The day after the Gary’s Garden Launch party…

Another video diary. Here I get to talk about Gary Northfield, Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve, David O’Connell and Pirate George. And there’s even an appearance by Milo the cat. So, it was the launch of Gary’s Garden up at the Bookseller Crow in Crystal Palace

Pop-Up 2012 is go!

I can’t believe it’s a year since the last one, but the excellent Dylan Calder has been busy again. Pop-Up is a super children’s festival that gets really involved with the community. Taking place over the 30th June and 1st July in Kings Cross, North London, it’s got some great things lined up.

The highlights would have to be the Comics Big Top of Awesome, starring some outrageously talented folk, and Marcus Sedgwick‘s My Swordhand is Singing tent.

Not to be missed, surely?!

School author visits

I thought I’d give a heads up to Sarah McIntyre’s post about Society of Authors’ Talk on school visits. There’s lots of useful tidbits if you check the #CWIG or #SchoolVisits hashtag on Twitter.

I do a lot of school events, and I know for a fact that a lot of this stuff is what you can only learn from experience. It’s probably incredibly useful for any new authors or illustrators out there. And speaking of that there’s a great CWIG Conference if you’re a children’s writer/illustrator. It’s prohibitively expensive, which is why I won’t be going (as much as I’d love to), but if you can afford it you won’t regret it.

Sarah’s doing a great job promoting the children’s side of the Society of Authors. Back when I started out with the Mousehunter, I jumped at the chance of becoming a member. It was the thing that said I’d made it, and being a part of the Society was like joining the Dennis the Menace club (but for grown-ups).

There wasn’t much going on for children’s writers there at that point – SCWBI was and is far more socially organised – and a hideous experience at a Society event all about reading your work aloud meant I never renewed. (I still get nightmares of being critiqued by a load of fusty adult book writers. I definitely didn’t go there to be critiqued.)

Any way, this event looked great, and I wish it had been more like this when I joined 5 years ago – heck, if it keeps doing things like this, maybe I’ll join again soon.

The Terror of the Deep surfaces

I’ll be celebrating on 6 December as my fifth book will have been published. Five books seems like an extraordinary number to me. I’m no Barbara Cartland, knocking out ten books a year (or whatever), but it does mean that I’ve dealt with all the issues and complications that arise from making one book, five times over, since 2007. That’s a point worth celebrating right there!

The Terror of the Deep, the second of the Mythical 9th Division series is probably my favourite of all of the five, simply because it’s the one where the art is really starting to work with the text as I’d always hoped it would. Everything takes time to evolve and grow up, and I’m finally feeling more confident about my illustration. I’ll never be Tenniel, but I may just one day be Alex Milway.

And so enough about that.

This blog is now live, and the one where I’ll be posting from now on. It’ll take a while to look right, and I’ll twiddle a few setting till I’m happy, but I might even try to compete with Sarah McIntyre for frequency (NAH! Who am I trying to kid!?). And while I’m there I should say that her marvellous Morris The Mankiest Monster deserves to win every award going, not just the Sheffield Children’s Book Award that it won yesterday. Fabulous news!

And so, as a parting gift, here’s a hamster carrying a lunchbox.