How did I become an author? Well, in the words of the song, it started with a kiss...
Actually, it didn’t start like that at all. That would just have been weird. In reality my life of writing started with a teacher telling me to make up a story in Primary 1, way back in, ooohh, the mid-1990s. Ahem.
OK, it’s not as romantic as a kiss, but that’s how it was.
Yes, I was just knee-high to a grasshopper when my love of writing began. But nowadays I’m much, much bigger than grasshoppers and am far more successful an author than any insects I know. Take THAT grasshoppers!
My first book, My Dad, was published by Meadowside in 2008, followed a year after that by The Tickle Tree. These books have been reprinted all over the world, from the USA to Australia, and has been translated into Spanish, Korean and Thai.
Things really took off when I moved to Scholastic – home to the likes of Julia Donaldson, Horrible Histories and Philip Pullman – in 2010. My first book with them, The Loon On The Moon, was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards and won the respected Dundee Picture Book Awards. It was recently made into a “Touch To See” braille book by the Living Paintings charity.
Two further books followed – The Fabulous Flapdoodles and Ping – with my most recent title, Jumblebum, being released in January 2013.
It was illustrated by the fantastic Ben Cort, of Aliens Love Underpants fame, and has been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book Awards alongside titles by Julia Donaldson, Oliver Jeffers and Mini Grey.
I have several other picture books due for release and am currently working on a series of books for slightly older children.
I have also worked as a reporter, columnist and sub editor for a national newspaper for nearly 20 years.
About writer's work
My events are always aimed squarely at showcasing my writing in a fun, lively and interactive way. If the children go away with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step then I know I’ve done my job.
I believe a child who sees books and authors as fun is more likely to engage with reading and writing, so I make sure they have a good time at my events.
A typical session, lasting around an hour, would involve singing songs based on the books – with the children joining in – coming up with a character inspired by one of my books (usually Loon On The Moon or Jumblebum), finding out how a book gets from my head to the bookshelves (it’s not how you’d expect), a Q&A and, of course, reading some of the books. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the StoryHat . . . but you can find out more about that when I come to your school or library.
My events have been incredibly well received from Shetland to Elgin, Islay to Edinburgh, across the Central Belt and as far afield as Bucharest!
In early 2013 I toured England, visiting schools and libraries from Fleetwood to Reading and book centres such as Seven Stories in Newcastle and Discover in London. The owner of a highly respected independent book shop on the tour said I was one of the best authors she’d ever seen when it came to live performances, a sentiment echoed by several of the teachers at the schools I visited.
I am now a regular fixture at the big book festivals in Scotland, with 2013 seeing me return to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow and the Borders Book Festival.
In March 2013 I stepped my live work up a gear by hosting the Scottish Children’s Book Awards at the Caird Hall in Dundee in front of an audience of 900, as well as an online audience in schools across Scotland.
Websites featuring the authorwww.fraserross.co.uk/index.html
Current events and projects
As well as the main events – which are most suitable for primaries 1-4, I can also offer quick workshops for P5-7 discussing characterisation, structure and having fun with words and imagination. I usually put this in the context of picture books as, although they are older than the target age for such books, the relative simplicity and short word count make it easier to tackle in a short timeframe.
This type of workshop can be useful as the basis for a shared reading project, with the older children creating – both writing and illustrating – a book to read to the earlier years. I can also give them tips on how to “perform” their books to listeners. The hope is that this will not only help them engage with writing, but also boost their confidence.
I am also happy to speak about journalism – both reporting and sub editing (proof reading, layout and headline writing). This is probably best suited to the older years of primary school.
For the pre-school years I can offer a shorter event – half an hour (pro rata fee) – with titles suited to that age group, as well as songs and a drawing/imagination element.
I am also currently creating a workshop that covers writing in a much broader sense, showing children how it is integral to many areas of modern life, from books and magazines to songs, video games, films and websites.
I am available for visits anywhere in the UK or abroad.
If you would like to book an event or workshop or discuss any other proposals, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to hire a grasshopper for an event, I’m afraid I can’t help you.