February’s Author of the Month: Jacqueline Wilson

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Our Author of the Month for February 2014 is much-loved children’s author and former Children’s Laureate, Jacqueline Wilson.

She has written over fifty books for children and has become renowned for her stories involving difficult topics such as death, adoption, mental health, divorce and abuse. For tackling and writing about these issues she has earned a massive readership of children who identify with the characters in her books, and in 2002 she was awarded the OBE for services to literacy in schools.

She has won countless awards for her books, they have sold in millions, and in the 2008 New Year Honours list she was appointed Dame.

Read more about Jacqueline Wilson and browse her extraordinary range of books by clicking here

January’s Author of the Month: Quintin Jardine

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Our Author of the Month for January is Scottish crime fiction author, Quintin Jardine.

Quintin Jardine was born once upon a time in the West – of Scotland rather than America, but still he grew to manhood as a massive Sergio Leone fan. On the way there he was educated, against his will, in Glasgow, where he ditched a token attempt to study law for more interesting careers in journalism, government propaganda, and political spin-doctoring. After a close call with the Brighton Bomb in 1984, he moved into the even riskier world of media relations consultancy, before realising that all along he had been training to become a crime writer. Now, forty novels later, he never looks back.

Along the way he has created/acquired an extended family in Scotland and Spain. Everything he does is for them.

He can be tracked down through his blog here: http://quintinjardine.me

We’ve dedicated a whole page to him on Hive this month and you can get to it by clicking here

To see all our previous Authors of the Month, and to catch up on any you might’ve missed, please click here

Oliver and the Seawigs: inventing the Explorermobile with Sarah McIntyre & Philip Reeve

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Oliver and the Seawigs

A lot of illustrator friends tell me that their least favourite thing to draw is . . . CARS. They dread it. I suppose I wouldn’t want to be known as someone who specialises in cars, but drawing machinery can be loads of fun. When Philip Reeve and I came up with Oliver and the Seawigs, Philip had the Crisp family arriving at their new house in something called an ‘Explorermobile’. It played quite a small part in the book, but I got all excited, imagining what it could look like. Philip told me about how his family used to spend all their holidays in a camper van, and showed me the photos.

That’s little Philip with his writing notebook:

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Philip Reeve and his family’s campervan

Mr & Mrs Crisp and Oliver had driven the Explorermobile all around the world, so it had to be something sturdy that they could live in, but they’d been on lots of weird and wonderful adventures and I wanted it to reflect that nutsiness. I live in London and there’s a nutsy-looking yellow half-boat-half-bus that takes tourists on ‘Duck Tours’, so I started by looking up photos of amphibious vehicles. (Eek, I just saw a news article today that the Duckmobile caught on fire!) Here was my very first sketch of our Explorermobile:

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Seawigs Explorermobile 1

But this vehicle looked too small for Mr & Mrs Crisp and their child, Oliver. No room for more than a suitcase.

So I upgraded them. I stuck on the sort of roof you get on a VW camper van. My sister had one of those in her hippie days. The lid flipped up and a person could sleep in a hammock just beneath it. Check out the solar panels and wash line, Much more practical for domestic harmony in the middle of nowhere.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 2

But it didn’t look very cool. I tried again. This one’s based on the Bedford Dormobile Caravan. Some of those beasts have the most fabulous old-school paint jobs, go Google them. Note the handy wind turbine and balcony seat.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 3

Still . . . not cool enough. I know people in the suburbs who’ve driven things like that. So Philip suggested adding a half-track. ‘Vehicles are always cooler when they drive on half-tracks.’ Now we’re starting to get somewhere. Definitely more kooky.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 4

I remember a family trip, being stuck for hours on a mountain road in a traffic jam, because someone’s silver Winnebago Airstream had caught fire. I had a lot of time to study that Winnebago. They’re bizarre, a real retro vision of the glittering space-age future.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 5

But again, the Explorermobile was looking a bit dumpy. Maybe something more sleek?Hey, what if I could mash up a Harley Davidson with a camper van? How cool would that be? And I could give it a little side car for Oliver, so he could sit up with the driver, like Sean Connery riding next to Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Ha ha, is this silly or what?

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Seawigs Explorermobile 6

I posted these sketches up on my blog and had people vote on their favourite and there was overwhelming support for this last mash-up. Hurrah! We had our Explorermobile.

Here you can see it as the Crisp family zoom around the headland, approaching their new house for the first time.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 7

Ha ha, and this was the ONLY TIME the Explorermobile was supposed to appear in the book. Did I just totally geek out over something that small?! Anyway, we all liked it so much that we gave it another appearance on the title page.

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Seawigs Explorermobile 8

Oliver and the Seawigs is full of quirky, fun details, both in the text—(don’t miss the Sarcastic Seaweed!)—nd in the pictures (spot Colin the crab!). Philip and I hope you enjoy it! Check out our blogs if you want to see what we get up to. And if you feel like getting creative, why not try making your own Explormobile mash-ups?

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Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve

Trend: #Seawigs

Sarah McIntyre on Twitter

Philip Reeve on Twitter

Oliver and the Seawigs Youtube trailer

Hive’s Author of the Month for June: Malorie Blackman

Our Author of the Month on Hive for June is award-winning children’s author, Malorie Blackman.

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Malorie Blackman has written over fifty books and is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award. Malorie has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. In 2005 she was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her contribution to children’s books, and in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children’s literature. She has been described by The Times as ‘a national treasure’.

Her new title, The Noble Conflict, will be published on 6th June 2013.

Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.

When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realizes he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.

You can read a sneak preview of the Noble Conflict prologue on the Malorie Blackman website and don’t forget to check out the Noble Conflict trailer!

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You can see our dedicated page to Malorie Blackman right here

A Noble Conflict is available for pre-order on Hive here

https://www.youtube.com/embed/U42Dl6O81bI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

 

Hive’s Author of the Month for May: Enid Blyton

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Enid Blyton remains one of the best-known and best-loved writers of children’s stories, and is consistently voted a children’s favourite in author polls. She has over 600 children’s books to her credit, including the Famous Five series, the Secret Seven series, and the Naughtiest Girl series.

“All the books that I was buying for my girls were so hard to read that they drove me mad… I found myself falling back on Enid Blyton – they love the Secret Seven.” Jools Oliver

“Her books were terrific page-turners in the way no others were.” Michael Morpurgo

“She really did know how to create a story.” Helena Bonham Carter

 

We have a dedicated page to Enid Blyton and a great selection of her wonderful works, which you can find by clicking here

Hive’s Author of the Month for April : Harlan Coben

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Our Author of the Month on Hive for April is bestselling thriller author, Harlan Coben.

Harlan Coben is an international number one bestselling thriller author. He is the winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards – the first to receive all three. His books are published in forty languages, with over forty-seven million copies in print worldwide. Both his standalone thrillers and series featuring the indomitable Myron Bolitar have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries, gracing the lists of the Sunday Times and the New York Times. His novel Tell No One was turned into the smash hit French film of the same name, and received the highly coveted Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture as well as four Cesars (French Oscar). Harlan lives in New Jersey with his family.

Harlan Coben’s new book, Six Years, and will be published on 25th April.

Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life – a time he has never gotten over – is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years.

Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart – and who lied to him – soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.

You can check out our dedicated page to Harlan Coben by clicking here