It's my birthday! I'm 39 and not sure how I feel about that number. Also, I'm actually not here today. I'm getting a massage. Instead, I'm lending my blog to my friend, Jemima Pett. She recently released the last book in her Princelings of the East series, called Princelings Revolution. Don't worry, there are birthday gifts at the end of the post. I mean, we are celebrating my birthday.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was about 8 years old I made a little booklet (about 1 inch by 2, so I mean little) with a handwritten story called "The Little Stream". I think I wrote a few more stories before homework and science projects overtook me at school. I tried a scifi novel when I was about 19 but was put off by a friend who said it was rubbish. So my first published books have been a long time coming.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Firstly, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham. I felt really at home with these characters and the settings. I wasn't fond of Mr Toad, and didn't like his adventures, but I liked the friendship of Moley and Ratty and the terrors of the Wild Wood. When I was small I thought the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was boring, and used to skip it. As an adult, I really love the imagery of it, it's real magic to me.
The Lord of the Rings. I used to read this every year, or thereabouts. I found it when I was about seventeen, took the first volume out of the library on a Friday, and went back on Saturday for the second and third parts. I was totally hooked from the first. There is so much to explore in it, even now. The relationships and interactions between different people, the development of various characters... I often skip the more tedious Gollum bits, though.
Black Beauty. This was a childhood favourite, and I re-read it last year. I found both an old friend and surprising new things. Anna Sewell was campaigning for better treatment of animals, and unfortunately we seem to be heading back into ill-treatment - now for the sake of status rather than from ignorance. I'm planning to write a modern version.
The Crystal Singer, by Anne McCaffrey. Totally different from the others, this is scifi/fantasy with a spunky, independent heroine and some lovely offworld settings. There are three in the series and I think I like the second one, Killashandra, the best, but the Crystal Singer seems to me the ideal space opera.
The Silver Brumby, by Elyne Mitchell. Another horse book (and series), this time the wild horses of the Australian Snowy Mountains. I think the author did a fine job on wild horse herd interactions and the dangers they face, natural and human. I originally found them when I was about fourteen, and I've kept them with me ever since. I was lucky enough to visit the Snowy Mountains and was bowled over to find these place names that I knew so well. I found someone else staying at the youth hostel who also knew about the books, and we spent a day brumby hunting! We found some, but they were all browns and bays, no silvers or creamies!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I follow a number of blogs which either feature the sort of books I like or are written by authors I enjoy. One way or another we share information about books we like. And then of course, there's Goodreads, which I use a lot to keep tabs on my reading, and also for the Great Middle Grade Reads Group - full of nice readers and authors!
And last question (which isn't actually a question, but more of a demand): Tell us about your latest book.
My newest release is the last in my Princelings of the East series. It’s called Princelings Revolution. I got sort of paralyzed in the run up to writing it because of all the crazy things happening in our world. It seemed that life was going to overtake art, and my revolution would be a bit of a damp squib.
But I don’t think it is, in the end. Fred and George rally together to produce an answer to all the questions they’ve been asked, and although things in their world change forever, it may be for the better, overall.
And it really is the last in the series, although several people have questioned that. After all, I thought I’d finished after book 3!
You can read more about the book in several posts and blog posts during my book tour, which is linked up here.
You can get it on Amazon (kindle and paperback), B&N Kobo iTunes and Smashwords.
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