Saturday, 2 August 2014

The River Singers Blog Tour

The 28th July was World Nature Conservation Day, highlighting the threats to our wildlife on both a local and global scale from the effects of habitat loss, climate change and pollution. In honour of this I have collaborated with Children's author Tom Moorhouse and his Blog Tour. 

The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse was one of The Times Children's Books of the year when it was first published and is now out in paperback. This story of a family of water voles who journey along The Great River to find a new home is aimed at children aged between eight and eleven and Tom who is also an ecologist at Oxford University hopes it will encourage families to become more aware of ecological issues. 

Below Tom answers the question: Did you always intend to write for children?

No, I never intended to write for children! I always intended to write, certainly, but it simply became clear that the way I write lends itself to children’s books. Of course there are a few tricks to writing specifically for children - these are mainly concerned with pacing, i.e not letting the adventure slacken for too long -but the important thing to me is that I write any story as I would like to read it. Actually, to prove the point, my first attempt at a novel was written without any reference to a readership, and just for me to see if I could do it – and when I sent it out for a professional criticism I was bemused when the comments came back saying “if you’re writing for kids you probably shouldn’t use such-and-such a turn of phrase”. I honestly think that children instinctively know when an author is “writing for children”, rather than just telling the best story they can. And, like anyone, if they catch you at it they’ll feel patronised and lose interest. So as pretentious as it might sound (Pseuds Corner, here I come), I still don’t really “write for children”except insofar as I write for me, and I’m basically 6’1”, 38 year old small child.

And here's a fun fact about water voles: 

Water voles can’t be tamed (really don’t try it). Most domesticated or pet animals are social, which means they have a dominance system and know their place. A tame animal basically sees you as its boss. Water voles, on the other hand, are solitary and territorial. So they’ll either see you as a predator (and try to bite you) or as a competitor (and try to bite you). Pet water vole = lots of biting (and some tricky questions from the authorities about how you ended up with one).

Watch this short video to hear more from Tom:

The blog tour kicked off over on the OUP children's books blog on Monday and you can check out the rest of Tom's interview across the following blogs: 

Tuesday 29th July - Smiling Like Sunshine
Wednesday 30th July - Serenity You 
Thursday 31st July - Confession of a SAHM 
Friday 1st August - Library Mice 
Saturday 2nd August - My mummies Pennies 
Monday 4th August - Madhouse Family Reviews 
Tuesday 5th August - Red Peffer 
Friday 8th August - Making It Up

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