Archive for April, 2011

Questions, Questions….

Since I began writing the Pony Club Secrets series I get loads of brilliant letters and emails from all over the world. Funnily enough, they often ask the same questions – so I thought for my final blog I would answer a few of them here:

Q:How did you become an author?

A:I began writing when I was at school – I did lots of poems and short stories – and I really recommend this as a way of getting started with your writing. Trying to attack a whole novel is too hard at first. You need to build your way up to it. After school, I became a feature writer on magazines – so I have always written for a living and I believe that having deadlines and learning to meet them is good training. Lots of authors started out as advertising copy writers or as journalists – writing of any kind is good to get the creative muscles working!

Q:Do you have a horse?

A: Yes I do. His name is Ash and he’s a 16 hands high bay Dutch Warmblood Thoroughbred cross. He was bred down in Gisborne and he was meant to showjump but I do mostly dressage on him. He is seven years old and very handsome! I love him to bits. You can read about him on the blog on my website www.stacygregg.co.uk

Q:How many books have you written?

A:I’ve written 13 books in the Pony Club Secrets series (the final book is Nightstorm and the Grand Slam which is out in New Zealand in July). I’ve also written 3 books so far in the Pony Club Rivals series and the 4th is called The Prize and it’s out later this year.

Q: Will the books ever get made into a movie or a TV series – and can I be in it?!

A:The answer to this is – I hope so! There’s been lots of stuff happening behind the scenes and we’re working on it – but we’re not at the stage where we’re doing auditions just yet. So if you’re a keen rider or actor keep an eye on my website and we’ll let you know as soon as there’s news – I promise!

That’s all from me! Thanks Christchurch Libraries – I loved being your Star Author for the month!

X Stacy

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My Top 10 Animal Stories

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Plague by Michael Grant

The Gone Series by Michael Grant is one of the coolest series ever written.  It’s just a normal day in Perdido Beach when all the adults (anyone over the age of 14) suddenly disappears and the town is surrounded by an impenetrable wall.  You would think that life would be great without adults; you can do whatever you want, when you want to, and eat whatever you like.  But when you’re cut off from the rest of civilization, with a small supply of food and water, life starts to get worse.  If that isn’t bad enough, some of the kids in Perdido Beach start developing super powers, including levitation, invisibility, healing, and super-speed.  Two groups of kids form;  Sam leading the kids from Perdido Beach and Caine leading the kids of Coates Academy.   Their new home comes to be called The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and as time passes they have to deal with kids who suddenly disappear on their 15th birthday (Gone), a shrinking food supply (Hunger), the manipulation of The Darkness (Lies), and in the latest book, a terrible Plague.

In Plague the darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.  The situation in the FAYZ is the worst it’s been but can Sam actually save them all this time?

Plague is a really intense book with some parts that will leave you cringing.  I still can’t believe that the characters survived through their challenges.  One thing that stands out about this book in the series is that there is some sense of hope, which made me want to read the next book right away (I can’t say any more otherwise I’ll ruin the surprise).  I’m amazed at how Michael Grant keeps track of all his characters and how he comes up with new ways to test them in each book.  I’ll eagerly await the next in the series, Fear, to see what he has in store for Sam and the kids of the FAYZ.    The series is in the Young Adult section so they’re recommended for good readers aged 12 and up.      9 out of 10

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Mark Todd at Badminton

The Badminton Horse Trials have always been the most exciting event in the world as far as I’m concerned. Back in 1980 I was a twelve year old kid at the Ngaruawahia Pony Club when Mark Todd won it for the first time. I remember hearing the news and thinking that it simply wasn’t possible – Badminton was such a major, major event with riders like Lucinda Prior-Palmer and the very best eventers in the world. It was the most incredible victory for Todd. He had never even ridden at Badminton before and he was completely untested around a course of four-star calibre. His dramatic, unexpected win marked the start of a decade and a half of dominance by the New Zealanders in the sport of eventing.

Todd won every major event after that plus two gold medals at the Olympics on Charisma. By the time he retired in 2000 he had already been named the Event Rider of the Century. Now, after a decade out of the limelight he’s made the most astonishing comeback at the age of 55 to win Badminton for an amazing fourth time – on a young, green horse NZB Land Vision – and he’s proven that he’s the Event Rider of the Next Century too! I watched him in the showjumping and screamed when he flew clear over the last fence and promptly burst into tears. He is such an inspiration! A complete superhero.

Real-life and fiction often seem to go hand in hand – my last book in the Pony Club Secrets series, Nightstorm and the Grand Slam, is also set at the Badminton Horse Trials with a New Zealand rider bound for glory.

I put the finishing touches on the final draft of Nightstorm and the Grand Slam last night and it is probably off to the printers by now – due for release in the UK in May and here in New Zealand in July. I can’t wait to see it in print as I loved writing this book and it is the perfect end to the series. Meanwhile, I have to start the next book in the Pony Club Rivals series. I am already behind on my deadline! Typical!

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NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Competitions

If you’re looking for something to do these school holidays you can enter the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards competitions.  There are two competitions and they are open to anyone from 0-18 years so if you have any brothers or sisters that want to enter they can too.  The competitions relate to two of the finalist books:

You can submit your entries by dropping them into Hornby Library, South Library or The Reading Bug Bookshop, or email them to chchfestival@gmail.com.  Entries close on Wednesday 18 May and an exhibition of the finalists’ work will be displayed in South Library from 1 May-18 May.

There are lots of prizes up for grabs and everyone who enters will get invited to the prize giving on Friday 20 May at South Library.  Get creative for your chance to win!

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Jacqueline Wilson’s Lily Alone book trailer

Lily Alone is Jacqueline Wilson’s new book and you can get it now from the library.  Place a hold on Lily Alone at one of our libraries that are open or online using your library card number and PIN. If you don’t have a PIN, phone us on 941-7923.

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Reading Crusade Challenge – Week 3

Week 3 Challenge – Animals

Try an animal story.  It could be about a mouse like Stuart Little or Runaway Ralph, a horse like Bow Down Shadrach or Pony Club Secrets, a dog like Shadow or Hotel for Dogs, or a cat like The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips or The Warriors series.

Check out our If you like Animal Stories  and If you like Brian Jacques book list and our Book Buzz page for lots of great animal stories you could read.

Tell us about your favourite animal book and you’ll go into the draw to WIN a Stacy Gregg prize pack with books from the Pony Club Secrets and Pony Club Rivals series.

See below for Terms and conditions  Read the rest of this entry »

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