Archive for the ‘raves’ Category
Posted on April 22, 2014 - by MG
Y’all know what a ma-hoosive geek I am. Blake’s 7, Doctor Who, Thunderbirds, to say nothing of X-Files, Babylon 5, Star Trek DS9, Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I’ve been to conventions, written fan fiction, edited and published a fanzine, stalked actors to the stage door, yes, I admit it all.
Never done filking or cosplay, but that’s a general rule in life. I’m the one who turns up to the fancy dress party in my own clothes. (Except when my hosts lend me an outfit…) Effort.
So IMAGINE MY JOY to be invited to not one but TWO scif-fi conventions this year already, to discuss the exciting new project GERRY ANDERSON’S GEMINI FORCE ONE!
The first was BritSciFi at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Jamie and I did a Q+A about GF1, showed a whizzy presentations with videos and images (some secret, for now!) and I read an as-yet unreleased excerpt of the final manuscript for BLACK HORIZON to a small but very receptive audience (thank you for that, Anderfans!).
I then dashed off to sit in the audience of the Blake’s 7 panel discussion over in another room, apparently having missed some shenanigans in which one actor objected vigorously to having photos taken by members of the audience.
After spending time in Anderson Alley, exhibition space devoted to the shows and models of the worlds of Gerry’s shows, I then spent an absolutely delightful evening in the company of Jackie and Diane from Horizon, the official Blake’s 7 fan club, to which I was a signed up member in the 1980s and 90s.
Then this last weekend, was the very exciting first ever Anderson Entertainment convention – ANDERCON – dedicated to all of Gerry Anderson’s marvellous productions. Even more excitement for me as I finally met and hung out (!) with many Anderfans that I’ve met via Facebook, brilliant backers of our Kickstarter campaign for GF1, as well as the wonderful Andrew Probert, Hollywood designer extraordinaire, who has been working with Team Gemini to bring Gerry’s ideas for the design of GF1 to reality.
Like BritSciFi, Andercon was run by Mark Dando and Tom Huang of Basestar, which was brilliant because these two guys are totally charming and exactly the guys you want to see when you arrive at a convention. I must admit that I was blown away with the whole look-and-feel of the convention. All the exhibition spaces and the lobby were decorated with wonderfully presented artwork, photos of Gerry, original art, photos and graphics from the shows. It was easy to see how wraparound the Anderson universe could easily be – an Anderson theme park wouldn’t have a single boring corner. (WHY ISN’T THERE ONE?)
I didn’t have too much time available, so I decided to spend it as much as possible with fans, collaborators like Andrew Probert, Henry Gewanter (our press supremo), Dave from IDOTV (who designed one of the Easter egg websites for GF1 as well as more to come…), Phil Ford, lead writer for TV shows NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET,SARAH JANE ADVENTURES and DOCTOR WHO. Even my literary agent Robert Kirby managed a supportive swing-by to attend our GF1 event and to chat.
There was real excitement for me in the green room (where I hung out with the TERRAHAWKS team, comicbook artist Lee Sullivan and the actual Nicholas Parsons yes!), as well as Matt Zimmerman (THUNDERBIRDS) and Dave Graham (Parker!), and Georgina Moon from UFO (Uncle Johny! I met Georgina Moon! She’s lovely. )
There are lots of photos and some videos on the Andercon 2014 Facebook page. I now have a lovely collection of photos of puppets and models. Gorgeous! (I wanted to play with them!)
Anyway, I guess this post is probably a bit tiresome by now. I went to some cons and you didn’t, right?
Well, what do you expect? I was getting my geek on good and proper.
Posted on March 7, 2014 - by MG
So far I’ve been to three. (I know, lucky!) First up was Jo Cotterill’s LOOKING AT THE STARS, which was the loveliest cake party packed with other kids authors from Oxford and the environs as well as a bunch of Oxford school’s loveliest librarian. All-round kidlit sugary goodness to celebrate an actually rather serious book about a girl who uses story-telling to help her comfort her family and to survive a harrowing journey of exile.
Then last week, to get down for the first book of Robert Muchamore’s new series ROCK WAR (the link is to an interview he did on the BBC about the new books). The Rock War launch was a rollicking rock and roll party in Camden with invites mocked up as classy rock-concert tickets. Little Daughter and I went with another mother-and-daughter couple, friends from Oxford. The tweens strutted their stuff amongst the hordes of other young people while Clare and I looked wistfully at the buffet table of goodies and wished we maybe hadn’t just stuffed our faces with yummy Chinese street food of yumminess. We also chatted to all the other kids authors who were there, this time the London lot. Robert was busy all evening signing books and taking photos with fans, announcing his imminent retirement, probably, until he decides to launch a comeback.
As exciting as all this was, it wasn’t until the last day of the month that it reached the highlight of book launches, probably for the rest of my year. Because my dear friend Sarah Hilary, a friend since our teenage years, was finally and spectacularly published by Headline with the blisteringly good detective thriller – SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN.
We were probably fourteen years old when we met for the first time. It was outside the stage door of the Rex Theatre in Wilmslow, where we’d both come (alone) to see our favourite actor from TV series Blakes 7, Paul Darrow, starring opposite Rula Lenska in Mr. Fothergill’s Murder. So taken by this event was I that I ended up recreating the scene in what is technically my first novel, the post-modern, experimental Blakes 7 fanfic novel, BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH. (Come on, every writer has a po-mo experimental fanfic novel in the drawer, admit it.)
After having our hearts set a-flutter by meeting the sexy Mr Darrow at the peak of his handsomeness, Sarah and I remained in touch.
From the beginning, Sarah made it clear that she wanted to be a writer. I, on the other hand, had swapped that very early ambition for another, possibly more difficult one – being a film director. We lived quite far apart in Manchester so saw each other intermittently over the next few years, principally to get together to watch Blakes 7. We went to college, the relationship became one of correspondence. Sarah was writing an original screenplay. She was writing an adaptation of a Philip K Dick book. My ambitions to become a film director had been thrown aside, this time for a career in science. Sarah, meanwhile, appeared to be studying something creative and getting on with the plan.
I was fairly certain that soon enough, I’d be seeing movies with Sarah’s name attached as writer.
We grew into our twenties. And lost touch.
Fast forward to 2004. Sarah wrote to me via the website of the IT company I co-founded and where I worked. As it turned out, she lived close by in the Cotswolds, had a young daughter a year older than Little Daughter. We met up. Of course, my first question was – what happened to the writing. Sarah shrugged. She’d gone down the path of getting published – it hadn’t worked out. I’m thinking of trying it, I told her. Have an idea for a technothriller about the Mayan apocalypse in 2012. Good luck, she said, with honesty. It’s not easy to get published, but you should definitely try.
Then we talked about fan fiction. Sarah hadn’t spent years reading and writing fanfic, and was fascinated. Especially to hear that I’d gone cold-turkey on fandom, around 1997. (Yes that is how committed I was to getting published, I even gave up my hobby so that my mind would be clear of Blakes 7 and ready to develop original ideas. )
In the next few years, I began writing seriously. Sarah began to write fanfic. She was really, really good at it. Soon she began to write a literary novel. I loved her first manuscript. It certainly got agent attention. But the usual thing – not quite what they were looking for, difficult to find a market. It was a bit of a re-run of what Sarah had gone though years before. But this time, she didn’t give up. There we both were, bloody-minded and determined to get a book deal.
At Cadbury World, I told Sarah of my planned sequel to Failed Ms #1 – title THE FIFTH CODEX. This eventually became INVISIBLE CITY – my first published novel.
At an indoor kids playground in Carterton, Sarah and I chewed over her own progress with agents. It wasn’t happening. Why don’t you write crime? I said. You certainly know how to write violence and fear and suffering. Crime’s got a lot of that, hasn’t it? You’d be brilliant. Sarah wasn’t sure. I’m not sure I can do plot. One can learn how to do plot, I said, and anyway I think you can. Your books keep me up all night.
So began the Sisyphean task of breaking ground as a new crime author. I won’t pretend to know anything about the genre, except that Scandi stuff is popular, isn’t it? And a cool woman detective.
Finally, about two years ago, Sarah sent me something to read that she was hoping would get a book deal. If not, she was going to self-publish. That ms was SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN. When I finished it I emailed Sarah. I couldn’t imagine a world where this book wouldn’t get a book deal. It had everything a great crime novel should have – terrific structure, a wonderful twist, as well as what had been present in Sarah’s writing from the beginning – wonderful prose and characters. It was chewy, I remember telling Sarah. This one’s going to make it. Just wait.
And it did.
Posted on September 18, 2013 - by MG
Have you been watching my tweets and Facebook updates? If so, you may have seen some of the AMAZING progress made in the campaign to complete and launch an unfinished project by one of my heroes from childhood – Gerry Anderson. At the time of writing this, the wonderful Anderson fans have pledged £15,659 towards our target of £24,350.
In preparing to write GEMINI FORCE ONE, I had to do a lot of thinking. Not just about the plot but about how I, as a completely new writer to the project, would find my way into it. I’m not Gerry Anderson, after all. Even with the notes, audio fragments and chapters he’d left while working on the project in the last years of his life, it’s not the same as being able to talk to Gerry in person.
Before I could agree to take on the project, I had to know two things: something about Gerry’s inner reason for writing these stories. And to understand how they worked from the inside.
With the first thing: a writer doesn’t always know WHY they write about something. But talking to Gerry’s son Jamie, we were able to find reasons, from things that Gerry has said, and from things that have happened in his life, which may well be behind his particular fascination with the ‘formula’ behind so many of his TV shows.
(No I’m not going to tell you what we decided! That’s all part of the mysterious process by which we create!)
On the second issue, understanding how these stories work from the inside, I started to think about the parallels with my own work. A question I’m often asked is about my own influences. I make some guesses, but the truth is that a lifetime of influences go into a story. So with Joshua Files I may be conscious of trying to channel INDIANA JONES, JAMES BOND, THE BOURNE IDENTITY. But that’s not all that goes into the pot. You probably need to go earlier and younger into my set of influences.
When I sat down to think about it, there were many eerie similarities with THUNDERBIRDS and THE JOSHUA FILES. Things that no-one – including me – had spotted until now.
And I’m not the only one who owes a debt to Gerry Anderson…
Posted on June 7, 2013 - by MG
A rare return to the blog – I’ve not retired, simply retired to Twitter and Facebook, like so many bloggers. But once in a while, I may have a thought or experience that’s worthy of more than a fleeting comment on the world’s filter-free news-ticker.
(Actually, a few weeks ago I went to LA to research Secret New American Thing, a new book project about which I’m keeping quiet until various things are sorted out, but which IS DEFINITELY HAPPENING. 2014, sometime, probably summer. But more on that when I finally blog about SNAT.)
So last night I went off to That London to meet up with some of me lovely author pals, at the launch of the latest Jimmy Coates adventure by Mr Joe Craig – BLACKOUT. Live action trailer is below – looks amazing!
JIMMY COATES is a brilliant series of hi-tech action thrillers about a boy who learns he’s part of an experimental government program to ‘grow’ soldier-assassins using cyborgs that are also part-human. The killer cyborgs will activate when they reach eighteen. But Jimmy activates when he is just eleven. And that just ain’t right, boys and girls. So THEY are after him. Why did he activate young? (strokes fingers) A mystery. Who did this to Jimmy? (strokes chin) An enigma. Can he learn to master his cybernetic powers and control his urge to violence? (strokes cheeks) You’ll just have to buy the books!
Anyway, here are some party photos from the lovely children’s bookshop. Victoria Parks Books.
Finally, if you’re still reading this far, I’ll just say that Joe Craig, the multi-talented author of the JIMMY COATES books (he sings! he plays cricket! he interviews himself!), is a New Friend and that we have been Talking about a little project I used to call Quite Secret New Thing. Turns out that Joe too had a QSNT. Hmm. ‘I wonder’, we wondered, ‘what might happen if the two QSNTs were to meet?’
Posted on December 21, 2012 - by MG
Five to Doomsday – Day 4: What 3 books would you save from the apocalypse? Featuring Anthony Horowitz and Michael Grant
For today’s special Mayan apocalypse-themed post, I’ll be posing a dilemma faced by one of the characters in APOCALYPSE MOON.
(I won’t say which character, in case you haven’t read the book yet because it’s very spoiler-ish.)
When making a dash from their home to a doomsday-prepped retreat in the hills, this character brings certain books. But along the way they are robbed, have to bargain their way out of trouble etc. Sometimes books are traded for their burn value. In the end , only THREE books can be saved. In APOCALYPSE MOON, those three books turn out to be highly significant to the story.
I put that question to Anthony Horowitz, Michael Grant and Junot Diaz, three authors whose books I admire, and who’ve written (or are writing) novels featuring post-apocalyptic mayhem.
Junot Diaz replied with a charmingly mis-typed message from the Dominican Republic: Pita. In dr. No email. Typing tid on cel phone. Have to skip. Please forgive.
So I’m stepping in as the third author to add my selections to Anthony’s and Michael’s. The only rule was this – the books you choose to save must be in your house right now.
In case you’ve been living on another planet for the past few years, Michael’s fantastic GONE series features a thrilling, paranoid world in which everyone over the age of 15 has simply GONE. The kids of Perdido Beach, CA are left to duke it out amongst themselves. But the phenomenon that spirits away everyone over their 15th birthday has made its impact elsewhere too. Mayhem, action, politics and romance are only part of the result. Think Lord of the Flies meets X-Men.
Again, for those currently living in the International Space Station, Anthony’s POWER OF FIVE series is a modern-day epic fantasy in which an ancient threat that once dominated the Earth now looms on our horizon. Only five teenagers – the reincarnation of ancient guardians who once banished the evil Old Ones – stand between us and oblivion. But what’s this? – the final book is titled OBLIVION. Which I guess tells us that the Power of Five needs that extra final push. I’ve been saving this one to read over the Christmas/New Year break.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William Schirer. This is the best history of the rise and fall of Hitler and the Nazis that I’ve ever read and a vital lesson to future generations. It’s an extraordinary examination of the nature of evil and one we all have to understand if we’re not going to repeat it.