Tag Archive: authors


Author Event – Cressida Cowell

I was expecting something similar to the last author event I went to, the Garth Nix one, where we were sitting in the Waterstones cafe and having this intimate Q&A session.

What I had completely forgotten, was that Cressida Cowell and the How to Train Your Dragon series, are aimed at children. Not matter how fantastic the books are, and can be appreciated by adults, they do, in fact, live in the children’s section.

Which meant that I was sitting in Waterstones cafe, with five minutes to go, wondering where everyone else was, when the helpful cafe man tells me the event is in the large building round the corner, not the cafe. Thankfully, I made it on time, got my poster and my book, and since I was on my own, squeeze into a seat rather near the front.

Webby at The OpenOh, and as a bonus? There were some of the GoGoDragons there, including my personal favourite, Webby! The schools that were attending the event (yes, some schools are awesome enough to bring their students to events like this) brought their GoGoSchoolDragons with them as well, so there were five big ones and five little ones. It was a lovely setting.

And then Cressida herself came out, and she was simply fantastic. Just, awesome. When she spoke, it was clear to see the enthusiasm and love for what she does, and she really does love having all the kids around. She talked a lot about her own childhood, showing us pictures from when she would stay on this uninhabited island (because her dad wanted to bird watch) with her starting to write, aged approximately nine, and then giving the audience, largely made up of approximately nine year olds, advice on how to write stories, and be creative. And it wasn’t bad advice for us older ones either.

So, she showed us some childhood memories, she did some reading of the books, including the dragonese parts of the book where the adults had to cover their ears because it is not appropriate language for us to hear! She talked about vikings, she showed us some stories and map that kids had sent into her (apparently she gets a ton of letters and pictures like this and loves it).

The Dragon StageShe talked a lot about inspiration, and where she gets her ideas from. I had no idea that she was illustrator as well as writer, and frankly it just make me respect her all that much more, but she talked about how she uses real life to inspire her. For instance, quite a few dragons that she’s come up with are blends or two or more creatures. The monstrous strangulator is made up of a fish that look like a grumpy man, and another fish that has a see-through head because it dwells on the ocean floor and needs to see the prey above it. The Giant Bee eater is a cross between a basking shark and a manta ray. As she kept saying, reality is often strange than fiction, and nature is more powerful than we are!

She even, during her long talk, answered some of the questions that I had. For instance, in the films, Toothless is definately not as he is in the books. And that’s because in the books, Vikings have hunting dragons and riding dragons, but the riding dragon doesn’t turn up until book six or so. The film-makers were doing the film in 3D, and had this large expanse of sea and sky to play with, so they decided to combine Hiccup’s two dragon from the books (Toothless and Windwalker) into one dragon in the films that could fly from the start. And yes, she had always intended to have the slow reveal of the early adventure meaning more than you think they do, and everything ties together in circles and cycles.

An evening of dragonsOf course there were questions asked by the audience. All kids, because lets face it, when kids are actually excited and involved in something, you let them run with it. And from this we learnt that this is the last book in this series, but Cressida loves the world she’s created so much, that maybe, just maybe, other books set in this world will happen. As long as there are dragons, I will love them.

Oh, one more little fact. David Tenant is the voice for all the audio books. And the trailer for the last book that they showed us at the end. David. Freaking. Tenant. I don’t normally go for audio books, but I might just have to now!

After the long talk, during which I was hugging my Toothless cuddly toy, there was a signing. I managed to end up being last in the queue, but there were two girls ahead of me, around my age, and we chatted and found a fair bunch in common. One of them nearly stole my cuddly toy as well. I just think it’s awesome when people can share a love of the same thing.

So it took a while, but I did get to meet her! And I got to tell her how much I enjoyed the books, especially the joy I had of realising that there was a huge plot at work here, and it had been going on since book one. She replied that that was one of the reasons she loved writing books, to hear the reaction of her readers. I got the new book and my original, old copy of HTTYD signed. Then they stamped them with the slavemark, and I got a badge as well!

I was just so happy to have gone to this event. I love hearing authors talk about their work, especially when they love it, and I love it. And also dragons.

Cressida Cowell Author Meet

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A – Authors

Toothless Letter AWould we have book without authors? Of course not, someone has to write the novel, and those someone’s are the authors.

I’ve written some things, and that makes me an author. Whilst I might not be published, or well known, or even that known at all, I have put pen to paper and written things down, and thus I can proudly say that I am an author.

Of course, this can apply to more than just fiction. Non-fiction books, journalists, bloggers, there are all kind of different authors out there. If you are reading this post now, then I’m going to assume (and be right about 80% of the time) that you are an author yourself. Probably because you’re over here from the A to Z challenge, and you have a website on which you blog, making you the author of your own blog.

So what I have authored? Well, I’m a fantasy writer primarily, so on my hard drive you find quite a lot of fantasy novels. Also some shorts, and loads of notes about things which I will write. I also do the 101 theme challenge, and have a few shorts lying here and there, mainly written for competitions. But, I also have folders of university work, essays I wrote about volcanoes, geology, astronomy and computing (my degree was the awesome choose your own variety, hence the weird mix of subjects). Anything that I write has me as the author.

FUN FACT: At my workplace we can input custom titles into the system. Guess what I put mine as ages back?

Author

Because why on earth wouldn’t I? It’s what I am and what I want to be.

Of course the goal is to be a published author one day, so let’s look at some fantasy authors who are famous, and published.

pratchettTerry Prachet

The late and great Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels, is one of the (if not the) greatest examples of a fantasy author that I can think of.

I love the discworld series, and it was probably one of my starting inspirations for fantasy. I really loved the idea that this man had created this entire world, and then spent the entire series playing around without. And the great thing was that there was no natural end point. The plot was never going to just stop, because there was a whole world full of great characters and oddities to play around in. And I loved that. Still do.

After starting off (and occasionally returning to, see his work with Neil Gaiman) with Science Fiction he changed his focus to fantasy, saying “It is easier to bend the universe around the story.”

 J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter has world wide fame, and everyone is at least partially familiar with the story of how the series starting: on a delayed train from Manchester to King’s Cross.

She’s got a wonderful website, with some FAQs on it, one of which asks her “When did you first want to be a writer” and her response: “Always… as soon as I knew what writers were, I wanted to be one. I’ve got the perfect temperament for a writer; perfectly happy alone in a room, making things up.”

George R R Martin

You can’t escape it in bookshops or on the TV, Games of Thrones is big (technically the series is call a song of fire and ice, it’s the first book that’s called game of thrones). Although it did take quite a while to get that way. First published in 1997, (and now on book 5:2 of 7), the TV show hit in 2011 and since then it’s been a massive work of fiction and drama.

the-ice-dragon-3-largeThe difference between Martin and most other fantasy writers seems to be the way he emphasises realism and plausible social dynamics above over-reliance on magic and the simplistic good v evil division. It’s really not the whole heroics knights and deeds that you might expect from more mainstream works, with in depth and morally ambiguous characters. It might be one of the reasons it’s so popular, but it’s hard to say. Me? I love Daenerys and her dragons (he’s also written a short story called The Ice Dragon, set in Westeros, which is rather amazing and should be read).

Tolkien

And of course, talking of fantasy authors we do have to give a mention to J.R.R.Tolkien. Although I have to say, Tolkien is very much a English Language professor, and it does show in his books. He created a number of languages, and the wrote a book about the races that might use such languages. Which is awesome in it’s own way, but as an english professor writing fiction was not his strongest skill. The lord of the rings is one of the few books/trilogies I actually prefer the film over the book, but the hobbit was an excellent book (and hardly a bad film triology) and I admire what he created, even if it is hard to read.

Is this an exhaustive list? Heck no. Fantasy is a huge genre, and there are many, many thousands authors out there, and even more who are not published and run little blog websites, like this one here. So go and explore, even if you have already there are always more out there.

And that’s A! Now, off to visit other people and see how they started their challenges. Hope you enjoy this post!

Author Event – Garth Nix

10405383_10152378932005794_2627319440797370592_nThis evening I went to my first ever author event. Garth Nix read an extract from his new book, Clariel, and then did Q&A then signings. It was everything I expected, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t totally amazing!

We started off with a bell team playing as we came in the door, which was amazing and thematic. And around the place were tones of his books, mainly the old kingdom series, and there was Sabriel’s outfit which had been put together by one of the staff members. Hand sewn and everything!

Then he did a little talk, and read an extract from the book. Masterfully chosen so that it ended on a cliffhanger. Can’t wait to read the book now. And then he said “rather than talking more, let just have questions, then you can listen to me ramble about things you want to hear”.

And I got to ask my question, which was: when you write a novel, do you plan it or make it up as you go along. And then he used the term planner and panster and said that what he liked to do was make an outline, and then write. Usually not sticking to the outline at 10635865_10152378932085794_8708450674966871545_nall, but he always had to have the outline to deviate from. And he used to write long hand as well, and he had one of the notebooks there with him. But all authors were different, and if you were trying to be a novelist then you should experiment as see what works for you.

And then after all the questions I got to go and have my books signed. I had my old version of Sabriel and the new book Clariel, and he signed both of them, and then we talked about writing a bit. I told him I was a panster, and he asked if I had a current project, and then we talked about words counts and novel length. I also asked him at what age he first got published, and he told me he published Ragwitch age 26 and Sabriel aged 32. So I can still be published by his age! Which makes me excited and I know I sound like a little kid but his books are amazing and this was my first author event and these are my first signed books ever!

10711012_10152378931900794_5889007861859533665_n10710578_10152378931840794_8818597497392334017_n

Web Presence

So, as a newly emerging writer, one of the things I have been told to do is create a web presence. Nowadays, this means setting up an account of a bunch of social media platforms, and only using them for your writing interests. So I took the advice, and as listed on my About page, I have a bunch of accounts and pages set-up on Facebook, Twitter, and other such social networking sites.

But the one thing that people say author’s need and I don’t have, is a website. And I’ve been thinking, do I really need one when I’m still a fledging writer? As of yet, I have not had anything published, I don’t have any credits to my name, and I haven’t won any competitions, and as far as I am aware, that’s mainly what an author’s website is for, to display their work/books, tell people about the author, and any awards they do or upcoming signings they might be at.

And then I thought about it a bit more, and realised, that although this is a blog and will always be classed as such, isn’t it practically a website? I have pages, for different topic, extracts from my work dotted about the place, an awards page which is mostly filled with NaNoWriMo badges at the moment, and I do have information about me on here, although it’s not what one would call a classic author bio. So as far as I can make, it’s already doing most of the work that a website would do for me, just with more added dragons and other things. And it feels a lot more interactive since my wonderful readers can comment and we can talk about the things I post, then I can visit them back with a click of a button.

Although having said all this, I do have the skeleton of a website sitting in a folder of mine. Since I want to be a web designer, or at least, have the abilities to web design, I am try to teach myself things so building my own website is a superb way to do this, and I’ve been experimenting with layouts all morning. But as I was fiddling around with it, I was just thinking about whether it was necessary or not. What do you think, my readers? Does a fledgling writer like me need a author’s website?

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