Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Brilliant Touring and Story Starter Fun!

Mike and me on a break in between school visits!
Forgive my lack of blogging. It has been a busy month or two, with plenty of school visits and LOTS of writing. I'm currently working on a book that won't even be published until March 2015, so I'm keeping it top secret for now.

In the last month Mike and I have had the honour of visiting many wonderful schools, some old friends and others new: Canada Hill School and Yealmpstone Farm School in Devon ... St John's School and Parc Eglos School in Cornwall ... Alexandra Junior School, Forsbrook School, St Augustine's School, Newstead Academy and The Willows School, all in Stoke-on-Trent!

We have loved visiting these schools and send our thanks to all the staff, as well as the fantastic actors who have braved coming up on stage to help me act out my books. To all our new fans, we hope you enjoy reading your books ... and I hope it's not too long before I can come back to see you all again!

The beautiful Holywell Bay
The Gull Rocks!

In between school visits we fitted in a short holiday to our favourite place in the world - Holywell Bay in Cornwall. As you can see from the pictures, it's a stunning place and we had a few blustery walks around the area.

Holywell Bay has been used as a location in films including James Bond and Gulliver's Travels. There are two distinctive rocks in Holywell Bay - the 'Gull Rocks'. These are so magical, but no photo can do them justice.
The Chick!
In the next bay along from Holywell sits the baby of the Gull Rocks: a smaller rock called 'the Chick' (someone had fun when naming these rocks)! One day we went on an amazing walk along the cliff from Holywell Bay to find the Chick.

Today I have had some fun with the children of Oxford Road Community School (ORCS for short). I was asked to create a story starter for them on twitter, which meant I could only use 140 characters!! This is what I came up with:

"A beam of light shone through the darkness. Something was standing there. An alien? A zombie? No, it was much, much worse than that."

Lots of the ORCS year 6s have been busy creating stories using my story starter - some of them are scary and dramatic, others are funny, but they are all super-creative! Head to the ORCS blog to check them out:

Thursday, 7 November 2013

News from Brüggen

You may remember that in July I had a fantastic visit to Brüggen, a British Forces school near Dusseldorf in Germany. This week I was sent a copy of the British Forces Newspaper, which included the article below. The article is all about my visit to Brüggen, with some lovely reviews from Kian and Sam. (I have included close ups of the reviews below the main image so you can read them properly!)

p.s. Mike traveled with me to Brüggen and accidentally left his hat behind. But can you imagine what was included in the package with the newspaper? It was only Mike's hat!! Many thanks to Jimmy for sending it back home!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Great start to the School Year and some VERY exciting news!

Scarily excited fans at Bridgwater Academy Primary!
Sorry that it has been so long since I last wrote on this blog. Lots of exciting things happened over the summer that have kept me VERY busy. More on those later, but first I must tell you that already this term we have visited some wonderful schools.

A BIG thank you to the children and staff at Rowanfield School, Westover Green School, Bridgwater College Academy Primary, St Philip's School, Willesborough School, Kingsnorth School, John Wallis Academy Primary and Elphinstone School...
Some great actors at Westover Green Primary

Only a few weeks into the new school year and already so many memorable moments and so many enthusiastic new fans and friends. We have loved hearing about the inspiring effect our visits have had, but our favourite comment was a short note from the parent of a year 6 boy: 'This is the first time our son has been excited about (particularly fiction) reading! He usually HATES reading.'

All 8 schools so far this term have reminded us just why we LOVE school visits, and how important they are. We hope to see you all again next year, when my brand new book series is published...

Big book signing at Westover Green
... And that leads me onto my very BIG news. Earlier this year a new children's publisher called Atlantis Children's Books approached me to ask if I would like to write a series of books for them. Atlantis Children's Books are passionate about getting children reading, and they also have loads of contacts all around the world, which is just a bit exciting!!

They were very interested in my first 2 books, Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre. So over the summer I agreed to completely rewrite the books. Although loosely based on the old versions of Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre, the new ones are completely fresh, super-scary stories with new main characters. So, I am proud to announce that the adventurous new main characters of both Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre are: Felix and Caspar!

Stormy Cliff will be published in March 2014 and The Secret Theatre in October 2014. After that I will be writing a 3rd adventure for Felix and Caspar, to be published in March 2015!

Until March 2014, you will still be able to buy copies of the original Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre. There are only about 700 copies of each book left, though, and once these have been sold, no more will be printed. So if you are lucky enough to get hold of a copy of either book, it will be quite a rare item!

It looks like the next year will be a really exciting one! Keep checking this blog for updates about my new book series and my school visits. You can also check out the website of my new publisher,

Thursday, 18 July 2013

From Brüggen to Barnham

Last week Mike and I set out on another international adventure. It was a flying trip to Germany (in both senses of the word): we left home at 3.30 on the Wednesday and were back home by Thursday tea time... But boy did we manage to pack a lot into that time!
Our journey from Gatwick Airport (A) to Brüggen (B)
We were visiting Brüggen School, a British Forces School located right on the border between Germany and the Netherlands (see the map above). After a 1 hour flight we were picked up from Dusseldorf airport by Jimmy Caldwell, the deputy head, and whisked away for an evening meal with some of the other staff.

Brüggen Castle!
It was lovely to see a little bit of Germany as we sat outside, eating a delicious meal and chatting away. It turned out we were sitting right next to Brüggen Castle!

After this we headed into the British Forces camp where we were staying in the Officer's mess. Everything you could want was located inside the camp: a restaurant, the Naafi (just like the Coop in England), and even a bowling alley! On Thursday morning we were taken the short distance to the school (still within the camp)... and what a day we had!

The children were full of enthusiasm and we had so much fun bringing my books to life with them. It was a wonderful (and weird) feeling to be entertaining a group of British children in a British school, but in a foreign country. Both KS2 and KS1 were a delight to work with, and full of laughter. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of running workshops with KS2, turning their classrooms into spooky, haunted places.

As soon as the school day finished, we had to head straight back to the airport, in order to catch our flight home to England. We had a brilliant time in our first visit to a British Forces School, and we certainly hope it won't be our last! Thank you to Jimmy, Mandy, Di, Tony and all the staff at Brüggen who helped make our visit such a fantastic experience.

Back in the UK this week, we have had sweltering heat, and on Tuesday we headed the short distance to Barnham Primary School in Sussex for an afternoon presentation with KS2. But this visit had something extra special - my grandmother, who I call Nana Army, came to watch! She was going to take some photos of my presentation, but in the end she was enjoying it so much that she forgot to! So instead, here is a photo of me and Nana Army (if you can't tell, I'm the one on the right).

We were greeted by the enthusiastic head, Mr James Everett, and Clare Wallace, who helped us set everything up. The fans were all spinning in the school hall, which made the hot weather just about bearable. Having come in from lunch break, I thought the children might struggle in the heat of the presentation, especially when I got them all dancing, but they were amazing! They all got themselves fully involved and their laughter was infectious. Because they were enjoying themselves so much, it meant I put even more energy into my performance than usual - this was probably not a sensible idea on a hot day, and by the end I was exhausted. But I did not mind one bit!

The following day I returned for a big book signing. After over 2 and a half hours of signing books, it felt like my hand was about to drop off... Thank you to James Everett and Clare Wallace for making sure our visit was the perfect end to our school year! I hope this won't be my last visit to Barnham Primary.

Now I have a summer of writing to look forward to. Not only will I be writing my next 'Ghost' book, The Ghost Lord Returns, but I also have another REALLY exciting project that I'll be working on over the Summer. I can't tell you what it is yet, though. If you want to find out, you'll just have to check out this blog in September!

For now, I hope you all have brilliant, fun summer holidays!


Saturday, 29 June 2013

The M23 Tour

We found this sign at a garden
centre near Kenley. 5 1/4 mph?!
This week Mike and I drove up and down the M23 four times from Brighton up to schools in Surrey and Croydon. It meant leaving early each morning to avoid roadworks, but we didn't mind.

On Monday we visited Kenley Primary School and had great fun working with KS1 and KS2. There were many highlights to the morning, but possibly my favourite was when I asked the boy playing Spooky Steve to act terrified. He is obviously a born comedian, as he let out one of the most undramatic 'screams' imaginable, which made us all roll around laughing. What a brilliant way to start the week! Thank you to all the staff for their support on the day and during the book signing a couple of days later. We'd love to return soon to tell you all about more of my books - especially my next one, The Ghost Lord Returns, when that's published!

The beautiful grounds of the City of London Freemen's School
This is what raked seating looks like,
in case you didn't know!
At the City of London Freemen's School I performed to year 4 and most of year 6 on Tuesday. It was a busy day in school, with some children rehearsing for a school production, some doing cycling proficiency and others taking part in an Egyptian day! It was a pleasure working with the children I got to meet and introducing them to my spooky books. I even had the luxury of using their Senior Assembly Hall, with a proper stage and raked seating, which meant everyone got a clear view. I hope it's not too long before I'm able to return to work with some more CLFS children!

We love returning to schools to see old friends and on Wednesday we were invited back to Furzefield Primary School. After having such a wonderful time there last year, could this year's visit be even better? Of course! We were welcomed again by the lovely librarian Sam and the enthusiastic deputy head, Dave (who was busy writing the Doctor Who themed year 6 play, complete with Tardis - how cool is that?!). I always like to make an entrance, but in the KS2 presentation Dave
Thicket House by Jessica number 2 from Furzefield - she only
had a few minutes to draw it! She's called Jessica number 2,
because the illustrator of my books is also called Jessica.
I think Jessica 2 gives Jessica 1 a run for her money!
gave me the best introduction I've ever had, turning my entrance into a complete surprise for the children! KS2 and KS1 were a brilliant
bunch to entertain and their loud laughter was infectious. Throw in some great acting (especially from a very cheeky Becky), and a brilliant illustration from Jessica, and this was a morning to remember. I can't wait to return to Furzefield with The Ghost Lord Returns when it's published!

Next up we are going international again, with a visit tBrüggen School in Germany in a couple of weeks. Watch this space!

P.S. For those who have seen my presentations, this morning I woke up with my hair looking like this... Maybe I don't need the Jedward wig anymore?!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Super Stevenage and Terrific Tring!

Although Mike and I were staying in Stevenage this week, we didn't have to travel far to get into the countryside around the town, and that's were most of our schools were. Our drives to Oaklands School on Monday and St Michael's Woolmer Green School on Tuesday took us down the narrowest of country lanes - even in our small car, we struggled to fit down them. As we came out of the appropriately named Slip Lane, a dustbin lorry was indicating to turn into it; thank goodness we didn't meet this giant vehicle coming along Slip Lane - we'd have been crushed!

Our location out in the country meant we were able to enjoy lovely lunches at the local garden centres. At Vanstone Park garden centre we saw a heron catching a fish, and met the adorable goslings you can see in the photo.

Oaklands and St Michael's provided lovely, small audiences - and both proved that size doesn't matter, as the children were so enthusiastic and welcoming. We were invited to Oaklands by our good friend Julie Petitt, who we last met at her old school, Whitehill Junior, earlier this year. Both Oaklands and St Michael's were brilliant schools to perform in, and put us in a great mood for the rest of the week!

On Wednesday we were treated to a larger audience at Camps Hill Primary in Stevenage. The atmosphere in the packed hall was great, as was the children's acting. Year 6 are currently rehearsing for a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and if their acting is anything like it was in my KS2 and KS1 presentations, it will be a fantastic show!

I have performed in a huge range of locations, but Friday was a first - I performed my spooky presentation
Francis House School
in a school chapel! I was invited to Francis House School in Tring by our friend Connie Murtagh (who I last met when she was teaching at Sacred Heart School). It was a busy day for the school, with finals of music competitions and French Speaking competitions taking place in the hall, and my presentation in the chapel. It was certainly a fascinating place to bring to life my ghostly books, with the children joining in enthusiastically from the pews! A group of year 5s and 6s had to leave half way through to take part in the French Speaking competition, but apparently they were desperately trying to speed up their readings so that they could get back to my presentation! Although I'm in danger of repeating myself, it has to be said that Francis House was another brilliant school. The children's acting certainly added a lot of extra character (and humour) to the visit.

Thank you to our friends, old and new, for organising our visits to the schools this week: Julie Petitt at Oaklands, Mrs Allen and Mr Mallon at St Michael's, Keri Doling at Camps Hill and Connie Murtagh at Francis House. You all proved lovely hosts, and we can't wait to tell you all about my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns, when it is released next year!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

3 Counties, 5 Schools, 100s of Children and 9 Hatching Eggs

Our tour this week took Mike and me to schools in Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. 

Monday was a busy day, visiting 2 schools near Reading. At Lambs Lane Primary, we kicked off their book week with a bang. We had great fun entertaining KS2 in a presentation full of laughs, silliness and dramatic acting. I was particularly impressed with the year 3 who came up to help me dance to Jedward! In the afternoon, we had just as much fun introducing KS2 at Bucklebury Primary to our ghostly books. The children here were very good at bad jokes - I had to work very hard to find jokes they didn't get! Thank you to Amy O'Rouke at Lambs Lane and Nicola Madden at Bucklebury for arranging brilliant visits to both schools. This was our first visit to both Lambs Lane and Bucklebury - we certainly hope it won't be our last!

On Tuesday we travelled 50 miles to Gloucestershire and had a lovely time at the small, but very welcoming, Rodmarton Primary School, which has just 30 children in KS2. We were competing on the day with cute chicks hatching out of eggs. As we arrived, the first one had just hatched! We had the luxury of using the village hall next to the school for our presentations. Although the audiences were small, they made up for it with their enthusiasm and I had great fun bringing my books to life with them. Seeing 30 awe-filled faces staring up at me as I gave a dramatic reading of Becky's encounter with 'The Spectre' encouraged me to make the reading even more dramatic! When we returned to school the following day, a total of 9 chicks had hatched ... awwwww! Thank you to Mr Jones for organising our time at Rodmarton - we look forward to returning soon to work with you and your partner schools.

On Wednesday we were greeted with great enthusiasm by the Catholic School of Saint Gregory the Great in the centre of Cheltenham. Our lovely hostess, Miss Vaughan, and the other staff were amongst the most welcoming and helpful teachers we have met and we would like to say a huge thank you to them for making us feel completely at home entertaining the lively audience of year 4-6 children. In the school hall there was a nice, big stage - whenever I get the chance, I can't help jumping off and getting the audience fully involved in my presentation. I think I gave some of the year 4s at St Greg's quite a surprise as I leapt towards them! After my visit, the school decided to buy a huge collection of my books so that those children who weren't able to purchase their own copy would have a chance to read them - what a wonderful idea! We'll be in touch as soon as the next book is ready to show you all!
The brilliantly decorated entrance hall at Riverside!

After travelling another 50 miles up to Hereford, we found ourselves back with old friends at Riverside
Primary School, which I have visited twice before. You know when you enter a school that has an entrance hall decorated like the one at Riverside that you'll be in for a good time. Our audience of over 200 KS2 children entered the hall quietly simmering with curiosity, but by the time they left they were so excited about my two latest books they had just about reached boiling point. If I'd left them with one more cliff hanger I think they might have exploded! The large KS1 audience afterwards were an absolute joy too and their laughter is still ringing in my ears! Thank you to Mrs Walker for arranging another fantastic morning. After our third successful visit to Riverside, we now can't wait to come back and tell you all about my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Back On The Road

After a month's break from school visits, what better way to kick things off again than by returning to visit old friends.

I was last at Edward Bryant School in Bognor Regis 3 years ago, but arriving at the school gates on Wednesday morning, it felt like only a few weeks had passed between visits. It was lovely to receive enthusiastic welcomes from year 6s who remembered me from when they were in year 3! The plan was for me to run my Ghost Island presentation with the whole of KS2, followed by workshops with year 5. But then Ofsted turned up!

This meant that I was only able to see all of KS2 for about 15 minutes. Although we didn't have long, I launched into the most action-packed part of my presentation and crammed as much excitement into those 15 minutes as possible. By the end I was exhausted and the children were eager to find out more about my latest books. But sadly, year 3, 4 and 6 had to head back to classrooms, leaving me with year 5 for the rest of the day. Fortunately, year 5 were a delight to work with and made the day thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you to Mrs Bolland, Mr Lawrence and Mrs Bennet for your support throughout the visit - if I was an Ofsted inspector I would rate Edward Bryant Outstanding!

Fun at Hawthorns!

On Thursday morning I left home early, at 6.30am, to get past miles of roadworks on my way to Hawthorns School. I have visited Hawthorns for the past 3 years to work with their year 5s during project week. There's one thing I can guarantee about my yearly trip to this school - they always provide some of the most lively, enthusiastic children you are likely to meet. This year proved no different! It was an absolute pleasure working with them throughout the day - from the very entertaining presentation, to the gruesome ideas thought up in the writing workshop, to the high comedy of  the drama workshop. Some real characters shone through, and the acting ability of these year 5s was top class. We were having so much fun that in the end the final workshop overran by 30 minutes, but no one minded - least of all me!
A year 5 showing me his best Jedward impression!

Thank you, as always, to Mrs Moyle and Mr Woodard for organising a fantastic day. I'm looking forward to next year's visit already!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

From Britain to Barcelona and Back Again!

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I found ourselves at Gatwick Airport, boarding an Easyjet plane to Barcelona in Spain. We were on a 3 day adventure to St Paul's School. The children at the school are all native Spanish and Catalan speakers, but 50% of their education is in English.
It took only 2 hours to get to Barcelona, at the north east corner of Spain

After a short flight, we touched down at Terminal 2B of Barcelona Airport and were whisked away to our 4* Hotel, Abba Garden. We were lucky enough to have a room with a balcony, which looked out over a beautiful view of Barcelona. The hotel is on the outskirts of Barcelona, but it meant we could see all the various landmarks - the amazing cathedrals, the football stadium, the Olympic stadium and of course the sea! The hotel was the perfect place for us to relax after each day at the school.

The view from our balcony - click to enlarge - if you know
what you're looking for, you can spot the football stadium
nearby, and the Olympic stadium and the stunning National
Museum of Catalan Art at the edge of the mountain
Each morning we had a filling buffet breakfast at the hotel, before a 1 kilometre walk to the school lugging all out props with us. I know our fans in the UK will find this hard to believe, but the weather was really hot all day and meant we were able to set off at 8 in the morning in just a thin shirt and trousers, and we still built up a sweat! The walk was up and over the steep hills behind the hotel, meaning we got even more beautiful views over Barcelona.

Our 3 days at St Paul's were spent working with the 6-12 year olds, running 3 presentations and 8 workshops. With English as a second or third language, reading in English is something the children are understandably reluctant with, but during my visit I got the same excited reaction that I get in the UK - lots of eager and inspired children! I was told before the visit that the British sense of humour is something they really struggle with. But during my visit they laughed in all the right places... and laughed loudly! 

Mike and I were really impressed with the children's enthusiasm and their imaginations. We had great fun working with them on their writing and helping them find the right English words to express themselves. The staff were really friendly and welcoming too, and I don't think I've ever felt as relaxed in a school as I did at St Paul's! A big thank you to Mark Patterson, Claire Neely and Gary Carton for organising such a wonderful visit and to everyone at St Paul's for making us feel at home. We can't wait to return in the future!

After our last session, we had to dash to the airport to catch a flight home, so we weren't able to stay for the book fair, where my books were being sold. As we were about to walk out of the school gate, though, we saw a big group of excited children about to head into the book fair. They cheered and whooped and waved  us goodbye - it was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip. 

As our plane landed back at Gatwick airport, it was raining heavily and our plane passed through a double rainbow. We were definitely back in England! When we got home, though, an email was waiting for us that cheered us up no end. It was from Gary at the book fair, telling us that our books had gone down a storm and been a sell-out success! Attached to the email was the photo below - it makes me so proud to be doing my job!
Just a few of the happy fans at St Paul's School
Shortly after our Barcelona adventure, I visited Nine Mile Ride School in Surrey, England. This reminded me just why I love visiting schools in the UK too. The staff were lovely and the children were full of enthusiasm. Their acting in particular was first rate and would give any Hollywood actor a run for their money. Johnny Depp watch out! This was followed by a Mega Book Signing at the school the next day - I quickly ran out of books and had to drop lots more in afterwards!

As I write this blog, I have just been contacted by a school in Germany who would like a visit in July. My international escapades continue... Keep watching this space!

Best wishes for now,


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Shropshire Stars

Each year I try to plan a tour of schools in Shropshire... mainly because I get to stay with my Aunt and Uncle, Margaret and Roy. My first ever tour as an author was to Shropshire, with my book Stormy Cliff, in September 2008. At the time I didn't drive, and Margaret and Roy transported me around and made the tour possible. They have kindly supported my visits ever since. I always receive a warm welcome from them and am made to feel completely at home.
The children from Moorfield Primary were excited
to get their hands on my new books!
During my time in Shropshire, I had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools in the Telford area, all of which I got to know during visits last year. The children at Shifnal Primary, Ladygrove Primary, Moorfield Primary and Newdale Primary were all really excited to see me again and even more excited to find out about my new books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger. Each audience was full of lively children, keen to come up to the front and become the stars of my books. I had great fun bringing my books to life in the 4 schools, and at all the book signings there were long lines of children desperate to get their hands on my new books.

I love doing the book signings - it means I get to meet children like Sam from Ladygrove Primary. Last year I told all the children at Ladygrove about my books, Stormy Cliff and The Secret Theatre. Sam was a reluctant reader, and yet he was so excited by my visit that he decided to buy Stormy Cliff. I met Sam again this year, and he told me that it was the first book he had ever read, and since then he has been reading lots of other books. Hearing this made my day, because the main reason I visit schools is to encourage children to give reading (and writing) a go, even if they find it hard! I hope Sam, and everyone else who bought Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, enjoys reading them.

Thank you to all the staff at Shifnal, Ladygrove, Moorfield and Newdale for organising fantastic visits, and of course to Margaret and Roy for providing me with a home from home. I'll see you all as soon as my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns, is published!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Creepy Children in Spooky Sussex!

We had a few great school visits last week to celebrate World Book Day in true Spooky Sussex Style!

Tuesday meant a welcome return to the lovely North Mundham Primary near Chichester. I will always remember my last visit there, when the hall was out of use... all of KS2 (over a hundred children) had to squeeze into 1 classroom to watch me perform! This time we were thankfully back in the school hall ... lots more space for me to jump around and go mad in. We had great fun with both KS2 and KS1 and the following day returned for a big book signing. I had a great surprise when a couple of KS1 children showed me the huge pirate ship they had made in their classroom - it was awesome, and the perfect place to make up a creepy pirate story! I also got to see year 5, hard at work drawing their own versions of my book covers... these were fantastic, and there were some really imaginative ideas. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of the book covers on this blog soon!

I'm being attacked! Look at all these creepy ghosts,
ghouls and vampires from Southway Junior School!
On World Book Day itself I drove the short distance to one of my local schools, Southway Junior School. As I made my usual entrance, leaping into the school hall, I was nearly frightened half to death! There sitting in front of me were the creepiest collection of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and zombies I had ever seen! It was hard to believe that under the sheets and behind the masks, it was just the same bunch of sweet children (and staff) I met at Southway last year... All the costumes helped create the perfect atmosphere for me to bring my spooky adventure books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, to life.

After a short delay because of heavy snow, I was eventually able to creep into Surrey to visit Walton on the Hill Primary on Red Nose Day. They were all dressed up for the occasion too, but their costumes weren't quite so scary - most of them were in onesies! I had great fun introducing them to my new books, and also helped year 6 to make their classroom haunted in a fun workshop.

Huge thanks, as always, to Sarah Walsham from North Mundham, Angie Bower from Southway and Alicia Nicholls from Walton on the Hill for organising three fantastic visits. I can't wait to return to all three schools once my next book, The Ghost Lord Returns, is published!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Brilliant Book Week and A 'Real Life' Becky Evans!

A 'real life' Becky Evans, aka Leoni!
Today is World Book Day and across the country thousands of children have gone to school dressed as book characters. Some children decided to dress as characters from my books, including Leoni, who dressed as Becky (the main character in The Secret Theatre, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger). You look just like Becky, Leoni, and I hope you had fun at school! I will put up more photos from World Book Day in my next blog.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting 2 schools I count as old friends and 2 I can now call new friends. There was just one problem - I had a big cold and nearly lost my voice! So on Monday morning at the first of the new schools, Bushmead Primary in Luton, my usual loud voice became a rather raspy one aided by a microphone. The audiences of over 350 KS2 children and 240 KS1 children really cheered me up and helped me forget about my cold. I had an absolute blast bringing my books to life for them, with the help of the enthusiastic and fun Mr Davis. There are also some very scary children at Bushmead as Mr Davis knows to his cost - one of the year 2s (acting as a pirate) made him fall off his chair! 
Luke with Bushmead's Mr Davis!

This is what Bushmead had to say about the visit: 'On Monday we had an inspirational visit from author Luke Temple. Luke entertained us with his zany presentation and interactivity. We were all laughing and dancing and being amazed at the way he brought his characters to life... I don’t think we have ever had such a great response to (and from) an author before…'

A BIG thank you to Mr William Davis and everyone at Bushmead - it was an honour to start off your Brilliant Book Week and I'll be back soon!

Performing at South Camberley with children playing the
characters of Mum, Spooky Steve and the TV Director
The second new school was Tennyson Road Primary in Luton. We had been assured before we arrived that this was a lovely school, and they certainly met this expectation. I had a fabulous time working with KS2 and KS1 and entertaining them with my books. Thank you to Sarah Varnals for organising a great visit. I hope to see you all again soon.

Opening the library at South Camberley!
My old friends Watchetts Junior School have changed their name since my last visit, to South Camberley Primary School. I had a really fun time performing to a variety of classes, and was then really impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the year 3s during a writing workshop. At the end of the day I had the honour of opening the new school library. It is a lovely room, full of light and colour and brand new books. I was as excited as the children to explore it! Thank you to Julie Rowland and congratulations to you all on a fab library. 

The children at Horsell Junior School in Woking were the first children I ever told about my new books, Ghost Post and Doorway To Danger, a couple of years ago. It was a joy to return to introduce them to the books properly. With 360 children packed into the hall, it made for a great atmosphere and the children really got involved and helped me to act out the books. Following this I had 2 great workshops with groups of children, and was incredibly impressed with their knowledge and skill. I returned the following day for a mammoth 3 hour book signing - the perfect ending to the week! A big thank you to Gill Kozlowski for your support throughout the day... I can't wait to come back to Horsell when The Ghost Lord Returns is published!

Well, what a week that proved to be - by the end, I had nearly lost my voice again, but had great fun doing so. It just goes to show that whether I am meeting old fans or new ones, the response is the same: loads and loads of lovely staff and pupils, all equally keen to hear my stories and read my books! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

4 Great Schools and a Grandma!

Most people I talk to don't really understand my job. They think of an author as someone who sits at a desk and writes all day. Although I spend some of my time doing that, most of my days are spent bringing my books to life with hundreds of children, using action-packed drama, silly dances and laugh-out-loud fun. It's the best fun you could ever have!

My Grandma was one such person who didn't really understand my job... until she came to watch one of my school presentations last week!

My lovely Grandma, Joyce

We started off with two great presentations at Carlton Junior and Infant School in Dewsbury and Pinders Primary School in Wakefield. We love meeting new fans and getting them excited about my books, and both schools provided enthusiastic audiences. My Grandma saw me perform at Pinders Primary and was amazed about what had happened to her shy grandson (that's me!)... She was also really impressed with the acting ability that the children showed, as was I! Thank you to Tim Scargill at Carlton and Thea Burgess at Pinders - we thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and would love to come back when we're next 'up North'.

After dropping Grandma back home, we headed a short way down the M1 to Chesterfield to visit our good friends at Woodthorpe Primary and Inkersall Primary.

Inkersall once again provided an enthusiastic and lively audience - my favourite kind! The children seemed to go wild for my two new books, especially year 3 who didn't even know they would be part of my visit until a few minutes before. At Woodthorpe there is always a friendly atmosphere and I am made to feel very welcome by the staff. The children's are really polite and enthusiastic, and during the presentation they got themselves involved acting out dramatic roles to help me bring my books to life. In the workshops it was lovely to see how keen they were to get writing! 
Eager fans at Woodthorpe Primary!

The book signings at both school the following day were a great success and provided a perfect end to the week. On the left you can see a rare photo of Mike (my father and agent) handing out books to a long line of children from class 4 at Woodthorpe. Thank you to Eileen Gunton at Woodthorpe and Jo Oldcorn at Inkersall - we'll be back as soon as my next book is published!

More photos are coming soon from Woodthorpe - watch this space!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Can a door become a book cover? (+ 4 Fab Schools)

Last Sunday saw us travelling around the dreaded M25 for another great week of school visits. We stopped off in Hertforshire for a brilliant visit to St Ippolyts Primary School. We were made to feel so welcome here and loved our day in school. All the children from Reception to year 6 were full of enthusiasm and the book signing the next day proved incredibly popular. Thank you to Gayle Stewart for organising a very special visit. We hope we'll be able to come back soon!

We then set off on a lovely  drive to Durham. Although it is nearly 350 miles from our home in Sussex, we love staying in this city, so it was a real treat to be back. We met a whole new group of fans at Easington Lane Primary, where we had a great time getting all of KS2 involved in bringing my books to life. Thank you to Tammy Flynn for inviting us along! You can see some of the children from Easington Lane in the photo, happy to have received their books. 

Next was a return trip to two 'old' friends - Blackhall Colliery Primary School and St Anne's Primary School. Blackhall Colliery yet again provided a wonderful, enthusiastic audience as we introduced them to my two new books - thanks to Claire Baker and all the other staff involved - we look forward to returning when my next book is published!

At St Anne's we were in for a surprise - after our visit last year, they turned their classroom doors into giant versions of my book covers. Take a look at the photos. Wow! Aren't they just amazing?! Apparently the children will be updating their doors with my new book covers - I can't wait to see these and will post photos on this blog! The visit itself was fantastic and full of laughter - it's schools like this that make me want to keep writing books. The sooner I write another book, the sooner I can come back! Thank you to Angela Scott for a wonderful visit and I hope to see you all very soon!

Fun at St Ippolyts

Fun at St Ippolyts
Fun at St Ippolyts
Fun at St Ippolyts
A fantastic Captain Cutler at St Ippolyts!
A fantastic Captain Cutler and Albert at St Ippolyts!