Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Review of Reviews

Time to review some reviews that have appeared for my new children's novel, Prankenstein.

Moontrug said:
The story is brilliantly funny – every page makes you chuckle, snigger, giggle, smile, snort and chortle – and the characters are larger-than-life: a Granny who thinks Soapy looked like Winston Churchill as a baby, a Mother who is terrified of having anything delicious, like jam, in the house, a nanny whose knickers get sewn together and BEST of all, The Twince – two Estonian twins with epic accents: ‘I can feel it in my bonce.’ 
Full review here.

Readaraptor said:
This was a very fun read with some hilarious bits dotted about and some great accompanying images.
Full review here

Read It Daddy said:
With a good dose of dark humour that put us in mind of David Walliams or Roald Dahl, Andy Seed's first book for Fat Fox Books, "Prankenstein" is a funny and original story that veers between a detective novel and a knockabout chaotic caper.
Full review here.

Treasury Islands said:
a well crafted, funny, and escapist read which I’d like to compare to David Walliams or Dav Pikey, if only doing so wouldn’t suggest Prankentstein was much lower quality than it is. 
Full review here

Wondrous Reads said:
Above all else, Prankenstein is very funny with a great turn of phrase. I pretty much laughed all the way through it, particularly at Soapy's flippant, sarcastic comments and blunt humour.
Full review here.

Fantastic Reads said:
This is a fun book for fans of a Horrid Henry seeking more challenge, or of Mr Gum...
Full review here.

Buy the book from Waterstones.
Or Amazon. But best of all from your local bookshop...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Prankenstein in here!

Imagine you could do any prank you wanted...

Now published!

Prankenstein, my first novel for children, is now out there in bookshops and is waiting for readers of 8-11 who like something funny, adventurous and fast-paced, with a mystery at the core. It's the story of Soapy, a boy who loves pranks but daren't play any for fear of his parents. When crazy pranks start happening all around him, Soapy sets out with his friends to investigate.

The three young detectives discover that the culprit is a strange, hairy creature full of mischief - but who is he, where did he come from and why is he doing these outrageous pranks? Soapy finds the answer and uncovers a shocking secret...

Reviews have now started appearing including this fabulous one from Treasury Islands:

You can read the rest of the review here.

The book includes some high quality illustrations by Richard Morgan:

Prankenstein was also chosen by The Sun newspaper as their recommended book for ten year-olds for their new Get Kids Reading campaign.

Here's a blog post about some of the pranks I did myself when younger, on the Federation of Children's Book Club Groups site.

And you can read more about Prankenstein here.
And buy it from Waterstones here.
Or Amazon here.

Beautiful Bath

Last weekend I was in beautiful Bath for the excellent Bath Children's Literature Festival. It's a big week-long book bash and all sorts of people were there from Horrid Henry to Nice Henry Winkler and Tom Gates (well, Liz Pichon, his creator). I really enjoyed performing at my own Seriously Silly Stuff event to a great audience - there were only a few seats left and we all had lots of laughs based around the content of The Silly Book. Well done to those kids brave enough to get on stage and do a knock-knock joke with me.

Bath is really a lovely city and I recommend the Abbey and the parks in addition to the splendid Georgian crescents. The Lit Fest is not to be missed for kids - great programme.

Ryedale Book Festival is coming...

Next weekend, the 11/12 October is Ryedale Book Festival here in sunny North Yorks, based in the historic market town of Malton. It's a great little festival with a lot going on (Michael Morpurgo is there this year) - you can see the full programme here.

I will be doing an event this year as usual too: SERIOUSLY SILLY STUFF (as performed at Bath) - it's at Saville St Chapel, Malton on Sunday 12 Oct 2-3pm. Aimed at ages 7-11, there will be loads of laughs, jokes, funny true stories and poems. Everyone who comes will also get a free joke shop novelty or moustache pencil too! Tickets are just £2 on the door. It's a great chance to get a signed book.
Finally, the winners and runners up of the fabulous P-FACTOR schools' poetry comp will be performing there too. Not to be missed.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Free joke shop goodies!

If you live in the York area and you have kids aged 7-12 then here's a wonderful free treat for them on Sunday 7th September. Best-selling author Andy Seed will be having a book launch for his new funny novel Prankenstein in York and will be giving away two free joke shop novelties to every child who comes along.

Kids get two of these FREE!
The event will be held at Love Cheese cafe, Gillygate, York and will feature a fun prank workshop by Andy where he will talk about (harmless) pranks, pranks he has done and about his fab new book Prankenstein, all about a boy's search for a prank-playing monster. The event is free and lasts about 50 minutes. There are three times available: 11am, 12 noon and 1pm. Parents can book their children in by calling the cafe on 01904 622967. The cafe will provide free refreshments for all children booked in.

Andy will be signing copies of his new book at the event too - don't miss out!

Friday, 15 August 2014


A competition for children with a special prize

Kids, can you come up with a zany new prank?  Children’s publisher Fat Fox Books is holding a competition for children aged 7-12 to create a brilliant idea for a funny practical joke. The competition is to celebrate the publication of a new children’s book, Prankenstein, by Andy Seed on 1st September.

Three competition winners will receive a big bag of joke shop novelties including classics such as rubber worms, chopped finger, whoopee cushion, loaded dice, fake doggy-doo and squirt ring, plus a signed copy of Prankenstein. In addition, the overall winner will have their prank included in the second book in the series: a fantastic opportunity to be published!

Prankenstein tells the story of Soapy Thompson, a cheese-allergic boy whose Granny is shot through her roof by a mysterious creature who has supercharged her stair lift. Soapy and his friends track down the culprit, only to discover something truly shocking. This funny and fast-paced tale is the first novel by Andy Seed and one of Fat Fox's two launch titles.

How to enter the competition 

Children should write down their prank in no more than 50 words and email it, with parent/carer’s permission, to competitions@fatfoxbooks.com. The closing date is 1st September 2014. Sixty finalists will be invited to a special free event at Love Cheese café, Gillygate, York on 7th September for a Prank Presentation with Andy Seed where the winners will be announced. All finalists will receive free joke shop novelties and delicious cheese snacks at the cafe. 

Please note that prizes will only be awarded at the York event so parents/carers will need to ensure that their children can attend this event and arrange travel at their own expense. Full rules are below.

Pen a Prank competition rules

The Pen a Prank competition is to come up with an idea for a funny new prank or practical joke. Entrants should not use existing or well-known pranks, but invent their own original idea. The prank should be imaginative and can involve anything as long as it is theoretically ‘do-able’.
  1. Only one entry per child.
  2. Entrants must be aged 7-12 on 1st September 2014
  3. Entries must be sent by email to competitions@fatfoxbooks.com
  4. Entries must be 50 words maximum.
  5. Closing date 1st Sept 2014.
  6. The child’s name (first name and surname) should be included with the entry.
  7. Children must have permission of their parent or carer to enter.
  8. Entries must not be offensive or dangerous.
  9. It is advisable for children to ask an adult to check their entry for clarity.
  10. Sixty finalists will be chosen to attend a free Prank Presentation event at the Love Cheese café in Gillygate, York on 7th Sept 2014 at either 11am, 12 noon or 1pm. Each finalist will be given two free joke shop novelties and refreshments from the café including cheese snacks. Finalists will be informed by email and asked to confirm if they can attend. Parents/carers can attend but note that space is limited. The event will last approx 50 mins. Finalists will need to provide their own transport to the venue. Prizes cannot be posted.
  11. Three winners will be announced for the best three prank ideas as chosen by author Andy Seed who will host the Prank Presentation event. Each of these will receive a bag of joke shop novelties and a signed copy of Andy’s book Prankenstein.
  12. One overall winner from the above three will be chosen. The overall winner will have his/her prank idea included in the second book in the Prankenstein series subject to editorial approval.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Never be bored again

Wow, what a summer! First of all, the Tour de Schools tour (described by one teacher as the best visiting performance he'd ever seen in a school) finished in style with a great show at an Ikley primary followed by a fun cabaret performance at the White Rose Book Cafe in Thirsk. Then I dashed to the car, drove to the Dales and spent a truly memorable day on Saturday 5th watching Le Tour in beautiful Swaledale where there was a terrific atmosphere of fun and enthusiasm. The sun shone and the race itself was amazing.

Since then I have been busy promoting The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff at events and bookshops. I've had some wonderful feedback from readers and the reviews have been fantastic. As well as being reviewed on CBBC (see previous post) it's had two reviews in the Guardian (here and here).

Numerous other reviews include these:
The Swallow's Nest
Wondrous Reads
What Lexie Loves

Big Book Bash
I've just returned from the lovely town of Matlock where the excellent Derbyshire Big Book Bash 2014 took place. This is a special event for children in care and their families and is funded by the admirable Derbyshire County Council. No less than eight children's authors and illustrators were there including Cathy Cassidy, Alan Gibbons and Robert Crowther, meister of pop-ups. I ran two sessions and really enjoyed them. The organisers and volunteers deserve a huge cheer for all the work put in.

The Anti-Boredom Book is almost here!
I was delighted to receive an advance copy of my next book, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do published by Bloomsbury. It's launched on 31st July so very soon and it looks ACE:

The design team that produced The Silly Book have done another top job and once more the talented Scott Garrett's illustrations are witty and enhance the contents so well. Inside you'll find an amazing array of fun things to do from amusing talking games to wacky mini-quizzes, things to score and challenges to face. It is GUARANTEED to keep boredom at bay for any kid of 8-12 this summer and beyond. Pre-order from you local bookshop pleeeease, but if you live all rural then here's an Amazon link.

Events coming up 2014

Sat 26th July - The Deer Shed Festival, near Thirsk
Come along and join in Andy's Silly Fun Workshop (details here)

Sat 2nd August - Book signing at Waterstones Northallerton
Get a signed copy of All Teachers Bright and Beautiful, or the Anti-Boredom Book or Silly Book for kids: 10am-12 noon

Wed 3rd Sept - Prankenstein launch
The exciting launch of Andy's first novel for children: details to follow

Sat 20th Sept - Book Signing at Waterstones York
Come along to their shiny new store and get a special free gift plus a signed copy of The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, The Anti-Boredom Book or Prankenstein! 1-3pm

Sat 27th Sept - Bath Kids Literature Festival
Booking is essential for Andy's fun workshop, Seriously Silly Stuff (details here) 3.15-4pm

Sat October 4th - Book signing at Waterstones Northallerton
Get a signed copy of All Teachers Bright and Beautiful, or the Anti-Boredom Book or Silly Book for kids: 10am-12 noon

Sunday October 12th - Ryedale Book Festival
A fun children's event - details to follow: Festival website.

Sat 25th Oct - Talk at Starbeck Library, Harrogate
An entertaining talk for adults about Andy's teaching experiences in the Dales (afternoon)

And finally, back to Le Tour
Here's my poem celebrating the race coming to Yorkshire:

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Silly and Busy

Le Tour continues...
May has been exciting. First of all the Tour de Schools Show has been out and about travelling around Yorkshire Schools and getting lots of laughs and enthusiastic responses from children and teachers. It would be good to have some photos but, despite asking several times, no one ever sends us any! In the mean time here's me with my yellow jersey and Chris Froome's helmet from his 2013 Tour de France win.

The bike is the same model used by naughty Lance Armstrong
The Silly Book launches
I had a fun time at Amotherby Primary School launching The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff. I dedicated the book to the staff and children of my excellent local school and they were delighted. BBC Radio York did a very good piece about it, interviewing six children. About 70 children bought the book and they've been enjoying it since. I love this photo - a rare non-posed one - taken by a local press photographer:

How it should be...
The Silly Book is published by Bloomsbury and you can buy it for less than £5 from various places including tax-paying shops and Amazon.
In case you don't know it's a collection of funny facts about silly people, inventions, animals and more, along with silly jokes and poems. Perfect for ages 8-14.
Oh, and CBBC presenter Hacker reviewed the book at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/faq/book-club-silly

 The first time I've been reviewed by a mutt!
AND there's a taste of the book on Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/bloomsburypublishing/9-silly-british-laws-from-bygone-days-fmox

The Anti-Boredom Book is coming
The Silly Book has a sister, published in August, also by the lovely Bloomsbury. The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do is full of amusing games to play, puzzles, fun quizzes, interesting things to do on long journeys and excellent ways to pass the time. The cover has just been released and it's top quality:

Out in August

Pre-order this fab book from your local indie store or from you-know-where here.

All Teachers Book 3 paperback
The popular 'All Teachers' trilogy of memoirs about my days as a young village school teacher in the Yorkshire Dales back in the 1980s is now complete with the imminent release on 5th June of the third paperback: All Teachers Bright and Beautiful. I'm talking to the Yorkshire Post about the book tomorrow and will be doing a signing at the very good White Rose Bookshop in Thirsk on Saturday 7th June from 10.30-11.30am.

The final book in the series

If you like a good true story, enjoy a laugh and a bit of Yorkshire nostalgia, don't miss this book. Amazon are selling it here but buy it from your local shop, do.

Finally, Mike Barfield and I have been to some wonderful Primary Schools for our Tour de France already: Riccall and South Milford last week were lovely, friendly places, but Northfield Primary in South Kirkby near Pontefract deserves a special mention: not only is the headteacher Liz Bradley a total superstar but this school has the most amazing staff bogs in the history of education. Eee, it's all changed since I were a teacher...

They know how to live in Pontefract...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Blog tour

An author I met recently in Bath (not a bath, I hasten to add), Mel Menzies, asked me recently if I'd like to be part of a blog tour. I have to confess I didn't know what she meant but a little explanation made it all clear. A chain of authors write some interesting answers to the questions below then link to two more authors in their post. Sounds easy, so let's give it a go!
The tour was the idea of author Fay Sampson so well done, Fay.

What am I working on?
I'm actually working on several books at the moment - it's an amazingly busy year. But since the one foremost in my mind is my first children's novel, Prankenstein, I'll focus on that. 
For some time I've wanted to write a story for kids that would appeal to the sort of child I was when I was about 10: something funny with a good story and a twist or two. I think there aren't enough novels out there that appeal to boys in particular (especially reluctant readers) so I've set out to do something about it. Prankenstein is the tale of a boy called Soapy who lives in an immaculate house under the thumb of a strict, safety-obsessed mother. He dreams of playing pranks but doesn't dare: the consequences are too awful to contemplate.
Then, after he spends a night at his granny's, Soapy's world is turned inside out: for a start, someone has turbo-charged her stairlift and shot her through the roof. Then, someone is playing incredible, outrageous pranks on his family, friends and neighbours, but who is it?
Soapy sets out with his Estonian pals Arvo and Loogi to investigate. They discover something truly shocking...
Prankenstein is published in September by a new name in publishing, Fat Fox. They are looking for new writers, BTW...

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Good question. There are a lot of children's novels out there and many good ones. I suppose one thing that sets it apart from a lot of books is the humour - I like wacky ideas and the sort of cheeky wordplay that gets kids giggling. But I also like a good story and I think Prankenstein doesn't veer off too far in the nutty stakes: the characters are believable, the settings realistic and there's enough tension and mystery and action to keep the reader turning pages (I hope!). So, I would say it's about finding that balance between humour, plot, intrigue, relevance and appeal.

Why do I write what I do?
Cor, these are tricksy questions for a Monday morning. Why do I.... Well, for a start I love writing humour and this book gave me the platform for using several comic ideas that I'd been playing around with for some time. My other great drive for getting this book out there was my strongly held belief that reading for pleasure is profoundly important for children. So many kids are losing an interest in reading and it's hardly surprising - just think how many distractions are there are today. It used to be just TV but now the web, video games, mobiles, handheld games, ipads, consoles... the list goes on. The other big factor is that so many parents don't read themselves.
So, books have to be spot on to appeal to children. My recent funny fact collection, The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff is another title written to grab those children who struggle with language (and thinking and school and all sorts) because they don't read.
But I also write because I have an urgent desire to tell a good story, to share a good joke, to elucidate a fascinating piece of information. I love the freedom and creativity of writing. What a job.

How does my writing process work?
I do spend quite a lot of time planning. But there comes a point where you just have to start - to write. Get it down on paper/screen then step back, leave it, read it critically, apply those criteria and see if it works. Then tweak. I am not a fan of rewriting so I try REALLY hard to get things right (or nearly right) first time. 
In the case of Prankenstein, I jotted down the kernel of the story which popped into my head one day when I was riffing on the name Frankenstein. What about a prank-playing monster who drives a town mad? The central character is vital and I spent a while getting to know Soapy and writing a profile of him: his likes, his loathes, his habits and foibles, his patterns of speech. It's a good idea to do this for protagonists and other main characters, and for the baddies too, of course.
Dialogue is a huge part of story for me and I make sure it moves the story along, elucidates the characters, entertains and informs and reveals nuggets which get the reader thinking. Reading it aloud is a good trick.
The pace of a story is important and so I tend to use shortish chapters and cliff-hangerettes to maintain interest. I like to lead the reader down garden paths and invites guesses as to what's happening. While doing all this it's a good idea to enable your audience to relate to the characters too - even antagonists should have some redeeming features.
Finally, children love to have fun, especially at adults' expense so I make sure that youngsters like Soapy stay one step ahead or get their own back in clever, amusing ways -the reader wants to imagine himself or herself doing that naughty, smart, rude, hilarious thing...

Right, where next on the blog tour?
Try these two talented writers who should be answering the same questions by Mon 26th May:
Ben Jeapes: http://www.benjeapes.com/index.php/blog/