Just home from a week on tour with Sarah McIntyre in our Refrigerated PugBus. (I can’t believe we forgot to take a picture of the refrigerated PugBus – it’s almost as if it was just a shared delusion caused by wrangling our massive luggage on and off of loads of different trains…)
We visited schools in Manchester, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire and Essex, and finished up at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival and the Cheltenham Literary Festival. Good times were had, at least by us, and hopefully by the audiences, too. We’re so grateful to all the schools and bookshops who hosted us, and to our relay team of publicists from OUP, Liz Scott, Sarah Howells, Hattie Bayley and Alesha Bonser, who looked after us all week. Here’s a selection of photos, and you can find more if you want to by looking at #PugsRoadshow on Twitter .
As we were waiting for our taxi to the station at Cheltenham yesterday we found out that Sarah has won a Hospital Club 100 award for her work on the Pictures Mean Business campaign. You can read more about it on her blog. Congratulations, McIntyre! I’m very proud to be working with such a brilliant illustrator and co-author.
As well as the three books we’ve made together, McIntyre has been a huge help with Railhead, which I don’t think I would have written without her encouragement. While we were at Bath and Cheltenham I was able to talk about that, too. I did an event at Bath with top fantasy author Joe Abercrombie (excellently chaired by the wonderful Sarah Pinborough) and at Cheltenham I was on a panel about Fantasy Worlds, chaired by the equally wonderful Nicholas Tucker.
My fellow panellists were Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, who will need no introduction if you like fantasy books (they created the Edge Chronicles, among many others) and relative newcomer Lucy Saxon. Lucy’s books should also appeal to fantasy/SF fans (they’ve been compared to Mortal Engines,) and she should be an inspiration to aspiring young writers as she published her first novel when she was only sixteen. Sometimes when you hear about very young authors you have a sense that they are a bit like Dr Johnson’s dog – we’re not meant to be impressed by what they’ve published, just that they are published at all – but Lucy is the real deal, and I think she has a long and brilliant career ahead of her. And look – I got to sit next to Chris Riddell while he drew her portrait!
On Saturday 17th October I’ll be at the Lakes International Comics Festival, where I’ll be joining one of my favourite artists, Ian McQue, to talk about how we approach creating fantasy worlds, and how he would go about visualising the worlds of Railhead.
Some Railhead concept art by Ian McQue.
And on Saturday 14th November I’m doing a morning show all on my own at the Bristol Old Vic, with readings, chat, Q&A etc.
Hopefully there will be more Railhead-related wanderings next year. Of course, if you can’t make it to any of these events but you can make it to one of the Pugs shows I’m happy to sign copies of Railhead after those, too…
I’m just back from London, where Sarah McIntyre and I have been launching Oliver and the Seawigs – or at least shoving it a little further from the slipway following it’s launch at Edinburgh. Many thanks to Daunt Books, a beautiful independent bookshop in Marylebone High Street, whose staff were incredibly helpful and patient. It was good to meet some Mortal Engines fans among the throng, too, including Marcus and Lily, whose parents had brought them all the way from Guildford. I hope they weren’t disappointed that Mortal Engines doesn’t get a mention in the events I’m doing with Sarah now – no doubt I’ll return to it, and to Goblins too, but at the moment I’m enjoying doing something new and different.
As usual, Sarah had blogged brilliantly about it all while I was still on the slow train home; here’s her account.
Later we met up with Chris Riddell, one of the great illustrators of the present age (you may know him for The Edge Chronicles), who showed us a copy of his new, self-penned book Goth Girl.
Chris keeps beautiful sketchbooks, and his current one contained a drawing he’d done for Sarah…
Photo: Sarah McIntyre
We also met Jeremy Levett, my Chief Scientific Advisor and co-author of the Traction Codexe-book. He’s just off to Australia for a year, and I felt he ought to meet Sarah McIntyre before he left. Jeremy’s one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, and a very good writer too; I’ll try to post some links to his blog osts about his adventures Down Under, which I’m sure will be reliably saturnine, amusing and well-observed.
One of the subjects we discussed was the ‘Walkie Talkie’, a new building in which melts posh cars and sets your hair on fire. London is fast filling with these novelty skyscrapers, and personally I rather like the way the city skyline is being Blade Runnered. But as we walked down Charlotte Street in search of supper I noticed the former Post Office Tower looming over the rooftops. It still looks more like the future than any of the newcomers.
And while I was away, Sam started secondary school. I was a bit worried that he’d be nervous, but if Sarah (R’s) photo is anything to go by, he took it in his stride…