“World Book Day” is what they call it, but for children’s writers, and certainly for me, it’s not a day. It’s a month.
Between now, and mid march, I’m visiting 9 schools, from Ling Moor, in Lincoln to Market Field in Colchester, and from Prince’s Mead near Southampton to John Roan in Blackheath. it’s taking quite a lot of organising and means I’ll be spending a lot of time going from one end of the country to the other, sampling the joys of Airbnb all over the country.
It’s always great fun to talk to all the children at these schools, and it always takes my breath away how creative teachers are in getting their pupils interested in reading.
What I have to do between now and Thursday, when my first visit is scheduled, is to work out what I’m going to be working on during the long train journeys. I’ll be tired, I know, and it’s very tempting to just sit back and watch the countryside go by.
However, I can’t let the fact that I’m spending a month traveling the country talking about writing mean that I don’t actually do any writing, so I’m going to have to have a project to work on at the same time.
That’s a bit tricky right now. I’ve just finished the new Act Normal book – Act Normal, And Don’t Tell Anyone About The Present Machine. It’s four or five times the length of a “normal” Act Normal book, so it’s aimed at a slightly more confident group of readers – the sort of boys and girls who would happily tackle a David Walliams, or a Roald Dahl book – and I’m really excited about releasing it.
Right now, I have to create the illustrations, so that’s my job for when I’m at home over the next few weeks. I can’t work on the Professor Challenger series (see previous post) because I’m still waiting to hear back from the publishers, so I’m going to need another fun project to work on in the meantime.
And, of course, I wouldn’t want you to think I’m just sitting on my hands here… at the same time as all this, I’m filming the interviews for my new documentary, in London, Bath, and, potentially, Edinburgh. I’ve also volunteered to write a feature for the Times Educational Supplement over the next couple of weeks, and I’ve just volunteered to join CWISL (http://www.cwisl.org.uk/) the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of South London – If you live or go to school in south London, you’ll probably have come into contact with them. But they’re not an organisation for passengers, so I’m guessing, as soon as I meet up with them, I’ll become involved in something….
Oh, and the council want to build 7 new blocks of flats right next to my back garden, and with planning permission going through, and me on the residents group, it looks like things will be fun for the next few weeks…
Time to dive in.