Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna @MichelleMcKenna #BlogTour #TheYellowBills @matadorbooks

Mya loves planes and wants to be a pilot when she grows up. As luck would have it she comes across a flying school run by lieutenant Drake who awards his pupils splendid pilot hats when they graduate. 
Mya wants to join the class but there's just one problem. She's not a duck! 
Could Goose the little duckling with big flying ambitions be the key to Mya getting her pilot's hat? 
Or will Mr Sour the teacher who never quite made the grade have other ideas...Inspired by authors such as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl and Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Michelle weaves a story with the humour and invention of Nick Ward's 'Charlie Small' series meets Dick King Smith's wonder of the animal world.

The Yellow Bills by Michelle McKenna is published by Matador Books. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life In Books - Michelle McKenna

Thank you to Anne for giving me the opportunity to collate my life in books.  Now that I've put it together I've only just realised how much I enjoy magic, secret doorways and portals to other worlds. All these books come highly recommended by yours truly and I have many special memories attached to each.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses (The Brothers Grimm) - This story is one of my earliest memories. I just loved it, it wasn't that I wanted to be a princess but that there was a secret door that lead out of their room and they would sneak out on boats in the middle of the night to go dancing.  When you read about going out for dances in the middle of the night as a young child there is something extra wondrous about it as you are usually in bed fast asleep so reading about adventure under moonlight just captured my imagination.  I always thought I'd try to find my own secret place at night but two things stood in my way, firstly I didn't have a canal behind where I lived to catch a boat and secondly I could never stay awake past 9pm.  

My only down point on this story is that that their secret got found out.  I wanted their magical evenings to continue forever.

The little vampire (Angela Sommer-Bodenberg) - I think I was about nine when I started reading this series so I didn't quite get what a vampire was but that was fine because this little fella could fly and flying has always been the one super hero power I would pick every time (that also comes from my love of Superman, the Christopher Reeves era). I also was hooked on this story because he was such a tender character and even though he had these powers he had a vulnerability and needed his human friend Anton as much as Anton needed him. Every story should capture special friendships like this in my humble opinion.

​Alice in Wonderland ​(Lewis Carroll) - I read this in primary school and once again it involves secret doors and other worlds where the rules are different and anything could happen. My favourite character is Alice, I love her feistiness no matter what is thrown at her even if it does mean she becomes as big as a giant or as small as a mouse. And who couldn't fall in love with characters like the time conscious white rabbit and the mad hatter. I tried to recreate my own tea party (as i quite often did) inviting different toys to join me but they were never quite as chatty or as mad as the Mad Hatter, I presume he declined my invitation to join as I never heard from him. 

The Hate U Give (THUG by Angie Thomas) - Well I've finally chosen a book that doesn't involve magical other worlds but I loved that I could put myself in this other world through the words that Angie Thomas created. I read this last year and I couldn't put the book down it is so well written and intertwines several characters from different backgrounds and the author has a wonderful knack of making so many different characters flow effortlessly through each other.  It was a book that really made me think about looking past the headlines of a story and seeing the human. Everyone really should read this book.

​Going Solo (Roald Dahl) - Like many others, I've read and loved Roald Dahl books over the years but it was only recently that I read one of his autobiographies ​Going Solo. It was recommended by a lovely poet, Neal Zetter that I met at a library talk. I'm not usually into autobiographies as I can find them a bit dry but this book is far from that. Even though he is talking about World War II and the dangers of being a war pilot the story telling is upbeat and there is constant humour which makes you want to read more. Infact when I got to the last page I just didn't want it to end.  I may even be controversial and say that this might in fact be one of my favourite Roald Dahl books (yes even better than Charlie and that chocolate factory). 

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - I've taken a little gear change and gone for a period classic.  I read this book at secondary school and it's a story that has stayed with me all this time.  Jane's character is so strong in a time that is quite unforgiving of anything or anyone that steps out of the norm and I always admire any character that can stand up to challenge societies norms.  The love story was also different in my mind, Jane came across as an equal in her approach to relationships and she wasn't going to settle for second best (yes I know she nearly ended up with her cousin but the point is she didn't) 'Reader I married him'. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams) - For years I'd heard about these books, but I never actually sat down and read them until I was in my early 30's and I still can't believe I hadn't read them sooner.  If I could have half of Douglas Adams wit and foresight in my writing then I'd be very happy. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect consistently made me laugh in these two books and there is so much going on in the story that I've read them both several times, as there is always something new to catch and that's what makes the writing even better because there are so many subtle as well as obvious points. Also if you ever have a blue day, I'd recommend googling Douglas Adam quotes as they will soon put things in perspective and put a smile on your face.

During the day Michelle works part time in an office in London and then gets home to her full time job looking after two little fab ones. Michelle has been writing stories on and off for years but The Yellow Bills is the first time she’s had the confidence to put her children’s story into print.She finds her inspiration for writing is on the train journey to and from work.When she was younger one of her favourite stories to read was (still is) Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In fact she loved it so much she used to try and think of ways to see how she could change her name to Alice. She was about seven so had to listen to her Mum, who said she couldn’t change her name until she left home. By the time that day came she decided she didn’t mind being called Michelle after all.Michelle’s other favourite’s are Roald Dahl’s, The BFG and The Little Vampire by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.
You can also follow Michelle on Twitter @michellemckenna

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