News and Stuff


WARNING: The Chocopocalypse has arrived in the US!

Yes, The Chocopocalypse has arrived in the US!

I can’t quite believe it. This story started off as something I thought I’d scribble down and read to my daughter, in an effort to make her giggle at bedtime. Now it is being released in the United States of America by Delacorte Press – a division of Penguin Random House, which just happens to be the biggest publisher in the world! (This is my final over-seas sale, so please excuse me tickling my ego one last time!)

I am so unbelievably grateful to Chicken House UK and Barry Cunningham for starting this amazing part of my life and to Elinor Bagenal and Allison Hellegers for getting my story to the US. Since my first contact with the lovely people at PRH, and in particular the wonderful Monica Jean, me and all my characters have been made to feel so welcome. We love our new cover created by the super talented Mary Kate McDevitt and are delighted the fantastic internal illustrations by Lalalimola have been kept in place.

I know Jelly and her family are in very good hands and I wish them well in their American adventures and I hope all the new readers will be kind and gentle with them. Which I’m sure they will.

I wonder if one day, I’ll believe all this actually happened?

The Chocopocalypse, Chris Callaghan


SSWAG

SSWAG

 

It was wonderful to be invited along to meet a local writing group called Swagbag Stories Writers and Artists Group (SSWAG) for their annual general meeting. I don’t normally do talks to grown-ups and I was incredibly nervous. Luckily, they were all friendly grown-ups and I had a great time. They’d asked me to chat about my writing experiences, how I became published and my experiences of having a book in the world. I didn’t see a single one of them yawn. Either they were very good at hiding yawns, or it went well!

Afterwards, I was delighted be given a honorary membership of SSWAG, which is a HUGE privilege. They were all extremely talented and enthusiastic and I look forward to meeting them again very soon.

If anyone reading this is interested in joining a group in the North East of England, or connecting with fellow writers, please find more details at their website here.

SSWAG

The talented and friendly members of SSWAG


Reader Reviews

Reviews are a tricky thing for authors. We’re told not to read them – but it’s hard no to! Which means we sometimes see the occasional bad or strange one, and no one likes that! But if we are going to look, we have to take the bad ones on the chin. But also, if we do look (and I’ve been very lucky – so far!) we might see a review which brightens our day – or even week – and is a pure joy to read.

Sophie Reviewing The Great Chocoplot

I had one of those recently from a young reader called Sophie, who has started a blog about books. I had the honour of being Sophie’s first book review on that blog. Luckily, it isn’t bad or strange, but completely wonderful. You can read it here.

Thank you, Sophie, for taking the time to read my story. I’m delighted that it made you (and your mummy!) laugh – that makes me very happy. And thank you for writing such lovely and thoughtful words. It’s also a great idea that you include your favourite quotes too! I hope you enjoy reading many more books.

This is why I will (occasionally) dip into my reviews. Lovely comments from grown-up booky people are always welcome (stars on Amazon are also welcome too, hint, hint *ahem*!!), but a kind review from a proper reader is the best thing EVER!!!

(I’ve just read Sophie’s latest review of The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, by Liz Pichon, it sounds great – I might have to read it!)


Romanian Chocoplot

Hugely excited that ‘The Great Chocoplot’ has been released in Romania as ‘Marele Complot Al Ciocolatei‘.

I’m delighted that they have kept the familiar cover, with Lalalimola’s wonderful artwork proudly displayed. They’ve added some shiny gold surroundings and it even has flappy bits to the cover! Beautiful.

Thank you RAO for publishing my silly story in your country and Elinor at Chicken House UK for, yet again, spreading chocolate panic globally! I hope all the keen chocolatey readers in Romania enjoy my story!!


Celebrating the Schokopokalypse!

It’s been an exciting week celebrating the release of ‘Schokopokalypse’. The good people at Chicken House Deutschland have been splattering my ugly mug on their Facebook page (check it out here) and letting me talk about my writing and asking tricky questions.

There’s even been some early reviews too. Luckily, they’ve been great! Huge thanks to Manu’s Tinkenlecke & books-and-cats.de for saying such lovely things. I’m sure my silly characters will have a fantastic time running around Germany and I’m looking forward to hearing how they get along!

Schokopokalypse, The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan


Schokopokalypse

This week (31st August) sees the German release of ‘The Great Chocoplot’, which has the fantastic title of ‘Schokopokalypse’.

I love flicking through translated versions and trying to spot words or phrases that I recognise – without being able to speak the language. It’s great to hear that the editors and translator have had fun playing around with all the silly names I’ve made up. In this German version, Jelly and her family don’t live in Chompton-on-de-Lyte, but in the wonderfully sounding Mampfon-an-der-Freude! I think I’d like to live there and am looking forward to hearing how it all sounds on the German audio version too!!

I am delighted and honoured that the lovely people of Chicken House Deutschland have brought Jelly (and the Chocopocalypse) to their wonderful country. I am excited to hear what the German readers think of my silly story!!

Die Schokopokalypse kommt nach Deutschland !!!


Read Said FRED

Chris Callaghan, The Great Chocoplot, ChocopocalypseI am thrilled that a chapter of ‘The Great Chocoplot’ has been chosen to be included in ‘Read Said FRED’, an anthology of stories for dads to read with their children.

I originally wrote my story while I was a Stay-at-Home Dad as a surprise present for my daughter at Christmas. The plan was that we would have a giggle reading it together over the Christmas holidays. I had purposely put in lots of silly voices to act out and an even sillier dad for us to roll our eyes at and snigger (instead of it being me for a change!).

My story, almost accidentally, became published and I am incredibly flattered and honoured to have a snippet in this great collection alongside some amazing names like Julia Donaldson, Jonathan Stroud, Gary Northfield, Sir Tony Robinson, Frank Lampard, Peter Bently and more! As well as the fantastic artwork from illustrators like Nick Sharratt, Jon Klassen, Lydia Monks and (my personal favourite) Lalalimola.

It has been developed by The Fatherhood Institute as part of their Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) programme. Obviously, there is nothing stopping mums, grandparents and any keen readers getting involved, but this is a scheme particularly aimed at dads and their children.

One of the greatest parts of being a dad, in my opinion, has been that time at the end of the day when my daughter and I would open a book together. Sometimes I’d read, sometimes she would and sometimes we’d take turns – but it was always a shared experience. My pleasure wasn’t just in the story itself but in those precious moments together and watching the changing expressions on her face. Her eyes and mouth would open wide at moments of shock and surprise, she would frown at the sad moments, squirm at the icky parts and giggle at the funny bits. Leaving the story at a what-happens-next-moment would ensure that we said ‘goodnight’ with it still bouncing around in her head and becoming part of her dreams. A perfect way to end the day!

 

I hope this encourages more dads to share in the absolute joy of reading with their children.

Thank you to Jeremy Davies and all at the Fatherhood Institute for involving me in such a great idea.

 


Celebrating Easter at the Roald Dahl Museum

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Roald Dahl, Museum

 

I had a truly gloriumptious day at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.
It was a great honour to be asked to do some Chocoplot events over Easter at the home of our greatest storyteller and I loved every minute.
It was quite surreal to see my silly story in the museum book shop next all of Roald Dahl’s amazing stories. Thank you to everyone who came along – it was great to meet you and you all joined in brilliantly.

Huge thanks to the staff, who made me and my family feel very welcome.
It was so much fun and a day I will never forget!

 


New Chocoplot Versions Coming Out Soon …

The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Chocopocalypse

schokopokalypse, The Great Chocoplot, Chris Callaghan, Chocopocalypse

Delighted to see that very soon the UK Audio version of The Great Chocoplot will be released by Oakhill Publishing. I haven’t got my hands (or ears) on a copy yet, but I can’t wait to hear how David Thorpe tackles some of the strange voices and accents!

Also, the cover of the German hardback has been spotted on the Chicken House Germany website. I haven’t got a copy of that either yet, but I love the slight variation with the cover. Lalalimola’s fab illustrations are still there but the purple has been replaced with a bluey kind of colour (I’m a bit colour blind, so you’ll have to see for yourself!). It will be called ‘Schokopokalypse’ which I am assuming means ‘Chocopocalypse’ and will be released in Germany on August 31st!!

Aufregend!!!          (That means ‘exciting’ – I think!)


World Book Day

I had a fantastic time visiting schools and libraries to celebrate World Book Day (or week, as it turned out!!). Here’s some photos from my sessions at Stockton Central Library. It was great to see lots of local pupils – they came, they saw, they laughed (some of them!) and they even bought books!

Thank you to everyone for all your fab chocolate panic faces and your extremely loud shouts of ‘Chocopocalypse!’ – it’s always fun to shout in a library!

(Thanks to Doug Moody for the brill pics.)