Saturday, 26 September 2009

In Which There Are More Authors and an Illustrator

I was late getting to Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's event, talking about their collaborative series The Edge Chronicles due to standing in line to get my books signed by Geraldine McCaughrean and Philip Reeve. I have to confess to not having read any of the Edge Chronicles - I booked my ticket on the strength of Chris Riddell's illustrations for 'The Graveyard Book' but I'm glad I went - Chris and Paul were fascinating and I now have another set of books (The Edge Chronicles) to read. . . helpfully, Chris & Paul gave a quick guide to the books. Paul talked about 'learning' to speak Banderbear. Apparently, the language consists of 3 words - 'Wuh', Wuugh' and 'Wugh?' (although I may have mis-spelled them) but has a much deeper and poetic sign-and-body language which Paul demonstrated. Chris talked about becoming concerned about Paul's mental health.

Chris revealed that he started his career as an illustrator as a child - his father was a vicar, and he would sit at the back of the church during services "[My father] would be preaching about peace on earth and goodwill to men and I'd be drawing pictures of knights with their heads cut off" He explained that an old lady would sit in the same pew and would give him wine gums, and it was at that point that he decided that "that's want I wnt to do for a living - draw pictures and have someone feed me wine gums" (I bet that one isn't in the school careers office database..)

Both talked about the involvment of their children in the development of the books - the consensus seemed to be that daughters are much harsher critcs than sons, and also about their new website where they are writing an on-line novel set in the Edge Chronical's world.

They also spoke about inspirations for some of the creatures in the Edge chronicles, and the fact that they had determined that the world of Edge would not be a static world, so as you work through the books you pass through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ages of flight, for example, and that there is a more industrialised society in the later books.

After the event (and giving the pictures which Chris drew to illustrate it to two members of the audience, the lucky dogs) Chris & Paul signed for all those who wanted it.

I had brought my copy of 'The Graveyard Book' for Chris to sign, and he kindly drew me a tombstone in it, as well. (Paul commented (tongue firly in cheek) that he had always preferred the Dave McKean illustrations . . ) I bought a copy of 'The Curse of the Gloamglozer' which is the first of the Edge Chronicals, which both signed - leving me with the happy feeling og having just discovered a new set of books to read.


Emma Springer said...

Your post was a great read. It is nice to know that there are people who absolutely love what they do for a living. This is very rare.

Marjorie said...

Welcome, Emma, and thank you - I agree it's great to see people doing what they love, and to hear the enthusiasm as they talk aout it. Whe it results in lovely books and art for the rest of us, that's a real bonus, too!