We’re all in this together

Hello m’lovelies.. Paul and Stevyn here.

Are you an author whose book launch and/or tour was cancelled/postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic? That sucks and, as authors ourselves, we feel for you.

We can’t hope to replace what you’ve lost but we’d like to help, in some small way, if we can.

Over the next few weeks our (nearly award-winning – we were so close!) podcast WE’D LIKE A WORD is offering you another platform to tell the world about your new book.  All we need from you is a short audio clip telling us:

  • Who you are;
  • The title of your book;
  • A brief summary of what it’s about;

And because we also want to support small indie bookshops in these troubled times …

  • The name of a bookshop that’s dear to you.

You can record it any way you like – your smartphone has a pretty good record function. Then email your file to us at wedlikeaword@gmail.com and we’ll do the rest.

As sound files can be quite large, we recommend using the free service WeTransfer.com to send us files over 20mb in size. Other services are available, of course.

We can’t guarantee to play every single one though we will do our best!

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WE’D LIKE A WORD is written and presented by authors Stevyn Colgan and Paul Waters and is available fortnightly on Wednesdays from iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Podcast FM and most other podcast platforms. Former guests have included Graham Norton, Denise Mina, Anthony Horowitz, Asia Mackay, Joel Morris, Helen Cullen, Peter May, Dr Erica McAlister, Adrian McKinty, Alison Finch, Will Dean, Isi the Scribe, Belinda Bauer and many more. It was shortlisted for the 2020 London Book Fair Books Podcaster of the Year Award.

Kids’ Stuff

Paul. Stevyn, Serena Patel and Fritha Lindqvist

On the latest episode of We’d Like A Word, Paul and Stevyn chat to children’s author Serena Patel about her new book Anisha: Accidental Detective (excellently illustrated by Emma McCann). Books for children and young adults are as popular as ever so we talk about how to write for a younger audience and Serena’s dramatic life story and how it shaped her character (and the character of her book’s hero, Anisha). She also reads from her book and talks about her childhood experiences of racism, homelessness and being bullied. We also hear about the detective books she read as a child and the inspirational British Asians she looked up to.

We also go behind the scenes of children’s book promotion with freelancer Fritha Lindqvist (who helped Cressida Cowell train her dragon). Fritha also tells us about the various campaigns that exist to get children reading and learning from stories (see links below).

And in the second of an occasional series of bookshop visits, Paul goes to the beautiful Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street to chat to bookseller Rose Cole & book lovers from the USA.

Go listen now! Click here or find us on iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts or wherever good podcasts lurk.

Links

National Literacy Trust

The NLT are an independent charity dedicated to giving disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed. They work to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s poorest communities, where one in three people have literacy problems. Because low literacy is inter-generational, they focus their work on families, young people and children. They help to transform lives through literacy and have stacks of research that shows that reading for pleasure has a significant impact on a child’s future socio-economic chances. Encouraging and nurturing reading for pleasure benefits the whole economy and country.

More information here

The current Waterstones Children’s Laureate is Cressida Cowell author of the How to Train your Dragon books. Her laureate charter is a powerful ten point action plan that champions the creativity, intelligence and empathy skills reading books nurtures. It’s a call to action for all of us to realise the magic of reading for everyone. You can download the charter here

EmpathyLab 

EmpathyLab is the first organisation to build children’s empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of high quality literature. Their strategy builds on new scientific evidence showing the power of reading to build real-life empathy skills. They believe that empathy is a beacon of hope in a divided world. They produce an annual Read for Empathy book collection and run an annual Empathy Day to shine a light on the power of reding to build empathy – it’s in 9 June this year.

More information here

A Day of Highs and Lows

Well, the day started well with the excellent news that We’d Like A Word has not only been nominated for ‘Best Books Podcast’ by those lovely people at the London Book Fair, but has made the final six! Consequently Paul and Stevyn were invited to the awards ceremony at the LBF, hosted by Cressida ‘How to Train your Dragon’ Cowell.

But then, just as the boys were finishing their happy dance, came the news that the London Book Fair has been cancelled due to many exhibitors pulling out (including the ‘Big Five’ British publishers and many major overseas buyers) due to travel issues and concerns over the spread of Coronavirus Covid-19. And we guess that it’s probably sensible – there’s a lot of worry about this issue. It’s even leading people to do things like this on public transport:

Oh the humanity!

Still, it’s lovely to be nominated.

Watch this space …

Comic Belief

On this brand new episode of WE’D LIKE A WORD, Paul and Steve are talking comic books, sequential art, graphic novels and all things Beezer and Dandy with writer/artist/editor DAVID LEACH and Tripwire magazine editor in chief, JOEL MEADOWS.

Paul, David Leach, Stevyn (and Psychogran)
Joel Meadows

We recorded the episode in David’s house which, as it happens, turned out to be a shrine to comics with books and toys everywhere. And we got to see a brand new instalment of his strip Psychogran in the pencils and inks stages.

Also in this episode we have the first of an occasional series of visits to small, independent bookshops – in this case The Little Bookshop at Cookham in Berkshire where we meet Chantal Farquhar and some of her customers.

Enjoy hearing about the past, present and future of comics, how David was nearly hobbled by a Brazilian vicar on an episode of Come Dine With Me and why you should never, ever burgle a house on a Book Club night.

Listen on iTunes, Spotify, Google Pods or here on Anchor.

David Leach’s Psychogran

Tripwire Magazine

Tripwire’s IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign

Joel Meadows’ Masters of Comics

The Little Bookshop, Cookham

Having an Isi fit

This episode of We’d Like A Word features spoken word performance poet Isi ‘The Scribe’ Adeola who reads us several of his poems and one brand new poem written in 24 hours and constructed from suggestions sent to us by our listeners.

And you guys were cruel. CRUEL.

He had to incorporate phrases like ‘I tawt I taw a puddy tat’ and ‘Broken Britain’ as well as ‘unicorns’ and ‘serendipity’. But he prevailed, it’s a great poem and here it is! (reproduced with Isi’s kind permission):

Why do I do this to myself?

I give myself concrete deadlines and then feel crushed beneath the slate

I’m punching well above my weight.

I get inspired because I wish to be the change you want to see, but then deflated as it turns out I’m just chasing unicorns.

Fictional figments of a wandering monkey mind that points out useless distractions on an internet safari of daydreams and cat videos.

Destination procrastination is where I’m headed. It’s why I medicate the pain of loneliness and mad times in broken Britain

My semantics may sound dramatic but that’s genuinely how I feel under self-imposed pressure.

My monkey mind calls the shots now screaming at clip after ridiculous clip.

A TED talk about how to tie your shoes

Is Janice Chandler’s soulmate?

I tawt I taw a puddy tat!

You bet you taw a puddy tat – the six hundredth puddy tat from my YouTube playlist

Because I have taken on too much, I am doing the impossible, like ice skating through Hades

Swimming through a swamp of demands and giving myself reprimands for not meeting them

Just before I give up and curl up in the foetal position, serendipity swoops me off my feet, with a fresh breath and grace catches me before I hit the ground

They warm my face with a smile and say, “We’d like a word”. I laugh out loud, because I know I’m in good hands – my brow softens and I listen to receive and understand.

The wisdom of evolution says change and design happen, incrementally.

We know your load is great, but you’ll get through it, eventually.

We’ll come through when you least expect it – little incremental breadcrumbs of inspiration will fall at your feet when you feel lost at the start of your journey.

All you have to do is show up!

Isi’s done some BIG gigs

We also hear work by Jo Bell, and poems from a couple of excellent young poets and from Paul’s dad.

It’s a grand show. So do listen in.

Isi ‘The Scribe’ Adeola is a spoken word performance poet and zoologist. He’s an Outreach Development Officer at the Royal Veterinary College and a Discovery and Learning Officer at ZSL London Zoo. He has an MSc in wild animal biology too … but we’re just delighted he writes and performs great poetry.

You can hear us on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and anywhere else that good podcasts are found.

Or just click here!

And, we’re on twice a day on the brand new Podcast Radio channel! Visit it here.

Joel Morris and his surprising tea trays

On this new episode of WE’D LIKE A WORD we speak to award-winning comedy writer Joel Morris who (with writing partner Jason Hazeley) has given us such comedy delights as the Framley Examiner, Philomena Cunk, the Paddington movies, R4’s Agendum and Angstrom as well as being contributors to Viz, Mitchell and Webb and, perhaps most famously, the adult Ladybird books. He’s a very very funny man.

We talk about the joys, perils and frustrations of being a comedy writer, the dearth of comic novels, podcasting, parody adverts, finding a comedy voice and why two expensive tea trays are better than a giant plasma TV screen.

Now available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor and anywhere else where good podcasts are found.

Virtual Geckos and a Sense of Place

Paul Waters (L) and Stevyn Colgan (R) with the writing legend that is Peter May

On this week’s new episode of We’d Like A Word (recorded in the basement of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blackfriars, London) we’ve been talking to Peter May, multi-award-winning author of the Lewis Trilogy, the China series and more than 20+ thrillers that have sold internationally by the millions.

His latest book, A Silent Death, is set in Spain and Gibraltar and we ask him about using a strong sense of place as a ‘character’ in his novels. We also get the lowdown on how he got where he is today, why he created the world’s first Scots Gaelic soap opera and why he was once approached by two geckos to investigate a virtual crime. Intrigued? Then listen in and find out more.

You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor FM, Google podcasts and wherever good podcasts are hosted. And we’re trying an experiment this episode! We’ve broken it into three 20 minute parts to make it easier for the commute. Do let us know what you think.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire.  It was also chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club autumn 2011 list. The Lewis Man won the French daily newspaper Le Télégramme‘s 10,000 euro Grand Prix des Lecteurs. In 2014, Entry Island won the Deanston’s Scottish Crime Novel of the Year, the Specsaver’s ITV Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year Award, and the French Trophée 813 for the Best Foreign Crime Novel of the year 2015. There have been many many more nominations. May’s books have sold more than two million copies in the UK and several million internationally. He has over a thousand TV credits and created the Scottish language TV series Machair, and the BBC war-time series Squadron. He also plays jazz and has just built himself a studio at his home in France.

King Cole

Welcome to the first podcast episode of 2020 and we’re delighted to have the brilliant Cole Moreton in the studio to talk about his new book The Light Keeper.

Cole Moreton is an author and broadcaster exploring who we are and how we live. He writes for Event, the Mail on Sunday magazine, and was named Interviewer of the Year at the Press Awards in 2016. His Radio 4 series, The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, won gold as the Radio Academy’s Audio Moment of the Year in 2016. His first book, Hungry for Home, was shortlisted for the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Cole lives by the coast near Beachy Head and spends as much time as possible staring out to sea.

The Light Keeper is something of a departure for him in that it’s a novel, whereas his previous books have been non-fiction although told in a narrative style. What makes it even more interesting is that he and his band, The Light Keepers, have recorded an album of songs inspired by the book. We play several of the songs during this episode.

Cole’s previous books include Hungry For Home, My Father Was A Hero, Is God Still An Englishman? and the deeply moving The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away, which tells the true story of two families brought together by a heart transplant.

In this episode we talk about the dramatic setting for The Light Keeper and about the fantastic work done by the Beachy Head Chaplaincy and The Samaritans. And, as usual, we range across a wide field of discussion topics that include the Chuckle Brothers, Scarlett Johansson, the extraordinary journey of Juliana Buhring, the untimely death of the Apostrophe Society, May Savidge moving her house – literally – and gatecrashing the funeral of the Kray Twins’ mum.

We also say thanks to all of the authors who guested on our podcast in 2019 and the photographers, web-designers, musicians and studio owners who helped us to get it off the ground.

It’s a good one!

Books referenced in this episode include:

Writing the Past in the Present

How do you go about create a realistic historical background for your novel? How much research should you do … and when do you stop? Do you have your characters reflect the tastes, mores and attitudes of past eras even if they are not acceptable today?

These are the kinds of questions we discuss on the new episode of We’d Like a Word with authors Alec Marsh (Rule Britannia) and Eoin McNamee (The Blue Tango and many more).

We’d Like A Word is available on iTunes, Spotify, Anchor, Google Pods and almost any place that good podcasts are hosted (or just click here).

This is the last episode of 2019. Paul and Stevyn wish you all a very merry Christmas and a hopeful and peaceful New Year. There are some great guests to come in 2020 …

Paul Waters, Alec Marsh and Stevyn Colgan
Eoin McNamee

Among the books mentioned on this episode …

Borders and Boundaries

On this all new episode of We’d Like A Word, we talk borders and boundaries with two authors whose work deals with separation.

Asia Mackay

Asia Mackay is the author of the highly acclaimed and witty spy thriller Killing it and its recently published sequel, The Nursery. It tells the story of Lex Tyler – covert operative, assassin … and mother. As the cover blurb says, ‘Bad guys can wait. Bedtime can’t.’ Asia tells us all about the genesis of the character and how she maintains the boundaries between being a mum and being an author while her heroine struggles not to blur her work and home life too. We also talk about real life female spies, the ‘Sexy Lamp Test’ and other measures authors can use to make sure that their work has the right balance of male and female characters.

Brian McGilloway

We then turn to Brian McGilloway, New York Times bestselling author of the DS Lucy Black thrillers and Inspector Devlin mysteries. Many of his books are set on or near the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic and he is fascinated by the lives of the people who live there. He is also a working teacher and has to find ways to keep his writing – which can be quite violent and visceral – separate from the rest of his life. As someone who is in a position to inspire young minds and the next generation of writers, how does he balance the two sides?

It’s a fascinating episode with two great writers and we hope you enjoy it.

Books mentioned are:

The Sexy Lamp Test

The Bechdel Test

The Mako Mori Test

The Furiosa Test