Dear Ellis Guilford Year Sevens,
I was thrilled when a big fat envelope full of your letters arrived in the post the other day.
It was really wonderful to meet you all last October in Nottingham.
Have you seen my blog post about the visit? I even made a Slideshare showing off all your artwork! You can read the blog post here .
Yes, I was excited! That visit was particularly special because you had actually read Tall Story. It's such a treat for an author to meet actual readers!
'Please write back!' you all wrote in your letters.
Well there are rather a lot of you so I thought I would write back via my blog.
The Super Typhoon in the Philippines
First of all, thank you so much for all kind thoughts and messages about the Philippines.
I couldn't believe it when that terrible storm hit us - I was a little bit worried that you guys might feel upset - after I'd shown you those images and told you all those stories of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the Philippines!
My family was very lucky. They live in Manila and the storm only brushed against the city. Some of my friends had missing family in the badly hit areas though, and it took many days before mobile phone networks were working and they were reunited.
But still, there were very many lives lost. I watched a documentary last night where a dad described how his children were torn from his arms by the sea. It made me very sad.
The seas are getting hotter because of global warming and some scientists think storms will become stronger and stronger. The super storm was a wake up call for the world to start paying attention.
I heard that Ellis Guilford School raised a LOT of money for the Philippines. Thank you so much, I really really appreciate it. We need all the help we can get.
Witches and Psychic Surgeons
A lot of you wrote to say how much you enjoyed my stories about interviewing witches and psychic surgeons in the Philippines.
Heh it was very unexpected. I didn't expect my photographer to volunteer to be operated on by the psychic surgeon and I didn't expect the surgeon to extract her eyeball and wash it in a bowl of water ... but do you think it was real or was it a trick?
Tall Story wasn't my kind of book
On Being an Author
People ask me questions about my sales all the time but I don't know the answer because it's very hard to find out.
Publishing is all about waiting - waiting to be discovered by a publisher, waiting for the book to come out, waiting to know if it's been successful in the marketplace. Sigh.
Funny you should ask about a sequel. I've written an outline for a sequel to Tall Story. But I want to write some other books first so I won't be doing that soon.
Tall Story seemed like the obvious title because Tall Story is about a boy who is very tall. But I was also playing around with the idea of the Tall Tale - a kind of folk story from the United States. I loved tall tales when I was child growing up in the Philippines where all our books were imported from America. And I particularly loved the tall tales about giants. My favourite tall story is this one, about a giant called Paul Bunyan (this is a nine minute cartoon from 1958):
Thank you so much for all your letters, your drawings and your messages about the Philippines.
I 'm sorry I couldn't reply to each and every one of you but I hope you enjoy this reply. I really enjoyed visiting you - and I do hope we will meet again. Thank you to the pupils of 7a (En3), 7b (En2), 7c (En3) and of course, Mrs Julia Foster, who did all the herding!
Lots of love,