Uncharted Territory

I’m entering new territory.


As a published author, it’s good to do the odd public event. It’s a useful way to connect with readers and to spread the word about your writing. And, contrary to what your natural inbuilt fear of public speaking tells you, it can actually be good fun. Unless you get heckled, natch.


As a published children’s author, however, I am told it is essential. School visits are a must. Without them, you are NOTHING!


And that’s what I mean about new territory. For me, this land is uncharted.


Speaking to adults is fine. They tend to be polite, nod in the right places, smile when you expect them to and sit still for a whole hour. It’s like a trip to your local city centre. It’s fine. You know where you are, you know what’s around you, there might be the odd unexpected surprise but, y’know, you’re a grown up, you can handle it.


Schools, though? That’s like going into the jungle, right? And children? Well, they’re these crazy, unpredictable things that roam wild in schools. They fidget, yawn, sigh and shake their heads. They snort and cough and roll their eyes. And the questions they ask? Oh, don’t be expecting no easy questions, man . . . and if you don’t keep their attention, they pounce. They sneak up on you like predators and tear you to pieces in the blink of an eye.


See what I mean? Uncharted territory.


But I’ve got my map and I will stand firm. Oh, and I’ll ask my ex-teacher Mum if I can borrow those eyes.


Y’know – the ones in the back of her head.




That’s all.


10 thoughts on “Uncharted Territory

  1. Hee hee! Bless ya! I’ve been doing the kiddies for a bit and love it. Did my first proper talk to ‘grown ups’ 2 weeks ago and was petrified! BUT… loved it too. You’ll be ace, Dan. They will be soooo interested in you and how you became a writer etc and they’ll go home and say they met this real writer and they want all your books…. now that might be interesting 😀 Just wait, you’ll see.

  2. For my first school visit I had to do workshops for a total of 140 kids. 140 TEENAGERS, to be precise. I was warned by the teacher I was with that one group in particular would probably be a bit ‘difficult’… and you know what? They were the most fun out of the lot. Remember, you’re the cool author, the antidote to teachers and boredom. You’ll be fine!

  3. Well done for exploring previously uncharted waters Dan! I hope that I can entice you to repeat the journey in another school? WW2 is one of the key periods of history that all children have to encounter thanks to the National Curriculum. I’ll get in touch in a more traditional way soon.

  4. I was one of the ‘predators’ yesterday…I really enjoyed your talk. Thank you so much for coming in to school, it was really interesting hearing about your life. You were brilliant, I would never have been able to tell that you were nervous.

    Best Wishes,

    Arthur Mills (I was the one in the photo)

    • Thanks, Arthur, it was a pleasure to visit. You were all so polite and attentive and interested – a really good group. You all made me feel very welcome. I never once felt as if I were being preyed upon!

      • I’m glad you felt welcome at our school…feel free to come back to visit (although you probably don’t want to). I’m continuing reading Dry Season now. It’s really good!

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