I’m not really here today. But you’re in good hands, so don’t panic. Nicola Morgan will look after you, seeing as she’s stopped off on her etour (Which is not the same as detour. I think.) to tell you, and me, about her new-old ebook, Mondays are Red.
‘It shouldn’t happen to an author but if you write for young people, it will. Usually during a school event. There was the librarian who, escorting me towards the hall where 120 pupils were waiting, said shakily, “Don’t worry if they behave really badly. Even the toughest teachers find this year-group impossible.” And the time a boy was carried kicking and struggling from the class by two burly teachers. The times when people have fainted. (I blame Fleshmarket for that.) The time when, during Q&A, after I’d talked for 45 minutes and was now waiting for questions of inspired percipience, a boy asked, “What’s your name?”
There was the time when a girl said, “I love your books.” “Oh, lovely – which is your favourite?” I asked, to be met by a blank stare, so I tried to help her out: “Maybe Wasted? Or Mondays are Red?” With a look of extreme witheringness, something I really should perfect myself, she said, “No, not your books. Your boots!” Of course. Mind you, I’m with her on the boots.
But my peak low happened in a library near Edinburgh, where I was launching a reading club for upper primary pupils. It was several years after Mondays are Red had come out and that was not the book I was talking about. In fact, it’s not really “for” that age group, a point I hope you will remember in a moment. Many biscuits with toxic levels of sugar and much brightly-coloured juice with many additives had been consumed by this time. I’d like you to consider that as another mitigating circumstance, for I do believe that Damien – which was not his name, oddly – was merely the victim of a nutritionally-induced personality change when I was chatting to some other pupils and was delighted to overhear him saying to the librarian, “Did she write Mondays are Red?”
“I’ve read that, Miss.”
“Really? What did you think?”
Luckily, most readers are not Damien and I still get more positive emails about Mondays are Red than any other book, which is kind of lucky because it’s BACK! Damien, RUN – it’s coming after you!
Yes, Mondays are Red is now in glorious ebook form for all ebook readers, smartphones and computers, enhanced by extra material, such as information about synaesthesia and creative writing examples by pupils. But probably not Damien.’
‘Mondays are Red was Nicola Morgan’s debut novel, published in 2002, a month before Tim Bowler’s Starseeker. Both books feature a 14-year-old boy called Luke with synaesthesia. In Mondays are Red, Luke wakes from a coma to discover that his world has changed. His dramatic form of synaesthesia brings absolute power – power which brings temptation and corruption. There’s always a price and someone will have to pay.’
And that girl was so wise. Nicola has great taste in boots. Damien, hmm, not so sure… But someone has to meet the Damiens of this world, and who better than our Ms Morgan?