Talking Books at Music Festivals

This year, at The World Music Workshop Festival near Bungay, Suffolk, there was a new tent…the KIWI Lotus Tent that hosted talks, demonstrations and conversations.

I felt honoured to be part of this festival, not only by all the dancing I usually do, but by talking about Jiddy Vardy, sharing my experience of a writer, in where I find inspiration, the writing process, publishing process and then a full on discussion about books, films and life.

This is what literature is about. A spring board, a walk in another’s shoes, an opening up of life and a sharing of ideas.

Thank you WMWF, formerly known as Drum Camp! I have always loved this festival that has become to feel like home. Now I love you even more, if that’s possible!

Dancing and talking books combined. Fantastic. I will be back next year!








Looking at things from a different angle

Realised this morning that preparation for author talks and events is actually research and work towards Jiddy Vardy 2 and not a distraction!

Preparation is helping me to focus on themes, what I need to explore further in the second book about Jiddy, smuggling and finding her roots. It’s helping me to know what I need to develop, to revisit and a reminder of the characters.

Funny how thinking about something from a different perspective brings renewed excitement…and peace of mind!

Looking forward to discussing whether it was possible for Jiddy to be a feminist in 18th century Robin Hood’s Bay.

Tomorrow, 4th May, 2pm at the Book Corner, Saltburn by the Sea, North Yorkshire.

Blackpool 1 - Copy

My Inspirations for the Bookshelf – L M Montgomery

The wonderful K M Lockwood asked me what my Inspirations from my bookshelf were for YA books, for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) weekly newsletter.

The Anne books by L M Montgomery!! Red hair, freckles,  love of make believe and so much more… Click the link to find out why…

How themes continue in a second book

I’ve been writing and editing the first three chapters of the sequel to Jiddy Vardy today. I thought I’d struggle as I’m working on the day job, I’ve come out of writing a different YA book, The Monster Belt and yet it’s surprising and a relief that it is a smooth transition into the world of Robin Hood’s Bay in the late 18th century.

Already, I’m concerned with the community’s concerns. How dare people who know nothing of what it’s like in a remote fishing community tell them how to live? A crime to some is a necessity to others!

I get fired up just thinking about it!

I love how resourceful and clever Jiddy is, always thinking on her feet and coming up with the unexpected. Wish I was as quick as she is in these situations.

And I love how her desires continually break through.

She’s got a great deal to prove. The journey is definitely not over!


On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

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One word. One syllable. Bri. I liked the complexity of Bri. I’ve just finished On The Come Up and I know where I am going to ask Angie Thomas to sign the book when I go to speak at Waterstones Deansgate on Wednesday. Page 414. At the bottom. What is written on this page is why I love YA books. Not all YA books, definitely not all, but why I love the best of them. This is what the best YA books do. They speak to us and make us cry like when we were 16, 17, even though we may be in our 50’s. The best YA speak to everyone, no matter who you are and what age. ON THE COME UP does that. It is what is best about YA. I like this more than THUG, even though in the first pages, I wasn’t sure. I admit, I didn’t yearn to pick up OTCU for the first few chapters. I decided it was my fault. I know nothing of this world and it didn’t hook me in. But then, Bri did. And how it spoke beyond that world. It was more about following our dreams and mainly, finding out who you are and then being true to that self. That speaks to everyone. Which is why, it’s high up in my list of favourite YA books.

THUG was easier to get into and turn the opening pages, but in the end, I found OTCU more satisfying.

What I also like about On The Come UP is that it is about a specific world and this rings true in characters, setting, speech and action. It made me realise why I am so fed up with many YA books. They feel too packed with a mish-mash of characters a bit like a Spice Girls line up. Characters in books shouldn’t be a put together boy or girl band. They should be friends because they have worlds and interests and just the fact that they were thrown together as babies. This is the kind of YA that works best for me. The author writes about a world they know and it is authentic. I’m leaving fantasy out here. That’s authentic too, in a different way. (Authentic in the author’s imagination.)

The same goes for my previous read, The Gallows Pole. Some people didn’t like that there weren’t many women in the book and the ones that were, served the food and ale or were used. This is a book about a group of men. That’s it. Let’s not put our views on books that are written about specific worlds. Please.

5 Stars. *****