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We have had the most amazing few days at Pheasant Bank Academy and Mary Swanwick Primary School. It’s been nothing short of fantastic and to say that Kath and I now feel well and truly back into the swing of things is an understatement!

Beautiful Display at Pheasant Bank Academy

Pheasant Bank Academy holds a special place for us (and always will!). It’s where we were inspired to write my POPPY WARRIOR book, and it was great to see that the display boards in the school are still testament to this fact. The headteacher at that time was Mrs Pippa Robinson (a very good friend of ours); she has now moved on to Serlby Park Academy where we visited recently. Her successor as Head to Pheasant Bank is another good friend, Mr Ryan Schofield (both he and Mrs Robinson are real characters in the book). On this visit we decided to present the Mokee Joe books to Years 5 and 6. To make the visit even more interesting, our son, Simon, the author of Icky Doo Dah, visited Years 3 and 4 on the same day. WOW! The Murrays well and truly took over the school for the day and Mr Schofield and his staff hosted us like true VIP’s. A massive ‘thank you’ to them all. The pupils at the school are devoted fans to our books, and the subsequent book signings seemed to take forever! But no one is complaining! This is what authors like me need to inspire more writing and more visits. Keen fans like the Pheasant Bank pupils are our ‘bread and butter’!

Some of the many highlights of the visit:

  1. The super-fast contact to my website by a super-fan, Teagan. I also replied super-fast, so the both of us were more than super-pleased!
  2. Will we ever forget Max! He was so keen to get his hands on a Mokee Joe book 1 translated into Spanish, that he went home and wrote out and practised giving me some nice complements for my work in Spanish! How could I refuse signing the Spanish version of book 1 after that. WELL DONE, MAX!
  3. One of the teachers commented on a boy sat in a quiet corner of the playground reading the first Mokee Joe book in the full set of books he’d just purchased. The teacher told us that the boy in question does not normally have any interest in books and reading! How special is that!!

Thanks to everyone again at Pheasant Bank Academy. We WILL be back!!

From Pheasant Bank Academy, it was quickly off and onto the M1 heading south for Chesterfield. Our newly-acquired Scabbajack

Tight Covid restrictions at Mary Swanwick Primary!

and Dawn Demons fans were waiting with baited breath to get their hands on signed copies of the books. We love visiting Mary Swanwick Primary. Apart from the school being haunted and and providing added inspiration for my Poppy Warrior book, the pupils are great lovers of my spooky scary books and very brave in going for what I consider to be the two scariest books of the 17 books I’ve written. Very brave!

We signed loads of books and just in time for the weekend so that these keen pupils could bury their heads in them! I was so touched when one girl told me that she’d set the timer on her watch to count down the time to me being back to sign a book for her. That is such a complement. Who says that kids these days are not interested in books! Try telling her that!

Big thanks to all of the lovely staff, and especially to Miss Law for hosting us. We will keep in touch and be back before long. We’ve already pencilled in a Bonebreaker presentation for the not-too-distant future. See you all soon.


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