June 30th, 2011

solitary pirate and a fab day out in oxford

First, a little glimpse at one of the pirates pasted up on my studio wall. This one's going to be one of the minor characters in the upcoming book, You Can't Scare a Princess! and this was the very first picture I drew of him. He's a very nerdy little pirate. But he really needs a name and his own story. (Any suggestions?)

My Glasgow Auntie came to visit for a couple days and I took her to Oxford to meet up for lunch with two of my very favourite writers, Geraldine McCaughrean and Philip Reeve.

Other than having a waitress drop a bottle on our table and spray us lavishly with broken glass (which was rather exciting), we had a great time nattering away about the books we grew up with and loved and hated. And the books that always fell open to certain dodgy places...

I just read Geraldine's book The Ideal Wife, set in the 1790's about a jolly young Berkshire landowner who's completely gung-ho for Rousseau and his principles; he adopts two ten-year-old girls - one light, one dark -from an orphanage and sets about raising them as blithe, free, tree-climbing souls, with the intention of marrying whichever one turns out best. *SCANDAL!!* (Yes, the neighbours think so, too.) I can imagine Jane Austen sitting down with this book and being totally shocked but absolutely loving it. And Charlotte Brontë would be jealous and say sarky things but secretly wish she'd written it. Amazing book.

Then we popped by a couple fine publishing houses and made our way to The Eagle & Child pub, where Tolkien, CS Lewis and their Inklings mates used to smoke their pipes and fuss about train times (thus the big clock, I'm sure). And we met up with fabulous novelist Sally Nicholls! She's currently working on final edits for her medieval novel about the Black Death with Scholastic, All Fall Down. Her first two books, Ways to Live Forever and Season of Secrets were brilliant and I'm sure this one's going to be as well.

We also met up with Caption comics festival coordinator Jenni Scott, Richard Buck and baby Aphra. My aunt and Aphra got on very well. I'll attach a bunch more pictures of the lovely pub and the aforementioned fab people.

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first reading, try again

We had some friends come over for dinner this evening and I tried my first-ever reading of the printed-up version of You Can't Scare a Princess! with their daughter, Ari. She was not convinced by my pirate voices.

In fact, the whole dinner table went quiet and started laughing at me, and I realised my pirate voice is really just a loud and very exaggerated American accent with lots of hard R's. So Ari's dad recommended I listen to a Cornish music group called Fisherman's Friend, and we found this on YouTube. For some reason, this video had Ari and me rolling about, nearly wetting ourselves with laughter. I'm still not quite sure why, but there you go.

Does anyone know how to learn Piratese very quickly? I could use a lesson.