Wednesday 28th May 2008 by C. Freeman
An author who described his latest work as 'Enid Blyton with extreme sports and attitude' kept students captivated during a recent visit to Brooke Weston.
Andrew Fusek Peters read extracts from his work, juggled, skateboarded and played the didgeridoo during an energetic talk to Year 10 students. He also gave a writing workshop, spoke to both the upper and lower school assemblies and performed a book signing session as part of Brooke Weston's annual Book Week.
Librarian Mrs Heppell said: 'Book Week is all about encouraging reading. Mr Peters gave great renditions of his poetry and prose and completely captivated the audience.'
Mr Peters has had a 20-year writing career and he and and his wife Polly have collaborated on 65 books. Known for his hard-hitting poetry covering teen issues he has recently started writing fiction. His latest book, Priceless, is the first in a series entitled Skateboard Detectives, about the adventures of four teenagers with extreme skills such as skateboarding and free running.
Mr Peters was inspired after dreaming a scenario where the skateboarding hero was trapped in a dead end, pursued by violent thugs. He wrote the first three chapters, submitted it to his publisher and landed a two-book deal!
Andrew said 'Polly and I spent about two or three weeks planning the whole book. We wanted every chapter to be a cliff-hanger. Writing Skateboard Detectives was quite quick, it took about two months, but along with that two months is 20 years of experience, getting it wrong and starting to get it right; so you can say it took 20 years and two months.'
He is now working on a futuristic fiction trilogy called Ravenwood. He said: 'A book is a recipe, it's not just the writing, it's the right publisher, then it's the right cover. I get my ideas from having read a lot over the years, imagination and increasingly thinking about what hasn't been done, what's new, what's fresh.'
During a writing workshop he gave students essential writing tips. Teacher, Miss Gonda said: 'They were given points such as don't use clichés, don't use the same word twice, be very creative and write about what you know. Within half an hour the students had written excellent stories of their own.'
Mr Peters's five key points for aspiring authors are:
- Read other books, don't be self-obsessed.
- Don't just think you can be a writer; it is work, it is a craft. If you're lazy you'll never ever get anywhere.
- Live with failure; if you get it wrong, do it again, and then again and again.
- Redraft and redraft and redraft.
- You really have to go for it, try and find out what's different and do that. Be daring, be different.