Saturday, 18 October 2008

Standing up in front of a stone wall

I've grown used to giving presentations for groups of kids, and generally they go well. I ham it up, ask questions, read bits of my books, answer questions.

Usually the organisers have to drag me off the stage. At the very least, they hold up a hand telling me that I have two (or three, or five) more minutes.

I love it. It's like stirring up anarchy.

This week, though, I did a presentation for a mixed, largely unconnected group of educators. It was a tough audience. They didn't respond to the obvious 'funny bits'. They had no questions. I had to poke at them to answer mine. After a while they warmed up a little, and a couple even admitted using hmour in a classroom setting. It was -- okay. But for a good while I felt like a stand up comic working a room on a wet Tuesday at a Holiday Inn in Vidalia, Ga.

I did sell a few books, though. Onward and upward!

Another children's author had been first to address the crowd (I hadn't arrived yet, so I missed her presentation). She came up and congratulated me on looking so relaxed in front of this very tough audience. That was very nice of her, and maybe I am able to appear confident and at ease. But, really, I'd like to connect with the audience. And this group were tough to connect with!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Something new!

So far I've written only about the Emmaline and Rubberbones stuff. But It's worth mentioning that, since I am a Renaissance Man (which means I don't bathe and get into knife fights with bad poets) that my next creation from KCP will, in fact, be "Bogbrush the Barbarian", a fantasy romp about a barbarian hero so utterly stupid that, er, all the other barbarian heroes notice. It's as if Conan the Barbarian was bigger, dimmer, and his creator made fun of him constantly.

I think the target audience is ten year old boys, juvenile delinquents and my own friends.

I've had to make it a little more kid-friendly, or rather, delete anything too risque. Which is a shame, as the ladies find Bogbrush strangely appealing, in the "I like 'em big and stupid" range of taste. of course, Bogbrush fails to comprehend any of this. British readers will remember the classic (that means 'old and bad') Carry On films for the 50s - 70s. Bogbrush is a fantasy version of that style.

Bill Slavin will illustrate it.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Out among the fifth graders --

"The Island of Mad Scientists" is out in the US as of Oct 1st, and I've been to scenic Rockport, Massachusetts to read bits of my books, sign copies and generally ham it up to audiences of middle graders, their families and some unsuspecting adults.

It was enormous fun.

There's something about getting a roomful of eleven year olds to laugh uproariously. It's just fantastic. You can't buy it.