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Monday, 14 March 2016


When you write children's books, World Book Week is often a very busy week. Not that I'm complaining, because being invited into schools to work with the children, inspiring them to read, and to write creatively is just the best thing. Plus of course, it's a most welcome addition to a writer's income.

What makes it especially interesting is that every school visit is different. The way the day is worked out, the children and teachers in the classes, the activities you do, and the questions you get asked.

 Even though you plan your day, you're very much working off the seat of your pants. Questions come flying at you, and you need to have an instant answer – and make it interesting.

Although most of my books are for 8-12 year olds and young adult, I'll often be asked to work with the little ones too – reception and years 1 and 2, who are very sweet. 

Last week on World Book Day I spent the morning with two reception classes of 25 children each, all of whom were dressed as their favourite character. So lots of Batman and Spiderman, lots of Elsa from Frozen, Snow White, Harry Potter, Iron Man – all looking so cute.

Youngsters were inspired to draw The Beast.
So as not to terrify these little sweeties with book covers such as Nightmare and The Reawakening, I take my polar bear teddy with me, and together we'll write an adventure story. 

Fun though it is, there's no fooling them. I'm quickly told that no, a polar bear's favourite food is not ice cream. They eat seals and penguins.  Oh dear! I spot a quick change of plan regarding the plot!

Junior aged children are just brilliant to work with. They're enthusiastic, they love stories, love adventure, love mystery, love ghosts – and they particularly love scary stories.

I can guarantee that when I set my books out on display, the one they will instantly want to know about is Nightmare published by Badger Learning with its ghostly ghouly cover. It's actually meant for reluctant readers yet all abilities seem to go for it.

Erdington Library
My Beast trilogy always goes down well too, and when there's the opportunity to sell books at the end of the school day, The Beast sells out like hot cakes. (Usborne take notice!!) The tragedy is that Usborne who published it along with The Reawakening and Rampage, chose to stop publishing and revert the rights back to me about a year ago. So annoying and disappointing when kids love the books!

So now I'm preparing to re-publishing as POD and as ebooks with new look covers. So looking forward to getting all that sorted and out there!

But back to schools. I love school visits – even working with years 9 who sometimes think it's just not cool to actually speak!

But they keep you on your toes and you're constantly thinking on your feet. It can be exhausting – but in a good way.

And I love the Q & A sessions. You never know what you'll be asked. Such as:

Q. How you think up the story ideas?

Q How do you come up with the character's names.

Q. How do you get what's in your head onto the paper?

Q. How do you know where to put the full stops and commas?

Q. How do you publish a book?

And they also like to know about you as a person:

Q. How old are you?
I tell them that I started writing when I was expecting my first baby. Now he's grown up with babies of his own.

Q. Are you famous?
I ask them if they would recognise me if they saw me in the street tomorrow.

Q. Do you know any other authors?
Yes, lots, I tell them, and reel off a few names. (AE authors – felt your ears burning recently?)

Q. How much money do you earn?
Believe it or not, I was once asked this by a teacher!!!!

How about you, do you enjoy meeting your readers? And what questions have you been asked about your books?

Please visit my website: http:www.annevansbooks.co.uk

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