Author of the Stinky and Jink series, Dave Lowe, has written us a hilarious blog about his recent trip to the UK
Two very exciting things happened on the Saturday:
Exciting thing number one: My kids had a bath. Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t quite so unhygienic that them having a bath is an exciting event in itself. No, the exciting thing was them having a bath in Bath. It’s like having a hamburger in Hamburg. Or going for a swim in Poole.
Exciting thing number two: Jayne, the lovely press officer at Templar, introduced me to Kelly Gerrard and Emma Dodd, the brilliant team behind ‘A Roman Rescue’ and ‘An Egyptian Escape’. They helped to calm my nerves, and signed their books for my older daughter, Rebecca (she’s 8). Rebecca was so engrossed by their books that she virtually ignored her pizza. Which was good news for me, because I got to eat most of it.
My event the next day was at Bath Library, and it was sold-out (which made me even more nervous). But I needn’t have worried – the kids (and their mums and dads) laughed in all the right places. Some of the children had already read My Hamster Is A Genius, and I was really happy to hear that they’d liked it, and that it had made them laugh out loud.
Over the next three days, I went to six primary schools in the West Midlands, where I was born. (I mean - I was born in the West Midlands, not born in six primary schools, which would have been impossible.)
The kids and their teachers were absolutely great. I got a VIP dinner at Graisely Primary School - their school dinners are better than my mum’s cooking (but don’t tell my mum I said that). I think they gave me extra potatoes and gravy, which is the main reason I wanted to be a writer. The kids at Milking Bank Primary had written their own brilliant stories featuring my hamster. The kids at all the schools had great answers to my questions, and asked some excellent questions of their own.
The hamster in my books is unfortunately called ‘Jasper Stinkybottom’ (much to his displeasure), so I always ask the kids if they have any pets with silly names. My favourites so far are a parrot called ‘Bogey’ and a goldfish called ‘Steve’.
The last event of the tour was at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. It was sold-out, too, and it was lots of fun. I was a lot less nervous by now. I signed lots of books (but not nearly as many as the amazing Jacqueline Wilson, who must have had a sore hand by the end, because she signed about a kazillion books at a nearby table.)
To top things off, I met Simon Bartram, the hugely talented writer/illustrator of the Bob, The Man On The Moon books. He’s a Sunderland fan, but is otherwise really nice. He also signed a book, this time for my younger daughter, Miriam (she’s 4). She was absolutely over-the-moon. (Forgive the pun.)
Writing can be quite a lonely job, sometimes, but I’m really glad I could meet so many book people over the last few weeks – readers, writers and publishing people. It’s been an absolutely wonderful experience.
Notes From the Hamster Wheel to read a hilarious interview with Dave and Stinky.
To find out more about the series and to pick up your copy of My Hamster is a Genius, click here.