Category Archives: Author Interviews
In order to celebrate the release of Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham, Walker have organised a blog swap. Throughout August a number of bloggers are hosting guest posts from our peers. Something to give us an insight into an issue we might not otherwise have come across. To step into their mind and empathise. I encourage you to visit other posts across the month to expand your experience.
Today I’m hosting Alba with her post on Acts of Kindness. You can read more from Alba on her blog Alba in Bookland here.
Acts of Kindness
One thing I love about the football World Cup is how it manages to bring people from all over the world together. Last month, we decided to organize an office pool in which you would select several teams and earn points every time one of your teams would score or win a match. Quite simple. But then in the middle of it, a colleague had a brilliant idea: let’s also collect acts of kindness.
So every day, we would check the news all over the world to find those little acts. It was amazing to see how this world event had affected the daily life of so many people, all from different nationalities and backgrounds and brought them a little happiness.
We even started printing our favorites and putting them in our office board, so everyone could read them. They definitely sparked more than one smile and even a few tears between our colleagues. So today I decided to share with you three of these acts of kindness:
1) How a deafblind fan is enjoying the World Cup thanks to his friends. Here is the video, if you haven’t seen it: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-44657259/icymi-how-a-deafblind-fan-is-enjoying-the-world-cup
I actually studied sign language in university and met such vibrant and active people in the deaf and deaf blind community. We used to have weekend excursions to different places in Barcelona and it was always such a especial moment to be able to sign for the deaf blind so they could experience new places too. So this video definitely brought a lot of nice memories back. I should start volunteering again.
2) Mexican and Colombian supporters lift Egyptian fan in wheelchair so he can see screen in fanzone. Here is the photo, if you haven’t seen it: https://www.thesun.co.uk/world-cup-2018/6553124/world-cup-mexico-colombian-egypt-disabled-fan/
3) Japan and Senegal fans help to clean up World Cup stadiums. Here are the photos, if you haven’t seen them: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/20/sport/senegal-world-cup-stadium-clean-up-spt-intl/index.html
And a special mention to the fans that created the pride flag with football shirts to let Russian LGBT community know ‘they’re not alone’ (https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/worldcup/world-cup-2018-activists-in-moscow-create-pride-flag-with-football-shirts-to-let-russian-lgbt-a3885161.html)
I hope these kind images brought a smile to your face too. And remember, acts of kinds cost nothing but are worth a lot.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful positive stories Alba. I often think of the more negative side of football so it’s great to see how a common interest can bring people together. Definitely relevant to my job as an Occupational Therapist.
Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum … and her mum’s depression. When Stevie’s mum’s disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father’s 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz’s parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie…
As Stevie and Hafiz’s friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
An uplifting story of friendship, unity and hope that highlights the important and topical issues surrounding young carers and young refugees.
I really enjoyed Siobhan’s Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon (which I’m just about to loan to a friend’s daughter) so I think this will be a fabulous read. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow is out now.
by M. A. Griffin
I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first saw the cover to my new novel, PAYBACK.
I’d known the cover had been causing them a few problems. The design team knew what they were after but couldn’t quite get it to work. The wonderfully talented Helen Crawford-White was given the gig, and the publication date was put back as she laboured away; April became May became July.
Then the cover arrived, a pdf attached to an email. I was blown away. It was black, with cool, reflective gold foil lettering. And – I suspect I’m alone in this – I’d always wanted a black book. I have a thing about black books.
Here’s why. To me, black books are holiday books. I guess this goes back to the horror-obsession I had during my teenage years in the late 1980s. As my family’s summer break loomed each year, I’d pack black books about monsters. I remember James Herbert’s The Rats and The Fog, Guy Smith’s The Crabs, Steven King’s stuff and Peter Benchley’s The Deep (which might’ve been more like dark blue.)
It’s worth mentioning that PAYBACK – a heist novel about a gang of anti-capitalist teenage thieves – has little relationship to my summer reading all those years ago. PAYBACK is a thrilling series of robberies, an exploration of direct action and its consequences, a story following powerful and idealistic young activists as they target corrupt organisations and redistribute wealth to the needy. It’s Robin Hood meets The 39 Steps. Nothing like King or Herbert.
Other than, of course, in the colour of its cover.
Black books do special things when you take them to a sunny beach or pool, and this is why I love them:
1. They absorb heat and nearly burn your fingers when you pick them up.
2. The glue that binds them melts faster than other books and the pages begin to separate.
3. Sand attaches itself to the tacky glue between the pages in fine lines. The book almost crunches as you leaf through it.
4. The covers often curl as they dry so your summer read assumes the shape of that elongated ‘m’ we use to indicate distant birds in childhood pictures.
5. Splashed swimming pool water gathers in beads on black covers. Each becomes a super-heated pinprick before it evaporates.
So there you go, folks – five very good reasons to pack PAYBACK in your suitcase this summer!
Cover design by Helen Crawford-White studiohelen.co.uk
PAYBACK by M. A. Griffin out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House)
Follow M.A. Griffin on twitter @fletchermoss and find out more at http://www.chickenhousebooks.com
Do check out the other stops on the tour.
Thanks to Laura Smythe and Chicken House for the copy which I’m really looking forward to reading and burning my hands on in this heatwave.
Guest Post – Social Media Safety
by Kim McCabe, author of From Daughter to Woman, parenting girls safely through their teens
My daughter’s phone died. I braced myself for her panic at being disconnected. It didn’t come, she quite liked having a social media ‘holiday’… for a few weeks. Then she needed to get back in the loop, she was missing conversations, photos, gatherings. But after not having a phone for a while, she was a bit more aware of how easy it was to lose time on it and how it didn’t always make her feel too brilliant.
Teen depression. We all like to blame social media. We’re a bit afraid of it when we see the hold it has over our kids. We’re right to be cautious, it’s definitely having an impact on teen mental health. We don’t want our girls to be basing their opinion of themselves on how many ‘likes’ they can earn. Or ending up exhausted before the day has begun because they were messaging until 2am. Or doing things for the boys because that’s what they’ve all seen online.
Our children are growing up in a world that’s populated by digital delights that we never knew. We’re going to have to learn about how they work before we can teach our kids how to stay healthy in this new culture. This is nothing new, parents have always struggled with whatever’s the latest craze. Kids love it and we tend to see the downsides of it.
If you want to be able to influence your child’s social media habits you can’t be completely down on it. Think about it from your child’s point of view: if you don’t have control over your home, own a car, or have much money and here is a device which puts you in touch with your friends and a world that you don’t have easy access to any other way. What’s not to like?
Here’s the way forward:
• Ask her to teach you about the platforms that she likes.
• Sign up to some yourself so that you can see what’s going on.
• Find out what you need to teach her to stay safe (like turning off location functions, not giving personal details and not meeting people you’ve encountered online; there’s more, find out).
• Ask her what she sees online that bothers her and discuss it without being judgmental or she’ll clam up.
• Find out what happens to everything digital, so you can explain it to her.
• Give her the 1-second-check idea, suggesting she pause before pushing send to ask herself what would my granny or boss think of this?
• Show her videos of how photoshop changes what we’re shown.
• Reassure her that it’s normal to be curious but if ever she sees or hears anything she wishes she hadn’t, she can come to you, no blame.
• Have a night-time parking place downstairs for phones. No phones at bedtime; buy an alarm clock.
• Suggest a ‘mood check’ after time spent with social media so she’s aware of when it’s doing her good and when it’s not. Encourage her to notice what feels positive (the connection, the fun) and what doesn’t (comparing, mean comments).
• Set a good example yourself.
Our duty as parents is to take care of our children and gradually to hand that job over to them. So, when she’s little you install software safeguards and set rules. As she gets older, the safety filters are going to have to come from inside her, so your job turns into how to help her do that. First. She’s going to need to understand why she’d want to. Then, you’ll need to guide her how to use social media safely.
If you think she’s running into difficulties, you need to show that you’re on her side. If she’s not having a nice time online, chances are she’ll feel like it’s her fault and shame will make it harder for her to tell you. If she seems to be relying on ‘likes’ to feel good, and then feels low after the high, help her to notice that. If you think she’s got a bit hooked and you judge her, she’ll just get defensive. Telling anyone of any age that they’re addicted to something is the last way to get them to stop. Never make her wrong. If you want to get through to her, the two of you have to be able to talk to each other without accusing or criticizing. If you want an easy way to get these conversations going, go on a Mother-Daughter Date once a month.
It’s the way to get real-life ‘likes’ from her!
Wow. What a great post. Thanks Kim. Some useful pointers for social media using adults here too!
This book aims to make the adolescent’s journey just that bit safer, kinder, and better supported – so parents and teens can enjoy the teenage years more.
The teen years are tough – for teens and for parents. Many parents dread the moodiness, dishonesty, preference of friends over family, exam stress, and the push for greater independence. Mothers have a pivotal role to play; this is a guidebook for parents and mothers of girls in particular as they navigate the rocky teenage landscape with their daughters aged 8 to 18. It aims to help them embrace the potential of their child’s teenage years by marking this time of growing maturity for girls and celebrating it with them. We celebrate birth, marriage and death, but this important life-transition from child to young adult is nowadays rarely acknowledged within an appropriate community.
Kim McCabe is the founder of Rites for Girls. As the originator and facilitator of Girls Journeying Together groups, she offers guidance to preteen and teen girls and simultaneous support for their mothers. In training other women to facilitate these groups, her dream is that every girl grows up expecting to be supported and celebrated in adolescence. Kim was commissioned to write a section in Steve Biddulph’s latest best-selling book, 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free.
Kim is a home-educating mother of two boys, one girl, two cats and a colony of aloe vera plants; she is wife to a Kiwi, daughter to itinerant parents, friend to a cherished few, and lover of time alone, too. She lives in the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. She sometimes shouts at her children, accidentally steps on the cat’s tail and forgets to water the plants, but she loves her work, her family and her life. She has always had deep affinity with teenage girls, and by sharing her wisdom and compassion she infects the reader with her enthusiasm for this life stage.
From Daughter to Women is out July 18th published by Little Brown and is sure to be invaluable for those raising teenagers. It includes topics such as puberty, periods, relationships and wellbeing and I love the concept of Mother-Daughter dates.
Do check out the rest of the blog tour.
Thanks to Faye Rogers for also proving a PDF which I’m looking forward to reading.