Tag Archives: Catherine Forde

What witches don’t know

I blogged earlier – I think – about how hard it can be to know what you don’t know. I’ve found one more thing I had no idea I didn’t know. Barrington Stoke. I didn’t know they specialise in books to help struggling readers to read. I just thought they were a publishing company among many other publishing companies.

Not so. But why did no one tell me? ‘That’s one of my Barrington Stoke books’ authors would say when talking about something they’d written. And I simply assumed that this particular book was with a different publisher. Now it all makes sense!

I have just been sent a sample Barrington Stoke book, along with their catalogue, and both make for good reading.

Twisting the Truth

Twisting the Truth by Judy Waite was for me a very quick read. But it’s good. Whenever I come across such brief stories, they are usually also more childish, whereas this is for 14+. It must be horrible to be in your mid teens and only have babyish books to choose from. Much easier not to read at all, I’d say. And that’s what they do, which is such a shame.

I recall coming across some similar books at Offsprings’ school library, except they were abridged versions of ‘real’ books. That’s another way of approaching reading, obviously. But I can see that having something written specially might be nicer.

So, Judy Waite’s story is about a girl who lies to her stepfather when she gets home late. She comes up with a tale about having been abducted, almost, on the way home. As with all lies, this leads to a situation she could not have foreseen. Very exciting.

The Barrington Stoke catalogue is full of books that I don’t need to read, because I can read longer books, but so many of them look very tempting. And I can see how almost anyone with dyslexia could be turned into a reader this way.

I’m fairly sure that Adèle Geras has one or two BS books under her belt, and I know that Theresa Breslin told me that the ‘Alcatraz book’ of hers I’d come across was a BS one. It is. I found it in the catalogue. I also found lots more of my favourite names in there, like Philip Ardagh, Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Terry Deary, Bali Rai, Anne Cassidy, Tony Bradman, Lee Weatherly, Beverley Naidoo, Oisín McGann, Catherine Forde, Joanna Kenrick, Hilary McKay and many more. Many more.

‘All’ that these writers have to do is come up with a great story, with short paragraphs and short chapters, and Barrington Stoke will print it on cream paper in their own clever font in a good size. But only once the book has been tested by test readers, of course.

Why didn’t I know this?

Talking to Catherine Forde

The tale of last Monday’s meeting with Cathy Forde can be found here. Cathy is lovely, and it’s good to meet someone new, to me, that I can like instantly. Don’t know why this matters, but it’s nice. I’ve combined this interview with a brief review of Cathy’s latest book, Sugarcoated. I started reading her Fat Boy Swim while waiting for Cathy to turn up, but she was so early that I got almost no way at all… Looks promising, is all I can say.


Authors have been like buses here. Several days have passed with no author in sight, and then you get two in 24 hours. Catherine Forde and Derek Landy have both called in at the local bookshop, while the owners are away. So, the witch has played at being a shop owner, with none of the inconvenient hard work they have to do. Just swan in and greet people and have tea and chat to them. Not bad.

Catherine is doing a tour this week to talk about her new book Sugarcoated, a teen thriller. She turned out to be lovely, despite professing a wish to kill off her main character.

And we already knew Derek is a sweetie, but it doesn’t hurt to check again. He, too, has a tour and a new book, Playing With Fire. Derek admitted he quite liked killing his characters, so that makes two murderous visitors to start the week with.

I got to act as go-between, as well. We’re back to coincidence here. Cathy had a desperate need to send a thank you card to Derek, but didn’t have his address. Seeing the posters advertising his imminent arrival, she wrote a card and asked the witch to revert to her old profession of postal worker for a moment. I’d like to think it was MEANT. What’s more, I remembered to do it.

As a new idea, I met both Catherine and Derek in the company of two young readers, thinking I could get them to do my work for me. Not a bad idea, at all. I don’t have to think so much, and get to feel good with starry eyed fans who like meeting authors. The coconut cake can also be recommended.

The results of these interviews will appear here. Some time. Hopefully soon.