The book launch of the brilliant, the wonderful, the fabulous, The Imaginary

The launch

My mum and my sister came along with me to the book launch of The Imaginary - brilliant new book by A.F. Harrold (read my review of it here) yesterday. (My sister will also be blogging it soon on her blog: Ines's Insights)

When I got there I have to admit - I was freaking out. I'd never been to a launch before so stepping into a room full of adults chatting was pretty scary! Fortunately Lizz from Bloomsbury came over and greeted us and soon I was ready to explore. I ended up at the refreshments table. (Trust me to do that!) Then it was time for A.F. Harrold to do a reading from the book. Now that was so excellent!!! It really was. As well as writing, Harrold is a born performer. He's doing events around the UK so if he does an event near you I thoroughly recommend that you go. And the funny thing was, he was found in the slush pile. Okay so he wasn't in the pile but one of his other stories: Fizzlebert Stump was - that's how Bloomsbury met such a guy.

Soon after, I got my copy of the book signed and met two girls, an 8 year old and a 9 year old, sisters and the daughter of the publisher. We made fast friends and soon were off exploring together. I had a FAB time.

Ashley, Emily and me

The Interview

Lizz also organized a quick Q & A with A.F. Harrold, Emily Gravett and me for my blog.

Q1. What inspired you to write The Imaginary?
A1. A.F. Harrold - Two things.
             1. I had a contract. I had to write something and money can be slightly persuasive! I wanted to try something different after Fizzlebert Stump and this was an opportunity.
             2. I had two images sitting round in my head.
                             a) An imaginary friend sitting by the road after an accident. What would happen to imaginarys when they had no-one to imagine them.
                             b) A greasy spooned cafe with loads of builder men drinking coffee. A little man with a clipboard walked in and said ' Timmy, aged 6, needs a friend. ' And the burly men would become the imaginary friends. They'd turn into what the real people liked. Then things changed like the canteen becoming a library. Things surprised me.

Q2. How did you go about the illustrations?
A2. Emily Gravett - I read the whole thing through and I could see it was a dark book and I wanted to give it some old etchings. I got out my sketchbook and drew until I thought I'd got it right. Which I hadn't! We had a different opinion on what everything would look like. I just doodled. I wanted Amanda to look ordinary and normal.

Q3. If you couldn't be an author/illustrator what would you be?
A3. A.F. Harrold - Oooh! That's hard. I might be a poet or comedian but that's too closely linked to writing. I'd probably be a bookseller like I was before I became an author. I might be some homeless guy living on the streets!
      Emily Gravett - I'd be a forger. Go back 30 years and I'd do forgery!!! Driving licenses and bus passes. Not nowadays because it's all about computers and I'm not good with those but in the World War 2 I'd be a brilliant forger!

Q4. What is your biggest inspiration for writing/drawing?
A4. Emily Gravett - Conversations on buses, things on the radio. I'm not actually that inspired by art in general.
       A.F. Harrold - There are 2 books:
                   1. Where The Wild Things Are and
                   2. The Hobbit (which Emily absolutely hates!)
Another thing that is inspiring is when I go and do poetry workshops with schools. Seeing them all excited makes me excited and want to 'go do something'.

Thanks you ever so much A.F. Harrold, Emily Gravett and Lizz Skelly - it was lovely to meet you all.
And well done if you read this whole post!!!

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