Monday, June 18, 2012

I am excited and proud to be on of the contingent of NZ writers representing New Zealand at the Frankfurt Book Fair later this year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Assault - US Cover

I just received an image of the US cover for Assault, with the slightly different title "The Assault". The amazing cover art is by Alan Brooks. Wow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Surprise visit to FABO winner

Hi to Hayley Coupe from Maungawhau school who was one of the winners in the FABO story competition. I surprised Hayley with a visit to her school yesterday to award her prize.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Books = The Internet = Books: In the O’Reilly column in Forbes, a writer takes a look at the diminishing distinction between books and the Internet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Review for The Project

A lovely first review for The Project from Booksellers & Publishers magazine

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Check out the FABO online story. 9 authors, 9 illustrators... madness!

Authors and Book Reviews

Like most authors, I crave reviews, just as I fear them. My work, my beautiful baby that I spent years writing and editing, is up on public display for anyone to comment on as they like. But I, the author, get no right of reply. My mouth is taped shut.
I have been fortunate in that I have had almost all positive reviews. Where a reviewer has criticised some aspect of one of my books, after the initial defensive reaction, I have tried to take that criticism on board for future books, thinking that if one reviewer thinks that, then so will thousands of readers.
I publish all the reviews I find on my website, good or bad, so that people can read them all and make up their own mind.
Reviews come in two types. There are those by professional reviewers, who write for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or sometimes just for the web. Then there are amateur reviews. Anybody with a computer and access to the internet can write down their thoughts on a book and publish it on a blog somewhere.
The first kind, the professional reviewers, tend to be people with experience in children’s literature who have read widely and can write well. Whether they like a book, or not, they tend to provide a balanced, reasoned view of the book, although it is, of course, still just one person’s opinion.
The second kind of review, the amateur blogger, is very different, but just as interesting. Anyone can express an opinion, even if they’ve only read one book in their entire lives. But it is still a valid opinion. I think most authors value amateur reviews as taken collectively they provide an insight into the mind of the average reader.
Sites like GoodReads ( invite readers to write reviews and rate books, and give an author the ability to see how their books rate against other books such as Harry Potter. (Brainjack:  3.8 stars, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: 4.2 stars).
The only amateur reviews I don’t like are the stupid ones. Ones where the writer simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. One review of “The Tomorrow Code” criticised the science in it, saying “it involves so much appalling cod-science that I actually hit myself over the head with the book at one point to see if it was less painful that way.” Yet the science was very well researched, including interviews with university professors.  The science was extended from science fact into science fiction, but the basis of it all was solid. So I rather think that this reviewer must have hit themselves on the head with books a little too hard, or too often! (Now I’m reviewing the reviewer! I wonder how they feel.)
A review yesterday of Brain Jack described the technology in the book as “just a bunch of random computer terms”. But they weren’t. I have a long background in computers, and also sought the help of one of New Zealand’s leading computer experts to make sure that the technology was as accurate as possible, bearing in mind that the book is set in the future, and that I didn’t want it to become a “how-to” manual for hackers.
Yet even while I grit my teeth at such stupid comments, I know that even these people represent a proportion of the readership of my books and that all reviews, even the misguided, ill-informed, stupid, amateur ones have a right to exist, and to be read.
Some authors claim they never read reviews. I wonder if that is true, but if it is, I think they are misguided. Reviews, professional and amateur, give the author an insight into the mind of the reader.
Henry Ford famously said “Never complain, never explain.”
That’s the world that we authors live in.