..to find a nice book review waiting for me!

I was hoping to have a few pictures to post from last week’s The Blackhope Enigma book tour around central Scotland, but sadly, my camera died right before I left and I was too cautious to buy another one right off the cuff. I’m one of those people that like reviews and recommendations…

…speaking of which, before I go on, here’s a really nice review of Blackhope from Young Writers! Thank you for that, YW.

Anyway, as I was saying…the book tour. It was great, in a nutshell, and I loved reading aloud from The Blackhope Enigma to all the groups and being able to hear a pin drop. (Well, almost. One venue was an gymnasium, and it is a little hard to breathe in a gym without it echoing.) I used to be VERY nervous about reading aloud, but with a few tips from friends and colleagues, I seem to have overcome that. I love to add a bit of drama to my readings now (not too much though) and really get into it. And I love that kids and adults enjoy being read to. No one is “too old” to listen to a story.

I now have a pretty nifty collection of slides to show groups when I speak. I like showing images that inspire my writing and to talk about what fires me up in general. I tweak the show for different groups, depending upon what I want to emphasize, and like the structure that the slide show gives me. Plus, some slides inspire questions for the audience, which spurs a bit of chat and gets everyone involved.

I can’t help but stress how much work it is to write a novel, or to make an illustration for a book, but how rewarding it is when I have reworked and reworked until the creation is as perfect as I can make it. I also talk a bit about how odd it is (in the coolest possible way!) to be standing up in front of a big group as an Author. Life takes you in unexpected ways sometimes, when you take the plunge and try something new, as I did with writing.

One of the nicest things I learned at last week’s events was how many children write and draw for their own pleasure. Drawing beat writing (maybe writing is too much like school work for some), and there were even some kids who keep sketchbooks. Ahhhh! That really makes me happy.

Every time I speak, I meet kids who are passionate about all kinds of activities: taking care of animals, playing a sport, doing a craft, volunteering at something. Not every kid is going to want to write a book or draw a picture. But I am so glad that kids find their own passions and have the encouragement and confidence to pursue them.

A very big thank you from me to all the lovely people who arranged this book tour for me, and to all the schools, their pupils and staff, especially teachers and librarians, for hosting me!