Today I have a middle grade book which is perfect for fans of funny books with an edge. This one just happens to feature a genius baby and a super-villain determined to rid the world of the problem of childhood. Make sure you read the special piece by Daniel about why this book was twenty years in the writing!
‘Rita may be a baby, but she has the mind (and attitude) of a teenager. She may be new to walking but she’s as wise-crackingly clever as anyone in Key Stage 3. She knows she is not a normal toddler but when her parents disappear and a sinister clown and an ice-cream van seem to be hunting her down, even a soft-play centre might not be safe…
It will take all Rita’s cunning and resourcefulness, as well as a cat flap, a mobility scooter and a reluctant teenage sidekick, to defeat an evil conspiracy and a crazy genius villain.’
I loved this! Rita is such a plucky, ingenious lead that you can’t help but cheer every time she outwits a hapless adult or dodges James, the rather unpleasant teenager who first rumbled Rita whilst babysitting. Her plan for successfully hiding out for days on end in a soft play centre was amazing and really made me chuckle.
I have no doubt that readers are going to laugh and gasp their way through this book as they follow Rita on her adventures and breathe life into her story.
Now it’s time to hear from author Daniel Peak about about why writing a book is so different to other types of writing, and why it took him so long to write ‘Little Horror.’
Guest Post by Daniel Peak
It took me nearly twenty years to write this book.
I don’t mean that literally of course. I don’t mean that I spent two decades toiling over the manuscript, agonising over each word. When I say it took twenty years, I mean that it took twenty years for me to work up the nerve to take time out from my full-time job and try to start writing a novel.
That might sound a bit weird given that my full-time job is, erm, writer. I write TV scripts, mostly comedy, for children’s and adults’ TV. And by grabbing the right coat-tails at the right time, I’ve managed to keep it going as a career since 2003. I’ve written dialogue for acting legends like Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays, double-Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins, Sir Terry Wogan and The Krankies.
By now I’ve written well over a hundred hours of television. Yet I was still daunted by the thought of writing a book. Why? I think it is because there is no one to hide behind.
The thing is, when you write for the telly, there are lots of other people to collaborate with. There are all the brilliant actors I just mentioned: they have got laughs from my corniest jokes and have made my clunky dialogue sing. And there are art directors and designers who build worlds for your characters to inhabit. (It feels like magic: you write the words “INT. UNDERGROUND LABORATORY” and someone actually builds an underground laboratory!)
Books are lonelier. You have editors, designers, illustrators, publishers – and if you’re lucky like me you have the best possible people to do those jobs – but after that you’re on your own.
So what has changed and why did I decide to write a book now? It wasn’t down to a sudden burst of confidence in my abilities, that’s for sure. It was because I realised the story of Little Horror could only be told in a book because of the way in which… well, you’ll see why if you read it.
Which makes me realise. A book is a collaboration with someone after all. There is someone who breathes life into the dialogue and builds the sets and fills in all the background details. That person is the reader. That person is you if you sign on for the job. I wish you lots of luck with it, and I hope it doesn’t take you twenty years.
It definitely won’t take you twenty years to read this book! I lent it to my eight-year-old son when I had finished and he read it every night over the course of the week. By the end of the week he’d finished and was asking for the next instalment…
*Many thanks to Firefly Press for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*