My Year In Photos

By abielphinstone, Nov 7 2016 05:02PM

2016 has been a busy year...

• School visits: 77

• Literary festivals: 19

• Books published: 3

• Amount of times bucked off an Icelandic pony: 1

So, let’s break this down with some photos (and yes, there are several of me being bucked off an Icelandic pony...).

I’ve met so many incredible kids, teachers, librarians and booksellers this year while touring the country for the release of The Shadow Keeper (you can read all about the adventures behind that book here). The most memorable moments have included signing a whoopee cushion at Cheltenham Literature Festival, playing netball with Year 6 at Notre Dame School, dressing up as Roald Dahl’s peach for World Book Day when visiting Whitchurch C of E Primary School and seeing The Times select The Shadow Keeper as its Book Of The Week :)

To research the setting for my third book, The Night Spinner (out on 23rd February 2017), I’ve been climbing mountains like Lochnagar in the Cairngorms as inspiration for The Barbed Peaks, I’ve been quad-biking over the moors to get a good look at where my evil goblin, Kittlerumpit, might live and I’ve been exploring a hidden folly beyond The Blue Door in Angus to set the scene for the folly Moll, Sid and Gryff find in the Clattering Gorge…

The Night Spinner is now finished and has been sent out to one journalist - The Bookseller’s Fiona Noble - for a sneak peek before its release. Her comments might have made me do a few cartwheels.

Thank you so much to all the wonderful kids who have sent me letters. They are stored safely in my writing shed at the bottom of the garden and here is the last page of a letter I wrote back to the brilliant James Allen’s Prep Girls.

I’m 20,000 words into my fourth book, an adventure set up in the frozen north, due out in 2018. This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor boy and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edge of the world. And to research it, I’ve been up to the Arctic to watch the northern lights ripple across the sky and killer whales dive as they feed on herring and to Iceland to climb glaciers (and get bucked off Icelandic ponies - for those photos, I'm the one in yellow…).

(for the video of me being bucked off the Icelandic pony, check out my Instagram: @moontrugger. Hehe)

And lastly, I’ve had the pleasure of writing alongside some of the UK’s most talented writers, firstly in an anthology of short stories called Winter Magic and secondly in a collection of illustrated animal fables called A Wisp of Wisdom.

The former is a beautiful hardback anthology featuring snow queens, frost fairs and fur-lined sleighs from acclaimed writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John, Katherine Woodfine, Emma Carroll, Piers Torday, Amy Alward, Jamila Gavin, Michelle Harrison and Geraldine McCaughrean. My story is about an orphan called Phoebe who goes on an adventure far beyond the orphanage walls with a Snow Dragon and a dachshund fond of dancing. Recommended for children aged 7+

To buy a copy of Winter Magic, click here.

And A Wisp of Wisdom sees another gathering of award-winning authors – Lucy Christopher, Adele Geras, Elizabeth Laird, Sarah Lean, Gill Lewis, Geraldine McCaughrean, Tom Moorhouse, Beverley Naidoo, Ifeoma Onyefulu, Piers Torday – in a project with a HUGE heart. The Korup region in Cameroon is rich in stories, full of animals that live in their precious forests, but the oral tradition that hands these stories down is being lost. And the people in Korup have no books. So we decided to gather their stories up and write them down. The result is this stunning book, illustrated by Emmie van Biervliet, and for every copy you buy, we will send a copy to the children in Korup. Recommended for children aged 6+.

To buy a copy of A Wisp of Wisdom, click here.

An enormous thank you to all the children, booksellers, teachers and librarians that have made my year so special. Keep an eye on my ‘EVENTS’ tab early next year for upcoming public talks and signings and remember, if you're planning on going on any adventures of your own: never trust an Icelandic pony…

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