Tag Archives: penguins

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

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IMG_20140228_085958During my fantastic two-day visit to Chase Lane Primary School in Chingford last week, no one asked every author’s least favourite question. The children – all seven hundred of them – were far too bright and curious for anything so dull.

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A real Space Penguin?

Instead, I was asked about my use of describing words by a girl in Year Two, and whether I used blurb, and how long penguins live for, and whether penguins in space are real, and if I had books in Chinese, and what book I would recommend for a girl not interested in girly stuff. ‘That penguin in space. Was it dead?’ was dealt with to everyone’s satisfaction as I explained that the Hubble telescope’s picture of a space penguin was in fact a photograph of stars and nebulae and red bits for which I had no name. I was able to tell them that yes I had met most of the authors they mentioned, although caveats applied to David Walliams. I have yet to establish whether he heard me in the Bristol University Union circa 1989 in my band, the Smokin’ Bristols, but live in hope.

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Meet and greet

learned about aunts called Lucy and sisters called Courtney. I was told about trips to the seaside, and sick brothers, and pets. I saw for myself the esteem in which the children held their books in every single classroom’s beautifully themed Book Corners, designed to celebrate Book Week – hot air balloons, jungles, castles, spaceships, bedrooms and caves and tents – and had the unenviable task of judging them.

SPACE PENGUINS 5: PLANET PERIL! Out 3 March 2014

SPACE PENGUINS 5:
PLANET PERIL!
Out 3 March 2014

Everywhere I went, I was followed by excitable whispering. That’s her! Hi Lucy! It’s Lucy Courtenay! I was a rock star. I was a TV celebrity.

 

I was an author.

Split Personality

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I write lots of different kinds of books. Animals, aliens, fairies, monsters. And now I’m writing about… teenagers. But also writing about… penguins. And shortly pitching about… jungles.

This could end badly.

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Mwa mwa mwa

The teenagers are kissing, fighting, acting, singing and dancing, dreaming of boys and girls, organising parties, painting each other like zombies. There are French exchange girls with boys on the brain, a moon with the kind of powers you don’t want to mess with and a dude in dodgy trainers. Did I mention the kissing? There’s lots of kissing.

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Aim at the teenager! BOOP!

The penguins are zooming around in space, escaping from warring weirdos with too many eyes and a vast space zoo full of creatures to give Mexican bird-eating spiders nightmares as they fold up their long hairy legs and quake in the Central American undergrowth. Wham! Blam! Boop! (Intrepid pilot Rocky Waddle wishes to advise you never to peer down the barrel of a stun gun when it goes ‘Boop’.)

The jungle is enduring a cross little girl with too many opinions and absolutely no idea that she’s being followed by something large and hungry.

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I have bare red knees innit

AND NONE OF THEM ARE BEING WRITTEN because I’m writing YOU. I have to concentrate or lose not just spinning plates but entire meals balanced thereon. At least one of my plates has a full roast lunch on it and gravy is going everywhere.

Where was I? Oh yes. Zombie penguins in the jungle.

*pootles off, whistling vaguely*

 

Waddle Twaddle

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When you deliberately set out to follow lots of people on Twitter with the word ‘penguin’ in their Twitter address simply because you are madly promoting a series called SPACE PENGUINS – yes, that’s SPACE PENGUINS – you are guaranteed an amusing time.

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Here is my assortment, amassed over the last two weeks. My colony, if you will.

1. Penguin Social (@PenguinSocial): Feel uncomfortable among your contemporaries? Suffer from fish breath, identity crises, chilblains? Pop over to Penguin Social to set your tiny penguin mind at rest.

2. Little Penguin (@OhDearPenguin): Heavily into British accents. What.

3. Awkward Penguin (@_AwkwardPenguin): Hasn’t responded to my follow, which is a little… what’s the word… difficult?

4. SpacePenguin(Spacey) (@AstroPenguin1): So out there that he has the word Space in his Twitter name twice.

5. Space Penguin (@THESpacePenguin): A little aggrieved at being alone no longer, but that’s the way the cuttlefish crumbles.

Alfie6. Space Penguin (@_SpacePenguin): A band from Bridlington. Rockhopper on!

7. Emma Dean (@spacepenguins85): Makes me think of school discos in shiny balldresses, don’t know why.

8. Leroy Penguin (@Leroy_penguin): Hip Hop rapping, eyebrow raising, tequila smashing afro penguin, 18. Too cool to follow me back.

9. Alice Sheppard (@PenguinGalaxy): MSc Astrophysicist, citizen science maniac and general dazed waffler (her words, not mine).

10. Pedro Penguin (@PedroPenguin): AN ACTUAL PENGUIN (African) at Toronto Zoo. He doesn’t tweet much. It’s more of a honking sound.

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins): Ice hockey team. Given to incomprehensibilities like “X played 4 years with #Canes, tallying 53G-54A=107 in 286 reg-season games!”

12. The Penguin Press (@penguinpress): Not literally a press for squeezing penguins, I’m guessing? Though possibly not unlike those apple presses owned by cool people in the country with their own orchards.

13. Team Penguin (@TeamPeng): For all your RuneScape Penguin Distraction & Diversion Means! which explains them perfectly if you are fluent in geek.

14. Penguin Magic (@penguinmagic): Much in demand for children’s parties in Antarctica.

15. Penguin Books UK (@PenguinUKBooks): Why call yourself Penguin Books UK and yet tweet most confusingly as @PenguinUKBooks? Just a thought. (They don’t publish me.)

SPACE PENGUINS are out now. Finally. Buy them all please, for me and lovely illustrator James Davies. One for all and all for FISH!

Alfie

Aside

swap horses in midstream, To. To change leaders at the height of a crisis. Abraham Lincoln, in an address of 9 June 1864, referring to the fact that his fellow Republicans had renominated him for President, even though many were dissatisfied with his conduct of the Civil War (1861-5) said that the Convention had concluded ‘that it is best not to swap horses while crossing the river’.

Not so much horses around here as penguins and superheroes. One minute I’m doing penguins, then a superhero comes along and demands my attention. What’s a writer to do?

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Decisions, decisions