April 4, 2010

Bologna videos

Filed under: Bologna,book release,events,video,YouTube — Tags: , , — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 1:53 pm

I’ve uploaded two Bologna videos to my You Tube account, one still to come.

So far I’ve uploaded some video of the illustrators wall and a video of the launch party for the Great Big Book of Families, written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Ros Asquith and published by Frances Lincoln.


March 28, 2010

Abingdon book signing 13 March 2010

I would have written this up earlier but I was in a tearing hurry to leave for Bologna! However we had the first Children’s Author Roadshow event in Abingdon on the 13th of March at The Bookstore in Abingdon.

The event was organised by the Oxfordshire branch of the Children’s Author Roadshow which is a new project of the scattered Authors Society to link groups of local authors for visits. Our group of authors were: Leslie Wilson, Joanna Kenrick, Mary Hoffman, Kath Langrish, Rhiannon Lassiter, Dennis Hamley and Mary Hooper.

With so many authors I was a bit worried we’d fill up the whole shop so customers couldn’t get in. But The Bookstore turned out to be surprisingly spacious almost Tardis-like in its ability to cram in so many of us and still keep plenty of room for people having books signed, people buying books and people simply browsing the shelves. We took up two tables with our books and the authors took turns behind the tables, meeting and greeting and handing out free postcards and bookmarks inside and outside the store. The staff members were very friendly and supportive and had put together a beautiful window display of all of our books and a swingstand outside the shop.

At this event I was promoting Bad Blood and the reissued Rights of Passage sequence, of which Borderland and Outland have been published so far. I handed out competition flyers with the opportunity to win a free copy of Borderland or Outland by answering the question “If you discovered a secret doorway into another world, what would you do?”

We had a number of entrants and almost everyone who answered included having adventures in their reply. Quite a few people would take a friend or family member with them and an honorable mention to the contestant who wanted to fill her world with music.

I chose the winner later that evening and can now announce the winner was Kathlyn, from Abingdon, UK with the answer: “Bring a friend with me so we could discover the world together and hopefully have adventures. And also meet interesting characters in the other world to be my friends.” Congratulations, Kathlyn! A copy of Borderland is on its way and should reach you by the end of the month.

The photos you see in this entry were taken by Sara Wallcraft, Monkeyflower Designs, who kindly helped me out at this event. She’s one of my cloest friends and if I ever do discover a door into another world I’m sure she’ll be close behind me. Thanks also to Jo Kenrick who did the lioness’ share of the organising (all the hard work of tracking down suitable prey and organising the pride of authors) and to Mary Hoffman for transporting me to Abingdon. Thank you as well to the rest of the CAR team who were a joy to work with. I hope to do more signings with the group this year.

March 12, 2010

Book signing in Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Filed under: competition,events,signing — Tags: , , , , , — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 2:41 pm

Saturday 13th March 2010 - The Oxford branch of the Children’s Authors’ Roadshow, including Leslie Wilson, Joanna Kenrick, Mary Hoffman, Kath Langrish,┬áRhiannon Lassiter, Dennis Hamley and Mary Hooper will be talking to customers and signing books between 11am and 2pm at The Book Store in the Abingdon shopping precinct – come along and say hello!

Rhiannon will also be judging a competition to win copies of her books. For a chance to win, entrants must answer the question “if you discovered a secret doorway into another world… what would you do?”

March 7, 2010

Bologna 2010

Filed under: Bologna,events — Tags: — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 1:42 pm
Bologna2010 logo


From the 23rd to the 26th of March I’ll be at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. Bologna is the biggest children’s rights fair and has over a thousand exhibitors from publishing companies, agencies and production companies around the world. I’ve been going to Bologna every other year for the last decade and am now attending every year to meet my international publishing companies, find out about the current trends in publishing and surround myself with children’s books and book people.

I’ll be there with my mother, the children’s author Mary Hoffman. If you’re attending the fair let me know and perhaps we can meet.

April 1, 2009

Suffolk, Bologna and Place and Space conference, oh my!

Filed under: events,Ghost of a Chance,news,photos — Tags: , , , — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 6:46 pm

If you were wondering why I haven’t updated recently, it’s not because I’ve been slacking off! I’ve been jetsetting (and train- and car-setting) around the place doing various events.

Suffolk Book Mastermind

Suffolk Book Mastermind

On Friday the 27th of March I was a guest at the Suffolk Schools Library Service Book Mastermind Competition where I watched local students compete to be chosen book mastermind. The winner was a 14-year-old named Leanne from Sudbury Upper School. In the afternoon I and Natalie Haynes (another author and comedian) both gave talks and workshops to the attendees.

While in Suffolk I visited my friends Mo and Tracy who kindly hosted me and gavce me a chance to relax before my next event…

Because on Sunday the 29th of March I set off for Italy and the Bologna Book Fair. Bologna really deserves a whole post of its own so for now I’ll concentrate on the highlights. I went with my mother, author Mary Hoffman, who has just started a new blog and posted about the event there. (Check out The Book Maven for her Bologna post.)

Bologna Book Fair

Bologna Book Fair

Together we had an excellent time prowling around the four halls dedicated to publishing companies from across the word, checking out new titles and popular themes. I also met my German editor Antje Keil (from Fischer Verlag) and my Japanese editor Kyoko Kiire (from Shogakukan) and said hello to other publishing folks at the stands for my other UK and oversees publishers. I was taken out to dinner by the people at Frances Lincoln and met up with others for drinks.

After the fair my father came to join us and we went by train to Florence where we spent three days in an apartment with a glorious view of classic florentine roofs and terraces. I visited the Uffizi, roamed the city and bought gifts for colleagues at the San Lorenzo market.

San Lorenzo market

San Lorenzo market

Then on Saturday the 28th of March I flew back to the UK and came racing back to Oxford to join in on the final plenary panel for the Place and Space conference with Philip Pullman, Claire Squires, Peter Hunt and Farah Mendlesohn. Our panel was on working in children’s fiction and was (at least to me) extremely interesting. Although we all had different approaches, we are more similar than we are different in our passion for books. I could say a lot more about the conference too so I will plan to say more once I can track down some pictures of the event. I know lots were taken but none with my camera.

So, now I’m back and writing away since the current book Ghost of a Chance is within a hairsbreath of completeing. The trouble is for every thousand words I write I throw half of them away! But even so I am nearing the end and able to say (cautiusly) that I think this will be a good book. I am (warily) pleased with how it’s worked out.

February 28, 2009

Where do you get your ideas from?

Filed under: Advice for writers,Q&A,Rhiannon's books — Tags: , — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 1:51 pm

The question “where do you get your ideas from?” is one writers dread. It’s a very popular first question at school visits and talks, and probably a natural one but it’s still extremely difficult to answer.

Just googling for where do you get your ideas from? produces pages of authors agonising over this question. Neil Gaiman’s answer is the first hit.

It’s difficult for the people who ask this question to understand why it casts us creative types into such convulsions as we strive to articulate an answer. I think the problem lies in the fact that the instant answer that flashes through my mind is “wheredon’t I get my ideas from?”

In fact it reminds me a little of when I was eleven years old and being asked by classmates “what’s it like to have a mother whose an author?” Again, the answer is: “well, what’s it like not to?” There’s no basis for comparison.

Having ideas for stories is one of the things that makes me a writer. I have them all the time. Sometimes it would be a mercy to have less of them since I have bulging files (actual and theoretical) of ideas I haven’t had the opportunity to do anything with yet. My head is stuffed with fragments of stories and snapshots of scenes, sometimes just names, words, a single sentence of dialogue.

Terry Pratchett has written about inspiration particles sleeting through the cosmos. Someone else (and if you know who, please tell me) described writers as dragging around an ideas net and everything that happens to us gets stuffed into the net.

One part of this question that some people focus on is whether writers get our ideas from real life: real people and real events. For me the answer to this is “much less than you might expect”. Real people and real situations can inspire me with ideas or empower the reality of my fiction but I don’t stuff my friends (or enemies) into my books. My characters are also much more me than they are anyone else. Raven was an ego ideal for me when I first wrote her. The three cousins in ‘Waking Dream’ and the five teenagers in ‘Bad Blood’ all have aspects of me in them. And ‘Bad Blood’ of course, has its origins in a real house and the real scenery of the Lake District. But if you’re worried about writers being a sort of vulture, greedying up bits of other people’s lives and using them in our fiction – that’s not the way I work. Perhaps because my literary origins are in fantasy, I hoestly don’t find real life interesting enough to write about – not without considerable embellishment.

For aspiring authors wanting to find ideas, the best advice I can give is that everything has the capacity to inspire. The more I learn and read and think the more ideas I have; too many to ever write them all down.

One vision I have of heaven is a place where every book that has ever been thought of exists and could be read. Not just my ideas, although there are some I’ve had that I’ve love to read the book since I don’t know how to write it… yet. But more importantly the unwritten ideas of the authors I’ve loved. Books they might have written but died before they could, or books they thought of writing but didn’t. I know from talking to my mother, Mary Hoffman, about ideas that she has the same problem of far too many than she can use.

One word of warning though. Once you open yourself to ideas for stories they come so thick and fast that you may end up forgetting some of them. I try to jot the best ones down even if I don’t have time to do more than summarise them. In my ‘ideas file’ I have synopses and first chapters of about twenty books right now and i have even more snippets tucked away in notebooks. One of the reasons writers will tend to carry a pen and paper is to keep track of the ideas. Sudden inspirations, like butterflies, flutter past all the time and need to be caught in the net or pinned to a page. Unlike butterflies, pinnning them down doesn’t hurt ideas and the more you think about them and play with them the more they flourish.

A stock of ideas, carefully saved, is a dragon’s hoard of gold. Some ideas are fairy gold and can vanish if you try to spend them. Others cluster together and can be scooped up in a shining goblet of rainbow gems. Some that seemed glittery turn out to be fool’s gold – or lead. But the shiny metaphor is leading me off into other questions for other days like “how do you use your ideas?” and “how can you tell which ones are the good ones?”

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