Thursday, 26 May 2011

Swim the Fly Book Launch

The Covent Garden Hotel was the place to be last night at the Swim the Fly book launch. Well, it was the place to be if you could find it… After making a wild guess as to which exit I should take at the Leicester Square tube station, I stumbled out onto a busy street and promptly starting marching off in the wrong direction along said street. After a moment’s mental negotiation as to whether or not I would look like a tourist checking my phone for directions, I took the risk and eventually managed to navigate my way to the quiet little streets of Seven Dials and the fantastic venue that was the Blue Room at the Covent Garden Hotel.

Upon entry, all the guests were greeted with spectacular bright blue cocktails – I didn’t ask what was in them, my mother would probably be too shocked. They were deliciously sweet whatever they were! The room had been beautifully decked out with candles and copies of Swim the Fly stacked on the tables. By happy coincidence I had dressed in blue and managed to convince everyone that it was totally planned…

Swim the Fly galore!

After half an hour of blue drink sipping we were all ushered into the screening room where we were witness to Phil Perry’s unparalleled technical skills as she attempted at least 15 times to start the video player on her Mac. We still love her! When she finally managed to get it going there were plenty of laughs all round as we watched the hilarious book trailer starring the man of the night, Swim the Fly author Don Calame. I wonder if that really was a clamato and chocolate milk cocktail he drank or a clever film trick… After getting to know Don a bit more, I’m leaning towards the ‘it was’ end of the decision scale.

The guests were then treated to a wonderfully insightful interview with Don, led by the journalist and writer of teen hit Life, Interrupted, Damian Kelleher. It’s very true that there is a distinct imbalance between the volume of teen chick-lit and teen dude-lit available. What Swim the Fly offers is a genuine story of what happens to teen boys, what goes through their minds and the kind of situations they find themselves in due to out of control hairbrain schemes. The characters are so real and loveable despite all their flaws – maybe because of their flaws – and the protagonist, Matt, takes you through his boy-to-man journey with great honesty and candidness. The story has great sympathy for teen boys but also an irresistible insight for girls too – and what the heck it had this grown woman ROFLing for hours!

Damian Kelleher interviews Don Calame

The real treat of the evening was when Damian persuaded Don to give all us grown up kids a reading from Swim the Fly. The extract was a completely irreverent exchange between Matt, his Grandpa Arlo, his older brother Peter and his mum. As they drive to the funeral of a neighbour’s husband, Grandpa Arlo makes his plans to get lucky with the widow – much to Peter’s embarrassment and Matt’s interest. I’m not entirely sure where I stand trying to gather pick up tips from your grandfather… Don reads so well, playing all the characters much better than I imagined them in my head and he had us all sniggering like a bunch of year 10s.

Don reads from Swim the Fly

After the reading the guests all gathered back in the Blue Room, nibbling on mini burgers and clutching our copies of Swim the Fly to get them signed by Don – it’s for my nephew, honest! It was lovely to meet the author, although I’d probably scared him before we met with my numerous emails demanding blog posts for the Swim the Fly blog tour starting tomorrow. No wonder he ran away from me as soon as he could!

Just kidding!

A huge thanks to the Covent Garden Hotel and Phil Perry and her team at Templar for setting everything up and making it a really special evening for everyone. And of course a massive thanks to Don Calame for providing us with all the entertainment!

Left to right: Roy Butler (Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop), Wendy Cooling (Children's Book Consultant), Don Calame, Helen Boyle (Fiction Commissioning Editor, Templar) Joanne Cocadiz (Children's Buyer, Foyles Charing Cross Road), John Newman (Newman Bookshop)

Don’s UK tour continues at the Hay Festival and his UK blog tour starts tomorrow, 27th May. For more details click here.

Blogger: Leonora

Monday, 23 May 2011

Don Calame encounters with Grey Friar’s Bobby and avoiding eating Haggis in Edinburgh

We have just returned from 3 fabulous fun filled days in Edinburgh with Swim the Fly author Don Calame.

This was Don’s first visit to Edinburgh so it was a treat to be able to show him around the sights of this great city (although his resistance to eating deep fried haggis was impossible to penetrate).

After a frantic day of school visits and interviews Don had well and truly charmed the teens of Scotland who were in stitches as he read extracts form his hilarious book (one boy almost fell of his chair he was laughing so heartily) here is a photo of Don with the three lucky young journalists who got the chance to interview Don for Teen Titles.

The interviewers of Teen Titles with Don at Broughton School

To hear more about this riotous leg of Dons UK tour check out his blog here...

With thanks to the Scottish Book Trust who made us so welcome and to Julie from Blackwell's who accompanied us with her mobile book shop and a huge smile!

To keep up to date with Don’s latest movements and all the gossip from the tour follow Don on Twitter @doncalame

Blogger: Emma

Friday, 20 May 2011

Don Calame visits Bristol (and Jayne argues with her satnav...again...)

Back in the office today after three days in Bristol with Don Calame - for both of us a first time in the city and we were made to feel so welcome. As you may remember I do have satnav difficulties on my travels and this was no exception, but I think it was more down to me than the technology. Don was rather amused when at one point I was shouting at the instrument - but I was right, the school wasn't down a cul-de-sac! I am not sure how he felt about my driving - as I was on the 'wrong side' for him coming from Canada and I noticed his foot pressing down on a non-existent brake pedal now and again...

Our first stop on Tuesday was at Backwell School and a hundred year 9 students, marshalled into line by librarian Anne Gibson. Don started off by showing his trailer, which got everyone into the mood and although some students had to leave early for other lessons, they all stayed awake and paid attention, laughed at the dirty bits - of which there were quite a few. Good questions and answers.

A call came through from LBC - could Don do a quick live interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on her afternoon phone-in show? The subject was why teenage boys can't concentrate and how that affects their reading. Perfect platform for Don, so we arranged to take the call at 2.00pm when we were at the next school, Broadoak Computing and Technology School in Weston-super-Mare.

Don with pupils at Backwell School

Off we sped - towards the seaside resort - sadly not sunny - grey and misty and there were seagulls on the playing fields. Broadoak's librarian, Frances Tout very kindly lent Don her office to take the call from LBC. This audience was a mixture of Y9 and Y10 students and very different from the morning lot. Here we had lots of very direct questions about the sex or implied sex in the book, which Don coolly dealt with and his reading of an extract from Beat the Band bought the house down.

At the end of the session, one of the Y9 students approached Don with some writing of his own, which he asked for some advice and so had a personal tutorial.

Plenty of books to go round at Broadoak school

On the way back into Bristol we went over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which delighted me and rather perplexed Don - but I do like a good bridge! After a quick cat nap, off we went to explore the delights of Bristol - spotting a Banksy on the way down to the harbour (which again delighted me!). After wandering around, we ended up in an Indian restaurant (recommended by one of the sales team here at Templar) and then staggered back to the hotel, full and tired. Don's quite a foodie so we spent a lot of time discussing favourite chef's and cookery writers and what a hard time Jamie Oliver was having in America.

Up and off again on Wednesday morning - this time to the very smart and traditional QEH school for boys. Very grand buildings with portraits and statues placed around the reception. Librarian Annette Robbins marched us up seven (yes 7!) flights of stairs to the library. The boys were very polite and listened intently to Don's reading. Sadly we couldn't show the trailer as they didn't have a screen available. Again, some interesting questions - not only from the boys but also their English teacher. Coffee and lunch at QEH - we both chose broccoli and stilton quiche.

A lucky pupil gets his book signed at QEH School

Last stop on our Bristol leg of the tour was Nailsea School - newly re-built and amazing architecture with a wonderful atrium in the centre and fantastic auditorium. The audience here were handpicked year 9 and 10's - all were good at English and enjoyed their books and it really showed. They were terrific - and really picked up on the different characters and the dialogue Don uses. Thanks to Alex Jones for her support.

Swim the Fly is a hit with the girls at Nailsea school

Finally, a mad dash to Bristol Airport for Don to get his Easyjet flight up to Edinburgh. He was 2kg over on weight and it turned out to be the cookery books we had bought the night before... luckily there was room in his hand luggage - as I was feeling very guilty at having persuaded him to try Nigel Slater's recipes.

Now he's enjoying the delights of Edinburgh - my thanks to Don for entertaining company and I hope he's not missing his wife and dog Scooter too much.

If you want more, check out what Don thinks of his UK tour so far on his blog.

Blogger: Jayne

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Swim the Fly UK Blog Tour - 27th May to 5th June

With just 3 weeks left to publication, Swim the Fly by US author Don Calame has already been making waves in the book world here in the UK with its abundance of laugh out loud coming of age cringe moments. So what better way to celebrate this ambassador of dude lit than with a tour of some of the UK's most vibrant teen lit blogs? Don is packing his bags as I type ready to fly over from Canada for a whilrwind tour of the UK to promote his first teen novel - fingers crossed he'll remember his trusty laptop so he can write all his posts for the blog tour!

Swim the Fly
Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time. But this impossible mission starts to look easy in comparison to Matt's other challenge: to swim the 100 yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to man) and impress the gorgeous Kelly West.

Don Calame, a screenwriter, serves up jokes and gross-outs in the style of filmmakers like Judd Apatow...boys will probably love it. This one did. The New York Times Book Review

Swim the Fly is a great breath of fresh air in teen publishing... Perfectly pitched for teenage boys, this story hits the nail on the head when it comes to awkward moments, coming of age and working out the opposite sex. A really fantastic read. Elizabeth Horne, Waterstones

Don will be hitting 10 stops on his blog tour, starting on 27th May and running to 5th June with plenty of laughs in between. So, here's what you can expect:

Fri 27th May

First up, we'll be at Jess Hearts Books where Don will be dropping of his first guest post, talking about the importance of balancing out all the chick lit out there with some decent dude lit and promoting summer reads for boys.

Sat 28th May

Next up there'll be a tantalising exclusive extract over at our good friend Chicklish. You'll also have a chance to win one of very few exclusive signed copies of Swim the Fly with the first giveaway of the tour.

Sun 29th May

On the third day, Don will be over at the first blog for boys on the tour. Bookzone 4 Boys will be hosting another great guest post from Don so don't miss out!

Mon 30th May

Mostly Reading YA will be hosting the first Q&A on the tour, probing Don for some juicy insights and giving readers another chance to win a signed copy of Swim the Fly.

Tue 31st May

On the eve of publication, we'll be at The Crooked Shelf for another guest post from Don, counting down those last few minutes of a United Kingdom full of people without Swim the Fly in their lives.

Wed 1st June

Publication day, and if you still have reservations then make sure you read Daisy Chain Book Reviews review and another exclusive extract. If that leaves you convinced you can enter Daisy Chain's giveaway to win one of our exclusive signed copies of Swim the Fly.

Thu 2nd June

Past the halfway mark and Don will be dropping off another guest post over on Overflowing Library, so if you want some more revelations or are just plain nosey then head over here.

Fri 3rd June

You'll find another great interview at Love Reading X today so check it out to see what Don has to say for himself.

Sat 4th June

The penultimate stop will be at Empire of Books where you can find another dude's perspective on the book with the final interview of the tour. You'll also have your last chance on the tour to get your hands on one of our signed copies of Swim the Fly so make sure you enter!

Sun 5th June

On the last day we'll be with Magic Bean Review with a mystery feature... Stay tuned for more!

Well, we might just give Don a rest after all that... Somehow I doubt it! Make sure you keep checking our Facebook page for updates on Don's trip around the UK but if you fancy just staying in your armchair then the blog tour is the tour for you!

Don Calame is a Hollywood script-writer and former teacher. He is a screenwriter of films including Employee of the Month and Hounded. He now lives in British Columbia with his wife, stepson and their dog Scooter. Swim the Fly is his first novel, its sequel Beat The Band, will be out in the UK in 2012 and Don is currently working on the third installment of the lives, loves and mishaps of characters Matt, Sean and Coop.

Swim the Fly is out on 1st June 2011.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

NEW Teen novel makes waves! - Reviews for Swim the Fly by Don Calame

The following comments about fantastic teen fiction title Swim the Fly were made by members of Cardinal Wiseman School’s Gripped Book Club

This book is a wonderful (and rather disturbing!) insight into the
minds of teenage boys and is absolutely hilarious – I would recommend
it to everyone! Siobhan, aged 14

“Swim the Fly” is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I laughed
so much when Sean’s sister caught the boys wearing her clothes and
make-up!” Aleena aged 14

The author, Don Calame, sets up jokes really well, building comic
situations. Readers who liked Jeremy Strong books when they were
younger would love this book once they are teenagers. Bronya, aged 14

I wasn’t surprised to find that Don Calame has been a screen writer,
the story would make a really good film – I could really visualise the
scenes. Paul, aged 14

I thought the characters were funny – and not only the main ones – I
loved Grandpa! I would definitely read other books by the same
author. Nobody better try things like that on me!! Laura, aged 14

Check out the Don Calame website here ...

GREAT STUFF - for a proof to review please email