16 August 2010
‘Excuse me, did you write ‘The Vampire Blog?’ a boy asks me as I speed into a festival event.
‘That’s right,’ I reply.
He grins and says. ‘It’s one of my favourite books,’ then dives into his pocket to produce, not a dog-eared copy of ‘The Vampire Blog,’ or an autograph book, but a mobile phone. He takes a picture of me and then a mate takes another picture of him with me.
Inside, rows and rows of more mobile phones spring into action as I’m snapped from every corner of the hall. And book signings can be much slower affairs, due to the amount of photography that also takes place. And as I celebrate twenty years of author events I’m often asked what changes I’ve noticed in that time. Well, that’s the biggest one.
Children are also perhaps a slightly more impatient audience now – but then I think we’re a more impatient society. But what hasn’t changed is children’s desire to be whisked away into an adrenalin charged adventure and inhabit different worlds and different skins.
Although horror – and especially vampires – are attracting a huge interest at the moment (for which much thanks) Spooky stories have always held a special fascination. Indeed, it was after being invited to a children’s ghost story telling session, all of sixteen years ago, and noticing the relish with which eerie tales were recounted, that I first came up with the idea of ‘The Ghost Dog.’
This reminds me of a recent event when a boy rushed up to me brandishing a copy of ‘The Ghost Dog,’ and then fixed me with a penetrating stare and asked. ‘Tell me honestly, are any of your other books as good as this one?’
It’s that unique mixture of frankness and innocence that still makes book talks for children such a real pleasure.
If you would like me to visit your library, school or bookshop or festival event. I can be contacted through Random or my website: www.petejohnsonauthor.com