Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Team Read

Have you joined Team Read at your library? You get stickers, freebies and a medal for reading six books over the summer.

I took my daughter to sign up for it. She read two books - Pinkie and Za Za's Brother - last week. I was with her and she read every word. I was amazed. She really wanted to get her hands on the stickers. But I think she likes reading too.

Ask at your local library.

You get a starter's pack and access to a very good website where you can design a character that looks like you to walk through a sport stadium. Then you can read and email about famous authors like Anthony Horowitz and Jeremy Strong. And me too, if you like.


I'm in Wales today. Did a session with 60 kids in Rhyl. Very nice. By the sea. We did some quizzes and penalties. I had an egg sandwich.

The library staff were great in Rhyl. Three of them went in nets. Some with more success than others. And now I'm in a very nice hotel. Any other authors reading: work in Denbighshire. They really look after you. Tomorrow I'm off to Flintshire, North Wales. Then home.

I started book 4 of my Football Academy series today. Planning. I did a flow chart of the story and tried to make sure it's exciting. I do a graph thing to help me. I mark each chapter for happiness v sadness. I like the graph to go up and down, so that the character in the book is happy, then suddenly sad. It keeps it exciting.

It's about a lad called Ben who isn;t good at reading. He struggles and bunks off school to avoid showing people he can;t write or read too well. Then the coach of the academy he plays at seps in...

But that book's not out until July 2009.

South West

I was in the South West last week. Events in Plymouth, Truro and Torbay.

Plymouth was great. We had the event at the away end of the stadium, the kids sitting in the stand, chanting and shouting at their classmates as they tried to take penalties. We weren't allowed on the grass, because they were cutting it and they like to keep it nice. It reminded me of when I went to choose a season ticket seat at Leeds United in 1984. I took my dog and was told not to go on the pitch. But my dog got away, sprinted across the grass, then did a wee in one of the goal mouths.

Truro and Torbay were good too, by the way. It was nice to go back to Torbay. I used to go on holiday there when I was 17 or 18.

There's something funny going on in the South West. Loads more people support Liverpool than any other team. Does anyone know why?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Dead Ball

I've nearly finished the sequel to Foul Play. It's called Dead Ball and takes place four months on from Danny's first adventures. I set it in Russia. Danny comes up against a menacing Russian oligarch.

(And if you're reading this, Mr Abramovich, you should know it's nothing to do with you. It's a purely fictional figure who is the baddy in Dead Ball.)

I am lucky to be a member of a writing group. Three of us meet once a month to say what we think of each others stuff. The other members are James Nash - poet and story writer, who is working on an excellent teen novel - and Sophie Hannah, who is a hell of a writer.

It's so helpful having them give me feedback. It's sometimes hard to hear people say what is wrong with my stories, but in the end it helps make them better.

Anyway, the really liked Dead Ball. I was expecting lots of extra work, acting on what they said. But they didn't say much. It's a good thing: I have to submit it to Puffin on Friday.

Then a break. A few days before I start work on book four of the Football Academy series.