05 October 2015

Organised by Kerry Drewery (Author of A Dream of Lights and A Brighter Fear) and Emma Pass (Author of Acid and The Fearless) UKMG and YA extravaganza aim to complete the following mission whilst bringing readers, bloggers and authors together. 

"Author events are great fun. But often, the authors taking part are 'behind the velvet rope ' –  on a stage or behind tables – where they do their event and are then whisked away.

We want to change all that.

Our mission with the UKYA Extravaganzas is to bring UKYA in all its guises to readers all over the country (UK), by organizing regional events which bring readers and authors together. We have a huge wealth of YA writing talent here in the UK, and we think it's time to shout about it!

There will never be a 'star author' at the UKYA Extravaganzas – each and every author who takes part is the star of the show. The Extravaganzas are fun, informal and most importantly of all, egalitarian, allowing everyone to mingle and chat without barriers.

And there will always, but always, be cake. Caaaake…

Here's to a revolution in author events!"

Title: The Crowham Martyrs
Author: Jane McLoughlin
Publisher: Catnip (June 2015)
Add to: Goodreads
Order here: AmazonThe Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: Ghosts don’t frighten Maddy Deeprose.

She’s seen them all her life.

So when her mum sends her to creepy old boarding school Crowham Martyrs, Maddy isn’t worried. But then her friends start disappearing, and Maddy knows it’s time to be scared.

Something is lurking at Crowham Martyrs.

Something evil.

Is the place that is supposed to keep Maddy safe

About to become the hunting ground?

Author Guest Post: UK Middle Grade Extravaganza Blog tour post by Jane McLoughlin 

Thanks to the organisers of the UK Middle Grade Extravaganza for organising this blog tour and to Jenny and Lisa for letting me guest on A Life Bound B y Books.

Judging by the wonderfully fit young men gracing the covers of some of the books reviewed on A Life Bound by Books, my book definitely doesn’t fit the usual YA/NA genre that this blog caters for, but please bear with me!

One of the characters in The Crowham Martyrs, Caleb, is as hot as any NA cover boy. (Seriously!)  However, as a MG character, he has to stay fully dressed at all times and remain “just friends” with the main female protagonists. It’s a shame really—he’s such a lovely young man!

But that’s how it is in middle grade: there are things that can happen, and things that can’t.  I’m not complaining—Caleb has the rest of his life to become a brooding YA hero or a buff and bulked up NA heart throb.  Similarly, my main female characters, Hannah and Maddy, have it in them to grow into awkward or graceful or sexy or sweet or geeky or kick-ass teen heroines.  Their later years may never be written about, but I hope they can be imagined!

One of the most rewarding things about the Harry Potter series (both for millions of readers and for one very clever author!) is that JK Rowling allowed her characters to get older. Readers saw Harry, Hermione and Ron grow from capable-if-confused middle graders to brave, resourceful and heroic young adults.  Readers like my daughter were able to grow up with these characters in real time, because the books came out when she was the same age as the Potter kids.  As the years passed and she got older, the world of Harry Potter became darker and deeper, more reflective of her own teenage years.

The point I’m trying to make is that middle grade characters—whether they are in series like Harry Potter, or in stand-alone books like The Crowham Martyrs—are more engaging if readers (and their creators) can see them  outside and beyond their own “age grouping.”

The same goes for readers.  It’s important that we authors think of middle grade readers not as children preserved in aspic, but as young people who are moving forward with life and are constantly in flux.  Candy Gourlay, in her UKMG Extravaganza post, wisely called them “readers in the middle” who are “growing the readers they are going to be.”

That means that one day soon.  Our middle grade readers will drift into YA territory, and possibly NA. In no time at all, they’ll be adults who will, hopefully, have developed an unquenchable life-long love of reading.  It’s up to us to keep them company on this journey to their reading futures, to make sure that our writing—our stories and characters and plots and words--helps their reading grow.

Thanks again for having me!

Link to Candy Gourlay’s blog contribution: Click Here

About the Author:

Jane McLoughlin is an American who has lived in the UK for over 25 years. She has had short stories published in various literary magazines and her debut novel for teenagers, At Yellow Lake, was published in 2012 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in the UK, the USA and Australia/New Zealand. It was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal, and longlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award for debut writers.

A former teacher, Jane regularly gives talks and delivers writing workshops in schools and at events, including Booklinks in London and the 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Find Jane Online:

Website | TwitterGoodreads

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