Monday, 30 March 2015
Monday, 23 March 2015
Oxford Lit Fest: Part Two!
A Summary of the Panel of Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Catherine Doyle - The Rising Stars of YA
This panel was more guided with an interviewer talking to each of the authors in turn followed by a Q and A session from the audience. Each author also did a reading at the start of their turn.
Catherine and Melinda were asked: Their heroines weren't the typical kind who are there to be liked, was that intentional?
Melinda: Found she was getting tired of the go getting heroine types and wanted to show a person she would have emphasized with when she was younger. She wanted to write about a young naive girl who has to learn how to get power.
Catherine: Wanted someone who wasn't amazingly talented, someone normal and a little naive who had to learn about herself and those around her. She also strongly wanted Sophie to be a product of her environment.
The authors were asked about their experience of publishing.
All three were asked if they had any particular writing processes.
Oxford Lit Fest: Part One
A Summery of the Talks Given by Jack Gantos and Phil Earle
First on the stage was Jack Gantos, the author of (among other things) the successful children's book series Joey Pigza.
He spoke a lot about story and structure, starting off talking about his childhood and children's literature.
There was a slide show to accompany him with many pictures from his childhood as well as the books that inspired him as a child, speaking about how you can see with children's books how it is much easier for children to empathize with the characters.
He talked about how he likes to write out things by hand and how he organises them as he goes along. That writers have to constantly think about two things at once, what you want to write and where you want to place it.
There were pictures on the slide show that he had drawn when he was young. Maps of his neighbourhood and childhood home with lots of detail about things that happened. One thing that caught my eye the most was a picture of a cockroach in the kitchen that was labeled and named. He talked about how Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh) was a major inspiration for his childhood self as she was the first character he had seen that carried a journal. After reading the book, he started spying on his own neighbourhood and family, resulting in the maps and drawings.
As many authors do, he mentioned how he writes hundreds of rewrites. He also mentioned that structure is very important to him as a writer.
I think the most interesting part of his talk for me was about his Joey Pigza series, a series about a child with ADHD told from the point of the child. He spoke about how he knew a real child with ADHD who inspired him to write the series then went on to speak about how he felt that originally writing it in third person was minimalising the child to to a problem child and how in first person it made him feel a lot more comfortable with what he was writing. He spoke of how he liked the feedback he got from the Joey Pigza series was not only from children with ADHD but that the series had inspired empathy in children who had classmates with ADHD who might before have not been so understanding.
He finished by talking about his new book Dead End in Norvelt, which is based on his childhood home. He spoke a lot about history but about how you experience empathy, the different sides of stories and historical events. He talked about a dead end sign in his town and how you should question why it's a dead end and not just take it for granted.
Phil EarlePhil Earle took the stage next. He had a hard act to follow but rose to the occasion wonderfully with his stories about how when he was young he absolutely didn't want to be a writer or ever read at all. He blamed it a lot on the sorts of books he was given to read in school (which were classics), which he didn't relate too. He spoke a lot of how he wanted to be a footballer.
He started out reading comics and graphics novels, especially Batman and found that it gave him a lot of confidence in reading. He mentioned how upset it makes him when he goes into schools and finds that the children are not allowed to read graphic novels in reading times.
While working at a bookshop, he was transferred to the children's department where he was given books to read such as Skellig (David Almond) , Holes (Louis Sachar) and the Joey Pigza (see above). He felt that these books, especially Joey Pigza gave him "permission to write". They made him feel that he could actually write something good enough to be published.
"Stories surround us" was one thing that he spoke a lot about. And he talked about various places that stories can come from, such as music, books and newspapers.
He talked a lot about a story he read in the metro that gave him the inspiration for the Superhero book he is writing. The story was about a man called "Parallel Parking Man" who helps people park their cars while dressed in a towel, a hat and swimming goggles (which he dressed his adorable daughter up to look like as a demonstration).
He finished his talk by saying the thing he felt summed up writing the most was that when writing he could be anyone he wants to be.
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
I am so sorry for my recent patchiness on reviews, I've been getting a lot of illnesses lately and I've been tired and stressed out. And since I have an exam next week which is going to freak out/ tire me even more, I've decided on an official hiatus.
My next review will be on Monday the 30th of March unless I somehow have a sudden burst of energy before then.
I hope all my lovely readers are well and I'll be back in a few weeks.
Thursday, 12 March 2015
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
What I Have to Say
Monday, 9 March 2015
Synopsis (from Goodreads)My thanks go to Hot Key Books for providing me with this review copy.
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th of February 2015
Other Books in the Series: The Name of the Star
The Madness Underneath
Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death.
With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out...