Pug-A-Doodle-Do!

What with one thing and another I’ve been too busy to publish any new fiction this year – although I have been hard at work on Railhead 3, which will be coming out next spring. (I’ll be announcing the title and sharing the cover artwork soon.)

But although Sarah McIntyre and I won’t be releasing a new story until next autumn we are publishing one book together this year, and here it is – PUG-A-DOODLE-DO, the Reeve & McIntyre Bumper Book of Fun:

 

When those nice people at Oxford University Press asked us to come up with an book of doodling and colouring activities based on characters and illustrations from our four books with them (Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North, and Jinks and O’Hare, Funfair Repair) we had to have a good hard think…

And some full and frank discussions…

We decided that we didn’t want to just re-use pictures from the other books, so we ended up writing and drawing quite a lot of new material too, including some surprisingly pointless quizzes, the autobiography of Colin the superstar crab, a day in the life of put-upon space tyrant Lord Krull, Iris the Mermaid’s Beauty Tips and super villain Stacey de Lacey’s frankly disturbing debut as an agony aunt. There are, inevitably, Quite A Lot Of Pugs. It was also a chance to publish print versions of a few things which have hitherto existed only online, like the excellent character drawing guides which Sarah produces to go with all our books, and the touching tale of Kevin, the Dartmoor Pegasus.

That lot filled about half the book. For the rest, I went to Sarah’s studio in London’s exotic Deptford, where we sat up late into the night dreaming up jokes and activities to fill the remaining pages. This resulted in some lovely spreads…

…and some rather odd ones…

…and towards the end it all started to get a bit Conceptual…

Anyway, PUG_A_DOODLE_DO is available now from all UK booksellers, price £10, and I think it’s turned out rather well. When I was a kid I always looked forward to the Bumper Summer Specials which comics like the Dandy and Whizzer and Chips used to publish in the summer holidays – extra thick editions crammed with stories, jokes and puzzles – and I hope our Bumper Book of Fun has something of that quality. It made us laugh like drains while we were thinking it up, so hopefully it will amuse somebody else too. Here’s my 8-year-old cousin Aretha test-driving a copy, and she seems to approve!

If you’re able to get to Tales On Moon Lane bookshop in London’s exotic Herne Hill this coming Saturday (8th September) Sarah and I will be launching the new book with a special doodling event, featuring guest pugs (including pug superstar Benny Bean).

 

Benny Bean: look at his little FACE…

The Schools at Somerhill

I’m just back from my first book event of the year – a visit to the Schools at Somerhill, with that Sarah McIntyre. I stopped in London with Sarah and her husband Stuart on Wednesday night, and we set off bright and early on Thursday morning to catch a train down to Tonbridge…Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 11.29.57

Well, it was certainly early, but we weren’t that bright – Sarah needed a bit more sleep once we were on the train…

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I guess authors who do lots of school events carefully Google any school which requests a visit, but I always forget, so I’m never quite sure what sort of place I’ll end up at. Somerhill turned out to be amazing – three schools sharing a beautiful Jacobean manor house in the middle of acres and acres of rolling parkland. We both wished we’d had time to draw this tree outside the entrance.

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Here we are with librarian Susan Smith, who had arranged the whole day. Note Susan’s specially commissioned Cakes In Space T-shirt! And there can’t be many school libraries with a fireplace this impressive…

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(The fireplace in the room where we did our Pugs of the Frozen North presentation wasn’t too shabby, either.)

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It was Book Day at Somerhill, so we were confronted with a large cast of book world characters….

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We did the Pugs show for them in the morning, then split up in the afternoon so that Sarah could do comics workshops with the younger children while I changed into my Serious Author costume and talked about Mortal Engines, Goblins and Railhead with the older ones. Meanwhile, in another part of the building, the brilliant author/illustrator Jonny Duddle was doing his piratical thing, but I was so busy I barely saw him.

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It was a packed day, but filled with lovely kids, lovely staff, and lovely views from the library windows…

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On the way home we were so tired that we needed FURTHER NAPS.

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Thanks to Mrs Smith, Mrs Bodenham and all the Somerhill staff and pupils who gave us such a warm welcome. And also to bookseller Rosie Hill, who supplied boxes and boxes of our books.

We’re both too busy to take on any more school visits at the moment. But if you’re in the south east and you’d like to see the Pugs of the Frozen North show for yourself, we’ll be part of the Daunt Books festival in London next month.

 

 


 

(Photos of me and Sarah by ourselves, the ones featuring pupils, Jonny and both of us are by Somerhill staff.)

Pug and Blog Tours

Next week, Sarah McIntyre and I will be setting off to bring the good news of Pugs of the Frozen North to Manchester, Birmingham, Colchester, bath, Cheltenham and various points in between. Details on McIntyre’s Blog.

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A pack of knitted pugs awaits our arrival at Simply Books in Bramhall, Manchester…

But next week also marks the publication of Railhead.  I’ll be marking that with a slightly less strenuous tour of Other People’s Blogs. I’m going to do something called the Railhead A-Z, twenty-six posts, arranged in alphabetical order, about various aspects of the Railhead world and the writing process. The first will appear right here on Thursday 1st October, as long as I remember to press the ‘publish’ button while I’m knee deep in pugs. You can follow me on Twitter for day-by-day updates about where the rest are appearing, and at the end of the process I’ll post links to all 26 here.

And while we’re on the subject, head over to Bart’s Bookshelf for the latest bit of Railhead concept art, a superb Hive Monk by Ian McQue…

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