So, no posts for weeks and weeks and then two come along at once...
That was a bit like last Wednesday evening, when 'The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists' was officially on general release, and Waterstones held their annual Children's Book Award at their flagship store in London's Piccadilly.
I was incredibly chuffed to be nominated for the Waterstone's Children's Book Award with 'The Pirates Next Door', but travelled down to London without any expectations. 'Picture Books' was a new category this year, and my second book had just been published, which just sneaked me in as new talent.
I've never been to an awards evening before, so I made an effort and put my suit on. With a tie. And freshly polished shoes. Pirates don't wear shoes very often but I'm glad I did this time....
The suit was a good call, because everyone looked smart and there were glasses of champagne and posh nibbles and it was all very busy in the 5th Floor champagne bar. I was incredibly nervous. My heart was all bumpity-bump, and I felt all hot. And then last year's winner, Sita Brahmachari, announced the winner of the Picture Book category and...... It was ME!!
I've never won anything before. I've come second in a couple of things, but I've never won anything, apart from a storyboard competition with some friends at school. So I was in a bit of a daze, and getting pats on my back from the the lovely folk from Templar and Arena, and spilling champagne all over my arm whilst trying to clap with an award and a champagne glass in one hand, when they announced the other category winners. Liz Pichon won the 5-12 category with 'The Brilliant World of Tom Gates' and Jenny Downham won the teen category with 'You Against Me'.
But I was completely gobsmacked when James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, announced the overall winner, because.... that was ME too!
I even had to say something in a microphone to everybody there. I think it was a succession of mumbles with something about not being very good at talking to 'grown-ups' at the beginning. I can't really remember, because I was utterly gobsmacked.
...With Amanda Wood, Templar's Creative Director who had to put up with me babbling on about new book ideas...
...With Mike Jolley (my wonderful Art Director) and Libby Hamilton (my lovely Editor) in a bit of a daze!
People took photos, while I stood around looking hot and a bit befuddled with an award in each hand, mostly relieved that I hadn't worn my pirate outfit. And then I was whisked away to speak to a nice lady from the Guardian.
I now have two lovely trophies on the mantlepiece. Daisy likes to polish them, and Rosie likes to cover them in mucky fingerprints. I keep looking at them, a bit gobsmacked. I was in some national newspapers, there were photos of my gurning online, and apparently the 'Pirates Next Door' has had a spike in sales. I was waffling on the Good Evening Wales radio show on Friday night (I'm at 54 minutes and 27 seconds on iPlayer!), I'm on Radio Ulster's Art programme tonight, and BBC Wales are coming to my house with a TV camera tomorrow.
So a HUGE thank you to all the booksellers at Waterstones who voted for 'The Pirates Next Door', and to everybody at Templar who saw something in my ideas and published my first two books.
Like I said in my last post, it's been a bonkers couple of weeks...