Show 009: June 2008

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In this month's show:

News

News this month is very much about what I’ve been involved in recently. I’ve just finished judging a poetry competition for the NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups) whose festival of writing takes place in Durham this year at the end of August. The category I was judging was a poem about writing and I was astonished at the high quality of the entries.

Something which pleased me in the last few weeks was to find an article about me in Writing Magazine (see Honesty Can Improve your Writing).

I’m looking forward to my gig with the fabulous Joolz Denby on Thursday 3rd of July in Leeds at Borders. Joolz who was the subject of my podcast interview last month, will be just back from Glastonbury, and is a fabulous performer. We will be reading from our work, having a Q&A session and a book signing.

Book Review

This month’s book is Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming. Some of you will be surprised by this choice but I read it for my reading group, not quite sure how I would deal with any racism or sexism in this new outing for James Bond. Well Sebastian Faulks, author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, writes about the period with a light touch and with some irony. He creates a female character of her time, but who is brave, takes charge and is a fitting companion for James Bond himself. I read From Russia with Love immediately after Devil May Care and found it exciting enough, but quite unpleasant. I can however thoroughly recommend Devil May Care, and will happily read any future Sebastian Faulks James Bond novels. My copy came from Amazon; a lovely hardback for half the list price.

Interview: Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer
This is an edited extract from the interview with Tom Palmer, author of Foul Play, out now in Puffin.

I’d had things published before, but to get published by Puffin who everybody knows publish great children’s books was great. I’ve been writing professionally for about seven years, and writing for about twenty. I’ve always been happy when things got published, but this is a really big break with a commercial publisher, getting my books all over the world, and it’s a real opportunity to make a living as a professional writer.

If You're Proud to be a Leeds Fan

I began writing for adult audiences, but when a book of mine came out about Leeds United (If You’re Proud to Be a Leeds Fan - Mainstream), I started working in schools, and it occurred to me that I could write for boys, particularly boys who can be reluctant readers, as I was.

Ian Daley, who has published some of my stories, was giving me feedback on my writing not so long ago, and he said that because of the content and pace of my stories I should think about writing crime. I remember on the train back from Glasshoughton, thinking that I might write about someone solving football crimes. It was an idea that might appeal to both publisher and reader.

Foul Play

I see Foul Play as the beginning of a series, where my second Dead Ball comes out next spring. There could be half a dozen books, or even more, for Danny. I would like to take on different issues in each book. The first book for example is about a football chairman who feels that the club belongs to him and not the fans.

I have another series coming out for Puffin next year called The Football Academy. Each story focuses on a different boy but all the stories interconnect.

I hope that these series will be good for reluctant readers and boys who don’t think they like reading. If I can achieve something in this area it would be very fulfilling.

Of the writers writing for young people now, I love Michael Morpurgo, and Anthony Horowicz, but the best for me. is Andy McNab who writes a boy soldier series; they are stories with good relationships between the characters which I like.

At the moment I’m so focused on finishing these books that I haven’t thought about writing for adults. But I hope to return to writing adult stories at some point.

My advice to would be writers is simple, if you want to get published just keep going. Try and understand the book world, read books like The Writers Handbook, and understand how agents choose books. Talk to other writers and find out how it works. Give yourself a chance by understanding the publishing and book world. The amount of stuff agents take is minimal. I was very lucky, I had a massive piece of luck to get my book deal.



Poem of The Month

Every now again I set myself a writing challenge. This month's poem was written after attending the wedding of friends in Belfast last year where I heard a very lovely modern sonnet about marriage by the Irish writer Paul Durcan. When we had our sitting room decorated and had to clear so much history out of the room, I wrote this sonnet. My first one.