Quiz! Which Hollow Pike Character ARE YOU?!

Hollow Pike1. At school you see an advert for auditions for a big school musical. Will you audition?

A – Absolutely, that sounds right up my street.

B – I’ll go if my friends are going.

C – I can’t be bothered, not really my thing.

D – I’d rather die.

E – I’d like to, but would never have the guts!


2. At school, what’s your favourite subject?

A – Art, drama, music…anything vaguely creative.

B – English – especially literature.

C – PE every time.

D – Maths – you know where you stand with numbers.

E – Anything BUT PE!


3. What’s your favourite way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

A – In a field, listening to live music – perfect!

B – With my family.

C – A kick-around in the park sounds good.

D – Don’t care as long as I’m with my mates.

E – Catching up on Supernatural, Doctor Who, Vampire Diaries…


4. Which of the following is your favourite snack?

A – Nuts, seeds or fruit – gotta get your five a day!

B – Chocolate, what else?

C – Cold pizza!

D – Black coffee is an essential for living.

E – Sweets, crisps, cake – anything I can get my hands on!


5. What is your wardrobe essential?

A – Anything vintage – I hate looking like a clone.

B – Simple, chic and stylish – timeless pieces!

C – Urm…jeans.

D – Something designed to shock.

E – Converse sneakers  -I have them in ten different colours.


6. Which of these films do you like the most?

A – Jules et Jim – C’est magnifique!

B – If I’m honest, The Notebook, but don’t tell anyone.

C – Are you kidding? Star Wars!

D – Howl’s Moving Castle or Princess Mononoke – something Studio Ghibli.

E – Nightmare on Elm Street – love slasher flicks!


7. What’s your worst trait?

A – I’m perpetually ten minutes late for everything.

B – I’m ridiculously stubborn.

C – I try to please everyone all the time.

D – My temper is off the scale.

E – I’m rubbish at meeting new people – too shy!


Now add up how many of each letter you got and find out which HOLLOW PIKE character you’re most like and then share with your friends!


DelilahMOSTLY As? You are Delilah Bloom.

Like Delilah you are a true free-spirited individual. You moved on past caring what anyone thought of you long ago. You are a serene and thoughtful character, always able to see things from a different angle to others. You are equally happy in a group or spending time alone, working on something creative.



LisMOSTLY Bs? You are Lis London.

You and Lis have a cast-iron moral compass. You have definite sense of right and wrong, and cannot abide injustice in any form. Fairness is very important to you. Your main goal in life is to be comfortable, happy and surrounded by those you love. You are a real fighter and full of determination.



fugative-3MOSTLY Cs? You are Danny Marriott.

Like Danny, you are happy to settle for an easy life. And what’s so wrong with that? You hate conflict and arguments. You’re the polar opposite of a drama queen, and often wonder why people can’t just get along. You are loyal, honest and caring. You are more in touch with your feelings than people realise.



KittyMOSTLY Ds? You are Kitty Monroe.

A bit of attitude is never a bad thing, and you and Kitty have it by the bucket-load. You’re not rude or angry, but you certainly don’t take any crap from anyone, either. Witty, sharp and resourceful, you’re a natural born leader of people. People trust you, and you command respect from others.



JackMOSTLY Es? You are Jack Denton.

Like Jack, you are a bit of a chameleon. With your friends you’re the comedian of the bunch: chatty, silly and fun. In big groups, though, you tend to let yourself blend in and go with the flow. Don’t hide away! Once people get to know the real you, you’re everyone’s best friend and a fantastic confidant.


Image credits via folio/flickr/google – no infringment intended.

Authors vs Technology

p2000After being told many, many times YOU NEED TO BE ON TUMBLR, I caved and got a Tumblr account up and running. I’m wilfully slow with new social technologies – I treat them with the same suspicion as big wooden horses left outside my front door – WHAT IS REALLY INSIDE, IMPOSTERS? I ask. I ignored Minidiscs for this reason, and I’m really glad I did. With my shiny new Tumblr, I now have two Facebook accounts, a Twitter, an Instagram, a Pinterest and, somewhere, an old ‘R U OK HUN?’ Livejournal from about ten years ago.

What’s it all for? Authors are told, often before they’ve even found an agent, let alone a publisher, YOU NEED TO BE ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA. It’s not rocket science – being able to connect with a potential marketplace has always been the goal of sales, advertising and PR. I swear I can hear you screaming ‘it’s not just about the hard sell, James’, and you are right – the most important part of social media is the social bit, otherwise I imagine it can feel a bit like a full-time job (which is why some mega-authors pay people to do it for them).I’m a big fan of authors such as John Green, Maureen Johnson and Dawn O Porter who use their enormous online followings to a) be funny and b) do some nice stuff for the world.

Publishers like authors to engage with readers via social media because, unlike print ads, book trailers and postcards, social media is free. OR IS IT? (X Factor style voiceover). All the ‘free’ online stuff, which given a choice, I’d probably do all day long because I’m fickle and easily distracted like a magpie with ADHD *eats Creme Egg* *flicks music channel* *does a bit of tidying* What was I saying? Oh yeah, time wasting. All the ‘free’ online stuff is time away from the writing I actually get paid to do, therefore it is actually a personal cost to the author. I imagine if we added up all the blog posts I’ve done, they’d equal a book about the length of Hollow Pike.

I’m thinking perhaps it’s time to streamline all of these various procrastination devices I have. Let’s weigh up the value of each.

My… What’s it for? A nice example
Author website The primary hub of information for any author you google should be their homepage – we are, after all, professionals. Contains news, contact details and, in most cases, a blog. Cassandra Clare’s is a particularly slick example – and probably costs a lot to run: http://www.cassandraclare.com/John Green’s is a more realistic option: http://johngreenbooks.com/
Facebook Initially for photo sharing with your school friends, Facebook evolved into a mass selling device with adverts clogging ‘your feed’. For authors, a fan page gives readers the opportunity to keep up to speed with your signings, release dates and general news. Take a look at Malorie Blackman, who favours Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malorieblackmanauthor
Twitter A fast, snappy way of chatting in up to 140 characters. It moves fast and it’s great for sharing live events in real time. Unlike Facebook’s ‘look at me’ approach, Twitter is more of a connection between users – allowing celebs to mingle with the masses. Maureen Johnson is hilarious, relevant and the hard sell doesn’t feel too hard. https://twitter.com/maureenjohnson
Tumblr ‘Micro-blogging’ is blogging in very small digestible chunks. Vitally the information is SHARED across users via ‘reblogging’, creating an online scrap-book unique to each user. Especially good for sharing pics, and gifs (moving pics), Tumblr has really taken off in YA fandom, with many users creating custom pics with novel passages. Handily allows readers to ask authors questions too. Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo favours Tumblr as her main fan connection: http://lbardugo.tumblr.com/
Instagram Now owned by Facebook, Instagram is doing what Facebook used to do – share pictures. This time with nifty filters to make everyone look they’re living in early eighties soft porn. The present queen of Instagram is teen model and unlikely role-model Cara Devlevigne: http://instagram.com/caradelevingne
Pinterest An online scrap book that allows users to very quickly ‘pin’ pictures they like off the internet without having to right-click and save to a computer. A LOT of pictures of cupcakes, yo. Handy though for finding pics of people who look like your characters at the research stage. My one is basically a collection of hot young people and sharks: http://pinterest.com/jamesdawson/
Google+ Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Now the good news is that a lot of these things can be linked, so not all need to be updated all the time. What’s more, readers are likely to connect to all social media points – it’s unlikely there will be set of Facebook followers and another entirely distinct group of Twitter followers -basically you shouldn’t have to repeat yourself across multiple sites. Many authors do, however, probably as social media moves so fast, things are likely to be missed. Case in point the Cruel Summer cover reveal which people are still seeing for the first time two weeks on.

Some authors opt out entirely and who can blame them? Some see it as a waste of time (I would argue they’ve missed the all-important ‘social’ element) while some struggle to keep up with ‘the new thing’. Some sources believe there is no link between social media and book sales. I’m not so sure – I bought the book in question, ‘Gone Girl’, because Twitter went mad for it, even if it wasn’t the author herself. I think one thing we ALL agree on is that the HARD SELL – tweeting bi-hourly amazon links to your own book is aggressive and, frankly, off-putting.

In an ideal world, I think I’d like to streamline things a little. This won’t come as a surprise, but Twitter is my favourite way to kill time. It’s both a staffroom for authors to chat and also a place for readers to get in touch to fuel my ego talk about the books. I’ve already linked up my Twitter and Tumblr accounts for ease. While I do put things on the Facebook pages, but not very often so I’m thinking that might be the first to go. I think the blog will stay – this sort of writing wouldn’t work on Tumblr, for example.

What about you? Sick of it all? Confused? I am! Which of these things do you LOVE? Which could you happily throw down the well from The Ring? Tell me in this CHARMING BOX!


School Megatour 2013

Signing at Dorothy Stringer in BrightonHello teachers and librarians! Last year, to celebrate the release of Hollow Pike, I did a school tour that was the funnest thing I think I’ve ever done. So much fun, in fact, I’m doing it again. This year it’s BIGGER and BETTER because I have not one but TWO books ‘dropping’ in the autumn. I plan to hit the road (how rock and roll?) in September and October.

The first (1.8.13) is CRUEL SUMMER a darkly comic YA murder mystery in the tradition of Christopher Pike and RL Stine. The second (9.13) is BEING A BOY a ‘hilarious’ non-fiction text pitched as the ‘ultimate guide to puberty, sex and relationships for young men‘ (although, of course, girls have a vested interest in such matters too).

Cruel Summer_FC_hi-res

Basically this means I can visit your lovely school or library to talk about fiction OR non-fiction. Remember I used to be a PSHCE teacher so teaching sex ed was kinda my thing. If you like, I can even come and talk about BOTH! I enjoy nothing more than chatting to big assembly-size gatherings, but I can also do a smaller writing workshop (no larger than 20 pupils). I am a First Story Writer-in-Residence so come prepared with oodles of activities.

Unless otherwise specified, the 2013 schools tour will be interactive – allowing the pupils (Year 8+) to decide the content of the session. I always do short readings, and work in collaboration with a variety of booksellers so that pupils have the opportunity to buy a signed copy of the books.

Although it seems MILES away, I already have a couple of schools signed up, so please do grab me (gently) at james@jamesdawsonbooks.com there’s even a handy link to your right >