Monday, 25 October 2010

crime central

There are times when things happen and you can feel an excitement build inside you. This is one of those times for me. It seems every day I hear about something new and exciting that makes me so pleased to be a writer. There are a lot of us who just love writing crime novels for teenagers. A genre that no one seems to talk about. But now, some of us, and I take no credit for this, have come up with a wonderful idea for a blog about teenage crime writers. Crime Central. How brilliant an idea is that ? I will keep you posted about how to follow this blog as soon as it is up and running.
  Last year a young reader got in touch with me, a young man with so many brilliant ideas to help me promote my books, and he has now got me on Twitter. So soon, I will be twittering away, thanks to his efforts. He knows how much I appreciate that! It was one of my other readers who got me on Wikopedia ! How lucky am I to have readers like that!
    Who knows what wonderful thing might happen tomorrow!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Excellent Exeter!

Just home from my tour with the Scottish Book Trust tour round Exeter, and what a great time I had. Schools well prepared, they had read and studied the books, and were really looking forward to my visit. And the whole week was made so easy and enjoyable by Chris and Candy from the Book Trust who were doing all the driving and the lugging and the carrying. All I had to do was sit in the car, go from place to place, and talk. And talking is something I have never had any trouble with. it's getting me to stop that's the problem.  I had some lovely news when I was down there, but I can't tell you about it yet. Sworn to secrecy! 
    Talking to readers, going round schools is for me the best kind of research I can do. I can watch how pupils talk to each other, see how they dress, how they wear their hair. Listen to how funny they can be with each other, how thoughtful they can be, and most of all, find out what kind of books they would like me to write next.
    I was also inspired by Chris and Candy about things I want to do next. It was great being with people who have so many fantastic ideas. So I am back home, all fired up!!!!The people I met in Exeter were so friendly, so helpful I would like to thank them all for a lovely visit. I will definitely be going back there!

Monday, 18 October 2010

A writer's life

A writer's life seems to be a series of journeys. Lately, all I seem to have done is travel. I love travelling. I was invited to Marple Hall School in Stockport, and was made so welcome and had such a lovely time. Underworld was part of the Booked Up Project last year, and it was great for me to see so many of the pupils clutching the book for me to sign. Also, Grass has been shortlisted for the Stockport Book Award, in one of the Key Stages. I won that award a few years ago with Dark Waters, and still remember the Oscar type ceremony we had for the presentation evening. Fantastic! I'm already receiving wonderful e mails from aspiring writers at the school. After Marple Hall, I moved on to Lancashire for the Shout About Books Festival. I love going there, once again the hospitality is so good, and I met so many lovely pupils and teachers and librarians and had a great time. I had given them a beginning for a story. I seem to be asked to do that a lot now, after the first line I gave to Tynecastle High which grew for me into not only a book, Out of the Depths, but also a series! Here's the beginning I gave to Lancashire. Any one can give it a try. See what you come up with.

  So, I took the shoes off a dead man. He didn't need them, did he? But if I had known the trouble they were going to cause I would have left them on the dead man's feet.

Just to give you a few tips, is the dead man a tramp? Homeless. Was he lying in the street, or in a house, or was he perhaps in a morgue? Was he someone the narrator knew already, or a stranger? And what kind of shoes were they? Special shoes, expensive shoes, running shoes? Had they something hidden inside them? Was someone going to come after them? Is that the trouble the narrator refers to, or could there be something else. When you take a beginning apart like that, you can see how your story can grow.  I am looking forward to seeing the entries from Lancashire. Who knows, maybe I might get another book out of it too!