Friday, 20 February 2009

To relieve the gloom we've had a film crew at No.7 this afternoon and my goodness me there were a lot of them! It's for a training film so we're never going to see it, but if you think of all that effort - and all those PEOPLE - going into producing it, what on earth must it take to make a TV series? And I can't even begin to think how complicated it would be to organise a big blockbuster film. They certainly wouldn't be able to fit all the vehicles down our little road, that's for sure!

But it's been fun seeing the guy with his big furry sausage, and all the walkie-talkies echoing what's going on inside. I watched the actor walk past our house about 6 times before I realised that he was being filmed! I think Ted had worked that out as he was standing on the window seat taking it all in.

I haven't been inside No.7 since they've been there but needless to say Robert has. They have apparently cleared the book cases and put in their own CDs (although I was quite pleased to hear they'd left all my 'Sleepover' books on the shelf!) They'd brought cornflakes and loaves of bread for a 'kitchen scene' but had to beg some milk from Pam and Geoff next door as Robert had just drunk ours. And I was quite pleased to hear that the woman called everyone 'Lovely!' when she was asking for it.

I have left various Schnoops bits lying around so hopefully someone will be curious and ask about that!

Oh and apparently the director sounds very like Colin Firth. I will have to get myself down there before they leave this evening.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Goodbyes are always sad - whether it's to friends after a weekend away or a final goodbye to someone you always thought would be around.

I've had a goodbye today that I suppose I knew was coming but I'd put off for some time because I knew it would be painful.

Am I sad? Yes, very.

But I'm positive too. I feel that I am able to move forward again...and there is such a big bright future out there. I can now see all the colour without being shrouded by the grey.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

And if someone could tell me how to make my links on here actually work I would be eternally grateful!!!!

Well, after what was basically a really rubbish week last week, things turned right around on Sunday when the book got a rave review on the bookbag website
I cannot tell you how thrilled I was. It was a totally independent review by a mother and it ticked every single box that Ian and I had set out to fulfil. As a writer there can be no better feeling than that.

And this morning the cut-outs of the characters from the book were delivered. I will need them for my talks in schools and libraries and of course they will be making their public debut at the book launch next week.

They are so lovely. They're like my children and I'm very proud of them!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Another day...

I've had a strange week - ANOTHER ONE - massive lows, big big highs and some odd conversations (although they were more like 'shouts') with what sounded as though it should be a 7-year old but was actually a middle-aged man. I credit myself with at least sounding like a teenager!

Petulant men/boys aside, I've met some lovely people this week. Women whom I recognsied but have never spoken to before who are just so sweet and lovely about the book. I've spoken to a couple of journalists who were delightful and not a bit scary (as I'd assumed). I've just received (2 months after it was posted) a letter from a reader of the 'Sleepover Club' which reaffirmed why this 'job' is the best in the world. And my facebook posse of course! That is too long and complicated to explain but we have just laughed and laughed online this week and have our very own story going.

Also a bit of a name check to Chris, Jen, Kirsty, Keith, Jules, Flissy and of course Roberto - I ranted, you listened, bless you!

In the spirit of Valentine's Day (and in an American sitcom type way) - to all my friends - "I love you guys!"

Monday, 9 February 2009

On a lighter note!

Times are hard! We've all got to do our bit - even TED!


I watched 'Just Read' on BBC4 last night. It was presented by Michael Rosen and was part of the channel's Book Week. He went to a school in Cardiff and looked at the way books were presented to children, how children repsonded to reading and how important it was to get the family involved too. It was an inspiration.

There is a big push towards getting boys inspired to read, boys who are notoriously 'not interested'. That seems a sweeping generalisation because we all know boys who love settling down with a book as well as playing football and computer games etc. But it IS a challenge to inspire some boys when reading has an (undeserved) reputation as being for the 'nerdy'.

It was heartening then in last night's programme to see even the most relucatant readers (of both sexes) getting involved. By the end of the 10-week 'project' they were reading more themsleves and enthusiastically reading to younger children.

Throughout the programme I felt my own passion being rekindled. I write because I want children to feel that joy, to enter another world, to feel confident to explore new ideas themselves, to let their imagination run wild and I want them to LAUGH! That's why I write, pure and simple. And whereas in the past I have been quite nervous about going into schools, now I can't wait!

Friday, 6 February 2009

A funny old week

I've had a funny old week. It started with all the fun of the snow and I just loved that. I loved the crunching out in it and everybody laughing, faces red with cold and fingers tingling from throwing snowballs. I loved watching Ted going beserk and not really knowing what it was, but not caring much either.

Then the middle of the week - no more snow, icy pavements and ....more hassles on the 'Extremely Very....' front. I feel that I just don't have the support I deserve and that in a lot of ways I have served my purpose as another box that can be ticked off on a portfolio - 'Children's Book - yep done that, can move on to the next thing now.' It got to the stage where I realised that I was looking at a very dark abyss and I could easily tip over into it.

But that wasn't reckoning on my family and friends - especially my lovely Facebook friends who rallied and made me laugh,long and snortingly hard, so big cheers to them. And I realised in the scheme of things, no-one is ever worth getting so upset over. So I'm not anymore.

Thursday brought a brief meeting with some delightful Brownies who said they would review 'Extremely Very...' for me and were just so articulate and made such positive comments I came away quite heartened. And today has given me a big boost too - friends have ordered lots of copies in various local bookshops to start a 'buzz' for me. A Facebook friend was so thrilled when I gave her a copy for her grandson, told her friends and one has asked me to go into her daughter's school next week for Book Week. (Which is scary but exciting too.) And there's a new American follower on

Suddenly I feel as though Little Doogs is getting the wider audience that he deserves.

Monday, 2 February 2009


I love the snow, possibly today because I had the luxury of not HAVING to go out in it: I don't have to commute to my office, I didn't have any pressing engagements anywhere. I could just enjoy it. Ted loved it - went quite beserk running around in the garden. It was way past his knees and almost up to his body. It must have felt strange.

We walked up to the Common and what a community atmosphere there was - everyone happy, building snowmen, having snowball fights, just enjoying the thrill of an unexpected day off. OK so some people won't have enjoyed the inconvenience. And if it lingers for weeks and weeks and weeks I'll be complaining as much as everyone else. But today, I'm just having fun!