Month: February 2014

Two Weeks!

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Nearly there! Nearly!

Look at me, counting down and getting all excited and everything but it’s just dawned on me that I have no idea what’s actually going to happen the day DREAM ON, AMBER comes out. It might not be very exciting. It might even be a bit of an anti-climax. It’ll be a Thursday, two weeks today (!!) and it’s WORLD BOOK DAY, which is such an amazing coincidence, it surely can’t be a coincidence. I wonder if Chicken House did that on purpose. I must ask.
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For most people it’ll be a regular school day in March. To make sure it’s not just another boring old day, I’m planning a few surprises:

1) I’ll book a marching band so I’ll wake up to trumpet blasts and people stomping around my bed wearing red uniforms with shiny buttons on.

2) A truckload of fireworks will go off as I get up, even though it’ll be morning and you won’t be able to see them. If I can’t get fireworks, something loud and zappy will do, like a 21 gun salute.

3) A thousand red balloons will simultaneously be let off around my house and The Red Arrows will spell ‘Dream on, Amber’ in the sky.

4) I’ll dress in gorgeous new clothes that I’ll buy beforehand – no wait, I’ll be GIVEN beforehand, and I’ll wear for the first time that day. Along with new boots (also gifts). And I’ll feel great.

5) The Queen will send me a letter of congratulations. And David Cameron.

6) I’ll come downstairs and eat smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, cooked by Jamie Oliver, who might find my kitchen a bit small. And he’ll buy a copy of Amber for EACH of his daughters, and all of their friends.

7) There’ll be street parties and it’ll be a national holiday. And the sun will shine but properly, with heat behind it.

8) All the books will sell out and we’ll have to print thousands more. And have parties while we’re waiting.

I hope someone is making a note of all this. You only have two weeks, designers, to send me those new clothes.

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Out and About

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It’s been a busy week. Writing a book is only one part of the process: the stay-at-home-alone-with-a-laptop-and drink-tea part. But then you have to get out there and promote it, meet people, get on trains with a bag of your books and sell your services. You feel a bit like a door-to-door salesperson selling Encyclopaedia Brittanica or double glazing, which is not my dream job. But it’s my book, and I believe in it. So out I went.

Last week, I went to Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End and organised an event for Father’s Day, which falls during the Crouch End Festival this year. Doing a reading and interactive event on Father’s Day fits well with Dream on, Amber because what do children with no fathers do on Father’s Day? How do they feel? I think that’s worth exploring.

This week, I visited the beautiful Tales on Moon Lane bookshop to introduce myself and organise an event for October half term. I also bought some good books, one called ‘Saffy’s Angel’ by Hilary McKay I especially recommend. I love the parts where Caddy is driving and Rose gets involved (near the end: I can’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil it) and the Casson family is so familiar to me, coming from a family of not very organised artists.

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Then I meandered down the road to Dulwich Books, where I said another hello and bought another book. I felt ashamed that I buy my books from Amazon, because there are beautiful independent bookshops that organise literature weeks and all kinds of community events, have readings, liaise with schools, promote authors and their books, have reading groups, and the people who work in them are so knowledgeable: they can recommend and advise on all kinds of things. ‘Have you got any books on…?’ I asked. ‘Yes, there’s this one about…and this one that’s more…’ Basically, BOOKSHOPS RULE. I am 100% in support of them and want to buy all my books from them from now on. And I think YOU should too.

The rest of the week, I sent emails, organised events in schools, spoke to librarians and thought of people I could add to the already quite extensive mailing list who would like or benefit from my book. Then I got tired and lay in bed reading. Which is another good part of being a writer. You can lie in bed and read and when the little voice in your head tells you to go out and about again, you can shout, ‘I’M RESEARCHING!’ and turn another page.