5 Things you should never say to an author at a book signing...
1.My child is too young for books. It doesn’t matter what age your child is, they are definitely not too young for books! Babies can enjoy books right from the start, and what a lovely activity to it is to share, to cuddle up with a book and a baby on your knee, sowing the seeds of a love of books that’ll stay with them always.
2.Are you the author? – who me? The one sat behind the local author book signing sign... yes, I get it all the time – I put signs on my table, but people still seem surprised that I am actually the author.
3.How long does it take to write a book? Well we could be there all day with that question - a book isn’t like a production line item, it could have been born in a rush of inspiration that came tumbling out faster than I could type, or it could have been an idea that lurked around in the recesses of my mind, stubbornly refusing to arrange itself into a story... And then of course there are the illustrations, not just to be drawn and painted, but scanned in, and then technology gets involved, and anything could happen...
4.I don’t read books. Never tell an author you don’t read books – they’ll see it as a challenge... I believe there’s a book out there for everyone, maybe you just had a bad introduction to books, were made to read books you didn’t enjoy... But there are so many books out there, that there must be something you’ll enjoy. What sort of film do you enjoy? Finding a book on the same theme as a film you enjoy is a good place to start, and once you’ve found one, you’ll be able to find other books of that genre, and before you know it you’re a book lover.
5.My child doesn’t like books. If your child doesn’t like books, could it be that they see you not liking books? Go to a library of bookshop together and choose a book each. If you’re choosing a book for a very young child, then you have a lot of influence, so choose one you like too – if you enjoy reading the story you’re more likely to get that across to your child, and before you know it you’re both enjoying books.
Do you remember that first book that grabbed you when you were just on the edge of confident reading? The book that took you over the edge into forgetting that you even reading, it just felt like you were magically transported to somewhere else and meeting new friends...
I remember it well, and hope to write books that will do the same thing for new readers who are dipping their toes into new worlds between the pages of a book, because if you dip your toes in enough books, you're going to find that one book that will drag you in and hold a little bit of you there for all time...
Eric would rather doodle than write a story, but when the words start to disappear off the page in front of him, and his doodle starts talking to him, he thinks he must be dreaming.
Eric's doodle has come to life, and he's getting bored; he jumps into Miranda's story, where he gets attacked by a rubber, then he's blown off his feet when Natasha sneezes. Miss Roper is getting angrier by the second. How will Eric ever finish his story, when his doodle just wants to have fun, and create havoc?
Step into a world where drawings come alive, meet Eric's doodles Iver No-Idea and his dog HB as they cause their own brand of trouble.
I did it, I found a little chunk of time between looking after animals, and stuff to do, to get some writing done - ah that feels better.
I'm writing a true story at the moment, which ought to be easier than writing fiction, but I'm finding it harder than fiction, maybe because fiction is just me and my imagination flying off wherever it needs to go. True stories involve other people, and an obligation to get it right...
But time is short - not like the puppy who is far from short these days, and needing more and more exercise to keep him happy - time for a walk I think...
again, new year same issues – write new stuff or try to promote what I’ve
already written... The answer of course is to do both, keep the momentum going
and never give up, because giving up is NOT an option...
what am I writing now? – Well it’s a little bit out of my usual knowledge base,
it’s a horse story. But not just any horse, it’s my daughter’s horse, who is
just too big a character not to be written about. And yes she is a very big
horse, I know this because I somehow got talked into getting on her, and it did
look like a very long way down...
Here I go.
I can do this, so what if I forgot my list? How hard can it be to stock up for
sure you can fit my shopping in the car as well as your own?” asks Margo, my
ultra organised neighbour. Not however, organised enough to learn to drive.
course,” I smile; after all I have got a seven-seater estate car – with the
seats folded down. I briefly wonder how much shopping she’s likely to need for
always come back round with another trolley if we can’t fit it all in one,” she
says, looking doubtfully into the depths of her trolley.
I smile, or
was it a grimace? No no, it was definitely a smile. Here we go. As we go round
the shop I can feel the tension levels building; so much for peace and good
will, more like ‘will’ get the last ‘piece’ of food on the shelves. Everyone
has the same determined look on their faces; this has to be the shop to end all
shops, the one where everyone buys everything they could possibly need over the
festive season; along with a good many things which are destined to be thrown
away in a future cupboard clear out. I blame the shops; how can they close for
twenty four hours just when we need them most? It’s a shocking neglect of their
customers, who’ve now grown used to twenty four hour shopping. What if we have
unexpected visitors, and we’ve run out of the very thing that they want to eat?
I wonder who these inconsiderate people are, who turn up out of the blue making
impossible demands; and think that maybe my life would be a lot easier if I
became one myself, instead of fretting about them descending upon me.
Christmas exciting Mummy!” I hear a small child say to her mother, her face lit
up as the bright lights reflect off the tinsel which she has wrapped around
herself like a glittery boa. Yes, Christmas is supposed to be exciting, but as
I look around I can’t see much sign of it, I grab a piece of tinsel off a shelf
and wrap it around my neck. The little girl points and smiles; everyone else
just stares. I don’t think I can be entirely blamed for what happened next, if
the shelves had been stacked better, and not booby trapped to make everything
fall off as innocent trolleys go by, I never would have thought of setting off
party poppers in the middle of the supermarket – I do hope I don’t set off a
security alert! Some serious looking men in uniforms are stood staring at me,
Margo is flapping about trying to distance herself from me and several children
in trolleys are trying to escape, to come and join in.
I try to
get my mind back onto the task of shopping; I manage to put several things in
my trolley before Margo snatches one out.
buy that! Didn’t you see the documentary last night?”
I look at her blankly.
of that dangerous chemical that kills rats.” She takes several other things out
of my trolley, tutting disapprovingly. “You really should read the small
I head for
the fresh produce, there’s no printing at all on that; unless it’s already
bagged, and then it says 5 on it, no matter how many items the bag contains.
“5 a day,”
explains Margo, as if addressing a small child. “You must have heard of that.”
I wonder if
a chocolate orange would count as one of my 5; but probably not. I wonder how
many pieces of produce I should buy in order for six people to have 5 a day for
a week; and where I could keep it all cool enough not to become something that
resembles a science experiment. I begin to panic buy, anything to get out of
here. When did shopping become so complicated?
you haven’t got any of these,” says Margo thrusting a pack of little plastic
bottles at me, which look just like the bottles of cat milk I buy for the
full of good bacteria,” she assures me patiently. “You should drink one every
I have a mental image of bacteria sorting themselves into
goodies and baddies and having little battles in my intestines, and I wonder
how many more calories I will have consumed by the time I get through all the
things I must have everyday – and what time I will have to get up each day, in
order to get through it all.
good thing I came shopping with you isn’t it?” says Margo smugly. I just smile
in defeat as she takes it upon herself to help me to all sorts of things I
didn’t know I needed.
wrapping paper’s on a multi saver, of course I bought mine in September, but
you can never have too much can you?” several rolls land in both our trolleys.
She’s on quite a roll herself now, and reaches for everything in twos. On a
good day I can be quite assertive, but all the fight’s gone out of me by this
stage, and I trudge along behind my trolley, consoling myself that I should
have enough here to hibernate till spring. It’s no accident I decide, that the
booze section is at the far corner of the shop, just at the point when you know
you deserve a treat. So despite protests of:
need that isle; I bought my sherry weeks ago.”
I carry on; my trolley, by now gaining momentum, and far too
heavy to turn at a moments notice. Now it’s my turn, I can shop in twos as
well; two for me, two for Margo.
see that documentary last week? A little bit of alcohol is good for you – it
don’t suffer from stress.”
have visitors,” I assure her. “Spirits – good for a sore throat, and unwinding
got a sore throat, and I enjoy shopping.”
By the time
I get to the cash out, I’m feeling slightly revived, the shiny bottles
decorating my shopping like baubles on a Christmas tree.
like help?” asks the cashier. I look nervously at Margo, but she’s too busy
with her own shopping, trying to hide the shameful amount of booze that seems
to have found its way into her trolley.
please,” I smile, what do I care if my potatoes are packed on top of my bread,
or the cat tins on the tomatoes? It’ll all turn out right in the end, Christmas
always does; and anyway, what can possibly go wrong when I’ve got an army of
goodies in little plastic bottles. I’m a great believer in the goodies always
coming out on top.