A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Hello all! Author Allsorts are very happy to be hosting Day 7 on the MG part of the UKYACX blog tour!
The event is being held in Newcastle in only 10 days time!
You can still grab your tickets over at Seven Stories.
But on today’s blog we have the lovely Lari Don, and it’s a special day, because it’s her book birthday!
Here’s what she’s up to.
Cauldrons and Curses – launching a book with magic!
I’ll be spending today polishing my cauldron.
That’s not a metaphor, nor a euphemism. I do have a genuine witch’s cauldron, and it urgently needs to be shiny and clean for tonight.
Why? Why on earth does a full-time writer, who did maths at university and doesn’t believe in monsters under the bed or fairies at the bottom of the garden, have a witch’s cauldron?
And why does it need to be shiny tonight?
Well, I own a cauldron because I write books about magic. I don’t believe in magic as a provable scientific fact, but I do believe in the power of magical stories to excite and inspire. (Though the bloke we bought the cauldron from did say it was originally owned by his mother-in-law and that she was a practising witch. And the inside of the cauldron was covered in a layer of nasty black gunk when we got it home…)
And I use this cauldron for author events. Not often, because it’s heavy, it’s unwieldy, and I get funny looks on the train when I take it to Glasgow. But it is great for encouraging children to think about ingredients for potions and hence the ingredients for stories. I’ve used it in events for my retelling of Tam O’Shanter, and at events for my picture book The Magic Word. 14 year olds and 4 year olds have been equally intrigued!
So that’s why I have a cauldron. But why does it need to be particularly shiny for tonight?
Well, tonight, I’m launching my new book – Spellchasers: The Beginner’s Guide to Curses, a magical adventure for 8–12 year olds. And my publishers Floris Books decided that because the book is about a girl going on a curse-lifting workshop to lift the curse that turns her into a hare at inconvenient times, they would curse all the launch party guests on arrival (yes, I know, that doesn’t seem very welcoming, but apparently they will be gentle fluffy curses) then get the guests to answer riddles to lift their curses. And of course, guests will put their riddle answers into a –
So, my cauldron is on duty tonight.
As The Beginner’s Guide To Curses contains witches, both nice ones and nasty ones, as well as curses and riddles, it does seem appropriate to take a cauldron to the launch. And I admire my publishers for trying to make the launch memorable, special and a little bit magical! (Though I wish I wasn’t having to polish this cauldron today…)
But it does make me wonder – what is a book launch for? And who is it for?
Is a book launch a ‘well done’ party for the writer? I suppose I did put a lot of time into this book – it’s the start of a trilogy, so writing all three Spellchasers books has taken years! Maybe I deserve a party? But if it’s MY party, why am I spring-cleaning a cauldron…?
Is a book launch a chance to say thanks to everyone who make the book possible? My main thanks is always to my family, who have grown up with a writer as a mum, and probably don’t realise how weird their lives are. They don’t even think it’s strange keeping a cauldron in the kitchen. But if the party is for them, they don’t need a shiny cauldron. I spend so much time writing, that nothing else in our house is shiny…
Or is a book launch about the readers? I hope it is, I hope it’s the start of the book flying out there and finding as many readers as possible, to open up their imaginations to my characters’ adventures and to their own possible adventures.
We can’t invite every potential reader to the launch, but we have invited a few bookgroups from local schools and the local Dyslexia Chatterbooks group. And I hope the young readers will enjoy (or at least be intrigued by!) the riddles and the cauldron, so it is worth putting in a bit of effort to polish it for them, to make books and stories just a little bit more shiny and exiting. A little bit more magical…
Right. What do I need to get a proper shine on this cauldron? Brasso? Or powdered dragon-scale?
Lari Don is the award-winning author of more than 20 children’s books. Her new novel Spellchasers: The Beginner’s Guide to Curses is out now, from Floris Books. You can find more info about Lari’s books (though not her housekeeping skills) on www.laridon.co.uk , you can often find Lari on Twitter: @LariDonWriter
and you can meet Lari at the amazing UKYACX Extravaganza in Newcastle on 17th September.