WONDERFUL WHITLEY BAY

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 28th, 2018 10:37 am Comments Off on WONDERFUL WHITLEY BAY

A very busy week ahead of us, we headed up to the NE to seek out the newly refurbished Spanish City area in non other than Whitley Bay – a haunt of some of our most favourite schools!

Seaton Sluice, Valley Gardens and Whytrig…all brilliant middle schools, and a smaller primary school mid-week, St Teresa’s RC Primary, made for a hectic but fantastic week in this lovely part of the world.

The ‘Mokee Joe Finale Presentation’ was performed at each of these schools and to say the audiences were enthusiastic and receptive is an understatement! We had a fab time at each school and returned to our hotel feeling a great sense of fulfilment.  One evening  I was in such a good mood I put on my running gear and headed off down the promenade to St Mary’s lighthouse! It was a stunning run on the way there, but on the way back black clouds suddenly moved in off the sea and I got drenched! C’est la Vie!

            Great coffee and cake!

Some great moments during the week both in and out school! Of course visits to our favourite coffee shops…Coastline up near Seaton Sluice and Crusoes…always a stop-off after Valley Gardens. And Marshalls in Tynemouth for the best-ever fish and chips!

…And will we ever forget Molly at St Teresa’s being chased by yours truly dressed as Mokee Joe!  When cornered, she stopped dead, turned round and ordered me to ‘WAIT!’ as she calmly returned to her place. Exactly what Molly would have done in the Mokee Joe adventures!  (We didn’t even know the girl was called Molly when we picked her to come on stage…spooky!)

Will we ever forget the MASSIVE audience of Years 5 and 6 at Valley Gardens…along with the staff

Love the seaside views from Crusoes!

they joined in and made the presentation truly memorable for all the right reasons. Can we ever thank Pauline enough for helping us in so many ways. She seemed to ‘wear so many hats’, one of them being librarian and organising a huge book-signing with perfect precision.  She also ran the first aid department and was later seen wearing her high-viz clothing to go out on duty! Of course, it was also great to join forces again with our good friend Jon Roys from Rotherham, who helped organise the presentation with his usual cool and totally efficient approach! Good on yer Jon!!

Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval (Whytrig)…full of keen fans and avid readers and so easy to get along with. Both book-signings were an absolute pleasure. And on our last day it was ‘Children in Need’ day and Whytrig threw themselves into it totally!  We were so impressed by the school’s effort to make this day the special one it deserves to be!

Many thanks to all our friends and fans in the NE…we will be back soon with the new book and we just know you’re gonna luv it!!

PJM

 

LUVLY JUBLY!

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 19th, 2018 5:01 pm Comments Off on LUVLY JUBLY!

Three ‘cracking’ schools…three fab experiences…hopefully for our audiences as much as for us! We had the best time ever with Herringthorpe Juniors, Sir Edmund Hillary Primary and Pheasant Bank Academy. Luvly Jubly!

Let’s start with Herringthorpe Juniors – VERY local to the setting of the Mokee Joe books. In fact the hero of the books, Hudson Brown, lives very close to the school on Tennyson Road. His best friend and co-hero, Molly Stevens, lives on nearby Browning Road. Our KS2 audience could hardly believe it!  We entertained the juniors with two separate performances, lower KS2 followed after break by upper KS2. Due to this arrangement, the presentations were extremely fast and both audiences and myself hardly had time to take a breath! Things must have gone down well, because the book-signing the next day seemed endless; so many eager fans desperate to read the books! I was even accosted (in a nice way!) by a very eager parent in the office area, so excited to get her hands on the latest and final Mokee Joe book. It turned out she had been a Year 4 during one of my first school visits at the beginning of my author career and had the rest of the books! It was both very flattering and, at the same time, it made me realise how old I’m getting! Time stops for no-one…not even the author of Mokee Joe!

Sir Edmund Hillary Primary next, in Worksop. We visit this school every two years to see Years 5 and 6. We are always guaranteed a great time, so many lovely pupils and staff giving us a great reception. No Mokee Joe this time! We presented Scabbajack, Ten O’ Clock Caller and my recently resurrected collection of spooky stories, PS13. The presentation went down a storm, as did a workshop in the afternoon with Year 5 on ‘How to write a seriously, scary short story’ (good alliteration!).  Again, a fab book-signing the next day with so many avid readers waiting to digest the books. Thanks to everyone…see you all again in two years time!

A-maze-ing library!
A-maze-ing library helpers!

As if the week hadn’t gone well enough already, our last visit of the week was more than special! Pheasant Bank Academy in Rossington, near Doncaster, is responsible for inspiring my very next book!  Will we ever forget the display of blood-red blooms lining the car park during our first visit to this great school some time ago! The blood-red blooms in question were poppies and the mystery of how they got there sent my brain and imagination into overdrive to come up with a gripping, action-packed story themed on World War One. Of course the story has to be spooky to fit in with my genre, and believe me it really is! Miss Robinson was more than keen to allow me to use the name of her school in the book and to even to use her own name as the fictitious head of the school. I thought this was very brave of her as she hasn’t read the narrative yet and has no idea what she gets up to!  On this occasion, though, our visit was to officially open the new school library and in addition to throw in a ‘little’ presentation to all 350 + of her amazing KS2 juniors.  Once again we loved it and everyone seemed to have a great time. The library was opened just prior to the book-signing the next day and I was more than pleased to cut the ribbon alongside her VERY willing band of library helpers. The school and library have to be seen to be believed…wonderfully painted walls everywhere depicting different time eras…all down to the talents of a wonderful artist who we’ve had the pleasure of meeting on previous occasions at Whetley Academy in Bradford, a school in the same trust as Pheasant Bank (Delta Trust).

I shall be keeping in touch with Pheasant Bank Academy over the coming months in preparation for the publication of my new book (title still a secret!) and looking very much forward to launching the book there around September next year.   I have a meeting planned with Paul Davies, our brilliant cover artist, in a few weeks time and I just know he is going to come up with my best book cover yet! All very exciting!

Watch this space!

PJM

THANK YOU RICHARD COATES PRIMARY

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 10th, 2018 6:20 pm Comments Off on THANK YOU RICHARD COATES PRIMARY

I was so pleased to be handed a wad of lovely letters from fans at Richard Coates Primary School a few weeks ago. Having just got round to reading them – I’m even more pleased! A HUGE ‘thank you’ to:

…Grace, Zac, Ivy, William. L, Evie, Ava, Mya, Max, Ewan, Charlie, Gabriel…and to someone who forgot to sign their name!

Every letter was well-written, full of complements (great!) and so many questions! Far too many questions to answer, but the most popular question seemed to be ‘What is your favourite book?’ so I’ll answer that one and say I have loved writing every one of them, but the very first book is always special to an author…so I will say ‘Mokee Joe is Coming!’ has to be my favourite.

I read the letters in my office, right beneath my Mokee Joe framed poster. (See

One of my lovely letters from Richard Coates fans.

pic). I’ve also taken a picture of one of the letters to see if the writer can identify it?

Well…thank you again at Richard Coates for taking the trouble to get in touch and I hope to see you very soon with my brand new book; it should be out by next September. Watch this space, as they say!

Bye…

PJM

 

VIP TREATMENT IN LUTON

This post was written by peterjmurray on November 1st, 2018 7:16 pm Comments Off on VIP TREATMENT IN LUTON

Next stop, Denbigh High School – old friends of ours! Hence the VIP treatment and a parking space reserved for us on our arrival! VERY much appreciated!

    VIP treatment at Denbigh High

Over 250 Year 7’s sat for most of the morning listening to me rave on and on about our super-scary stories, and just in time for Halloween. Excellent! As usual, the Denbigh audience sat in nerve-shredding silence, frustration growing as I left them on a string of ‘cliff-hanger’ endings. After a well-received lunch, we were back in our favourite place – the school library. Two workshops passed at lightning speed and I have to say that I particularly enjoyed chatting to seven Year 8 boys about my books and reading in general. They, like everyone else, were a delight to be with. Denbigh High School is always a pleasure to visit and our thanks go to the pupils and staff for giving us the usual high level of hospitality during our stay. A special vote of thanks to Mr Amjad for looking after us so well and ensuring everything passed smoothly. See you all the book-signing on Friday.

Final visit of the week was to Putteridge High School…a school new to us. Around 180 Year 7’s this time…a good few less than the previous two Luton schools; but what they lacked in number they more than made up for in enthusiasm and attentiveness! The atmosphere during the presentation was ‘electric’ to say the least. Lots of  great interaction and stacks of correct answers to our questions resulted in a good number of free bookmarks being awarded to an ever-growing number of fans!

…So another BIG thank you to all at Putteridge High School for providing a fab end to our Luton Week and to Ms Jablonska for being the perfect hostess. We can’t wait to see you all again. We sincerely hope this is the beginning of a long and lasting author-school relationship…but only if you are brave enough!

PJM

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