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Posts Tagged ‘Author Visits’

MARVEL Heroes Help To Stomp Out Bullying!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Hi guys

My next book, JEKYLL’S MIRROR, will be coming out in January and a central theme of the story is cyberbullying. With every book I write, I feel that it’s really important to research the characters and the situations they’re in so that, although the story might be fantastical or supernatural, the problems of the characters seem real.

starlord

For Jekyll, I had to do some very upsetting research into cyberbullying. Now, I was very badly bullied while I was at secondary school, but this was in the dusty old days before the internet (yes, there really was such a time!). The bullying I suffered was horrible. It made me feel scared and humiliated and worthless. But at least I knew, when I went home from school, the bullying would stop.

In the modern world bullying doesn’t always stop when children go home. It can happen to them virtually twenty-four hours a day. The reasons why and the consequences of this I tried to explore in Jekyll’s Mirror, and it gave me a real understanding and sympathy for victims.

That is why I’m thrilled that the brilliant MARVEL COMICS has taken this issue head-on by supporting the STOMP OUT BULLYING organisation in the United States. Check out this link to see the Hulk, Captain America, Starlord, Rocket Racoon and Gamora all supporting the campaign against cyberbullying. Not only is it super-cool in a geeky way (GEEKS RULE!) but it highlights a serious issue.

hulk

If you’re reading this in the UK and you’re suffering from bullying of any kind, there are lots of places you can get help and advice. Check out the links below:

http://www.childline.org.uk/

http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/

http://www.beatbullying.org/

http://www.cybersmile.org/

Tour Stuff #1: An Evening of Ghost Stories

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Hello All

Well, I’m back from the very exhausting but VERY rewarding Haunted tour! 1,600 miles, dozens of schools, and plenty of scares later, and part of me wishes I could do it all over again! I met so many great people on my trek around the UK – brilliant booksellers, terrific teachers, stupendous students, as well as that crazily creative crew at Seven Stories (see the post below).

I could write and write about my experiences, filling paragraph after paragraph with funny stories and intriguing anecdotes, but I’ve decided to rest my typing fingers (I really need to get back to writing books!) and select nugget-size chunks of cool stuff to share.

The first is this amazing poster and tickets from my ‘Evening of Ghost Stories’ event at Lostock Hall Academy! (Click images for larger views)

Lostock Hall

Lostocj Hall

(‘An Evening of Ghost Stories’ is my brand new after-schools event, designed, in part, to get parents more involved in school life. Details of this new event can be found at my School Visits page here.)

At the kind invitation of Head of English, Mrs Butterworth, I took this new event into the wonderful Lostock Hall Academy. The school hall had been suitably decorated with spider webs, tarantulas and bats (plastic, thankfully!), and all manner of creepy accessories. The evening kicked off with an introductory speech from Mrs Butterworth welcoming parents into the school and highlighting the different activities in which the children were engaged.

Then we were treated to some particularly spine-tingling readings from the school’s ‘Community Readers.’

I was waiting in the stage’s darkened wings (the lights had been turned low in the auditorium and the shadows had gathered), listening to these courageous young people reading extracts from their favourite scary stories. We had pieces from classics like Dracula, Frankenstein and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, as well as exciting contemporary extracts from Darren Shan and other fresh voices in horror. I must say, these pupils read their pieces beautifully – I’m not sure I’d have been brave enough to perform to a packed hall when I was their age! We were then treated to a charming and suitably haunting song from a young lady who, I believe, really ought to try out for The X Factor!

Then it was my turn at the podium. Echoing a line from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, I suggested that we were no longer sitting in Lostock Hall’s auditorium but had been transported to a ‘home by horror haunted’ and that the audience ought to keep repeating to themselves: It’s only a story, only a story, only a story…

I performed a dramatic reading from MR James’ ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’, then two tales from my own pen. I’m happy to report the audience screeched and jumped out of their skins in all the right places! The atmosphere was just right, with pupils from throughout the school chaperoning their nervous parents into the hall and then laughing along with them as those spooked-out mums and dads leaped out of their seats during the scary bits!

After the readings the school had organised a charity raffle. I think the best part of the evening was the community atmosphere generated by the event. It was great to see parents, pupils and teachers all brought together for the evening in an environment where parents could learn more about the school and feel more included in their children’s education.

So a huge thank you to Mrs Butterworth and all the staff and pupils at Lostock Hall. I was very gratified to receive this message from Mrs Butterworth after the visit:

‘Just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic day and for your  breath-taking readings . Your impact on our pupils’ enthusiasm for reading was tangible.’ What greater compliment can a writer receive?

HAUNTED TOUR & AN EVENING OF GHOST STORIES AT SEVEN STORIES

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Starting Monday, Haunted goes on tour around the UK!

For two weeks, I’ll be driving up and down the country, covering over 1,500 miles, with my brand new schools event:

THE SUPER SPOOKY SUPERNATURAL FICTION SHOW!

One of the images from the 'History of Supernatural Fiction' lecture

One of the images from the ‘History of Supernatural Fiction’ presentation

Update: Anyone who purchases a copy of HAUNTED during the tour will now receive a FREE limited edition postcard! Check them out below:

Haunted Post Cards

The event will include an introduction to the life of a writer, a dramatic reading from Haunted (including the infamous JUMP! moment), and a funny and educational presentation on the ‘History of Supernatural Fiction’, from Greek myth and the legend of Faust to an in-depth look at Bram Stoker’s Dracula, all complemented by suitable spine-tingling imagery.

After this introduction to the Gothic genre, pupils will take part in the DRACULA vs VAN HELSING QUIZ. Dressed up in cape, wigs and with vampire-slaying props to hand, one student will play the nefarious Count, one the heroic Professor Van Helsing. The audience will then be split into TEAM DRAC and TEAM VAN HELSING and the final battle between Good and Evil will take place! Whichever team gets the most correct answers will triumph!

Stake, Mallet & Holy Water: Van Helsing's Vampire Slaying Kit!

Stake, Mallet & Holy Water: Van Helsing’s Vampire Slaying Kit!

There will be one public event during the tour, and this I’m REALLY excited about. The last time I visited the wonderful Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children’s Books) in Newcastle was during the Witchfinder Tour, and I found it to be an absolutely enchanting place. On Thursday 3rd October at 6pm, I’ll be bringing a special event – AN EVENING OF GHOST STORIES – to this brilliant venue.

Seven Stories - the venue for An Evening of Ghost Stories

Seven Stories – the venue for An Evening of Ghost Stories

As the lights dim, I’ll be performing dramatic readings from 3 super-spooky tales: MR James’ classic ghost story ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’, an extract from Haunted, and a special story where the twist comes in the very last word! This last story, I performed last year at a special Halloween event and it drew gasps from the crowd! Full details of this event can be found here http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/whats-on/events/117417/an-evening-of-ghost-stories-with-william-hussey You will need to book, but scares ARE guaranteed!

Below are some of the schools I’ll be visiting (others may be added). Is yours on the list?

Haven High School, Boston

Boston Grammar School

Newman School, Carlisle

Queen Elizabeth Grammar, Penrith

Keswick School

Jedburgh High School

Earlston High School

Bispham High School

Lostock Hall Academy

Bristol Metropolitan School

Marlwood School

Downend School

Test Valley School

Sheredes Senior School

More Creepy Creations from the Caterham Kids!

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

I recently posted some amazing artwork and creative writing pieces from the very talented pupils of Caterham School, all of it inspired by the Witchfinder books! I’m really proud to bring you yet more grisly and ghastly offerings from the brilliant kids of Caterham… (Click the pics for larger images).

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Caterham Kids Creepy Creativity!!!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

At the invitation of brilliant school librarian Jane Damesick, I recently visited the wonderful Caterham School in Surrey. I was due to hold one of my infamous Witch Trials on school premises (and, as usual, I found that the place was rife with foul sorcerers!). What made this visit particularly special, however, was all the amazing artwork and creative writing projects awaiting me in the library! One of the greatest hopes of any writer is to inspire other people – especially young people – to be creative, and so I was truly moved by all this terrific (and terrifying!) work kickstarted by the Witchfinder books. Jane has very kindly forwarded me lots of photos of the children’s ingenious pieces and I am determined to post all the pics here over the next week or so. Here’s the first batch of witchy goodness from the talented kids of Caterham! CLICK THE PICS FOR A MORE DETAILED LOOK… IF YOU DARE!!!!

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