Ok, officially it came out last week, but I see no reason to stop celebrating. Yes, Pea #3 aka Pea’s Book of Birthdays is out now. You can find out why writing the third in a series made me worry about Ewoks here, and read the start of the book to see if it’s your cup of tea over here.
One thing I love about writing the Pea series is that by now, I know Pea and the Dreaditor and Sam Two and Wuffly the dog and all the rest pretty well, so it’s not hard to figure out how they’ll react to a tragical phone call, or a birthday party that’s missing its magician. In fact, they’re so much fun to play with that it’s tricky to get my brain to invent new people. Luckily, my lovely publishers had the cunning idea to make someone else do the hard work, ie one of you! They ran a competition with Swapit, to name a new character who would appear in the book.
There were tons of fantastic entries, but the winner was… *drumroll*…
Megan! She wrote:
Megan is my name! I have shortish, brown hair which is thick and everyone teases me about. I have shocking blue eyes which are the colour of the mediterranean sea. I have chapped lips because I nibble them when I am nervous and that is a lot of the time. I have a small, cute (if noses can be cute) button nose and a chubby, round face. I am quite small and I hate wearing pink, dresses and skirts. I prefer playing football and wearing jeans and a boy’s top. I hope you put me in your story because I am the type of person that nobody writes about or notices! Thank you for reading this!
Congratulations, Megan! Your signed book will be on its way very soon, and when it arrives, check out page 149 of Pea’s Book of Birthdays to find your scene.
I love the vivid description that Megan wrote. I like the way that her appearance also tells us something about her personality, like her nervous lip-nibbling habit. (Actually, it reminded me an awful lot of me. When I was Pea’s age I was most likely in jeans, being scruffy and running around, and because I was shy I was often nervous too.) I noticed as well that Megan had picked out some characteristics – like thick hair, and a round face, and a button nose – as things she might not much like about herself, when as a writer I might well use those for a character I wanted the reader to think was lovely and likeable. Sometimes how we view ourselves isn’t how the rest of the world sees us at all.
Most of all what I noticed was this: I am the type of person that nobody writes about or notices! Not true, Megan! For starters, you’re in my book! And actually, I can think of lots of others that you might like, featuring girls who aren’t keen on pink, or who maybe feel a bit overlooked.
There’s the Girls FC series by Helena Pielachaty – starring another Megan – who, fed up with never being picked at school, starts her own girls-only football team: the Parsnips.
There’s Stephanie Burgis’s Kat Stephenson trilogy (starting with A Most Improper Magick) in which Kat secretly cuts her hair short and gets boxing lessons from her brother instead of being a ‘proper’ Regency lady in a dress – plus magic and highwaymen too.
The Conroy sisters in Hilary McKay’s The Exiles, Pete in Kate Saunders’ Beswitched, Emily Vole in Operation Bunny… Classics often have fantastically unfussy girls in them, too, like Titty in Swallows & Amazons, and Petrova in Ballet Shoes. And those are just off the top of my head/bookshelf – I’ll bet there are loads more that might suit you.
Help me and Megan out. Have you got any more brilliant book suggestions?
And then, in case anyone’s feeling left out of all this prize-winning stuff, there are books and badges up for grabs in my new writing competition. Hurry on over here to find out how to enter…