‘How’s the book doing?’

‘So how’s the book doing?’ people ask.

Well, My Brother’s Secret has been out there for a couple of weeks already. The world hasn’t changed – though I like to think it’s a slightly more colourful place for having my story in it.

But how is it doing?

I’m not even sure what the question means. Does it mean ‘How many have you sold?’ Does it mean ‘Do people like it?’ Does it mean ‘has anybody actually read it?’

I don’t really know the answer to any of those questions, I’m afr- or do I?

As it happens, there is a website. A rather lovely website called lovereading4kids which is dedicated to being the best recommendation website for children’s books. They do all kinds of great things like provide downloadable book extracts, books of the month, book trailers, author comparisons and, of course, expert reviews. But . . . and here’s the best bit . . . as well as having a panel of adult experts, they also have a children’s reader review panel.

That means young readers review the books. And who better to say what they think of books written for young readers?

I’m pleased to say that My Brother’s Secret has been selected as a Book of the Month, and a number of the young reviewers have already read it and, so far, it seems to be getting the thumbs up.

Have a look . . .

‘A brilliant book full of breath taking moments. I couldn’t put it down!’ Benjy Randall, age 10
‘My Brothers Secret is a gripping novel that will make you want to stay up late and finish it. Ten out of ten…it was as though the book had sprouted arms and was never letting me put it down. ‘ Stuart Philpot, age 10
‘My Brother’s Secret was riveting, and I did not want to put it down, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ Ellen Faulkner, age 12
Rory Faulkner, age 9 – ‘a mixture of exciting and at times scary and it really gripped me…I definitely recommend you read this book.’ Rory Faulkner, age 9
‘World War Two from another perspective. Karl is in the Junior Hitler Youth, but his older brother Stefan is a pacifist. Their father is killed at war, and things start to change. I loved this book.’ Ellie Frost, adult
‘I loved this book and I learned a lot about how Germans thought during World War Two…They cared about their country and their friends and family.’ Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 11
‘GREAT READ – you won’t be disappointed. I have read a Dan Smith book before and his detailed writing style continues into this book, this detail enables you to imagine that you are right at the side of Karl.’ Rose Heathcote, age 15
‘A gripping book full of adventure and sadness.’ Traviss Chaytors, age 11
‘The book is interesting as it tells you lots about the war from the view of Germans rather than the British…I really enjoyed reading this book although it was sad in places.’ Alice East, age 9
‘I really enjoyed this book and became fascinated by WWII. You learn that not all Germans behaved the same and I was surprised how I ended up feeling about the German boys. I highly recommend it!’ Annie Coffman, age 10

 

You can read the full content of these brilliant, well-written reviews here. What better recommendation could there be?

 

That’s all

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‘Back To It’ day

‘Back to it’ day. That’s what today is – the day for getting back to it.

Y’see, I’ve had a few days away from writing since I finished working on the edits for God and The Devil (next year’s book for adult readers), so it was with some trepidation that I began work on editing next year’s book for younger readers . . .

Sunday Times Must Reads 11.08.13 copyI always feel a touch of the nerves when I come back to a book, or start something new, but the good news is that it’s all shaping up well. The editorial notes are enhancements rather than changes, and as well as being under the expert guidance of my fab agent and the superb team at Chicken House, I have a lovely new editor to help me bring out the best in my next book – Bella Pearson, who worked on The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas – so I am in safe hands.

I’m also riding high on the fact that Red Winter will be published in the United States next year, and that I’ve received some great reviews for Red Winter. If you read my blog, you’ll know it was in The Times on Saturday 27th July, and then in The Sunday Times on 4th August but . . . well, they only went and put it in the ‘Must Reads’ section of The Sunday Times on 11th August as well! They called it a

 

‘ . . . gripping thriller with real depth of character.’

 

Uh-huh, that’s really what they said. It’s the kind of thing I could only dream about when I was a seventeen year old, scribbling angst-ridden stories onto A4 paper with the blunt stub of a well-used pencil. Who’d have thought I’d end up in The Sunday Times, ‘Must Reads’, eh?

Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will encourage a few people to pick up Red Winter and see what it’s all about, but of course, the loudspeakers in Danworld are all now broadcasting the same message . . .

 ‘don’t get smug; you’re gonna have to do even better for the next one.’

 

Quite.

 

So, back to it, then. Back to the world of a young boy living in Germany in the Summer of 1941. I’ve even got a work-in-progress cover and it’s looking fantastic. I’d love to show it to you but, well, you know I can’t. You’ll just have to wait . . .

 

That’s all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Intense Red Winter

Red Winter Sunday Times ReviewJust a quick post to say how pleased I was to see two great reviews for Red Winter over the last week.

The Times reviewed it on saturday 27th July as having a

‘superbly shivery atmosphere’

and then, The Sunday Times reviewed it just yesterday with the very quotable

‘Smith has fashioned a story of page-turning intensity that simultaneously possesses real depth of characterisation.’

The Child Thief even gets a mention as being ‘one of last year’s most gripping historical thrillers’!

I am, as you can imagine, very pleased with both reviews and, should they encourage you to pick up Red Winter (or The Child Thief), then I hope you enjoy reading it/them. If you’ve already got them . . . well . . . thanks and . . . happy reading!

 

That’s all.

Manly Daily. Oh Yes.

Another review for The Child Thief has appeared online. This time it’s in an Austrailian magazine (to coincide with the book’s release for Oz and NZ) and it’s the very excellently titled ‘Manly Daily’.

It’s a good review, though the reviewer might have mistaken me for another, more famous Dan from the book world. See if you can spot the deliberate mistake . . .