Search This Blog

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eagle of the Ninth movie - I wonder...?

They're turning Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth into a movie. It made a wonderful TV series years ago, with Anthony Higgins in the lead. I don't think that's available on DVD - anyway, I can't find it, although maybe now ...?

Meanwhile, what will this one be like? I can only hope that it's a whole lot better than, say, the abomination that was made of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. Checking out the cast list, I see that the role of Marcus Aquila has gone to an American actor, Channing Tatum - the guy who played "Duke" Orsino in "She's The Man" and Esca will be played, would you believe by "Billy Elliott" Jamie Bell, who is about 24 now. Well, there's no doubt Tatum looks like a Marcus. Whether he can act it or not we'll have to see. This fan will be difficult to please!

It's fascinating to see all the on-line blog comments by folk who haven't read the book but hope it will be an sword-and-sandal epic of the kind that has been appearing lately. Apparently, it's a small budget, so that's not likely.

I'm re-reading The Lantern Bearers, the third book in the series. It's not easy to get the Sutcliff books these days. They've put three of them under one cover - perhaps because of the movie? - but for the most part, you have to hunt for them on the bookshop shelves or order them.

Let's hope the movie is good enough that people start asking for the books and they re-print the lot!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shameless self-promotion

Okay, here it is, sent to me by Paul Collins, my Ford Street publisher. I'll be there, if any of you are in Melbourne and feel like coming, and so will some much bigger names than me. I'll be bringing bookmarks. The priority will be Crime Time, my non-fiction book for Ford Street, which is nice easy reading and great as a Yuletide gift for the child in your life, or even for yourself, but with luck the shops will also have my new novel.

"Authors Paul Collins, Meredith Costain, George Ivanoff , Felicity Marshall, Foz Meadows, Sean McMullen, Doug MacLeod, Hazel Edwards, Jo Thompson and Sue Bursztynski will be signing their books at Fairfield Bookshop, 117a Station Street, Fairfield (11am) and Collins Booksellers, Shop D1/2 Northland Shopping Centre, East Preston (1pm) on Dec 4. All welcome if you’re in Melbourne on that date."
Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd
2 Ford Street
Clifton Hill, Vic 3068

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Book Clubbers

Okay, they're the same students. Book Club and Writers' Club - they overlap, although the Year 7 girls don't turn up to the latter. They did come on the Book Club excursion. Last week in Book Club, we had a lively argument, everyone talking at once, about which was better - Twilight or Harry Potter? Nobody wanted to wait for anyone else to finish and in the end I let them just do it as they pleased.

This week, Dylan read the latest instalment of his epic "Three Brothers" series to the gathered group. I asked Ryan for the file of his Japanese martial arts story, which he says he's finished, so I could print it out and we can discuss it next time, but we became a little distracted by various things. I will have to ask again.

We all stood at the computer, where Thando explained about, an on-line writers' community to which she belongs. We couldn't get a Word copy of the story - I think it's a web site security issue to protect the writers - so we printed it off and Thando read some of it to us. It's about a girl who lives on Venus and has been admiring an Earth boy from afar. Willis did discuss with her the scientific issues about Venus as a planet. I suggested she just get on with it, so the story is written, then go back and check out her research facts for the purposes of correction; I believe that one should write while ideas are flowing, THEN do the research and re-write - unless, of course, you're doing some reading and get the ideas from that. I think I vaguely recall Robert Silverberg saying at Aussiecon 3 that this is how he works, that he'd never get anything done if he stopped to do all the research first.

So no, I wasn't going to tell Thando that Venus might be a bit hostile to life. Not yet, anyway. I just suggested that she look it up later. The story so far is charming. I'd hate for that to stop.

I think it's well worth giving up one lunchbreak a week to be with these delightful students and give them space for their writing and reading.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

OUT FOR BLOOD: Volume 3 Drake Chronicles. By Alyxandra Harvey London: Bloomsbury, 2010

This is the third novel in the series about the peaceful vampire family, the Drakes, and the humans in their lives (or should that be their undeaths?) In this universe, you can be turned, but you can also be born to the vampire state, although you don’t change states until you’re sixteen. The Drake family has a born-vampire father, a mother who turned by choice and is now queen of the local vampire tribe, a single daughter, Solange, and seven gorgeous sons, two of whom are dating human girls, one a kick-ass vampire girl, while Solange’s boyfriend Kieran is not only human but a hereditary vampire-hunter. Fortunately, the Drakes have made a treaty with the vampire-hunting society, the Helios-Ra. Not everyone on either side agrees with this treaty, which is probably a good thing for the purposes of the storylines or there would be no more novels in the series.

The entire series, so far, has been set over a fairly short time, only a few weeks. Each one takes up shortly after the last. Each novel is seen from the viewpoints of different characters.

This one is seen alternately from the viewpoint of Quinn Drake, the fourth son, and Hunter Wild, a Helios-Ra girl who appeared briefly in the previous novel and is teasingly called Buffy by Quinn. For the first time, we see inside the school where the young hereditary vampire-slayers are trained.

Hunter has been at the school for four years and is just finishing up, but just when she’s falling in love with the annoyingly attractive Quinn, who has a huge number of groupies, she finds that something strange is going on at the Heios-Ra Academy. There are unexpected attacks by the truly horrible Hel-Blar vampires (they’re blue and insane). Students are coming down with mysterious illnesses. Someone is handing out “vitamin” tablets that may be more than vitamins.

Can Hunter and her friends stop it in time? Can she get Quinn’s attention away from all those other girls - and will it matter if she and the others don’t stop whatever is happening at the school?

What do you think?

This series is a lot of fun, unlike many other vampire romances. There’s certainly enough romance to keep girls reading, but the heroines of these stories are not the standard maiden-in-distress. They kick ass. Even Hunter’s girly room-mate, Chloe, is a computer hacker genius. The gorgeous Drake brothers are turned on by strong women, possibly because their mother is one.

The girls will enjoy this one as much as the others. I can’t wait to put it in my library, where the first two books are almost always out on loan.

Friday, November 05, 2010

At last!

Here it is - my book. I got my first advance copy on Thursday. I ordered some extra copies because my author copies won't be arriving for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I handed out a few copies to those students who had helped me early in the year. to their history teachers and to a friend on staff, then took some home for my mother and sister.

But there was no excitement quite like that I felt coming home on Thursday, finding the envelope and ripping it open. The students at my school have been sharing the excitement of the process. They got the first look at potential covers. I have to say, this is not the one most of them chose, but they have been pleased to share the process with me, asking now and then how it was going, when it would be out, could they read it when it did.

I'm hoping to do a school-based launch, if I can do it before all the end-of-year stuff catches up. Exams, assemblies, end-of-year activities... We'll see. If I can't do it now, I will have a belated one first thing next year, but I'm hoping not to lose the impetus.

It doesn't matter how many books you've done (this is my tenth if you don't count the manuscript I did for that small publisher who then informed all her writers that she couldn't publish because the Canadians didn't have the money to give her, but that's another story). It's always, always exciting to see the finished product for the first time. You never get used to it. Well, I don't.

Oh, joy!