Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not with a whimper, but with a bang: Apocalypse Moon by MG Harris

Apparently, in some of the murkier areas of the Internet, there is quite a bit of interest in an ancient Mayan calendar, one which ends sometime around Dec 21, 2012 - which therefore (according to some people) signifies the end of the world. Something similar will no doubt occur on August 31, 4500AD. That's the furthest forward you can go on Microsoft Outlook's calendar, so in some future (presumably dystopian) world, humanity - in thrall to the God "Billgates" - will no doubt be waiting for the end of the world as well...

Several authors have drawn inspiration from the 2012 end-of-the-world scenario, but none with as much invention and fun (or as successfully) as children's author MG Harris, with her five-series, rip-roaring, code-laden, time-travelling adventure The Joshua Files.

The first book 'Invisible City' launched in 2008, with 13 year-old Joshua Garcia (Josh) losing his father in a mysterious plane crash over Mexico. But all is not what it seems, and five years (and five books) later Josh finds himself facing events - in the explosive finale "Apocalypse Moon" - which threaten the end of civilization...

In the books, Josh goes to an (unnamed) school in Oxford, and there is a strong Oxford link throughout all five books. So it was very appropriate that the launch for the fifth book took place at two Oxford schools on March 27: Gregory The Great, and Oxford High. Mostly Books was very honoured to be helping out on the day...
The stories grew out of her own Mexican heritage, as well as from an adolescence reading Erich Von Däniken (I have to put my hand up on that score too). She has also drawn writing inspiration from authors such as Robert Heinlein, Murakami and Gabriel García Márquez. 

MG Harris spoke about her own journey as an author throughout the Joshua Files - and provided a fascinating insight into the life of a bestselling author (including the experiences of signing 5,000 books over a 16-odd hour period). It was particularly fascinating to discover that her books do very well not just in the UK, but in the US, Australia, Japan - and particularly Indonesia (who seem to get the best covers).  


Apocalypse Moon isn't 'officially' published until April 5th, so these fans from Cheney School were very happy to get a signed copy early. Especially as it comes in a rather sexy plastic gel slipcase...which gathered together make an excellent-looking display:

There were some very interesting questions throughout the day. Not the typical 'where do you get your ideas from', but rather: what books inspired you as a child ("dark occult thrillers"), how much do you earn as a writer ("about as much as a teacher"), would you ever write another Joshua Files book ("never say never") and the somewhat surreal 'what's your favourite takeaway'?

There were plenty of opportunities for photos:


and I was particularly impressed with the rock-star treatment we received at Oxford High including some reserved parking (which we never get!)


It was a great day - and our thanks to MG and the two schools for making it such a memorable day.


Even more exciting (for us) is that we are now in possession of signed copies of "Apocalypse Moon", available ahead of the launch date, with limited addition Joshua Files pins and signed postcards available.

Also, anyone purchasing a copy of the book over Easter automatically gets entered into our splendid Joshua Files competition, to win an extremely exclusive Joshua files bag and T-Shirt...and if you want to whet your appetite even more, take a look at the trailer that MG herself has put together...



So - if the world *does* end at the end of this year, MG Harris will have considered her work done. But in case the conspiracy theorists are out a bit (and we do have to wait for the 46th century) then here is some more insight into what MG Harris might do next...

Five questions with...MG Harris's Writing Life

1.    What are you working on at the moment?

An occult thriller, for 13+ (Young Adults).

2.    What is the best writing tip you’ve ever been given?

Read a lot - and extremely widely!

3.    What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being a children’s writer?

The best thing is the enthusiastic readers, who want to engage with the author. The worst thing is that certain structural changes in children's publishing are...challenging! That's all I'll say...

4.    Do you have a writer’s survival kit, eg a place, thing or snack essential before you can start work?

I write at my desk, but don't have to (it does have a nice big monitor). But really, if I have my lovely, lovely laptop I can write anywhere.

5.    What was your biggest breakthrough?

Meeting my agent, who gave me a whole new insight into the nature of children's books that helped shape the Joshua Files.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Mark for such a lovely, thoughtful write-up and for the wonderful photos. Not to say the honour of letting me spend your birthday doing Joshua Files events with you! MG x

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