In 2013 when I had first started out gigging around school libraries, I was a bit naïve and didn’t really know how I could translate what I did at theatres into a literary live event. I was booked to appear at Caldervale High School in a bid to secure a nomination on the Catalyst Book Award longlist. After giving me bountiful amounts of tea, the librarian – her name is Lesley and she’s wonderful – told me that Catherine MacPhail was coming to visit for an afternoon slot.
“Would you like to stay and see her after your gig?”
“YES!” I screamed. I literally screamed.
I was and still am a huge fan of Catherine’s books. Not only do I write YA but I read them, I always have and always will. Cathy’s Tyler Lawless books were a current obsession (though I wondered when the next one was coming out) and I couldn’t believe my luck that we were going to be at the same event throughout the day. Authors don’t really get to watch other authors because we’re performing and then signing. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we see other writers get up onstage to wow the crowd.
So we met, swapped books (I don’t know if she ever read Conjuring The Infinite but it was a lovely gesture regardless), and she read to her audience…and I laughed at my own silliness because as obvious as it seems, I had never read to my own audience. No matter how much you think you know, you can always learn more.
One of my favourite Catherine MacPhail books is Another Me. I told her that and she sparked with the sort of excitement that only an author in her position could:
“It’s being made into a film!”
And here it is! Finally coming to a screen near you. And you. And you.
Go and see it. We need more UKYA books turned into movies. One of the reasons the American YA market dominates all is because their big books are snapped up and turned into television or film. We don’t really have that in the UK unless your name is David Walliams. Keith Gray and Cathy MacPhail have both recently had their work adapted for stage and screen. But it isn’t enough. We need more.