The one aspect of being a writer nobody prepared me is the solitary nature of the job – it’s just you, your imagination, and fictional characters.
But every now and again, I get out from behind the writing desk (probably much to my editor’s annoyance…who’s waiting on a new book) and go from utter solitude to hyper socialising.
The book tour!
I’ve been on the road touring ‘Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie‘ since early October (one more week to go) and thought I’d share some stories, observations, and photos from the road:
1. Kids are really smart…and ask considered, thoughtful questions. This probably isn’t a surprise to my fellow authors, or to teachers and librarians, but kids (I mainly see students aged 9+) can get a bad rap, which is largely undeserved. I’m constantly impressed and inspired by the quality of questions and discussion at my events. These students are much more switched on and engaged than we were at that age.
2. Everyone loves dressing up. At certain events, I invited the students (and teachers) to come dressed as zombies…and I was blown away by the effort and creativity put into the costumes. When everyone (myself included) comes in costume, it elevates the event because we’re all in it together.
3. Turns out zombie make-up is really harsh on the skin. Taking off flesh wounds is really hard on the skin; and I’ve been creating real wounds by removing the fake ones. I’m looking forward to giving my poor skin a rest.
3. I talk with my hands…a lot! It isn’t until you see yourself captured speaking on camera that you realise how much of your communication is non-verbal. Turns out, I’m a big hand-talker.
4. It’s great to see people using public libraries. I usually focus on school visits, but I attended a Chatterbooks group in Hackney and loved seeing kids come together after school in a warm, friendly, and stimulating environment to talk about books and reading. We need to cherish our libraries, and fight to keep them as a vibrant part of each community.
5. Fan art is awesome! There’s something super cool about seeing kids creating fan art based on your characters. A boy at the Edinburgh Festival gave this one to me just before the event started. His teacher said he wasn’t a strong reader, but loved the book.
6. I need to bulk order Sharpies. I was lucky enough to sign a lot of books…but I really burned through the Sharpie pens. Who owns them, I need to buy stock.
I’ll add a few thoughts as I go, but for now, I’d better pack my bags.
See you on tour!
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