Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Cambridge has some amazing young writers!

I recently had the honour of being asked to sponsor a competition in Cambridge. It was organised by a number of school who come together to form the 'CB4 group'.

Children were given the first chapter of my book, Doorway To Danger. Based on this, they had to create their own version of the story. Winners in different age categories, along with an overall winner, were announced at Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge, on 25th November. They all got copies of my books, and runners up received posters and bookmarks.



The winners of the CB4 Writing competition, with members of Cambridge FC,
who presented them with their prizes.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the prize giving, so I filmed a video instead, in which I announce the overall winner (Frankie) and read out his story. You can watch this below. Frankie's story was excellent - and very, very creepy, so be warned... it's the stuff of nightmares!

Below, you can also find a written copy of Frankie's winning story, including my opening chapter that inspired it.

Well done to Frankie, all the other winners and everyone else who entered the competition. Keep up the great work!


Here is the full story: my opening chapter is in blue, followed by Frankie's story in black!

‘There are people coming!’ Thatch shouted, floating into the upstairs bedroom as fast as he could manage.
            ‘People!’ Rose shrieked.
            Willow put her hand on Rose’s shoulder to calm her.
‘But there have been no people near this house, since... well, since Eric came,’ she said.
            She glanced over to Eric, who was floating above his favourite chair. The thick glasses twitched on his nose.
‘And I arrived over ten years ago,’ he said. ‘I came looking for ghosts, but I never thought I would end up as one.’
‘We know,’ said Thatch. ‘The amount of times you’ve told us that!’
‘Show Eric some respect!’ Willow said sternly. ‘He’s older than you Thatch.’
Thatch rolled his eyes. ‘We’re all ghosts, what difference does it make? I’ve been stuck here longer than he has.’
Willow looked down at the floor. Suddenly, any excitement about the people coming towards the house disappeared, replaced with a great fear. Willow had been in the house longer than the other ghosts – over ninety years. She knew all too well what happened to people who stepped through the front door.
‘Are they definitely coming this way?’ she whispered.
‘I saw them out of the front window,’ said Thatch.
‘Is one of the people a girl?’ asked Rose eagerly.
She had been the youngest when she died. Only six years old. Willow still remembered watching it happen, seeing her panic, unable to help – she had never cried so much. That must have been over forty years ago.
 ‘It’s a girl and a boy,’ said Thatch.
‘Will they want to play with us?’ Rose continued, bouncing up and down.
‘Careful,’ Willow warned her. ‘Don’t use up too much energy.’
Thatch hovered eagerly by the door. ‘Come on, we need to get moving, or we’ll never reach the front door in time to see them come in.’
‘Is it safe to move?’ asked Willow. ‘He isn’t about, is He?’
‘No, I think He is sleeping. We’re safe.’
Thatch, Willow, Rose and Eric moved out of the room.
The procession down the stairs was slow. The ghosts needed energy to move; they mainly got this from the heat around them, but there wasn’t much of that about at the moment. The house was almost unbearably dark and cold.
Only Thatch had found a way to conserve energy while moving quickly.
When they reached the first floor landing, Willow held onto Rose’s hand. She never felt safe wandering around the house, and always stayed alert to danger. Thatch sailed through the air ahead of them. Willow knew he enjoyed the risk of moving from room to room.
‘Slow down,’ she said through gritted teeth. ‘He will notice us.’
             ‘If you want to miss seeing these people arrive, fine,’ Thatch replied in his loudest voice. ‘Anyway, stop fretting – I haven’t seen Him for ages.’
            ‘I have felt His presence around us,’ said Willow. Eric nodded. ‘And if new people are coming, you know He will be desperate to get to them before we do.’
            Thatch glared at her and soared down the next flight of stairs.
            Willow looked around cautiously, calculating the best place to hide if He appeared. She and Eric gripped Rose tightly between them and travelled towards the front door. Thatch was there, gazing out of a small pane of glass.
            ‘Are they still in the garden, Thatch?’ asked Eric.
            ‘Does the girl look playful?’ asked Rose.
            ‘Quiet, I’m trying to see,’ said Thatch.
            The other ghosts glided up to the window and peered out together.
            Thatch was right – a boy and a girl. It was too dark to see them properly, but Willow squinted her eyes and stared closely. The boy was tall and thin, with short blonde hair that was almost spiky. Willow didn’t know much about boys, but this one had a look on his face that reminded her of Thatch in a bad mood. The girl had long hazelnut hair, pushed back from her face, revealing shining eyes that Willow could only describe as adventurous.
            ‘She’s wearing trousers!’ Rose exclaimed. ‘Why is the girl dressed in boy’s clothes?’
            ‘Girls do that now,’ said Eric. ‘I think what she’s wearing are called jeans.’
            Just then, the girl looked towards the house. All the ghosts gasped. Willow backed away. The girl was staring through the glass, directly at them.
            ‘Can... can she see us?’ Rose asked breathlessly.
            Thatch frowned. ‘No, she... she can’t... We don’t have enough energy to be seen. Not even I do. We’re too weak.’
            The girl looked back at the boy, standing a few feet behind her in the garden.
            ‘Listen. The boy is speaking,’ said Eric, pressing his ear to the glass.
            ‘You’ve got to be joking, Becky,’ they heard him say.
            The girl grinned at him. ‘Come on! You’re the one who said to come this way, Finn.’
            Becky and Finn, Willow thought, fear now running through her. Please do not come any closer. Run away! Do not enter this house!

***

‘W-w-what’s up?’ Finn was shaking, too scared to scream, while Becky was peering through the window. She had was definitely looking at someone or something. Even Becky was starting to shake and she was the bravest in the neighbourhood. ‘I…think I saw some pale light for a moment… come on!’ she advanced towards the house, running now and opened the door and stepped into the house. Eyes wide, he ran after Becky, wondering what that thing she saw was. Now Finn was at the door, he stopped, only to trip over a piece of concrete and through the door. He immediately felt drowsy, like he just got into a deep sleep.
Becky woke up and yawned. She then saw five children above her, two of them were horror struck, while the others were crying, to stay in the air they were all different, but they were all as pale as a glacier. She swivelled around to Finn who looked as if he was fading but a bone was forming underneath him. The she stepped on something. She gasped SHE was completely white but not only that, she had a bone under her, and was two inches above the ground. A word formed in her head ‘Ghost’. She looked at her surroundings. It was as bad as it was outside; dark purple wallpaper were torn from walls, revealing broken wood underneath, a cracked leather chair was covered in dirt and one of the armrests were missing, a posh table was covered in cobwebs and lopsided, at that exact moment, a creak echoed in the air and one of the table legs snapped, revealing woodworm inside. A shiver shook down her spine, leaving her freezing, as cold as ice. Then a tap made her look; it was a little girl, no older than six, looking up at her ‘ah poor thing’ she thought ‘only six and she’s already a ghost’. The girl spoke ‘who… who are you?’ ‘Becky’ she replied, who are you? ‘Rose’, uttered the little girl. Becky, surprised tried to run, but she floated to the door. But instead when she should of come through the door, she hit the air, as if there were a brick wall and fell to the floor. A screech cut through the air.
A hand grabbed her and pulled her across the floor and rushed into an old closet covered in moss, the oldest ghost pulled open the door and rushed inside. All ghosts shook and shivered. A ghost with thick specs was clutching Finn, who was still asleep on the floor. She heard a creaking of a worn old door. Becky looked through the keyhole. She had saw nothing like it. A serpent head an emerald green peered at the ancient house unblinking, a loose frill drooped down. At the end of the neck, was covered in soot black feathers, as you would see on a raven, followed by vulture wings with curved claws more like a scythe at the end of the wings. Talons at the end of scaley legs moved and twitched like a lizard and the body ended in a spiked, long scaley tail. ‘It’s here, it’s here!’ the ghosts whispered terrified. The creature crept to the bones that Becky and Finn had left behind and then it Gnawed Becky’s like a rat and held the bones in its mouth and crept away.
Finn woke to feel freezing and looked up seeing Becky and some children shaking, clutching each other, he started to panic seeing he was a ghost and so were they but before he could scream, Becky covered his mouth and whispered…‘don’t you dare!’ she didn’t say it in anger, she said it with fear in her eyes, as well as her voice. He had never seen her so scared before, but the other children were staring ahead, not moving, holding each other and the youngest uttered a sob. It must have been half an hour before they had opened the moss covered door. Whatever they were staring at, was gone. They all slowly floated up. The ghosts whispered with fear ”is he gone?” the little one whispered .’yes, I think so’ said the oldest. “umm…w-who are you?” shook Finn. ‘willow, Thatch, Rosé and Eric’ they whispered, look at him. ‘Do you want to play?’ said the little one, only about six years old. The oldest floated towards the little one ‘look Rose, we have to ask him who he is first. Rose nodded. ‘So…who are you? Why are you here?’ the oldest asked. Finn exploded with words, explaining every detail to the ghosts and they listened to every word, and they explained why they were in this worn-out house and horrible secrets. The Becky stepped forward ‘Do you think you will return to life once he is dead?’ Willow shrugged ‘perhaps’ she answered. Becky spoke ‘well let’s kill him’. She said and explained her plan…

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Books. Lots of books. 12,000 books.





Ready for the next year of school visits! Looking forward to kicking things off with visits to Manchester, Liverpool and Cheltenham!

Monday, 1 June 2015

In which I encounter the Blubber Monster (and some awesome schools too!)

 
Signing books at Short Wood School was great fun - their
enthusiasm was infectious!
Just before half term, we spent a week visiting some of the loveliest and most welcoming schools we have ever come across. 3 were old friends (Short Wood, Crudgington and Kinlet) and 2 have become new friends (Farlow and St Mary's Madeley). Thank you to them all for making our visits such special occasions.
At Farlow we signed books on the playground.
This was our view!

A particular highlight was our early morning journey to Farlow: driving down miles of single-track lanes with birds flitting in and out of the hedges around us, hoping we wouldn't meet any cars coming the other way (we narrowly avoided a confrontation with a bin lorry!). Our journey took us over a ford, through a sheep field and up a steep hill in first gear, before we arrived at the most rural school I have ever visited, with just two classes. But it was most certainly worth the drive!

I received this wonderful letter from class 4 at St Mary's Madeley:

Dear Luke,

We wanted to write a letter to say thank you so much for coming to visit us! We loved the presentation you put on for us and we definitely can't wait to read your books! You really brought the books to life and helped us get to know the characters.

Thank you for making us all feel involved and for making us laugh! It really helps when we can relate to the author and you have inspired lots of us! There was such a buzz in the air after we had seen you! This is something we will remember for a long time!

We would love to see you again in the future and get to talk about some more of your books, even the ones that are only in your head at the moment! We are sure that they too will be amazing! We wouldn't mind seeing the juggling again either!

I was author of the month at St Mary's!
Many thanks!

Best wishes!

Class 4













Recently, my first book for 5-7 year olds was published: Albert and the Blubber Monster. I had so much fun introducing the book to KS1 children in the five schools above. I even received my first ever pictures of the Blubber Monster, from children at Farlow:



 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Q and A: LOADS of questions from lovely Ladygrove

It was World Book Day this month, when many children dress up as book characters.
Here is the very scary Captain Traiton from Felix Dashwood and the Traitor's Treasure. What an awesome costume!
(Thanks to Emma Adam for the photo of her daughter)

I've just received lots of nice emails and letters from year 6s at Ladygrove Primary School. I first met most of them when they were in year 3! You can read their lovely comments below, followed by my answers to their questions, followed by even more lovely comments.
 
Thanks to the Ladygrove year 6s for writing to me. Reading how much you enjoyed my visit has made my week! You were a brilliant audience and I had so much fun bringing my books to life with you all.
 
It's a real shame that you won't be at Ladygrove the next time I visit, but it was lovely to have met you all a few times. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time at Ladygrove. It's a brilliant school, isn't it?
 
Nice comments:
 
"The 10th of March was magnificent! Thanks to you now over 90% of school pupils are now reading! Your clips were EXTREMLY funny... Please keep staring at blank walls! Because your stories are amazing, to add on you’re my favourite author and you inspired me to read!"
 
"You are a true hero and have inspired me to read more than I do."
 
"I am writing to u to thank you for being awesome  you have truly inspired me ...  I wish you could teach me how to be so cool!"
 
"we really loved your crazy attitude and fun personality."
 
 
Lots of questions:
 
Have you ever messed up in front of school and the children?

Once, my magic portal was at the bottom of a staircase. I had to climb up the stairs, jump through a door and into the hall. But as I went through the door, I hit my head on the top of the door and fell all the way back down the stairs. Everyone laughed :(

Has any of your books been to any other countries?

My books have been read in Germany, Spain, Africa, America, New Zealand, Australia… and of course the UK.

How long did it take to write all the books you have previously wrote?

Most of them take 1 and a half years, but Mutating Mansion only took 2 months.

When did you like books?

I was a reluctant reader until I was about 16. Then I started to like books.

Why did you choose the name `Traiton`?

I like how Traiton sounds a lot like Traitor, which might give you a clue about what that character is like.

What’s going to be your next ks2 series called?

I’m not sure what it will be called, but my next KS2 series will be about a boy who can jump into films and have adventures with all the characters in them.

Which of your books do you think is the scariest?

Probably Mutating Mansion. Those toys are creepy!

Which one is the best to you? 

The book I think is the best is always the one I’m writing at the moment.

What’s your nickname? 

At school I was called ‘Drumsticks’. Can you guess why?

Do you like gamers? 

I’m not much of a gamer myself, but some of my friends are. I’ve played a bit of Minecraft, and I’m an expert on Temple Run!

Who’s your favourite author now? 

Jasper Fforde, Philip Pullman, Nicky Singer, Markus Zusak

Do you read books to get ideas? 

Yep! You’re allowed to steal ideas from other books (as long as you don’t steal the whole plot!). It’s called ‘magpie-ing’. If anyone wants to magpie ideas from my books, you’re very welcome to!

Will you retire from writing books?

I hope not. I love it!

Will you ever become a publisher not an author?

Maybe one day I will be both.

How much do you earn from each book?

If a book is sold in a bookshop, authors usually get about 8% of the price. So if a book costs £5.99, I’ll let you work out how much authors get!

If you could be another well known author who would you be and why?
 
Jasper Fforde. His ideas are mad and funny, and very clever.

If you didn’t have a plain wall to stare at to get your ideas what would you use instead?

The sea. I like staring at the sea.

Who is your favourite super hero?  

Bob.

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

A zookeeper. Then I realised that zookeepers have to shovel poo, so I decided I didn’t like that idea.

Do you enjoy your job?

No, it’s rubbish… (I’M JOKING)

What is the best part of your job?

Coming into schools and working with all you lovely children (and your horrible teachers).

Hope I am not wasting Luke’s time of being AWESOME. (which is always)  

Ok, so this isn’t a question, but it’s a nice sentence to end on. Thank you :)

Even more nice comments:

"Our reading has grown massively since your first extraordinary visit and every time you have brought smiles to everyone’s faces and made my day!"

"The whole school loves the way you dance and when you are funny (which you all ways are)"

"you are a inspiration to all the children in the world. One of our teachers didn't want to come in, now she is buzzing."

"I wasn’t really looking forward to you coming because I thought you were going to be one of those authors who just sit there and reads us a boring book but NO you brought enthusiasm and confidence to your act. Before I saw you I thought reading was boring but now I've realised how reading can be exciting and fun."

"Our teachers are always nagging us to read but we can’t if there’s no books that interest us. However, now your books are out the teachers won’t be nagging at us anymore!"

"I think everybody’s favourite part was when you dressed up like a ballerina, well that was my favourite part!"

"When I got up I didn't want to come to school. However, then I reminded myself about you coming to school so I got up and got dressed. It was so super, I was so happy - I'm glad I didn't stay at home!"

"Definitely the best part of your enthusiastic talk was every single bit of it"

"You were successfully astonishing once again! You shine a light into every bodies day."

 "I had been dying to see you again and was thoroughly drenched in excitement."

 

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Table Storage Cupboard

I've just stumbled across a newspaper article about my visit to Henham and Ugley Primary School.

My favourite sentence in it:  'Luke, who studied film at university, appeared through a "portal" in the table storage cupboard...'

http://www.hertsandessexobserver.co.uk/Author-Luke-Temple-brings-stories-life-pupils/story-25939743-detail/story.html

Thanks to Mrs Giles for her lovely comments, and all at Henham and Ugley for a fantastic visit! I look forward to returning through the portal in the future!


I felt a bit tired during my visit to Henham and Ugley...


Friday, 16 January 2015

Fun and lots of photos from my visit to Bressingham Primary School

I've just come back from a brilliant week in Norfolk and Essex, visiting 5 lovely schools I count as 'old friends': Old Catton, White Woman Lane, Wicklewood, Bressingham, and Henham and Ugley. A huge thank you to all the staff and children for making our visits so special and fun.

The following is taken from Bressingham's blog, with lots of photos (http://bressingham3.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/luke-temple-author-visit.html)

Luke told us about his new books which are about a girl called Felix Dashwood who lives on Thistlewick island with her friends Caspar and Drift. 

The first book is called 'The Traitor's Treasure'.



This is the stupid dance that Thistlewickians do...



We hear about the story which involves a note about treasure:



A teacher, Mr Foxworth, is trying to find the treasure (but the children need to stop him).



The children steal Mr Foxworth's hat!





Afterwards they escaped from school to the island to look for the treasure and retrieve it from Captain Traiton. Luke explained how the story evolved and with the help of his editor he rewrote the book to make half of it about Captain Traiton. This made it more interesting and exciting.

Luke read from chapter 12 which described the Captain and the curse over the treasure. It was a bit bloodthirsty!

The children asked Luke questions:

Why did you become an author? I had to get the ideas out of my head before it exploded.

How old are you? I started writing when I was 18, 8 years ago.

How did you come up with your illustrations? My illustrator, Jessica, drew the pictures after reading the book. You might think the characters look different when you've read the book yourself.

Who's your favourite author? Philip Pullman

What is your favourite film? Once

What was the first book you wrote? Stormy Cliff

What is your favourite book you've written? Traitor's Revenge

What was your favourite subject at school? Maths! I didn't like reading or writing at school and I wasn't very good at spelling. I couldn't draw very well either. 

What is your favourite onesie? My pig onesie!

What is your favourite sport? Curling

Have you got any pets? A dog called Rusty. I used to gave a bald hamster too!
 
-------------
 
In the second half Luke told us about parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy. 

We had new actors to take the parts this time!



The second book, 'Felix Dashwood and the Mutating Mansion' is set in Murkhill Mansion. It is based on a recurring nightmare that Luke had about a mask.

The children go to the mansion and find a diary by Amelie Summercroft.



The children read the diary... and the rooms in the mansion started to mutate...



The children found a huge Snakes and Ladders board which Amelie had described in her diary.



The children played the game and the board came alive - Drift disappeared inside a snake.




What was going to happen next?

Luke showed us how Jessica drew illustrations for his books using a tablet.



The third book is called 'Felix Dashwood and the Traitor's Revenge' and Luke read an extract from it. Felix met a witch and got trapped by white mist on a ghost ship.

He gave children the opportunity to ask more questions...

Favourite football team: Manchester United.

Are you married? No.

Favourite colour? Green.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Getting the ideas out quickly enough.

Why are all your books about ghosts? My birthday is on Halloween!