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  • Guest Blog Adele Parks

    Mon, 27 Jun 2011 08:32

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    It's week three of our Summer Festival and we're very pleased to welcome best-selling author Adele Parks to the Book Depository blog. Her new book, About Last Night is just out and already storming up the charts. We've also got ten copies to give away if you head over here.

    But enough of my yakkin' here's Adele to tell you a bit about how she started and what writing means to her:

    "I've wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember. As a child I read voraciously and wrote my own stories, making them into little books. As I grew up I always had notebooks which I jotted ideas into and when I got drunk I shamefacedly whispered about my secret dream. I was twenty-eight before I started to take myself and my ambition seriously. Once I did, I simply worked steadily until I had a novel I could present to anyone. I ruthlessly self edited, I accepted criticism and I researched my market which secured me an agent. My agent presented my book to 6 publishers and they all accepted it. I do realize this is a bit sickening to anyone who has had numerous knockbacks but on the other hand my story shows that dreams come true and novelists work in a world of dreams so I hope no-one resents it too much!
    Over the past decade my career has taken me to USA, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Canada, and South Africa. I'm lucky enough to have my works translated into over 20 languages (although I have no idea what's said!). I've met a vast array of people from famous journalists and TV celebs to Prime ministers and people struggling to read their first novel through my work with The Reading Agency and literacy programmes. It's mind blowing really.
    Since 2000, I've written eleven novels, About Last Night being my most recent. I'm scarily disciplined, very probably a workaholic but then it's not difficult to be obsessive about something you enjoy, ask anyone who has ever been in love. I write about those irrefutable, perennial issues that interest us all. I try to scrutinize our theories of love, parenthood, friendship and fidelity; I try to do so with honesty and humour. I think contemporary romance is incredibly popular and enduring because without love what have we got? It's defining, exhilarating, disappointing, infinite.
    My novels are a mix of reality and escapism. The contemporary settings, descriptions and characters are all part of our world which allows the reader to easily and joyfully relate to the situations but the difference is that a contemporary romance novel invariably offers a happy or at least satisfactory resolution. We see characters improve and get just what they deserve; we often crave that in real life and appreciate it in our fiction - I think that might be part of the enduring appeal. This genre offers entertainment, solace and above all hope. However, even though my novels have a romantic element I think they also have an attitude that's modern and reflective of the women who read my work. Intelligent women who want to exam the thorny issues of the lives we lead today, women who appreciate an up-front, tell-it-as-it-is style.
    I love receiving reader feedback. I've already had emails from fans who've finished About Last Night, even though it was only released 4 days ago (at the time of writing). They confide their stories of betraying best friends or husbands. There's a real sense that we're connected, which we are. My books are mine when I write them but they belong to the reader after that. We share the experience."
  • Kierons top ten kids books

    Mon, 20 Jun 2011 08:42

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    Kieron's the MD, so don't argue. He might fire us all if you don't like his top ten...

    "Choosing a top ten of Children's books is an impossible task, I've two children who both have their favourites, plus memories of my own cherished books from my childhood might not be as relevant for everyone else! That said, I've been asked to draw up a list so I will do so, with a little bit of a rationale for the line up, also I'm limiting myself to the under teens due to too many good books.

    Despite now having worked in books for nearly twenty years I was quite a reluctant reader, never really finding 'the book' to grab my interest and kick off a reading habit. Then it came along it in the form of Shirley Hughes It's too Frightening for Me and I haven't stopped since. When I caught chickenpox I worked my way through Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence which has resonance with many adults still, try mentioning it on a cold winters evening!

    Alan and Janet Ahlberg have, in my opinion given us some of the best children's books of all time - spoilt for choice I've selected The Jolly Postman beautifully written, illustrated and constructed (not to mention near misses such as The Pencil, Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum, Please Mrs Butler...)

    Colin McNaughton brought us Preston Pig whose adventures with wolf have entertained both my kids and me at the same time - lots to be said for bedtime stories that have a decent narrative! In this list I've put in Suddenly! yet again all his collected works are fantastic.

    Jan Pienkowski is in the list to represent all the wonderful pop-up book artists with Haunted House narrowly beating ABC3D and Encyclopedia Prehistorica.

    Eric Carle's Hungry Caterpillar has to be in the list, I can stand to read this over and over. I especially like it when the caterpillar eats the salami. David McKee is another children's book hero in my eyes, bringing us Elmer and Mr Benn - however I'm putting Not Now Bernard in this list because it's fun and grumpy at the same time.

    Two more picture books in the line-up are Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Rosen and Oxenbury's re-writing of the traditional We're Going on a Bear Hunt - children's books should be read aloud (and then enjoyed beneath the covers) and these exemplify the best in illustration and poetic writing.

    Finally (the end already?! No, again!) read at about 4.30am every Christmas morning Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas which gives me an excuse to mention The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and Ug.

    And after all that I've still missed out: the Family from One end Street, Dick King-Smith, Roald Dahl (how can that have happened?), Meg and Mog and Charlie and Lola. They crept in at the end? Ah, good.

    Sleep tight."

  • Steves Top Ten crime books

    Mon, 13 Jun 2011 07:49

    Hello, and welcome to the first blog entry in our Summer Festival of reading.

    This week we're celebrating great crime books and every day we've got competitions and guest posts for you to enter, watch and read.

    We thought we'd kick off though with our resident office crime buff Steve to give us his current top ten (an everchanging list...). What would you put in your top ten?

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