Saturday, February 06, 2010

It's vampires...but not what you think

On Thursday we were honoured to run the bookstall for the annual Abingdon Schools Joint Author visit - a fab initiative between most of the schools in Abingdon where they pool their resources, and get a great children's author in for a number of sessions throughout the day. This year, Marcus Sedgwick came along and alternatively gripped and repulsed the kids with talks of vampires, ghosts and things that go bump in the night - not to mention a terrifying image of a kitten that the children who witnessed it will never forget. Marcus writes the Raven Series for younger children - but I got to sit in on his talk for the older readers, which centred on his vampire series beginning with My Swordhand is Singing and continuing with The Kiss of Death. I love watching authors talking to kids - it's the toughest of gigs, and the potential to die a death on stage is ever present. But there were no worries on that score, as Marcus went into the background to his books, the research he had done traipsing around gloomy and spooky locations in Romania, and the customs and stories he had come across. I was particularly taken by the "death bride" custom, where the tragic death of a young man is commemorated by 'marrying' the most eligible girl in the village during the funeral ceremony. That's a picture of Vlad the Impaler on the screen there. I also am very grateful to Marcus for introducing me to Joseph Campbell and The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Apparently it's a well-know fact that George Lucas was heavily influenced by this book when writing Star Wars, and Marcus himself recognised the debt he owed to the book in Writing Swordhand. A bit of judicious googling during the afternoon session (whilst minding the stall) and I reckon I may have to order a copy of that book in...if only for me to read. Here's me holding a copy of Revolver - which, together with The Kiss of Death - are the two titles he has on the impossibly strong Carnegie Longlist this year. I have a sneaky suspicion that Revolver might make the cut, we have had some very strong feedback on the book from one of two customers in the shop that I hold in the highest regard... Major kudos to the school librarians who organised the event (I won't mention them, because they'll get embarrassed) but the logistics of co-ordinating nine school groups from all over Abingdon went effortlessly... (Update 15/02: Additional reports for this event here and here)

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could have been there as originally planned! I read Revolver last week - (see review on my blog)- it's my first 5* read of 2010 - highly recommended, and as with all his YA books, a great novel for adults as well.

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