... AND open to all, two copies of Ruth Eastham's midgrade novel, The Messenger Bird, to give away!
Nathan’s father has been arrested. He works for the Ministry of Defence and is accused of leaking top secret information. But as he is dragged into a police car, he gives Nathan a message. It leads to a riddle, but it’s not from Dad. It’s from an ex-Bletchley Park employee, Lily Kenley, and was written in 1940.Nathan begins to follow the clues left behind by Lily. But how can this war-time story link to his father’s fate?Hope for Dad is fading fast. He must solve the puzzle. Time is running out.
I'm delighted to introduce children's author, Ruth Eastham, to Absolute Vanilla readers to celebrate and promote the launch of her brilliant and gripping new book, The Messenger Bird. Yes, I've read it, and in one sitting (it's that "unputdownable"). The Messenger Bird is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure, which is rich, evocative and thrilling, and will appeal to readers (boys and girls) aged 10 and older.
As part of The Messenger Bird blog tour, Ruth is also here today to tell us about her love of photography and how it inspires her writing.
And there's also a competition or two...! More details at the end of Ruth's guest post.
INSPIRATION THROUGH A LENS
At least, I SO wish it did.
Imagine my daily word count if that were true. I would have got The Messenger Bird finished in a quarter the time and could have spent the rest of that year taking photos!
Photography is my other great interest besides writing. And I’ve come to realise (and I’m sure fellow writer-photographer Nicky would agree with me here) that actually it inspires me to write.
Photography also inspires me to EAT
I think photography gets you to observe the world more closely.
Look out for details
It pushes you to travel and seek out new experiences.
Me on a rock in the Seychelles
Well if it's good enough for Kate and Will...
It makes you curious.
What's behind the door?
Photography makes you see stories.
Which book could this be a cover for?
A giant blue snail outside a building
A common sight in Italy
It helps you think more deeply about what you see. And remember it.
The roofless ruin of Coventry Cathedral
In an interview I was once asked who was my hero and why.
I thought for a while, lots of ideas going through my 1940s head (I was embroiled in the plot for The Messenger Bird at the time). I thought of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park. I thought of the thousands of people who worked there, day after day in utter secrecy to crack enemy codes and shorten the War. I even considered Winkie the pigeon, who flew 120 miles with a message that saved a crashed aircrew from the freezing North Sea and won a Dickin medal for his efforts, the Victoria Cross of the animal world.
Sadly, a camel has never received the Dickin medal.
In the end though I chose the American photographer Galen Rowell.
Look him up. He photographed natural places and explored the link between landscape and light in a profound way. He spoke out for the environment too, and human rights issues. I went to his gallery in San Francisco once and met him, but was too in awe to talk much! I really wish I had. A few months later he was killed in a plane crash, and it was a sad day indeed when I found that out.
But his genius didn’t die with him. His photos live on. Just like how words on a page live on and still have meaning, years after they were written.
Create atmosphere. Create meaning.
And if nothing else, photography gets you out of the house when you’ve been unhealthily cooped up at a desk all day!
Plot in a tangle?
Take a walk with your camera!
Nothing beats BEING THERE.
(dials on a Bombe at Bletchley Park)
So even if a picture doesn’t actually write a thousand words…
Actually… it does.
Take your writing to new heights.
For those of you collecting letters for Ruth’s mystery message competition:
MYSTERY LETTER NUMBER 6 = C
WANT TO WIN ONE OF TWO COPIES OF THE MESSENGER BIRD BY RUTH EASTHAM?
Of course you do - so...
- Leave a comment on the blog (and a way for me to contact you),
- Tweet this giveaway using the hashtags #messengerbird and #kidlit, and copy me @nickyschmidt1
- All entries will go into a hat and be chosen at random.
- The competition is open internationally - so yes, that means YOU can enter!
- Competition closes at midnight GMT on 31 May 2012.
For more information on Ruth Eastham:
Visit Ruth on her website
Link to Ruth’s Facebook page
Follow Ruth on Twitter
All images in this post are copyright and courtesy of Ruth Eastham.
Ruth Eastham courtesy of M Paoli.