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These blogs are becoming monthly rather than weekly episodes but I think I’ve got a good enough excuse this time. Two weeks in Orlando on a screenwriting fact-finding and ‘research’ mission (I have to say that, for tax purposes) followed by a fortnight solid of adapting Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies into a screenplay for a Californian movie production company gave me more than enough to contend with.

Especially after the Sunday Express blew up the initial, tentative interest from the aforementioned company into a mass bidding war between two Hollywood giants, fighting for the rights to my book. As brilliant an article as it that was, promoting me from the ranks of virtually unknown writer to being compared with JK Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games, I didn’t lose my job and I didn’t say I was gorgeous ;)

And talking about the Hunger Games I have to say I’m absolutely hooked by the first two books and will be popping into the book shop this afternoon to buy the final chapter. As usual the book is always much better than the movie but now having experienced translating a book into a screenplay I can understand why.

Yeah, that’s right. I actually used the phrase ‘virtually unknown writer’, even after weeks, nay months, of blatant and shameless self-promotion I’ve now realised that I am still on the very low rung of a very big ladder but at least I have a clearer idea of where I want to climb to.

Yesterday I visited the Edinburgh Book Festival in Charlotte’s Square and had the privilege to meet two literary giants, in much more than the figurative sense.

First, I squeezed myself into the book-signing queue to thrust my book into the hands of none other than Axel Scheffler. Don’t pretend you don’t know who this guy is – that’s Axel, as in Axel Rose, remember that. If you’ve got kids chances are you’ll have one of his books in your house.

I’m not sure if he is literally a giant (well, he was sitting down) but Axel Scheffler is the illustrator for world famous, award winning books The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on a Broom. He’s worked with Julia Donaldson on dozens of books, as well as loads of other writers. He even designed Gordon Brown’s Christmas cards a few years back.

The Donaldson/Scheffler partnership is the Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake combo for the 21st century and it’s hardly surprising that he looked at me a little oddly when I suggested to him that I wanted to work with him one day. Or maybe it was because I called him Alex!

Then the highlight of my summer; meeting and listening to the 6’7” internationally bestselling author Philip Ardagh, author of The Eddie Dickens Series. Philip and his big bush of a beard prowled around the stage for an hour, entertaining, enlightening and educating his audience. He kept us all on edge, never quite sure which direction his presentation would take next. Perhaps he didn’t know but I felt like I was watching the master. He was madcap, irreverent and interactive, continually pulling small children out from the depths of his sweaty beard.

The man’s a genius, even managing to persuade Warner Bros to lavishly wine and dine him around Amercia for 6 months, spending £3million on his tour and then NOT turn his book into a movie!!! Now he can sell the rights to someone else – BRILLIANT!

I feel even more flattered when I recall that my first book was compared to the style and wit of Philip Ardagh by another publisher. I’m ashamed to say that at that point I said ‘Philip who?’ but I am now, professionally and as enthusiastic book lover, a devoted fan. I can only hope my school presentations are as enjoyable; they are certainly as energetic.

PS  and by pure coincidence, on the day after I met Alex, er I mean Axel Scheffler I discovered that I’m featured on the London Book Fair website in the same short video clip as Julia Donaldson. It’s like rubbing shoulders with royalty.

Still, maybe next year I’ll be in the green room! London Book Fair 2012

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