On target for NanoWrimo, but only just! I'm planning to write two books this year so this is a good way of accelerating. It's great fun to try and write 50,000 words in a month. I don't know why everyone doesn't do it (!) I've also been doing research for my new novel THE END, which has been fun and of course isn't procrastination. I'm going to Norway on a mini book tour next week, which is great but I think it's going to be even colder than Bridgwater...
I'm also planning the launch of BEDLAM in January with my mate Elen Caldecott, author of the fabulous 'How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant.' We're going to have a joint launch party as our books are coming out on the same day.
50,ooo words in one month? Can it be done? I managed it in 2005 (and wrote a massive chunk of BERSERK) There's 3 and a 1/2 hours to go before midnight when this crazy international writing challenge kicks off...On your marks... get set.... http://www.nanowrimo.org/
I visited St Katherine's School today as part of the Bath Children's Literature Festival. I had a very enjoyable visit, speaking with 30+ year 8 and 9. Everyone participated in the writing exercises (maybe tempted by the prize of Justin Somper's Vampirates trilogy, and a pristine copy of BEAST) I love it when students join in, ask questions and listen. Thanks for a great visit!
And tomorrow is the West Oxfordshire Book Award, for which BERSERK has been shortlisted. Hurrah!
I'll be at Bath Children's Literature Festival on Monday 22nd Sept at 6pm. The event is called Writing for Young People and features myself, Sally Nicholls, Julia Green and Nicola Davies. It's in the Guildhall and costs £5... Welcome to the Bath Festival of Children's Literature
BEDLAM is now being copy edited, and I expect to recieve the proofs over the next month or so. It's due to come out in January 09...
Now I'm thinking about the next books. Also WOW 366 is out in the shops now. (for more info see below) My story is on page 417. I think my mate Elen Caldecot's story is the best in the book. (and her book 'How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant' Bloomsbury, is out in Jan '09!)
BEAST has been shortlisted for this prestigious award in Germany. Will find out on Sept 1st who wins... A good week!! And congratulations to Philip Reeves for winning the Carnegie medal this year with Here Lies Arthur. I've just bought my copy... can't wait to read it!
Beast is set in the West Country. Gruton Reservoir is a fictional place, but I took a lot of inspiration from Clatworthy and Wimbleball reservoirs on the Brendon Hills where I grew up. Here are some pictures from my notebook:
When they closed the asylum they thought everyone had left...
Lexi falls into deep trouble in a derelict asylum...
BEDLAM features Lexi, the girlfriend of Chas from BERSERK. (And Chas is the little brother of Stephen, from BEAST) The books can be read as a sequence, but also make sense if you read as stand alone novels.
What happens when there's no-one around to tell you when to stop?
When fifteen year old Chas finds a website asking people to write to prisoners on Death Row, he thinks it would be funny to get letters from a murderer. He writes to an inmate, pretending to be his mum. When his new pen-pal is unexpectedly released, Chas' already problematic life spirals horribly out of control...
Chas is the younger brother of Stephen, the hero of Ally's debut novel Beast.
"Written with a verve and confidence that never lets up"... "This excellent novel well deserves the large audience it should get." Nicholas Tucker, The Independent
"I buy one pig a month. I can't afford any more. I've no idea whether this is enough, but it keeps the Beast alive. He's grown so big. I'm going crazy with worry someone will discover him."
Stephen is a boy with a dangerous secret. For four years he has kept a terrifying creature locked up in a remote hiding place. Once just a vicious litle baby, it is now a powerful predator, big and hungry enough to break free from its rusting cage.
Stephen has other problems. A mother he never sees, and a father he wishes were dead. His foster family are scare of him - he's not a boy who plays by the rules. But his extraordinary struggle to free himself of his Beast makes him a hero you will never forget.
"Ally Kennen is a gripping and original new children's novelist... I really love this book" Amanda Craig, The Times
"Beast has a tension that never lets up. Ally Kennen is already a remarkable assured writer" The Independent