Home again. And what a wonderful time I had last week. On Monday I was in London, I had been invited to the House of Lords,( how, you may ask, did I manage to get invited to the House of Lords? I will never know, but I was delighted anyway! I think my lovely agent might have had something to do with it. Her and I were there together.) It was a reception to celebrate Volunteer Reading, a wonderful inititiative to get trained people into schools to read with young people.I was at the local prison only the week before and saw how many of the inmates have a low level of education and reading skills. It only reinforced my belief that education and reading are the key to raising aspirations and self esteem. There were so many interesting people at that reception, and I stood on the long terrace overlooking the Thames and thought how lucky I was to be included among them. Me, whose widowed mother was a school cleaner who also had another two jobs to support me and my three sisters. She would have been so chuffed! A day to remember.
But have you ever wished you could be in two places at the same time? I did last Monday. Because of that invite to the House of Lords, I had to forego yet another wonderful experience. Monday also saw the launch of the Scottish Children's Book Awards, and I couldn't go! It was all top secret, so I couldn't even tell anyone I had been shortlisted until last Monday when the announcements were made.
I am so delighted to be on the shortlist for this fantastic award, especially with Out of The Depths,the first in the Tyler Lawless series. I so love writing about this character. I'll have to wait till March 7th, 2013, for the final result and that will all be up to the pupils of Scotland and which book they vote for. So, a great believer in enjoying the moment, I am going to make the most of the time until the award ceremony next year. Already in my diary,so even an invite to Buckingham Palace will have to be turned down!( Well, you never know, stranger things have happened!)
And as if that wasn't enough on Tuesday I went to the new Bloomsbury offices to meet up with my editors . We were talking about my next book, out next year. My title for this one, and a blinking good one too, I thought, was, It Walks Among Us, but my editor thought it sounded too much like a horror novel. She's always given me good advice, been my editor since Run Zan Run, so I have gone with her suggestion. Mosi's War. I'm getting used to it now. They are excited about this book, and so am I. I am very proud of it, love the characters. I created two boys, Mosi and Patrick, and they just leapt off the page and began writing the story themselves. I love it when that happens.
Then I was off to meet Hamza, one of my biggest fans, and a boy who has done so much for me. Thanks to him I'm on Twitter, and have a Facebook fanpage and he's always finding reviews and articles about my books and posting them for me. I don't know what I would do without him.
On Thursday I visited Merchant Taylor's school in Liverpool and had a wonderful time with Tony Higginson who has an independent book story and who organised my visit. Sold lots of books and met so many fans. On in the evening to another Liverpool school, St. Edwards College for their Open Evening event. All I had to do there was sit and smile and blether. I've never had any problem doing that!
The icing on the cake was that I got to stay with my family down there. Katie and Danny, and my lovely Daniel and Jessica. What a memorable week!
Katie has this wonderful idea of keeping a gratitude journal, and each night writing down three things to be grateful for. You don't write anything bad, only the good things, however small. I think it's a wonderful idea. I'm going to do it too.
But how do I ever stop at the three?