At present, the UK riots are still uppermost in my mind. So many of them happened in my city, and they started off in what's just down the road and around a few corners from us - Tottenham. And oh, the rubbish they stole... TVs? phones? jeans? trainers? And for junk like that they destroyed people's livelihoods and homes? This materialistic, vacuous and celebrity-focussed culture has a hell of a lot to answer for. It must change. It has to. The emotional deprivation was real - most notably the absence of any family or community involvement. Illiteracy seems to have played a major part too - the statistics are horrifying.
This morning I received the Arabic editions of two of the little books I did with Franklin Watts some time ago. It was unexpected, and I was thrilled. My much longer books have been translated into German, Japanese and Danish, but seeing these short illustrated books in Arabic was quite fascinating. They're quite rude and funny stories, too. Collectively, we all enjoy the rude and the funny, don't we? It gave me that good-in-the-belly feeling of being part of a big, big laughing community.
For the Kindle, I've recently re-published TWICE TIMES DANGER, my thriller for 9-12 year old girls, initially published by Walker Books. I'm so pleased to have it out there again, and accessible. It's set in Cornwall, where my daughter and my grandchildren live, and which is somewhere I know well.
The concepts of both self-publishing (and re-publishing) have taken on a new image these days, and it's given writers new freedom. I hugely enjoy working with print publishers, but I'm also enjoying the challenge of doing the whole thing myself, and it also makes me feel like a more potent and knowledgeable part of the industry. At present, ideas, manuscripts, are frequently turned down at the acquisitions stage by marketing people, which can be a psychological killer for any writer (I know, I've been there). I've recently been involved with a picture-book/app company, which makes it possible for writers and illustrators to team up independently (and the company donates a portion of its profits to Third World educational charities, too). The little story I'm doing for them may sink or swim - who knows? But at least it will be out there. Its an interesting and challenging online world, innit?
My first 'proper' picture book text comes out next year with Little Tiger Press - very exciting. More on this in future blogs.