I am delighted to be able to say that I have a new book coming out in autumn 2018.
It’s called Armistice Runner and is about a thirteen-year-old cross country/fell runner called Lily. And her great great granddad, who was a champion fell runner as well as a trench runner during the last weeks of the First World War.
The story is based very loosely on my daughter’s love of cross country and fell running and the champion fell runner of 100 years ago, Ernest Dalziel (above).
To celebrate the launch of my Iron Age ghost story, Pitch Invasion, I am offering three free thirty-minute Skype sessions with schools, to take place this coming week on Thursday 16th November.
Pitch Invasion is about Seth and Nadiya, two children who discover that an ancient hillfort near where Seth is staying is haunted by the Iron Age people who lived there 2000 years ago.
While I was writing Pitch Invasion I found out all I could about hillforts and Iron Age people by visiting Iron Age sites and reading as much as I could find about the era. I hope the book shows what an Iron Age settlement might have looked like and how its people lived.
Pitch Invasion is the last book of three in my Defenders series in which Seth and Nadiya solve hauntings from history. Killing Ground features the Anglo Saxons and Vikings. Dark Arena is set in an excavated British Roman amphitheatre. All three books have been painstakingly researched and tie in very much with the KS2 historical subjects.
I regularly visit classrooms via Skype. In the half an hour session I’ll talk to the children about what I found out about the Iron Age while I was researching the subject. I’ll read a short section from Pitch Invasion. And I’ll answer questions about the book and my life as a writer.
If you would like to be one of the three schools involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All schools who email me before 9 p.m. on Monday 13th November will be entered into a draw and three will be chosen at random. I will contact everyone who has applied by Tuesday lunchtime to let you know if you’re one of the successful schools.
Pitch Invasion will be published by Barrington Stoke on Wednesday 15th November 2017.
I have developed a range of school resources linked to these books. Here’s a short summary of what is available. All are free.
First World War fiction posters.
Playscripts for the classroom taken from my children’s book, Over the Line.
Toolkit for schools including several First World war ideas.
Seven short videos of me talking about how I researched Over the Line in France, including one film at the grave of one of my characters.
Certificates for children who have finished reading Over the Line as part of a class read or individually.
Classroom history and literacy pack about The Last Try, the story of rugby league’s only winner of the Victoria Cross.
Free story about a footballer signing up to fight in a modern war.
Free story about a Russian prince and England rugby legend who flew for the RAF during WW2.
During the 2018 Armistice Centenary commemorations I will be offering schools resources and events. If you would like a reminder about these, please contact me via this website.
In June and July 2018 I will be writing a live thriller adventure set at the World Cup finals in Russia. It will be published on the National Literacy Trust website.
Each weekday morning a new chapter will be available for free for schools and families to read. Each chapter will be a ten-minute read. It will be written so that it can be read with Y4 to Y8 and will feature dramatic cliffhangers.
The story will be influenced by the events of the tournament on and off the field. I will be writing the chapters each evening before publication the next morning, meaning they will be as relevant as possible.
Also, the action will be influenced by the votes of children in schools up and down the UK.
The story will probably start roughly 11th June and end around 16th July. But that is to be confirmed.
If you would like a reminder email about this please email email@example.com and we’ll email you in the spring.
If you know of any other classes and schools who would be interested in this, please pass it on.
Many thanks – Tom
I went up to Wigtown Book Festival last week. It’s a great festival – and ultra-friendly.
I was interviewed by Samey Books before I headed to Scotland. It’s a fab interview with some out of the ordinary questions that touch on life, death and black pudding. I thought I’d stick it on the blog, as it was so good.
(When I say good, I mean the questions, not that it’s with me.)
Thanks Samey Books and thanks Wigtown Book Festival.
Win one of my historical fiction author visits to your London school by answering the following question:
What Roman building – which features in my new book Defenders: Dark Arena – is hidden underneath the Guildhall in London?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer by 30 November 2017. Draw to take place on 1 December and winners will be announced by Twitter. 10 x runner up schools to receive 100 signed bookmarks.
Date of visit to be arranged according to joint availability.
My Defenders series are spine-tingling, spooky football adventures – the past is closer than Nadiya and Seth think. Published by Barrington Stoke.
Read the first chapter of Dark Arena here.
More on my Defenders series here.
More about my historical fiction author visits here.
Last autumn I asked teachers, librarians and other adults to nominate children they thought would benefit from the gift of a book for Christmas. I received over 100 nominations and sent out Christmas presents to over 50 children. This year I am doing the same.
I’d like to give books to children who do not have books at home. Or to children who need that one special book that could help engage them with a lifetime of reading for pleasure. Also, to children who have had a difficult year and a book could be a boost for them. The books will be personally dedicated, signed, gift-wrapped and will come with a Christmas card.
Last year I found this a moving experience, hearing direct from their teachers of children who were very ill themselves or were coping with poorly parents and siblings. Some nominations were for children who had showed extraordinary courage that year or for refugees who had lost pretty much everything in their lives. Others were children who had only just discovered an interest in reading at school and their teachers wanted to encourage them with a book to take home.
If you’d like to nominate a child, please email the following information to email@example.com by Thursday 30th November 2017:
I am sorry, I cannot promise to send a book to every child nominated, but I intend to send a personal Christmas card to each nominee and a poster pack for each school. My family and I will chose the recipients and have the books dispatched in the first week of December 2017.
With thanks to the artist James Innerdale, who will be designing the image that goes on the Christmas card.
Next week (on August 23rd and 24th) I will be hosting author talks in five public libraries across the north west of England.
Part of my summer #LoveLibraries tour.
I’ll talk about reading and writing, then I’ll host a quiz and a penalty shoot out and…
… I’m also very excited that I’ll be able to introduce my new book, Dark Arena, which is set in a Roman Amphitheatre and a new-build 21st century football stadium.
I will bring my new shield. See below!
These are the dates.
Wednesday 23rd August, 10 a.m.
Contact number: 0151 907 8383
Wednesday 23rd August, 1 p.m.
Haydock Library, St Helens http://www.eventgoat.co.uk/haydock/fill-your-boots-with-author-tom-palmer-and-the-football-reading/
Wednesday 23rd August, 4 p.m.
Penketh Library, Warrington
Thursday 24th August, 11 a.m.
Eccles Library, Salford http://www.salfordcommunityleisure.co.uk/libraries/whats-on/author-eccles-sum17
Thursday 24th August, 2 p.m.
Swinton Library, Salford http://www.salfordcommunityleisure.co.uk/libraries/whats-on/author-swinton-sum17
If one of those libraries is local to you, it’d be good to see you.
Dark Arena is a story about a boy and a girl who set themselves the task of working out why the building of a new football stadium in London is being dogged by problems and tragic accidents.
I was reading about Spurs’ new stadium, which is being built in north London. Looking at the construction images made me think the building site looked just like an archaeological dig at an ancient Roman stadium. An amphitheatre.
That was when I had the thought: What if I could blend the two? What if I wrote a story about how the excavations for the foundations of a twenty-first century football stadium unearth a first- or second-century amphitheatre? Here, in London.
I needed to visit the Roman amphitheatre beneath the Guildhall in London. We can only view part of the amphitheatre now, as most of it is underground. But what we can see, the interpretation panels and the book about the site were really useful in helping me plan Dark Arena. What was it for? Who built it? How was it built?
I needed to know so much. I needed to understand better how Roman London worked. So, my next stop was the Museum of London, a fabulous place that traces the history of the city (and the UK) through artefacts found and reconstructions of how life would have been.
I found out that slaves were the most likely people to have done the hard work of building London’s amphitheatre. So that’s where Dark Arena begins. The ghosts of the slaves killed while building the ancient stadium haunt the building of the new stadium in London.
I hope the mix of modern spectator sports with the ancient works as a story that will appeal to children.
Feel free to email me to ask questions, in particular about school workshops I am developing for schools about Roman Britain.