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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

BLOG TOUR APRIL 24TH The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

DRAWING ON BOOKS BLOG TOUR FOR

THE HOUSE WITH CHICKEN LEGS

BY SOPHIE ANDERSON


I INTERVIEWED SOPHIE ABOUT HER DEBUT NOVEL THE HOUSE WITH CHICKEN LEGS, HER LIFE AS AN AUTHOR AND GROWING UP IN SWANSEA, WALES. 


What are your fondest memories of growing up in Swansea?
Time spent on the beaches! Exploring the caves and rock pools of Caswell Bay, playing on the rope swing in Crawley Woods on the way to Crawley Bay, and long walks from Swansea Bay to Mumbles – and ice cream at Joe's!




Your mother is an author and is also inspired by Swansea. Can you tell me a little more about her books?
My mother, Catrin Collier, writes historical fiction. Her Hearts of Gold series is set in Pontypridd between 1930 and 1950, and her Swansea Girls series is set in 1950s Swansea. 

Are you working on your next book and if so can we have a sneaky clue what it's about?
My next book is a reimagining of another, lesser known, Russian fairy tale called The Lime Tree or Why Bears' Paws are Like Hands; and, like The House with Chicken Legs, it has themes of identity and belonging. One of the minor characters from The House with Chicken Legs features with a larger role, but it is definitely another stand alone novel.

What's your favourite part of The House with Chicken Legs and your favourite character? 

I love all the characters in The House with Chicken Legs. They all felt incredibly real to me! I loved Marinka's fiery stubbornness, Jack's expressiveness, Baba's wisdom, and the Old Yaga's passion for life. But my favourite character is probably the House itself. The House wants to have fun with Marinka, but it also wants to protect her – and sometimes these two desires aren't compatible. As a parent, I can relate to that feeling!

There are lots of scenes that I enjoyed writing immensely; the bittersweet guidings that are both a celebration of life, and a goodbye; the dynamic scenes where the House moves around the world; and the dramatic Ceremony of Bonding where we get to see scores of Yaga Houses celebrating. But my favourite parts of the book are actually some of the quieter moments, when Marinka remembers playing with the House as a young child, and when she connects with the House and finally realises it is not her enemy.





Why did you want to become a writer and has anything surprised you about being a professional writer that you didn't expect? 
I came to writing later in life. Some of the first stories I wrote were to entertain my children, but I enjoyed the process so much I began writing for myself – simply for the joy of telling a story! 
The whole experience of working with my agent and the talented folks at Usborne has been full of surprises. The amount of work and the number of people involed in producing the final book has been astonishing. It has been a truly wonderful and enlightening experience. 

Did you have any tips or good advice for aspiring authors?
Have fun! Each stage has its own pleasures; the heady rush of a first draft, the cool clarity at the top of re-write mountain, and the calm, thoughtful polishing towards The End. Don't rush, and enjoy the process of making your story the best it can be. 
What is a typical writing day for you? 
I have no typical day! I home school my three children, and every day is different. Sometimes I get up early and write before anyone else gets up. Or sometimes my youngest child has an afternoon nap and I manage to write for an hour or two in the afternoon. Or sometimes I write at the end of the day, when my children have gone to bed. Sometimes I don't find the time to get any words down, but I am usually thinking about writing though. It's hard to turn off once a story takes hold!
Who is your favourite literary hero or heroine? 
Moominmamma, from The Moomin books by Tove Jansson. The Moomin books were my first love, and at different times in my life different characters have been my favourites. My current favourite is Moominmamma, because she is a calm, patient and loving mother. She values everyone's individuality, and their need to learn from their own mistakes. She finds solutions to every problem, and sees the silver lining in every cloud. 



Which is your favourite bookshop? 
Strangely, a bookshop I have never been to! Kenilworth books in Warwickshire. They do amazing work with the local community, have a fabulous blog and online presence, create incredible window displays, and bake book-themed treats for customers. I am really looking forward to visiting them very soon!
What's your favourite quote?

I have many, but one that always stays in my mind is, "Between the drag of salted waves and the sting of cut grass is a land of soft sands and abandoned shoes." By poet, V.C. Linde.


REVIEW OF THE HOUSE WITH CHICKEN LEGS

BY SOPHIE ANDERSON

An entrancing re-imagining of the Russian fairytale of Baba Yaga. Marinka's house has chicken legs and without warning can move to a new destination. What can Marinka do if she doesn't want to leave her new friend? The only other people she meets are the dead while helping her grandmother to guide them to the other side. Can she change her destiny? A deliciously macabre world with a courageous and rebellious heroine at its centre.

ISBN 9781474940665 PB Usborne £6.99


MORE ABOUT SOPHIE


Swansea born author Sophie was inspired by her Welsh and Prussian family for her debut novel, The House With Chicken Legs. During World War Two, her grandmother Gerda fled Poland and after recovering from a bullet wound she fell in love and married a Welsh Guard from Pontypridd. Sophie grew up in Swansea with her engineer father and author mother in a house filled with the music , food and stories from both cultures. Sophie has reimagined the Slavic folktale of Baba Yaga through the eyes of a young twelve year old girl Marinka who wants to escape a lonely destiny guiding the dead. However it's a little difficult when her house keeps wandering off to different places every couple of years without warning! Sophie says, "I used to imagine a house with chicken legs romping all over the Welsh countryside and returning to her grandmothers homeland to see what it 's like for herself."


A HUGE THANK YOU TO SOPHIE FOR ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT HER NEW BOOK AND HER LIFE AS A WRITER AND FRITHA LINQUIST AND USBORNE FOR ORGANISING IT.



FOLLOW SOPHIE AND THE ILLUSTRATORS  AND USBORNE ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Twitter 
@Sophieinspace @Usborne #TheHousewithChickenLegs
Melissa Castrillón @mv_castrillon and Elisa Paganelli @elisaupsidedown

Instagram
@sophieandersonauthor @usborne_books  #TheHousewithChickenLegs
@melissa.castrillon @elisapaganelli_illustration

FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE REST OF THE BLOG TOUR PLEASE SEE BELOW








Monday, 23 April 2018

Blog Tour for The House of Chicken Legs April 24th

BLOG TOUR KLAXON! I am super excited to be one of the Book Bloggers on the Blog Tour for
TUE APRIL 24TH
A brilliant fantasy adventure for middle grade readers that is inspired by Russian Folktales

Full review and interview posted tomorrow at 9Am



Friday, 20 April 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW APRIL 21-22 2018



This week my children's book reviews include the adventures of a naughty rabbit, an introduction to the stars, a football quiz book and a heart-breaking contemporary debut with a powerful message for teenagers.

Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.


Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK


GRAB THAT RABBIT! BY POLLY FABER & BRIONY MAY SMITH
PICTURE BOOK 4+
This charming tale of kindness and forgiveness is full of excitement and daring that is reminiscent of the adventures of Peter Rabbit. Hodge is an adorable bunny who can't help eating all the carrots in Mrs Sprat's garden. Mrs Sprat is determined to have her revenge and stop him at all costs! Will Hodge live to tell the tale? The richly detailed illustrations compliment the story that is perfect for reading aloud and sharing.
ISBN 9781843653783 PB Pavilion £6.99





STARRY SKIES BY SAMANTHA CHAGOLLAN & NILA AYE
PICTURE BOOK 4+
This brilliant introduction to space and astronomy will capture youngsters imagination. The two-colour scheme of black and yellow bring the star constellations to life. Each spread features one of the fourteen constellations such as Pegasus; Hercules and Leo presented on a shiny surface. This clever tactile design will engage young readers and encourage them to look and wonder at the night sky. The perfect starting point for discussion of space and the stars.
ISBN 9781633225091 HB Walter Foster Jr £10.99


FOOTBALL SCHOOL: THE AMAZING QUIZ BOOK BY ALEX BELLOS & BEN LYTTLETON
CHILDREN 7+
Just in time for The FIFA World Cup, this is the ultimate test for football fans of all ages. Packed with over 300 brain-busting funny and fascinating questions, tantalising trivia and hilarious cartoons by Spike Gerrell this is perfect to improve knowledge and test friends on the beautiful game. With chapters such as 'Great Goals', 'Ouchy Injuries', 'Canny Coaches' and 'Jeepers Keepers' kids can learn all about international football while keeping them occupied for hours.
ISBN 9781406379587 PB Walker Books £6.99




I STOP SOMEWHERE BY T.E.CARTER
YOUNG ADULT 14 +
Ellie loves Caleb, but she is not sure she likes him. One night she finds out what a monster he is. A compelling and thought-provoking account of rape, the brutal aftermath and the culture of female objectivity. This is a raw lesson in the importance of learning to value yourself and having the self-confidence to speak out when things go wrong. This searing account is at times horrifying but also profoundly moving, tender and haunting.
ISBN 97811471167782 PB Simon & Schuster £7.99


Friday, 13 April 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW APRIL 14-15TH

This week my children's book reviews include a fascinating look into the world of bugs, the adventures of a stray cat, a young detective and a secret society of butlers and a gripping sequel to young adult fantasy, Ink.

Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.


Enjoy!




BOOK OF THE WEEK


BUG HOTEL BY LIBBY WALDEN & CLOVER ROBIN
BOARD BOOK 3+
This fascinating lift the flap book of discovery shows youngsters what it's like inside the perfect habitat for insects to live. The glorious illustrations combined with bite-sized facts bring the bug world to life. Did you know beetles are one of the earth's oldest creatures? Build your own bug hotel or check out the one in Singleton Park amongst others. Also in the series is the Bird House and both make excellent entertaining and educational gifts for nature lovers.
ISBN 9781848576575 Little Tiger HB £8.99



THE STORY OF TANTRUM O'FURRILY BY CRESSIDA COWELL & MARK NICHOLAS
PICTURE BOOK 3+
A stray cat called Tantrum tells her hungry three kittens a story about a pampered cat. The lessons the kittens and little readers will learn is don't be fooled by appearances and to show kindness and courage when needed. The simple tale is beautifully illustrated mainly in textured monotone with splashes of colour. Children will be whisked along through the stormy night to a satisfying ending perfect for bedtime.
ISBN 9781444933802 HB Hodder £12.99



HOUNDS AND HAUNTINGS BY JANINE BEACHAM
CHILDREN 9+
Rose Raventhorpe and the city's secret society of butlers are on the case again. An historical fantasy adventure will have young reader's pulses racing. Can young detective Rose find a murderer and the mystery behind the ancient ghost-hound? The evocative Victorian setting, quirky cast and spunky heroine will enthral and intrigue as young readers pick up clues along the way. For fans of Sherlock, Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine.
ISBN 978510201323 PB Little Brown Books £6.99



SPARK BY ALICE BROADWAY
YOUNG ADULT 12+
In a world where the events in your life are tattooed onto your skin, Leora is questioning the purpose of the society she lives in. When she is forced to spy on the Blanks, outsiders with no marks she finds answers to her past and future. This complex tribal fantasy cleverly will draw you into its web of truths and half-truths. Who is friend or foe? Where does Leora truly belong? A gripping sequel to the bestseller Ink.
ISBN 9781407172859 PB Scholastic £7.99

Friday, 6 April 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW APRIL 7-8 TH

This week my children's book reviews include a contagiously funny adventure, a birthday cake in trouble, a weird family causing chaos and a young girl trying to save her farm in a wartime drama.

Some great books for the Easter holidays!


Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.


Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK


ALICE DENT AND THE INCREDIBLE GERMS BY GWEN LOWE
CHILDREN'S 7+
Alice catches a cold but it's not the usual snotty virus, this has seriously weird side-effects. Alice can't stop giggling and is attracting an array of animals! When Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect tries to take her away, she realises her troubles have just begun. Packed with dastardly villains and wickedly sharp humour this is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and David Walliams. Warning! This book is contagious, and the reader won't stop laughing!
ISBN 9781910002919 PB Chicken House £6.99


CAKE BY SUE HENDRA & PAUL LINNET
PICTURE BOOK 4+
Cake has been invited to a party and needs to look his best. A party always needs a cake after all! An hilarious and colourful story of Cake 's adventures and his mishaps. Children will love Cake's naivety as he unknowingly goes into danger. The bold candy coloured illustrations and simple mischievous text is the perfect compliment to the tension slowly building to a very sweet climax. A delicious treat that would make an ideal birthday gift.
ISBN 9781509827435 PB Macmillan £6.99


JUST PLAIN WEIRD BY KAYE UMANSKY
CHILDREN 7+
The Primms are an ultra-conservative family so when the Weirds move in next door, with their exploding experiments and daring stunts, life is never the same again. Divided into three stories with a wonderful wacky cast of characters this will appeal to early and reluctant readers. Delightfully illustrated by Chris Mould, this is full of zany laughter and fun, and the puzzles in the back are a nice finishing touch.
ISBN 9781781127919 PB Barrington Stoke £6.99



THE GOOSE ROAD BY ROWENA HOUSE
YOUNG ADULT 12+
In 1916, France, Angelique must try and save their farm until her brother's return from war. She sets off across the country to sell her treasured flock of Toulouse geese so they can cover their debts. A beautiful historical quest bursting with resilience and hope. This richly evocative tale deftly describes the consequences of the First World War and how it brings out the best and worse of people. For older fans of Emma Carroll and Michael Morpurgo.
ISBN 9781406371673 PB Walker Books £7.99