Friday 22 November 2013

Book Addicted Boys: S.F. Said

I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – only one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
Today we have the amazing SF Said here today, author of the brilliant Phoenix and more.  He's here to talk about space, space stories and beyond!! :D 

I've always loved space.  As a child growing up in the 1970s, I was addicted to TV shows like Star Trek and Space 1999, and films like Star Wars.  My favourite books were the Star Trek novelizations, but I remember feeling frustrated that there weren't enough children's books about space out there.

I also remember camping in the desert with my dad when I was about ten, and realising for the first time just how many stars there were.  It wasn't a handful, like I was used to seeing in London.  The whole sky was alive with burning points of light!

The idea that each of these stars was a sun, around which were planets like ours… and that there were hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy, and hundreds of billions of galaxies… it was absolutely mind-blowing to me, and still is.  So perhaps it was inevitable that I'd end up writing a space story of my own one day.

The stars pose the biggest questions imaginable, making us consider our place in the universe, and what it means to be alive in it.  It's fascinating to me that so many early mythologies begin with the stars; it seems there's always some kind of connection between gods and stars.  Themes like that, I think, offer the potential for fiction with all the richness and resonance of ancient myth.

Of course, just being about space doesn't necessarily make a book interesting!  There's certainly been plenty of bad space fiction, like any other genre.  But I don't know anyone who's not interested in stories with memorable characters facing huge choices; gripping stories about love and friendship, life and death; stories full of big ideas and beautiful landscapes...  And I don't know anyone who doesn't want to feel a shiver of wonder when they read a book.

And space stories allow you to do all that in an entertaining way.  Writers like Iain M Banks have shown that it's possible to write space fiction that is intelligent, compassionate and meaningful, while offering a brilliant rollercoaster ride at the same time.  I love stories that have all those elements.  And in Phoenix, I hope I've brought them all together in a way that book-addicted boys and girls alike can enjoy – even those who don't think they're interested in science fiction!


Thank you so much!  This was an awesome post - I really enjoyed it!
Guys, check out Phoenix on Goodreads.  Also go find S.F.'s Site and Goodreads Page!  :D
Oh and enjoy this awesome Phoenix video!! :D



SF Said is an award-winning author. He was born in Lebanon in 1967, but has lived in London since he was 2 years old. He wrote his first novel, Varjak Paw (2003), while working as a speechwriter for the Crown Prince of Jordan, and then as an arts journalist and film programmer.
Varjak Paw won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Children's Literature, as well as regional book of the year awards in Gateshead, Stockton and West Sussex. It has since been adapted as a stage play and an opera, and a film version is in development. It has been translated into 12 languages, and UK sales are now over 275,000.
The sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw (2005), won the BBC's Blue Peter Book Of The Year, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and won the Leicester Teenage Book Of The Year. Varjak Paw is currently featured on the CLPE's recommended reading list for primary schools, and both books are being taught in classrooms around the UK.
SF's third novel, PHOENIX (2013), is an epic space adventure for readers of 9 and up. It is nominated for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Like the Varjak Paw books, it is illustrated by Dave McKean, and published by David Fickling Books.
SF Said is also active in the wider world of literature. He has judged the Whitbread Book Awards (now the Costa Book Awards), and writes widely about children's and young adult fiction. His work has been published in both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

Friday 8 November 2013

Tinder Blog Tour: Book Extract

I adored Sally Gardner and have since I was really young - she is amazing! And I'm sooo excited to have her here today, reading us an extract from Tinder!  Yay!  I love this book so much!  So... Enjoy!!  :D

Now, I hope you enjoyed the awesome extract! And that you all go and find a copy of Tinder - you won't regret it, seriously!

If this extract hasn't convinced you, though, here's a bit more information...

Tinder by Sally Gardner
Blurb From Goodreads:
A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in COSTA AWARD winner Sally Gardner's exquisitely written new novel inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, THE TINDERBOX, illustrated by David Roberts.
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.

Find Sally on her site, Facebook and Twitter!  And head over to Choose YA tomorrow for more Tinder goodness!!
And thank you Sally and Indigo for the extract!!  :D x

Thursday 7 November 2013

Sean Williams Twinmaker Blog Tour: Book Addicted Boys

I was talking on Twitter to a bunch of awesome bloggers – only one of whom was a boy. We were talking about how few male bloggers there are. And so I thought: Why not create a feature specifically designed to get boys into blogging – and reading? And so Book Addicted Boys was born!
And this week we have the amazing Sean Williams here to celebrate the publication of his new book Twinmaker!  Enjoy! :D

Sean Williams' Top 10 Writing Tips

1.      Read a lot.

This is the most important one, because the best way to learn what makes a good book is to read books. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Like, if you want to play football you should watch lots of football. But reading is something we do every day, and I guess some people think that ordinary reading is enough to know how to do it right. It’s not. Books are special. Eat them up.

2.     Write a lot.

We’re back to football. If you want to play, you have to practise. Same with writing. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. There’s a wonderful Japanese saying: “Even a thief takes ten years to learn her trade.” Be that thief. Learn to steal our hearts with your words.

3.     Write what you love.

Always do that. Why slog away at something if you don’t like it? Writing is hard work, but it should be fun too.

4.     Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Nobody’s perfect first time. Or second time. Or the third. (Repeat until the page is full.) It’s okay to be imperfect – in fact it’s good, because who knows what “perfect” is anyway? You have to miss a thousand goals before you make the perfect shot in a final. You’ll probably have to get caught a few times before you make off with the Mona Lisa, too. (Tip: don’t steal.) It’s the same with writing. Making mistakes proves you’re learning.

5.     Don’t be afraid to show it to other people.

When you’ve worked on something to the point where it’s the best you can possibly make it, but you know it’s not right yet, how do you fix it? The best way is to give it to someone else to read. Most people want to love your work as much as you do, but you’re bound to find someone who will also tell you how to improve it. If you never show it to anyone, how are you going to become the next J. K. Rowling?

6.     Listen to other people.

Whether you’ve asked them for advice or not, if they’re telling you what they honestly think of your work it’s probably a good idea to listen. Even if you disagree with them. Remember it is (or should be) about the work, not you, so don’t take it personally.

7.     Ignore other people.

Sometimes you have to do what you want no matter what people say. No one reads novels about time-travelling soccer players from a future where sport is illegal? Who cares! I’m doing it anyway because it’s what I love.

8.    Experiment.

There’s always something to learn. There’s always something to un-learn. The better we think we are at something, the easier it is to slip into bad habits without realising. Every book I write I try to shake things up a little by attempting something new and weird. It keeps things fun, too.

9.     Keep reading!

There are always new books. There are always old books. There’s way too many books ever to read them all, which means there’s always something that’s exactly right for you, right now. I use the books I’m reading to inspire me to write better. Some people use it as an escape from what they’re writing. Either way, it keeps reminding us what a book is and what we’re doing all this typing for. And so . . .

10.Keep writing!

The best way to succeed at anything is never to give up. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Don’t let anyone stop you, including/especially yourself!


Thank you so much, Sean!  I hope this has helped any aspiring writers out there!!
Find out more about Twinmaker: here.  And check out Sean's site, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads Page. :D


#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books--thirty-nine at last count--including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level. You can find some related short stories over at Lightspeed Magazine.