It has been at least a hundred million years since I put up a proper blog. Stars have died, galaxies have gone dark, they’ve actually renewed Young Justice, (I am so so happy about that) but I’m finally doing a proper round-up of news and things and stuff.
So – in the last three months and fourteen days…
Since last blog, I have performed in 34 libraries, 10 schools, 7 arts centres, 4 bookshops, 3 theatres, 2 universities and one crowded bar. I think the total number of actual gigs was something like 74, 52 of which were in October alone, where I found out that my voice actually has limits, because roughly two thirds of the way through I started sounded like a washing machine full of sandpaper. This may or may not be connected to the fact I have now added a proper howl to when I read this bit of KNIGHTS OF THE BORROWED DARK:
The cigarette fell away as the woman’s jaw clacked open, baring a hollow filled with a mass of delicate clockwork – a tunnel of cogs and gears and spindle wheels, all wet and shining with a Tenebrous’s oily black.
Her howl made the ground vibrate and far-off windows shatter. The echoes took a very long time to die away.
‘Oh,’ said Denizen in a small voice, ‘right.’
The howl is a lot of fun. However, I feel I may need to practice how to do it without tearing my own throat out, so we’ll see how that goes…
Gig highlights include –
- The hand-chalked sandwich board outside The Booksmith in San Francisco for the US launch –
(Honestly, the Booksmith is the San Francisco bookshop. It is a glorious thing. Go visit)
- Performing for an entire year who’d read/were reading the book. (Hi Colaiste Mhuire in Cobh!) I always assume the students won’t have read it because KOTBD is quite new and all that, but there is something pretty great about saying –
‘So the book is about –’
‘We’ve read it.’
And then being hit with an extremely in-depth Q & A at the end.
- Performing to the very packed CO Club in Oldcastle, County Meath. One of the best nights I’ve ever had, even after I inflicted my horrifying Tidy Town’s poem on them.
- Performing to two floors of students in Abbeyleix Library at once, which is the first time in my life the turn in my eye has come in handy.
- FAN-ART – more on that later…
- Travelling to Weston-Super-Mare and finding out what cream tea actually means
- THE QUESTIONS. Best question at one of my events gets a free signed copy of KOTBD and honestly you outdo yourselves every time.
And honestly too many more to count. Huge thanks to all the teachers, librarians and students who made each of those gigs really fun and ridiculous and lovely. I am now taking bookings for the new year, so if you’re interesting in having me come to your school/library/wigwam and bellow so loudly dust falls from your ceiling, do hit me up at email@example.com
I found out today that apparently a friend’s daughter and her mates have long discussions about whether they’re more like Darcie or Abigail, and have even longer discussions about a certain Mr. McCarron. That’s the kind of thing that I wish I could crystallise and put on my shelf. However, until I perfect my Moment-Freezing Ray (patent non-existent, though I will put my best people on it) that isn’t going to happen.
However, it is extremely lovely when august awarding academies think that KOTBD should get a nod. Even to be shortlisted is a real honour, which is why I’m delighted to say that KOTBD, since last blogging, was shortlisted for the North Somerset Teachers’ Choice Award –
(the awards’ ceremony is where I found out the true nature of cream tea. We didn’t win, but I call that a victory all the same)
– and is currently shortlisted for the SLARI Great Reads Award. This award is voted on by secondary school students so do get involved – the school that votes the most wins prizes. So you’re the real winners. (Also it’s an incredible shortlist, so you should be reading all these books, they’re brilliant) We’re also currently longlisted for the 2017 Redbridge SLS Award which I keep thinking is ages away, but actually we’re five weeks away from 2017 and how is this happening and I can feel my cells dying help.
Finally, as you may have noticed if you own a TV and/or follow me on Twitter, KOTBD has just won the Bord Gais Energy Specsavers’ Children’s Book of the Year (Senior) Award! This is a huge honour and I still can’t get my head around it. I also have absolutely no recollection of what I said on stage but you can catch an edited version of it here. It was a really competitive shortlist, so I am delighted to have been given what I thought was either a huge tear or a badass glass dragon fang, but what is now quite obviously a gas flame. I am not a clever man.
So this is a thing I want to start doing. I’ve been receiving really amazing fan-art from people over the last few months and I want to showcase it whenever I can because the thought that someone would sit down and spend a long time drawing characters I made up is hugely flattering. SO. This is now a thing. There’ll be a #fanartfriday hashtag on my Twitter, and even if you’ve just doodled the Hand & Hammers in the corner of your copybook I’d love to see a picture of it.
Our very first #fanartfriday has to be Niamh Fay, who was at the KOTBD Dublin launch and has drawn two absolutely stellar pictures of Vivian (incredible) and me (ridiculous)
LOOK AT HOW REGAL SHE IS. Niamh, thank you so much. I really appreciate it!
We have some big big news coming in the December blog regarding next year, KOTBD – THE FOREVER COURT, cover reveals, UNESCO Citywide Read news and more, but in the meantime, I am going to vanish off into the ether and go see Arrival, because it looks confusing and great. Before I go, do keep sending your fanart, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to book me for an event, do fire up a review/rating on Goodreads/Amazon if you enjoyed the book – and for the love of God wrap up it’s freezing.
(Oh hey – also I finished Book 3. Now I’m 70k into the rewrite and it’s horrifying and delightful. I can’t wait to share it)