A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Queen's Park Book Festival, Queen's Park, London

It was great to be able to be part of a Book Festival while we're here in the UK.  The Queen’s Park Book Festival is in its second year.  Last year they had one day and this year they’ve extended it over the whole weekend.  It kicked off at midday with the lovely Lou Kuenzler (a well-known local children’s author) and me, sharing the Book Bugs tent to talk about her Shrinking Violet series which is about to launch in July, and Alice-Miranda.

There was a small but enthusiastic crowd, including a few too many toddlers but fortunately when they grew restless their parents didn’t persist.  I love the idea of Lou’s Violet.  She’s a little girl who has been waiting her whole life to reach the very important height of 140 centimetres.  This would allow her to ride the local rollercoaster, Crusher.  Finally the day had come and she was eagerly standing in line awaiting her turn.  Unfortunately the time also coincided with her body betraying her as she shrank to the size of a fish finger.  Violet is absolutely galled that this could have happened and worst still, no one believes her until she goes to see her granny at the nursing home and a family secret is revealed.  I can’t wait to read the whole story!!

I was thrilled that a couple of girls in the audience volunteered for my drama activity and they were excellent – well one of them was Lou’s daughter Izzy and Lou is a theatre producer so I suspect drama could be in the blood J

The festival attracted some big names including Robert Muchamore whose Cherub series is a massive worldwide bestseller.  Lou was chairing the session with Robert and Sophie Mackenzie, another British superstar.  I met them in the hospitality tent and had a photo with Robert to share with all the Cherub fans back at home.  They are a dedicated bunch here as I spotted a young woman with a Cherub tattoo on her leg – and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t going to wash off in the shower.  Now there’s a goal – to find an Alice-Miranda fan tattooed with her image – I'm afraid I can’t imagine that!
I was so thrilled to realize at the end of the session that two of the participants, a father and daughter were actually Anna and her dad, Philip.  Anna’s grandmother ( a great friend of my mother in law in Australa) has been sending Anna the books since they were released at home in 2010.  Anna has often written to me about how much she loves Alice-Miranda – and I love that she’s actually just turned 15, is incredibly talented and clever and obviously has great taste in books too J

It made my day to meet them both and we headed off to have some coffee and a long chat.  Anna loves drama and dance and is performing the role of Juliet later in the year for her drama school – in the West End no less.  She is also moving to Australia next year and hoping perhaps to go to Abbotsleigh.
Last night I slept for 11 hours – clearly the tour has caught up with me a little bit but today was great and I loved meeting yet more of the locals and being part of the community activities.  Queen’s Park is gorgeous – all English parks seem to be and very well used too.  Tomorrow we're catching up with one of our New York friends and then the big week around the countryside begins.

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