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Baby Badger on CBeebies

23 Jul

Image from BBC Website.

<<sounds the Exciting News klaxon>>

Baby Badger’s Wonderful Nightwill be appearing on an upcoming episode of CBeebies Bedtime Stories! Woop, woop! As yet there are no details of when it’s going to be broadcast, or even who’s going to be reading it, but recording is apparently happening later this month, so I should know more soon.

I’ll let you know more details when I have them.

The Power of Picture Books

24 May

I’ve blogged as a guest blogger on the Picture Book Den website about the power of picture books. You can visit the site here (you’ll find the post most easily by looking under the ‘guest bloggers’ tab on the right hand side) or you can read the post below.

As the subheading of this blog [The Picture Book Den subheading is ‘Passionate about Picture Books’] says, the authors here are passionate about picture books. And I am too. I honestly believe picture books are amazingly powerful things.

I have a 20 month old son I’ve nicknamed Tornado Toddler. That’s because he’s a whirling tornado of a child, alive with energy and constantly on the move, always exploring and investigating.  But picture books — picture books make him stop. Picture books have the power to make him slow down enough to clamber onto my knee and together, we share a story. It’s one of my favourite things in the world, reading a book with my son.

Children learn so much from talking about things they see in picture books, and hearing about what’s happening on each page.  My little boy said his first proper word pointing at something he saw in a book. But I think books are more than just learning tools. Picture books have the power to create a whole new world for a reader to step into, because stories are adventures, allowing children to experience all sorts of exciting things. In a book, you can be a pirate, or a cowboy, or a princess. You can go anywhere, or do anything. Picture books have the power to make magic a real, tangible thing, which is why it’s such a wonderful stage to start a child reading. It’s a joy to see the pleasure a child can get from a book, long before they can read themselves, or even talk.

Picture books also help children explore subjects in a safe way. My picture book, Baby Badger’s Wonderful Night, explores a common childhood fear, that of the dark. If I’ve helped one child be less scared of the dark, even just a tiny bit, well, that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, isn’t it? And there are books to help with so many things. Like what happens when a new brother or sister comes along. Or when someone dies.  Or you start school, or move house, or have to go to hospital. These are all massive things to happen in a person’s life and subjects such as these, many more besides, are addressed in the pages of picture books.

Magic. Adventure. Reassurance. Knowledge. Hours of endless enjoyment. Oh yes. Picture books are very powerful indeed.

Don’t Speak…Write, Instead

15 May

My lovely friend, Joanna Nadin, recently blogged about how music and books are closely interlinked. You can read her post, on the wonderful Girls Heart Books website, here.

Music seems to be something a lot of authors are inspired by. Stephanie Meyer (she wrote some novels about vampires, you might have heard of them) often talks about how important Muse is to her writing. And a while back, I was struggling during a rewrite of my novel, Me, Suzy P…when this song came on the radio. It’s Don’t Speak, by No Doubt. Depending on your age, you may or may not know it. To me it feels like it was out only five minutes ago, although I’ve just checked, and had a heart attack to realise it was out in 1996, sixteen whole years ago. SIXTEEN? How can that be right? Excuse me for a moment while I  have a  wobble about how old I’m getting and how time is passing by crazy quickly. Ahem. *composes self*

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the song came on the radio and I had a real moment of ‘this is exactly how my character is feeling’. It was the first verse that really resonated with me, as Suzy and her boyfriend are having some problems:

“You and me
We used to be together
Everyday together always
I really feel
That I’m losing my best friend
I can’t believe
This could be the end
It looks as though you’re letting go
And if it’s real
Well I don’t want to know”

And from there on in, the rewrite was a whole lot easier, as that really helped with the emotional tone I wanted. So thank you, Gwen Stefani, and the rest of No Doubt.

I’m just in the beginning stages of starting the sequel to Me, Suzy P, and I’m already wondering what its theme song is going to be. It focuses on female friendships, so I hope it’s something fun. Any suggestions?  *sits back and prepares for a deluge of people to suggest Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. It’s good, but it’s not right*

Blowing My Own Trumpet!

4 May

Image from archive3d.net

As I said in my post yesterday, I’ve got a novel coming out. I’ve known about it for a few months, but didn’t want to say anything about it until it was all definite. And now it is, so I can, and I’ve just finished the edits they asked for. So I’m currently waiting, gnawing my fingernails nervously, to hear from my editor and find out whether or not she’s happy with what I’ve done.

The book is being published by Templar, who are based in Surrey. I went over to meet them in March, and they were super nice, taking me out to lunch, telling me they loved my novel, and giving me free books. What could be better? It’s currently scheduled for release in January 2013, and is called Me, Suzy P.  It’s aimed predominately at girls aged 10+. (Boys can read it too, though, natch). I’ll let you know when it’s available to pre-order.

It’s a two book deal, so I’m starting to think about book two, which is a sequel to Me, Suzy P. At the moment, all that’s missing is a plot. A minor detail, right? *panics* I need to get writing pretty quickly, so here’s hoping inspiration strikes soon…

Procrastination.

13 Feb

Image via Kilork

Why do writers procrastinate so much?

Right now, at this very moment in time, I know I have a lot of editing to do. I know I  have a limited amount of time to do it in, while Tornado Toddler is at nursery. And yet…I’m not doing it. Well, I am. In bits. But first I have to check Facebook. Then Twitter. Then cruise around a few other websites before I settle down to work. And then after a short while, the whole cycle starts again. And repeat, all morning long. Now I’m even writing this flipping blog post about procrastination, to avoid it a little longer. What’s that all about?!

I know it’s not just me, as I see lots of posts from my writer friends talking about the things they do to avoid getting down to the nitty gritty of writing. Making cups of tea features highly. Or staring out of the window. Or cleaning the house. Why do we do this? It’s amazing any books get written at all. There are blogs dedicated solely to procrastination, and hints and tips on how to stop it.

Right. Back to it. And maybe it’s time to pull out the network cable so I can’t go online, even if I really want to.

What do you do to avoid working? Tell all, and make me feel better. Plus, I can check in on the comments and procastinate a little more…