book Tour!

It has been a busy couple of months through May and June, talking about both Cogheart and now Moonlocket. I was intending to write a long blogpost about it all, but there just isn’t the time because I am supposed to be writing another book!!!! Cogheart number 3. More on that soon… But suffice to say, it has been a joy to travel about with my books and meet so many lovely readers at the various festivals, School Library Service Awards, and school events that I have been invited to over the past two months. Here are some pictures of all the various events, they say a picture tells a thousand words, which is lucky because I don’t really have the time to write a thousand word blog post…

Barnes Book Festival, and in the green room after my event with Kiran and Maz:

The Leeds Schools were so much fun, some great audiences:

Leeds Book Awards, congratulation to Fleur Hitchcock the winner for Murder in Mid-winter:

Visiting the famous Leeds Library, the insides of the building have some fantastic Victorian features:

Greenwich Book Festival, we tried to trick everyone by sitting under the wrong books:

Visiting West Thornton Primary in Croydon with Pea Green Boat Books – they had the MOST cake ever at a book event:

Hillingdon Book of the year, where I saw a play of my book performed :

Waterstones High Street Kensington event Middle Grade Magic, talking with MG Leonard, Lara Williamson and Maz Evans:

North East Book Awards, they made us runners up book themed chocolates, congratulations to the Winner Katherine Rundell for Wolfwilder:

I had a lovely visit with Tollgate community school in Eastbourne, thanks to the fantastic organising of their Teaching Assistant and librarian Jeff Doak. They even did some hilarious dabbing robot poses during my robot quiz!

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Finally there was Redbridge Children’s Book Award, where once again there was an abundance of cake! Excited readers and great questions! Congratulations to Christopher Edge who won for The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. I think it all went to his head by the end, because you can see him attacking Kathryn Evans with his award…

Cogheart and The Girl of Ink and Stars at Hay Festival

Cogheart and The Girl of Ink and Stars at Hay Festival

Doing a joint event at Hay festival on the 2nd of June with Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars was definitely one of the highlights of my year. The night I arrive, I went out for cocktails with Kiran and her husband and we talk about books. The next day we discover our event has sold out, and we have been moved to a bigger venue; the starlight tent with a star-studded ceiling! It seems appropriate for Kiran’s book and a little for mine.

Afterwards I get to hang out at the festival. I saw some inspirational talks, bumped into loads of lovely MG and YA writers I know, Jo Cotterill, Abi Longstaff, Sarah Crossan, Lisa Heathfield and Juno Dawson, and witnessed Patrice Lawrence winning the YA bookprize for the awesome Orangeboy. Then, the next day I wandered round the intriguing bookshops in town – there are at least 30, goodness knows how they all keep going – and I bought far too many books! It was a fabulous couple of days.

Here we are at the HAY30 sign before our event:

Hanging out in the green room with Jo Cotterill and Patrice with her award:

The main event, Girl of Ink and Stars and Cogheart:

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Book Shops galore:

 

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Cogheart Letters and Artwork

Cogheart Letters and Artwork

One of the best things about being an author is when children write to you about your books, or send you drawings of the characters.  The other week I received a whole batch of amazing letters and art from St Mary the Mount RC Primary School telling me how much they enjoyed Cogheart. They had each done some drawings and written a fact sheet about mechanicals for one of their school projects. You can see some of them here, there’s a lovely drawing of Mrs Rust which I think is my favourite! And I even learnt some interesting facts about mechanicals from them… For example, did you know you can apparently cut a mechanical in half and both halves will go on living!! A bit like the Terminator! Also that some mechanicals and mechanimals run away from their owners because they are unhappy, but then they go rusty and run down and stop working. Thanks to all the pupils at St Mary the Mount for your lovely letters and inspirational drawings and thoughts on mechanicals. I hope you got my reply?

Moonlocket interview on Funkids Radio

Moonlocket interview on Funkids Radio

In case you missed it when it went out live a couple of weeks ago, here is a listen again version of the Funkids Radio interview with afternoon Funkids club DJ Bex. We chat about Moonlocket and the greatest bits about being an author, and I answer some of the listener’s burning questions about Cogheart!

Funkids Moonlocket interview…

And here’s the original chat we had last year about Cogheart…

Moonlocket launch week

Moonlocket launch week

It has been just over a week since Moonlocket’s official launch party on Tuesday the 2nd of May at Waterstones Islington.  It was lovely to see so many friends, fellow authors, librarians, family, and folks from Usborne, especially my editor Rebecca and my agent Jo, and MOST especially the kids of friends who loved the first book and all came along to celebrate the launch of the sequel. Here are some pictures from the evening, that lots of kind people who were there have sent me. ( I was far too excited to remember to take pictures as well!)

Then on Thursday I went on a whistlestop signing tour of bookshops round London with Stevie from Usborne. The highlight of the day was visiting Richmonds Indie Children’s Bookshop Alligators Mouth for the first time, such a cool little shop. I wish I lived in Richmond I would be in there all the time!

On Friday I did two talks at Kingham school in Oxfordshire – where all the Year Fours had made an incredible mural of Cogheart and designed their own mechanicals and mechanimals and airships. They had great questions about the book too, which they had been studying with their lovely form teacher Elizabeth Mahooney. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photos but I hope they send me some because their artwork was absolutely stunning!

On Monday I did a joint event with Kiran Millwood Hargraves talking to Year Nines from Swakeley School at Oak Farm Library in Hillingdon. I managed to get them to do a bit of deportment, which is always fun. Then i got to hear all about how Kiran researches and writes her books for the first time, very interesting.