Saturday 3 December 2011

The Day I Met Maureen Johnson, Robin Jarvis and Will Hill

I am really late with this event, but  better late than never. 
Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Harper Collins Children's Book event in London which was held at Les Deux Salons, where we had high tea with three awesome authors and got to hear about all the new books coming out over the next few months.
The first author to speak to us was Robin Jarvis, who described his recent book 'Dancing Jax' as 'Narnia on crack'! Robin told us a bit about his career before becoming an author, where he used to make animated models for television programmes. He then began writing and brought out a few different series which included 'The Deptford Mice' and 'The Whitby' Witches (which I happen to own).

His new book 'Dancing Jax' which is published in paperback format in February, looks at a society where children become hooked on books in the same way they would become hooked on drugs. The book is described as a 'supernatural thriller' and one I can't wait to read. The follow up 'Freax and Rejex' is published in hardback in February too.

Robin was a delight to talk to and had me in stitches with his sense of humour. He can be seen in the picture above with the brown shirt on, sitting next to Sarah from Feeling Fictional.
Over on my side of the table, I was sat very near to Cassie from Dark Readers and Stacie from Pretty Books.
To my right, were Andrew from Pewter Wolf and Dwayne from Girls Without a Bookshelf.
And just before Casey, we had the amazing Maureen Johnson and her editor Rachel. I got to sit and drink tea with Maureen Johnson! If you don't know who Maureen Johnson is you should! Go read 'The Name of the Star' right now! You can tell I was extremely excited about meeting Maureen Johnson.

When Maureen spoke to us, she told us she was the one with the American accent ( just in case we were confused)! She has written ten books so far, but this is the first one she has written set in the UK. She informed us that she could get away with her London descriptions in America, because no one would know the difference, but she was panicking that we might catch her out. 

'The Name of the Star' is a completely different style to the books she has written before as she decided she wanted to go a different route. Maureen wanted to write books that she enjoyed reading and they usually involved dead bodies. As far as she was concerned, everything was haunted in the UK. She wanted to write about a ghost that had attitude and fell upon the idea of Jack the Ripper. She thought about how hard his crimes would be to commit in London today with all the CCTV cameras. 

Many of us were waiting to hear about the second book in the series and Maureen didn't disappoint us. She told us that someone gets killed in the first scene with a hammer! She also revealed the title of the second book in the series which will be 'The Madness Underneath' Doesn't it sound fabulous. I can't wait for that book. 
As you can see we got to feast on a real English tea with finger sandwiches and gorgeous cakes!
Will Hill also talked about his epic series - Department 19. The first book has just been released as a paperback and the second book in the series - The Rising, will be out in March in hard back.
Will told us that when he has read the first chapter to kids in schools, they have reacted with a shocked expression. Those weren't his exact words, but I am too polite to repeat what he actually said, but it was funny!

His mum has read the sequel and she wasn't impressed with a section of it because as far as she was concerned there was a bit in there that doesn't belong in a book for teenagers1 Mums! The second book picks up directly where the first book ends and I am really looking forward to getting into this series.
After our lovely tea, we all managed to get our books signed and pick up some lovely new releases coming out with Harper Collins soon. It was a fabulous event. Thank you to HarperCollins for inviting me.


  1. It is OK to be jealous isn't it. I would have loved to have met these authors.
    I really really really want to know what happens next in Department 19

  2. Emma - hopefully you will be able to come to the next one!

  3. Sounds like such a fun event! I love the sound of a society where children become hooked on books, definitely think I'll be looking out for that one.

  4. Holy cow, what a fabulous event! Color me green with envy.

  5. Wow, this does sound like a great even. Tea with authors, I'm so jealous!

  6. Jenni - Dancing Jax sounds AMAZING! I can't wait to read it.

    Bermudaonion - it was fabulous.

    Naida - it was really cool to sit and talk to them like that.

  7. Sounds fab :) I do think I must move to England so I can go to fun things too, lol

  8. Fab write up, Name of a Star is fab as is Dancing Jax - I can't wait for freaks and rejects :D

    It was lovely to see you :)


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