Author Talk..

'Hexult' is a novel aimed at 11-15 year olds. To raise the profile of our book, we are hoping to visit local schools and present an informal talk to the students. There is no charge for this, and, if local, no expenses either.

The talk is generally about reading, writing and the creative process, but focuses on two specific themes central to the writing of 'Hexult'. The first is 'magic' and the concept that magic is often simply explained by science. The second is 'perspective', which feeds off the first theme; the idea that something may appear different depending upon where, when and how you look at it.

We bring along a number of props, which help to illustrate the talk, and encourage a more interactive discussion with the students.

For example, one discussion thread is on starting a fire. To this end we bring in a bow-drill. In theory, you should be able to start a fire with this. I ask someone to have a go. (Don't worry, I've had plenty of practice and I can barely get it warm!). I then mention how, in 'Hexult', the wizard produces sparks from the ends of his fingers. I then do this using a flint and steel, as people have done since early Roman times (but it still looks like magic.)

Another thread is about magnetism. I show the students an old compass, and tell them that the pointer moves by magic. Someone usually corrects me, explaining it is just magnetism. I argue that magnetism IS magic and lead them through a story using a large lump of Magnetite (a lodestone).

I also bring some artwork: sketches made to help visualise people and places in the book and a pile of preliminary cover designs, showing that the creative process has a visual side; it is not just about words.

I usually finish with an item that I intend to be the inspiration for a future book. It is a Stirling engine made from junk, but it needs a mug of really hot water to work.

The standard talk takes about 30-40 minutes, but questions and answers, along with the students perusing sketches and book cover designs, generally takes it over an hour, although we can tailor the length to suit the time slot available.

I would ask that the children are given advance notice of my visit, and that afterwards, copies of the book are available at 5.95 each. If they prefer, electronic versions from Amazon at 1.94

If I longer time frame is available, I can add these extra options:
- Story Cubes. A fun short imaginative writing exercise (about 30 minutes)
- reading exerpts from Hexult (15 minutes)

Yours faithfully

Perry Bond & Sandy Aylen