Friday, July 30, 2010

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I often get emails from youngsters enquiring as to when I’ll be making a film of The Various, and whether I would consider auditioning them for a part? The assumption that the author of a novel will be heading up the film-making process is both touching and startling. My rueful reply is always the same: if only such decisions were up to me.

The truth is that in the filming of any book the author will probably be the last person to be consulted. Nevertheless, we live in hope.

X-Isle was recently submitted for an initiative, run in conjunction with the Rome International Film Festival, to find books suitable for film/tv adaptation. The Fondazione Cinema per Roma will select 8-12 titles which will then be presented to Italian and international producers taking part in New Cinema Network in October.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, of course, but it would probably be medically inadvisable to hold my breath.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Larkin's Book Bloggers

I've mentioned Larkin’s Book Bloggers before - a great idea from the States. Click on the link to learn all about them, and to read an interview I did with some of their young readers. More power to them!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


You're probably familiar with these ipod dancer images. But click on the ANIMATION of this one and ask yourself which way she's rotating. Clockwise or anti-clockwise?

The answer seems obvious, because you're seeing it the way that you're seeing it. But then you realise that with a bit of effort you can make her go into reverse. Or back and forth for that matter.

Good, eh? Now figure out what you're going to do for the rest of your day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kirkus review for X Isle

On the day of X Isle's release in the USA, I've received this great review from Kirkus.

Kirkus is highly regarded within the publishing industry, but its reviewers are not known for pulling their punches, so I was holding my breath rather on this one. As it turns out, I could hardly have hoped for better.

Author: Augarde, Steve
In a devastated future world, two boys struggle to survive a brutal, bizarre existence on X-Isle. Two years after the “floods came and washed the world away,” Baz leaves his Dad on the mainland when he wins a coveted place as a laborer on X-Isle, a mysterious salvage operation isolated on high ground.

En route, Baz is drawn to Ray, a small, smart and steely boy. Both expect to work hard in exchange for food, shelter and clothing. Neither is prepared for the abusive climate they encounter as captives of Preacher John, a religious fanatic convinced the floods are a punishment demanding biblical sacrifice. Treated like dogs, the boys eventually band together with fellow captives, devise an ingenious bomb and are forced to make life-or-death decisions.

In this dangerous, dicey and displaced world tainted by evil men and base instincts, the surviving boys of X-Isle foster hope in a surprising conclusion. A powerful, disturbing story laced with quirky, memorable characters and fast-paced masculine action and interaction—perfect for male teens. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Friday, July 09, 2010

X Isle shortlisted

Had some excellent news yesterday - X Isle has been shortlisted for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards!

More information below from Joy Court - and here's a link to Joy's very generous review of X Isle at School Zone.

‘The fifth year of the Inspiration Book Awards will be launched in Children's Book Week (4 October 2010) and we are hoping to be even more successful this year .The last round of the Awards saw over a 100% increase in visits to our website with over 1.5 million hits on and we again saw a big increase in the number of votes cast. The Coventry awards are unique in the country in that they have something for all ages, including adults and involve the whole family and the whole community and they are obviously the ideal vehicle to promote Reading For Life!

Each year we also have a high profile awards ceremony for the winners in each poll in the presence of the Lord Mayor. Adrian Johnson of Arts Council England called it an "exemplary book event". The provisional date for next year will be June 15th 2011so it would be useful to pencil that in your schedules now. Eliminations "Big Brother " style of the books with the least votes each week begins in January and you will know in February if they have won so invitations can be confirmed then! ‘

Joy Court
Learning Resources Manager: Learning & Achievement.
Past Chair:CILIP Youth Libraries Group

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I do like to be beside the seaside.

The area of West Yorkshire where I now live is about as far away from the coast as it's possible to be in this country. I do miss the seaside, and so every once in a while I have to drive down to the South West and sniff the seaweed, as it were. Take the ozone. I've just returned from a bracing weekend away in Somerset and Devon, visiting old friends - all writers and musicians.

On Saturday I looked in on my band mate from The Gents, Richard Madelin, who's recently had a quadruple heart bypass. Yipes. He has a scar from throat to belly button, which I suppose is to be expected, but the one running the entire length of his leg came as a bigger surprise. This is where an artery has been removed in order to provide the necessary pipework for the operation. The immediate thought that occurs is, 'Hang on. Weren't you using that?' Maybe, as Richard's wife said, this was merely a B road, sacrificed in order to make way for the new bypass. I'm not sure that I have too many such disposable bits left, so please God the same thing never happens to me. Get well soon, Richard.

Sunday lunchtime I played with a bunch of nutters from art college days, The Glad Band. This outfit goes back even further than The Gents, some forty years, which is just plain scary. We manage to get together every half decade or so, and folk come to see us less for the music, which was always pretty ramshackle, than to marvel at the fact that we're all still alive. 'How many kidneys do you suppose they have between them?' people ask. And really it's anyone's guess. I've said before that Glad Band stories have no place in a blog that's visited by youngsters, but I have enough material for a whole other publishing career should I ever run out of ideas for children's books.

In Exmouth I stayed with writer friends, the lovely Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, who always make me feel as though I've been to a spa and psychotherapy session in one, to emerge invigorated, an altogether better human being. And if they, by contrast, are left drained and lacking the will to live, they never let on.

Mal and Ellie have a new book out: Cloud Tea Monkeys, exquisitely illustrated by Juan Wijngaard. The production is of a quality rarely seen nowadays, beautifully printed and stitch-bound, it really is special. I worked with Juan myself some years ago, although - like Mal and Ellie - I've never actually met him. It's a funny old business, co-producing a book with someone who lives thousands of miles away, your lives converging for the duration of the project, to then separate without (in my case) having ever spoken.

All in all a great weekend, and now I'm back. Sea air and renewed friendships have had an energising effect, and I open up my laptop with a fresh resolve: to take more holidays.