Hi everyone! Welcome to one of today's stops on the Inspiring Teens Blog Hop. My guest today is the sports journalist and author, Paul Plunkett. Here he talks about Teen Read Week, his writing experience and the books he loves. I'm sure I won't be the only one who wants to read Timmy the Cat now! You can also win a paperback copy of Teen Idol Terror, book one in the Jenny Johnson Mystery series. Good luck!
Why do you think Teen Read Week is important?
There are so many distractions for youngsters today – most of them really cool – but it’s important to let children know they have something much more powerful than the internet or the latest computer game: their own imagination. I used to read three books a week when I was younger, and that really set me up for a career in journalism and as a children’s author. Words are powerful tools; they can take you on a journey, they can inspire you, make you laugh or cry, and conjure emotions you never knew you had. I feel I have a responsibility to help open up this whole new world to young readers.
How do you think we could encourage youngsters to read more?
We need to make reading books exciting and accessible. Kindles are fantastic and books are affordable. We must make sure their print equivalents remain cheap enough to compete with all the other distractions out there.
When you were a teenager what books did you like to read and did you have an all-time favourite character?
I was brought up with Enid Blyton when I was younger. I loved the adventures of the Famous Five and Secret Seven – great, traditional mysteries where I felt part of the gang. That’s why I wrote my Jenny Johnson Mystery series. It’s kind of Famous Five brought into the 21st century. During my teenage years I became addicted to Dr Who books – I think I had every one ever written. They had short chapters that always ended on a cliffhanger and I couldn’t put them down. I still remember reading way into the early hours.
Were you writing as a teenager? If so, what were you writing and what inspired you? Did a person inspire you to write?
I wrote my first book aged nine. It was called the Nine Lives of Timmy the Cat and was about a cat who travelled the country helping others. He unselfishly sacrificed a life on each adventure to save others. It was the mid-1970s so there was no such thing as self-publishing. I decided not to send it to a publisher because I thought they wouldn’t believe I was only nine. How arrogant was that? During my teenage years I was determined to become a journalist and wrote articles for the local newspaper. That sort of put novel writing on the backburner… for about 30 years!
Do you think today’s teens are in a better position if they want to be a writer than you were all those years ago (hee hee)?
Most definitely. It’s so easy to publish your own book now. And teenagers are so switched on to social media nowadays that it’s easy to promote it. That, of course, brings its own problems – the competition out there is bigger than it has ever been.
What advice would you give a youngster who enjoys writing?
To keep on writing and not think about the commercial side. If you love what you are doing that will shine through.
It’s the second in the Jenny Johnson Mystery series, called Game Over. Jenny and her four friends solve crimes involving the world’s biggest celebrities. This one involves the star striker at one of the world’s biggest football clubs and his girlfriend, who is a Hollywood actress. The footballer is arrested for the attempted murder of the club manager, but as Jenny investigates she finds there’s more to the case than meets the eye. She is thrown into a world of intrigue and danger the closer she gets to solving the mystery.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Not at the moment as Game Over has only just been released. But I’ve got a sketch in my mind for the third in the series. Watch this space.Inspiring others. You can’t beat getting a review from a young person saying my book is the best they’ve read.
What do you love about being an author?
What do you love about being an author?
About Paul Plunkett
I’m living proof that it’s never too late to write your first book. At the age of nine, way back in 1975, I wrote my first short story called The Nine Lives of Timmy the Cat. I never sent it to a publisher, but vowed from that day to write a series that would be published. So, 36 years on, the Jenny Johnson Mystery series was born.
So, who am I? I was born and educated in Liverpool, and all I ever wanted to do from the age of eight was to become a sports journalist. After university, I joined my first newspaper in 1989, and went on to work for several newspapers before returning to Liverpool as assistant sports editor on the Liverpool Echo, and then sports editor for the Lancashire Telegraph. I’m now assistant editor at BBC Sport.
There are 3 paperback copies of Teen Idol Terror up for grabs! All you need to do is enter the competition via the Rafflecopter - good luck!
Jenny Johnson, daughter of a top newspaper investigator, is a young detective who solves celebrity crimes. The lead singer of Flame – the world’s biggest boy band – mysteriously disappears on the eve of a special homecoming concert in Eversham, but his millionaire agent, TV talent spotter Steve Kinghorn, is desperate to cover it up. Jenny investigates and as she solves a series of clues that leads her closer to finding Josh Jones, she discovers a dark secret about the teen idol that catapults her – and her four friends – into a world of danger.
Thanks for reading - don't forget to check the main hop page for all the fabulous authors with amazing giveaways this week - www.tinyurl.com/kq4f3lv !