Thursday, 22 July 2021

The Flip Side (for Fiction Express)

In September I will be writing my latest book for Fiction Express. Writing a book for them is always an exciting and challenging thing to do. Unlike other books that I write, Fiction Express readers from around the world get involved in the creative process as the story progresses over five chapters. 

The first chapter is written and ready to go live, but other than that, I only have the roughest of ideas as to what will happen in the rest of the book. Each chapter ends with a question for the reader - in this case, Chapter One ends by asking the reader what the main character has just seen. I have given them three options to choose from. The option that gets the most votes gives me the start of the next chapter. Each option is significantly different and will completely change what happens next. I know that it would be possible for me to give three options that effectively result in the same thing, but I prefer to make it more interesting (and slightly more difficult for myself) by keeping it more open. 

Another thing that makes writing these books different is the fact that I am able to communicate with readers on an interactive forum. I can post questions for them to answer and they can ask me questions, give me their opinion on what they have read, and also offer suggestions for things to include in the following chapters. It's great being able to include reader's ideas and suggestions in the story - and always interesting to hear what they think.

You can find out more about Fiction Express by visiting their website HERE 

There's a few weeks to go but I'm already looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Neil Armstrong

On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. You can find out more about Neil Armstrong, and how he became an astronaut in my History Heroes book.

Did you know … he could fly an aeroplane before he could drive a car?

You can find this book in your local library or 

Buy From Amazon


Monday, 19 July 2021

Working and Walking

At the moment I'm busy working on the first of a new series of books - I'd love to tell you all about it but right now it's TOP SECRET so I can;t say anything about it.  i can say that the books are full of action and adventure and some really cool characters. Hopefully i will be able to tell you more very soon. 

It's been strange not being able to go and visit schools and libraries for the past year - hopefully that will all change when schools open again in September.

In the mean time, Vicky and I have been going out for little walks each weekend... We've been along the coast and up an few hills. There's lots of beautiful places to see and visit here in Wales, so we've been making the most of it and getting out and about when whenever we can. 

Here are pictures from our last walk which was up the Snowdon Watkin Path. The path took us uphill by the side of the stream with bridges and lots of waterfalls. This stone bridge was quite narrow ....


... and the water beneath was surprising deep.


 The water was crystal clear and very cold.. Vicky and I couldn't resist going in for a little swim in this pool (it's a good job we took our swimming costumes and towels..  It was very deep and my feet didn't touch the bottom. Did I say how cold it was?? Really cold... but lots of fun. 

That's all for now but come back soon and I will have more news about what I'm doing and where we've been. 


Thursday, 11 March 2021

Moss Park Infant School - Manchester

 

 A huge HELLO to everyone at Moss Park Infant School in Manchester. I hope that you all have a fantastic time today celebrating your World Book Day.


I had a great time meeting everyone and sharing stories last year - I'm only sorry that I couldn't come again today. Hopefully I will be visiting school again later in the year though so I look forward to seeing you all then. I've got lots of new stories to share.

Bye for now and have a great day!!!

Happy Reading...

Thursday, 4 March 2021

The Legend of Gelert (and where ideas come from)

Today is World Book Day and normally I would be in a school or library somewhere talking about books, reading and writing. This year is different of course, so I thought I would write something here about being a writer and getting ideas for stories. 

Ideas and inspiration can come to you at any time - though not always when you are sat at your desk. Sometimes you need to go out and about in search of inspiration. Seeing new things and visiting new places is a great way to feed your creative mind. Sometimes a walk in your local park or along a public footpath is all that's needed - but sometimes you need to go a little further. 

My book 'Gelert the Brave' was published in August last year. The story of Gelert is a famous and much loved Welsh folk tale. I have heard people tell the story a few times and I thought it would be nice to write my own version of it for young readers to read and hopefully take it to a wider audience (although it's very well known in Wales, it isn't as well known everywhere else). I was very keen to make a good job of the story as I knew how much people in Wales loved it so I wanted to make sure that it was as accurate as it could be. I could have just read another version of the story and then re-written it, but I wanted to do a little more than that. So I decided to do a bit of research...

Early one morning, Vicky and I set off to visit the beautiful village of Beddgelert, in Snowdonia. Legend has it that this place is named after the famous dog, Gelert. (Beddgelert translates to 'The Grave of Gelert'.) Beddgelert is a very popular tourist attraction and thousands of people visit each year so that they can see the place where the legendary dog is buried. It was damp and cloudy on the day of our visit so thankfully it wasn't too busy.

Walking along a pathway that would take us
to Gelert's grave we spotted a friendly cat sitting by the churchyard... he seemed to be looking out for something and I couldn't help wonder what it might be. An idea for a story popped into my head 'The Graveyard Cat'. Now what do you think that could be about?

Beddgelert is a beautiful and atmospheric place. It was very peaceful - just the thing you want to fill the creative part of your brain.

Gelert was a brave and faithful hound, the favourite of of Prince Llewelyn the Great. One morning, when the prince goes hunting, Gelert can't be found, so, sadly, the Prince goes off without him. When he returns, the Prince mistakenly thinks that Gelert has done something terrible. The story has a sad ending and a strong message - but I'm not going to tell you any more than that. I will let you read about it for yourself.

The place where Gelert is buried is marked with a stone. The prince wanted to make sure that everyone would remember how brave he was. 

The flat stones you can see in front give a simple account of the story of Gelert - one in English and one in Welsh.

Further along the path is a statue of Gelert himself, standing guard in the ruins of an old farmhouse or farm building. 

 

 I am sure that I could have got all I needed to write the story by simply reading about it, but going out and seeing things for yourself definitely helps. The more you see and experience the better your writing will be. Every place you visit gives you ideas for settings for your stories. Your own imagination can conjure up amazing things and the things you have seen, felt and smelt adds to it. Do you think you could write about how it feels to walk in bare feet on the sand if you had never done it yourself?

Doing research for a story can be a lot of fun - not only can you look on the internet, but you can read other books on the subject and visit places for yourself. All of these things will help to give you ideas and keep your imagination topped up.

This is a book I bought whilst at Beddgelert. This was very useful as it told the story of Gelert and also gave information about the place itself. 

After visiting Beddgelert, reading the book and doing some research on the internet, I was finally ready to start writing. I wrote the story three or four times before I got it the way I wanted it - but there were still a few more little tweaks and changes to be made after that. It takes a while to get it right.

The illustrations for the book were done by a wonderful illustrator from Budapest called Janos Orban. It's always exciting to see the illustrations as they really help bring the book to life.

If you want to read about Gelert and find out why he is so brave, you can borrow the book from your local library or buy it from Amazon (or order it from your local book shop).

Perhaps you could write your own story about a brave pet.

What sort of pet would you choose?

What would your pet do that is brave?

(perhaps it helps someone).

Let me know about your brave pet story... I'd love to hear from you.

 

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Happy Anniversary to us

8 Years ago today, Vicky and I got married so I thought I would share a few pictures from the day with you. 
We should have been going away together for a few days but unfortunately - like everyone else - we can't go anywhere. We still have a nice day planned though and I definitely won't be doing any work.   


Monday, 26 October 2020

Virtual Visits

Over the past few months I've been very busy writing (I will tell you more about this later in the week) but it feels strange not going into schools and libraries to share stories and to talk about writing. I really love doing this and it is something that I am missing...

I'm delighted to announce that I am now available for Virtual Visits to you classrooms... I will be adding a new page to may website very soon which has more details about this but for now I can tell you that I will be able to share stories, talk about writing and being a writer, answer all of your questions and lots more... If you are interested in a Virtual Visit please get in touch by emailing me  author@damianharvey.co.uk