Friday, February 29, 2008

Beetroot ...

... is the colour I turn when I do school events. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. I did once give a talk in an unheated castle with the audience in winter coats and mitts and scarves and me in a blouse - for that one I think I did actually retain a recognizably human skin tone. But in every other venue, be it library, classroom, bookshop or tent, meltdown occurs. It seems a shame I can't tap into this ability at will - on slow writing days I could, Iceland-fashion, heat a small village or an outdoor swimming pool or two.

I wish it were otherwise. But at least the day has not yet come when some small child in the audience pipes up with "Why has that lady gone all red?" I guess I should be grateful for that much. However, as I have a pretty full schedule of school, library, bookshop and festival events over the next few weeks, I would just like to apologize in advance if global warming suddenly increases significantly ...

Cheers, Joan (Flameface of Fife)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Trouble with Ferrets

I've never met a real ferret, not in the flesh. But as with so many things, that hasn't stopped me from writing about them. In The Seventh Tide (out April 2008) there is Prof. Hurple, a ferret who also happens to be an expert on human history. In The Ferret Princess (out Aug. 2008) there is an entire busyness of ferrets, not to mention a princess who looks like one.

Why is this a problem?

Writing about ferrets is one thing, but talking about them in public is another. For school, festival, library events, it's always a good idea to have props. So far, I've used costumes and posters and the odd puppet, but for The Ferret Princess I want, well, a dozen ferrets. Not live ones, as I think there might be a fuss about that. I'm willing to settle for toy ones. Plush, soft, stuffed, whatever word you like to use for toy animals - that's what I've been looking for.
They don't even have to be ferrets! Just more-or-less ferret-shaped!

But here's the trouble.

I'm not willing to re-mortgage the house to get said beasts. So I'm looking in charity shops. And I'm not finding! (Penguins, monkeys, bears ... why didn't I write about them?)

So please, if there's anyone out there, please PLEASE could you keep your eyes open in every charity shop, every church bazaar, every bring and buy sale, for my heart's desire. My collection so far consists of a rather sweet stoat that I found for 99p, but I would certainly stretch to £2.50 ...

I can't believe they're not out there, and with many pairs of eyes, Ferrets Will Be Found! Thanks! Joan.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Can You Use the Word "Legerdemain" in a Sentence?

I never have. I'd like to - it's a well cool word - but I can't say, hand to heart (main to coeur, perhaps?) that I actually have. But Anita L. Burkam, reviewer for The Horn Book, has.

Re. Questors, she writes:

"That Lennon manages to create three unique worlds with separate cultures and distinct flavors and unify them in one complicated but complete narrative is a feat of legerdemain hard to equal."

And she doesn't stop there.

"Blending magic and sci-fi, Lennon mingles the fantastical amidst the everday with humor and heart."

I think I'm in love.

Cheers, Joan.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Audibly Astonishing

Sometimes the strangest things come to the door ...

A package from Andersen Press arrived recently with, inside it, amazingly and totally unanticipatedly,


I had no idea this was even being considered, and there it was - complete and unabridged, on CD, with a real actor (Laurence Kennedy - a name I will be looking out for now that I know what a fine human being he is) reading it.

Apparently they will decide whether or not to do any of the rest of The Wickit Chronicles on the basis of how well this one does, so PLEASE race off to your local library IMMEDIATELY and put in a request!

He does different voices and everything!


P.S. Ice Road, Book 3 of The Wickit Chronicles just came out too and is looking pretty luscious - please feel free to keep an eye out for that too.