Author: Byford's Books

Becoming a Published Author (The Self-fulfilling Prophecy)

No, I’m not getting published. I couldn’t be further away from being published if I tried. What I want to talk about is dreaming of becoming a real author. I’m sure this is a dream many of my readers have and one I certainly share, but the trouble is, I’m struggling. When I was 20 years old I wrote a prologue and the first 5 chapters of a book titled Doors That Lead to Nowhere. I posted it on the website Wattpad and it was read over 10.000 times! I was so happy, I thought my dream was coming true. People were actually reading my work and giving me the most fantastic praise. However, after the fifth chapter of the book I stopped. I was going through some emotional problems at the time and I became very low, self-destructive even. A wise lady once told me that I suffer, like so many of us do, with the problem of self-fulfilling prophecy. Whats that? Well, we start to believe that what we are doing, what we have created …

10 Questions for a Book Lover – Xoe Suvari

Name: Xoe Suvari Instagram: xsartwork – THE TEN QUESTIONS – 1.What’s the first book you remember reading by yourself? Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. I loved his books as a kid and continue to love them now. His short stories for adults are just as wildly entertaining as the children’s stories, and I still go back and read them occasionally. 2. What’s your favourite book? This is a really tough question. So many different books have had such profound effects on me in different ways. Recently, Rick Remender’s Low, an ongoing comic series. It has helped remind me of why we keep going when every day becomes a struggle, and to remember that we have to keep moving and appreciate every moment of every day. 3. Who is your favourite author? Another difficult question! Probably Steven Eriksen. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series creates such a vivid world with so much history, detail and culture. 4. If you could have afternoon tea with one author who would it be?  Neil …

Is My Hometown ACTUALLY Mordor?

I have a feeling that my hometown of Colchester,or perhaps the wider county of Essex was represented by Mordor in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. This might sound slightly random, that I’m making some sort of joke at the expense of the citizens of Colchester, but I promise my belief is genuine. This theory begins with Tolkien’s inspiration for The Two Towers, the second book in the trilogy. The first thing we need to decide is what are the two towers Tolkien refers to in his title? There are five towers in the book which could make a claim as being one of the two, these are: Cirith Ungol, Orthanc, Minas Tirith, Barad-dur, and Minas Morgul. By doing some research I have found that Tolkien wasn’t happy with the title of this book and was unsure which towers his own title even referred, claiming the title could be misleading. However in a letter to Rayner Unwin he expressed his decision on which two towers he had chosen. “I am not at all happy about the title ‘The Two Towers’. …

10 Questions for a Book Lover – Katie Staal

  Name: Katie Staal Twitter: @Katie_Staal   – THE TEN QUESTIONS – 1. What’s the first book you remember reading by yourself? Sounds basic, but defiantly the Harry Potter books. Mum used to read chapters to us every night when we were younger, I was four when the first one came out. When I was old enough I started reading them on my own, the spine on my Goblet of Fire is beyond recovery.   2. What’s your favourite book? Tess of the d’Urbivilles is a book that has had such a profound effect on me, I re-read it sparingly as for the following weeks I’ll do nothing but think of all the unanswered questions that it leaves.   3. Who is your favourite author? Angela Carter, I’ve never read books with such creative language and vivid characters.   4. If you could have afternoon tea with one author who would it be? I don’t know if this counts, as she’s more of a philosopher than anything, but Judith Butler. She pioneered the feminist theory of performative …

Walking to Narnia (A Pilgrimage to the Home and Resting Place of C. S. Lewis)

For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning of this year, you would have noticed that I haven’t been posting as regularly as I once did. The truth is I’ve just stepped into the adult world and I’m finding myself overwhelmed by the distinct lack of time that I now have. Growing up I witnessed my mum juggle her life between working, looking after us kids, house work and finding moments to just relax take a pause and escape the mayhem. I’m sure most of you have heard a parent or carer utter ‘There’s not enough hours in the day’, or perhaps you’ve said these words yourself, well, I finally understand! I went straight from studying into full-time work at the bookshop, which is an absolute privilege, but more than ever I’m finding myself too tired or just not having the time to do all the things I want to be doing with my life right at this moment. Over the last few weeks the stress has been building and the pressure …

Monster in the Hood by Steve Antony

If you have read my previous reviews of  I’ll Wait, Mr Panda and GREEN LIZARDS VS RED RECTANGLES by Steve Antony then you will already be aware that I’m a huge fan. Not only do I believe he’s one of the most refreshing and insightful talents in the world of picture books, but Steve Antony is tenacious in his consistency, he simply does not have a bad book to his name! His latest publication Monster in the Hood is another triumph and of course in true Steve Antony fashion brings with it a lesson which we can all learn from. ‘COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE! YOU MIGHT SCARE A PACK OF RATS, AND A CLOUD OF BATS, BUT YOU WON’T SCARE US!’ Monster in the Hood follows three friends: Sammy Squirrel, Henri Hedgehog and Marvin Mouse, who have heard that there’s a monster lurking in their neighbourhood. The friends set off into the streets, unafraid, hoping to track down this monster and show him that they’re not scared. On their mission to find the monster they pass several …

10 Questions for a Book Lover – Morgan Paige

  Name: Morgan Paige Blog: The Drifting Paige Blog morganpbillings.wordpress.com   – THE TEN QUESTIONS – 1. What’s the first book you remember reading by yourself? The first book was actually a part of a series, I think, and was based on the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table mythology. I was hooked on it! I loved Merlin and was especially excited to see my name (sort of… Morgana is close!) in a book. I have been trying to find the actual version of the book for ages, but even my mom can’t remember its exact name!    2. What’s your favourite book? Well, the most recent book that made an enormous impact on me was Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. I had the worst book hangover… I moped around for days, wishing I could go back to that world I had lived in for so long. I learned so much about myself and the world just reading the trilogy. I’m honestly terrified to start the next book in the series, because …

Meeting Chris Riddell (Children’s Laureate) TWICE!

In the last year I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting our current Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell twice! For those who aren’t familiar with the Children’s Laureate it is a position which is awarded every two years in the United Kingdom. The position is awarded to a “writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.” A few of the past recipients include Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Fine and Quentin Blake, who was the first to be awarded the position in 1999. For those who are not familiar with Chris Riddell, SHAME ON YOU! He is my favourite illustrator and one of the most significant figures in the world of children’s books. Over the course of his career so far Chris Riddell has won two Kate Greenaway Medals and  three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes! He is the co-author and sole  illustrator of The Edge Chronicles, which I believe is one of the greatest fantasy series for children out there. He has illustrated books written by some of our very best authors such as Neil …

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt is no stranger to success. Since publishing his first novel in 1996 he has been awarded the Newbery Medal twice, firstly for The Wednesday Wars (2007) and then a second time for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (2004), which also won the Printz Award. His latest novel is titled Orbiting Jupiter (2015) and it is simply breathtaking. This book has stunned and brought several of my fellow booksellers to tears with its beauty and subject matter. Before I tell you more I just want it on record that the fact this book isn’t up for a Carnegie Medal is a travesty!       ‘You know how teachers are. If they get you to take out a book they love too, they’re yours for life.’         The novel is narrated by Jack, a twelve-year-old boy who lives on a farm in Maine with his loving parents, who foster a thirteen year old boy called Joseph. Joseph is a deeply troubled boy who has recently been released from a juvenile …

Building a Bookshop – Day 2 and Opening

In ‘Building a Bookshop – Day 1‘ we made a lot of progress and ended the day feeling proud with how far we had come. However, there was still a fair amount to do before opening our doors to the public. First of all we needed books, lots of books, ALL the books we could cram in there. Secondly, we needed somewhere for the customers to sit, read and watch some of the events which were going to be hosted in the marquee. Finally we needed  a place to sell refreshments because browsing books is thirsty work. So, we began…. It was a fine day on Broad Street…. There were plenty more boxes of books to unpack. So many boxes. We needed a place to sell tickets for all the events, thus the box office was born. Drinks and snacks. A place to sit, dubbed the Shakespeare Lounge. Now the important bit. BOOKS! Books. More books. Even more books. Guess what… … … … …. We filled the place with books, because it wouldn’t be a very …