(Note: A version of this post first appeared on Book Engine)
Writing can be a lonely pursuit. I spend hours inside my own imagination, forming a meaningful relationship with my MacBook Pro and coffee machine. And so it was a wondrous break from this isolated routine when I embarked on my first book tour this Spring.
I traveled up and down the country, from Brighton to Newcastle, and spoke to and met with over 3,000 young readers (both avid and reluctant), ranging from nine to sixteen. I returned to the writing desk with a bad cold but a richer picture of who I’m writing for….and why.
I was a very reluctant reader as an adolescent. I hated reading. It was hard and I couldn’t win at it. So the first question I ask when speaking to a group of students is: “who enjoys reading?” About half of the hands go up. Then I ask who doesn’t like reading. The other half comes clean. Those are my people.
As a boy, in the 80s, in Canada, I couldn’t find anything in book form as compelling, engaging, or addictive as the best films, TV shows, and video games. So when I started writing, that became the bar; to create a book series that could compete with the amazing array of 21st century visual media on offer.
|Holding the audience’s attention|