Suzy Cato is a Kiwi treasure and has entertained and educated children for decades. In short, she is cool. So when she offered to read Freakout Island in its entirety for all of us during another lockdown I was honoured. Tonight, it’s chapter 6, but you can catch all of Suzy’s readings on her youtube channel.
ANNNNNNDDDD – Freakout Island the ebook is FREE until Sunday 29th August so you can read along with Suzy. Please remember to leave a review on Amazon so other readers like you can discover Leo Wriggly and his disastrously funny adventures on Freakout Island. Here is the magic link.
As you may well know, my latest books for children are written under my pen name, Justin Christopher – and here is a lovely review from Publishers Weekly.
After moving seven times in seven years due to her cop father losing his job, Journee Blake expects Millwater to be no different from every other place: she’ll be sharing a room in a strange new house with her obnoxious younger brother, school bullies will make fun of her weight, and they’ll soon leave yet another town.
But a secret door at 88 Cabbage Tree Avenue leads down 101 steps to Shadow Edge, a sewer-laden land home to Chime, Panic, and Memory, three white, bloblike sentient creatures with antennae called Underers. As Journee navigates both frustrating classmates and gaining a new friend at school, she learns that the Underers are linked to the home’s ancient alarm—and that Shadow Edge houses dangerous secrets that threaten their realm and the human one above.
Christopher’s supporting cast is one-note and the parental figures are comically absurd, but Journee’s burgeoning relationship with her new underground family makes for an endearing tale.
Younger readers will delight in the creatures of Shadow Edge, along with the abundant crude humor, as Christopher’s whimsical narrative grounds itself in themes including grief, loss, and the occasionally scary nature of change. Ages 9–12.
April 15-21 is World Creativity and Innovation Week. I’ll be interviewed by @bridgetphetasy about my creative process. We’ll talk about taking risks and daring to fail greatly. We’ll also talk about how I got into writing and how creativity helped me survive lockdown. I will have to sound clever! Join me…
For the next five days, the ebook version of my travel book In Search Of Swingers is absolutely free. Here’s what it’s all about:
Bestselling author Justin Brown (‘UK on a G-String’ and ‘Bowling Through India’) has the idea to tour the U.S and play golf with whoever is on the front page of the newspaper in every town he visits. Amazingly, he’s not arrested.
With charm and wit, Justin blags his way into meeting clowns, a young Beto O’Rourke, Stevie Wonder impersonators, crocodile wranglers and drunken beauty queens. His journey is full of mayhem, self-discovery and as it turns out very little golf. It is just the kind of book we need in these dire times. You’ll laugh and cringe at the situations this New Zealander gets into in a book that will restore your faith in mad journeys and the kindness of strangers.
It’s strange talking about your creative journey and the decisions you made along the way. In the chat, we cover Thomas Magnum, JK Rowling, turkey plucking, lost bets, sharing a green room with Graham Norton, and I discovered that back in the day I wanted to be pilot. Who knew?
I enjoyed this interview, hope you do too. Here’s the link.
Once upon a time I toured the US and played golf with whoever was on the front page of the newspaper in each town I visited. Amazingly, I was never arrested. I met clowns, Stevie Wonder impersonators, crocodile wranglers and drunken beauty queens. In El Paso, I hung out with a young Beto O’Rourke, who is now a superstar politician about to ‘trump’ Trump by running for President. (google him – he’s massive, interviewed by Oprah yesterday.) There were so many stories I decided to put them into a book – In Search of Swingers – hope you enjoy it.
SO IT GOES LIKE THIS. I like golf, but mostly I like meeting people. My previous travel books (‘One Man, 23 Beers and a Crazy Bet’ and ‘Bowling Through India’) are proof of that. The former involved street singing around the UK in the middle of winter (door-to-door I might add) and trying to make enough money to fly home. The latter was a case of five grown men gallivanting around the most populous nation on earth and losing cricket matches against nine-year-olds.
The book you are reading has a similar theme, only this time my idea was to tour the U.S. and play golf with whoever happened to feature on the front page of the newspaper in whatever town I happened to be visiting.
As you’ll see, it was a scary, brilliant, eye-opening look at a wonderful country.
Since this trip, new towers have been built in Manhattan and New Orleans is still recovering from the effects of Katrina. But friendships live on and many of the Americans you’ll meet in the following pages are still my friends today. Thank you to anyone who took this crazy adventure seriously.
Joined by a high-country farmer, a businessman, a photographer and a shoestring traveller named Blanket Boy, the amateur sportsmen take to the streets of India to face off against kids who can bat and bowl like demons. Amidst the sledging and inappropriate jokes, the Black Craps, as they name their team, learn about life, love, death, compassion and the fascination of India.
A book about travel, humour, mateship and the love of cricket that unites people whatever their age, race and station, Bowling Through India is an endearing and affecting read.
What do readers say?
Kit Packer (Amazon review)
If you’ve ever fancied going on a road trip with your best friends, this story will only make you want it more! Though the road trip has cricket as its central theme, the real story here is what happens when friends escape their ‘normal’ lives and get the chance to go crazy, lots of laughs.
Sasha Naryshkine (Amazon review)
Great fun, well written, loved it. In fact loved it so much that I wanted to organise my own team to head off to India to do the same!
raveburbleblog (Amazon review)
Justin Brown describes India in words I never would have thought of and had me cracking up all the way through. I’m only giving him four stars though, ‘cos he went and made me homesick for the place, the rotten sod.
I was invited to write a story concept for what was to become a live musical comedy about Auckland. The story would encompass love, travel, Auckland city itself, and most importantly, showcase New Zealand to the rest of the world. The City of 100 Lovers was born, an 80-minute show, with more than 150 costumes, 16 musical numbers, including 11 original songs.
I’ll admit I may have been rocking on the back of my heels pre-show but there was no need. City of 100 Lovers kicked off with a thunderous bang. Brilliant and funny with a tuneful crew, this is a show for Kiwis from all backgrounds, with a few un-pc and inappropriate moments biffed in for good measure. I may have had a tear in my eye during the final song.
Creative Crew: Justin Brown, Vincent Ward, Tony Stimac, Tom McLeod, Taiaroa Royal, Ian Aitken.