Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Gardens, props and parties - the life of a children's book writer!

Props and Parties

I had no idea that writing books could bring such fun into my life. I had felt very worried about school visits - but I hadn't realised that a few props and a lovely, enthusiastic audience can make a performance so enjoyable for a basically shy person!

I also, after writing a post about being paid, am proud to say that last week I did a PAID GIG for a Federation of Children's Book Groups party! My travel expenses were paid, I was paid generously for a 40 minute presentation, had strawberries and cream in a beautiful home and garden and was picked up and taken to the train station. It was absolutely lovely.

Oh yes - and I sold and signed copies of all my books. And I didn't even have to lug them with me - they organised a book shop.

And the best bit? Meeting the children and chatting to them and listening to their answers to my  questions about my books and writing. One boy definitely should be a writer. I asked them how did they think a writer feels when they write a book but nobody wants to publish it. Lots of hands went up and empathetic answers like 'sad' 'upset' 'worried' were all given - but one Year 6 boy said 'Determined'. I said 'determined about what?' and he said 'to send it out again. And you might get more ideas about writing too'.

I was also very happy that when you get a mixed bunch of 15-20 children of varying ages from 3 to 10/11, given the right props you can still get everyone to whistle like blackbirds, sprinkle dew or paint rainbows.

Then, for a best friend's 50th birthday party - I did it all again…

It turns out grownups like painting rainbows too!

It seems to me that props have turned me into a raving extrovert. Give me a beautifully illustrated book by Rosalind Beardshaw, some coloured scarves and a pair of wings and I can even teach a room of  adults to fly.

So I wonder if I can work the other way round? I wonder if I start with the props will a book emerge?

Meet Sebastian - my recently acquired vintage puppet - amazingly reduced in price because of a crack in his nose, a crack which made me love him even more! He is adorable - more a friend than a prop.

Now - what stories and performances will follow…?

I think I'm hooked….


Catherine said...

I love your outfit Anne. It must be so lovely for you to meet your readers and for them to meet you :)

Anne Booth said...

Thank you! I absolutely love it! I wonder if considerations about future outfits will affect my ideas for books now? I'll have to be careful or I will find myself censoring ideas which don't involve me wearing wings! Seriously though, it has been so gorgeous meeting little children and seeing their reactions. It's definitely an unexpectedly wonderful part of being a writer for me!