No Pain, No Gain (So not true)

Over the past few weeks a recurring lower back problem has reared its vicious head and . . . well, imagine if someone were to set fire to your leg, encase it in ice, and electrocute it all at the same time. It hurts. And when it continues for weeks, it becomes difficult to see beyond it. Over this time, I’ve learned that constant pain has an incredible way of focusing your thoughts and invading your sleep. Concentrating on anything becomes almost impossible – unless it’s how to make the pain stop.

But, y’know, the pain will go. Eventually it will settle down or some clever doctor will fix it for me, so it’s not all bad. I’m now taking ALL the painkillers, which give me rare moments when the pain subsides with an awesome relief that’s like floating. I’m also very lucky to have a patient and supportive family to cheer for team Dan; although I can see the concern on their faces with every one of my painful, shuffling steps. They’re keeping me strong.

The worst thing about it is that I’ve had to cancel my appearance at the Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction award today. I’m very proud to say that my novel, Big Game, has been shortlisted, and it sounds like it’s going to be such a fun event, with over 200 eager young readers voting for their favourite books and enacting short performances based on the stories. I was so desperate to go, and hung on until the last moment before cancelling. It was a very difficult decision to make but eight hours on the train would have been too much for me and I couldn’t risk making the pain worse.

I feel awful to have let them down, and I want to apologise to them all. I hope the event is a roaring success, and that all those amazing young readers have a fantastic time. Perhaps I will have the chance to meet at least some of them once I have beaten this pain into submission. And I WILL beat it into submission.

In fact, I’m off to get Lucille right now.

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That’s all.

Mission: Save The President

When I was offered the opportunity to write a book based on the screenplay for BIG GAME, the film was still in production and I had no idea what any of the characters or locations would look like on screen. Actually, that’s not quite true – I had a pretty good idea what the president would look like; Samuel L Jackson is unmistakeable. I tried not to picture him in my mind, though, because I wanted the book to be a separate entity from the film. As my publisher – the brilliant Barry Cunningham from Chicken House – said, the book needed to be able to stand on its own feet, without the film to prop it up. So I avoided anything to do with the film (other than the screenplay) when I sat down to write about Oskari, the not-very-good hunter who everyone laughs at; the not-very-good hunter who proves himself to be brave, tough, resilient, honourable, reliable, and resourceful.

Movie tie-in edition

Movie tie-in edition

I had such a blast writing the book. It’s a great story and I was allowed to change it in all kinds of ways so that it would suit the written form. You see, sometimes things look good on screen but wouldn’t work in a book, so I worked out a way to tell the story entirely from the point of view of 12 year old Oskari, altering some of the details, adjusting the order of some events, giving him a back story with hopes and fears. It took a while to get it just right, editing it for UK and US audiences, and then I had the excitement of watching the foreign rights sales come rolling in – so far the book is to be published in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain (Spanish and Catalan), Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Vietnam, and there is an audio book in many of those languages too!

Big Game Cover High ResAnd then the book was published in the UK in January and the film was moving closer. I saw stills from the set, a clip, a trailer . . . and then I was finally allowed to see the finished film. I went to Entertainment One in London and sat in a small private cinema, along with a group of publishers and literary scouts, to watch the final cut – although I had to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to say that I wouldn’t talk about it.

Then, in May, the film finally hit the cinemas and I went to see it with my family and a big group of friends, and . . . it was fantastic! Onni Tommila is great as Oskari, Samuel L Jackson makes a superb president, and all the other actors portrayed the characters so well. There are some brilliant over-the-top action sequences, there are a lot of laughs, and the relationship between Oskari and the president is excellent.

The film isn’t a big budget movie with a vast sums of money available for advertising, but there was a TV campaign and a poster campaign, so it managed to get itself noticed. Neither did it have the recognition of a franchise like Marvel, so a May release meant it had to work hard against Avengers: Age of Ultron, but . . . well, while Age of Ultron was good, it didn’t look much different from Avengers Assemble or Winter Soldier and it felt empty. Big Game on the other hand is a film that has a huge heart. It knows how to have a good time, how to get you cheering for the good guys and booing the bad guys. It also knows how to make you laugh. If Age of Ultron was a person, it would be a car salesman with a smart suit and a friendly manner about him. If Big Game was a person, it would be your best friend, someone to take with you on an adventure.

If you missed it at the cinema, the DVD release will come in September, and don’t forget, the book is available AT. ALL. TIMES. And the book is different from the film, so if you want to know the whole story, you need to read and watch!

Oh, and if you’re in the USA, Big Game has its theatrical release on 26th June.

That’s all.

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Big Game Poster Competition Winner

So, well done to everyone who sent me a photo of a BIG GAME movie poster. But there can only be one winner of the competition, so I put all the names in a hat, drew one out, and the winner is . . . David Watson! He posted this picture on Facebook, and so will receive a signed copy of the Big Game novel!

Dave Watson Big Game Bus


That’s all.

BIG GAME Hunting Competition! Win!

It has come to my attention that there have been sightings of BIG GAME movie posters around the country. They’ve been spotted running wild in cinema foyers, sunning themselves on the side of buses, slinking onto the London Underground to rest, and even appearing on the television!

The sightings of these wild posters are becoming more common, but we must capture and record them before they become rare or – terrible thought – extinct. As we know, wild posters of this nature often have their habitat overtaken by other, more aggressive posters, so it’s important that we don’t overlook this opportunity.

Here is my call to arms. Or, rather, call to camera.

I need your help to document these sightings, so if you see one, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to photograph it! Snap that poster or capture that TV moment on camera and send it to me in one of the following ways:

Facebook (DanSmithAuthor) – ‘Like’ my page then DM, or put it on the comments for the post for this competition

Twitter (@DanSmithAuthor) – post the photo, follow and tag me

Instagram (DanSmithAuthor) – post the photo with the hashtag #biggamepostercomp, follow me, tag me, DM me

Email (through my website at

Blog – post it in the comments section right here!

But if you’re going to stalk and shoot the BIG GAME poster, you need some incentive, right? Well, here’s the reward. . .

Everyone who sends me a photo will have their name entered into a draw to win this copy of the UK movie-tie in edition of BIG GAME, with a hand-written dedicated to you, signed by me!

IMG_3216 So what are you waiting for? Big Game hunting never got any bigger!

Closing date: Sun 31st May 2015

Oh, and just to get the ball rolling, here’s a photo my editor took in London a few days ago . . .

FullSizeRender That’s all!