December 22, 2011

Hugglewugs Go Global

Great news from (and for) Niamh Sharkey. She’s teamed up with Brown Bag Films and Disney to create a series about her characters, the Hugglewugs, entitled ‘The Happy Hugglemonsters’. And it’s going to be broadcast on Disney Junior in over 150 countries worldwide. Cathal Gaffney of Brown Bag said, “We are delighted to announce the production of this series, it is great to work with home grown talent like Niamh Sharkey and to bring an original idea like this to a global Disney Junior audience is hugely satisfying for all involved.”

Niamh’s been pretty tight-lipped about this; we both had work in the recent ‘Enchanted’ exhibition that toured the country – including a show in her home-town of Skerries – so I would have been in contact with her a fair bit . . . and she didn’t mention a word of this. Congrats to her on her fantastic and well-deserved success. Methinks she and her family will be having a very Happy Christmas this year.

December 14, 2011

It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas . . .

This is a cool little idea for an app: one that tells a story of Santa getting ready for Christmas, then lets you write a letter by hand to him on the screen. You can check out the ad here.

I have to confess to being biased on this one – the music for this ad was composed by my brother, Darius. A disgracefully talented and capable upstart, he’s a musician and sound engineer who has recently moved into composing and quickly established a name for himself. He’s already done the soundtracks for a number of short films. This ad is his first jingle. You can check out some of his other work here. He’s also done a piece of music for me to use on a book trailer I have planned for the Wildenstern Saga . . . when I can get my arse in gear and get the other bits done. You know how it is.

The trailer hasn’t got much further than the layout stage, but you can have a listen to the music on his site. I originally asked him to record that deliciously spooky ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint Saens on guitar for me (no small task in itself). But he went the whole hog and composed an entirely new piece. I think it’s brilliant – and proper moody. Incredibly, he achieved this fantastic orchestral sound with only a computer, some nifty software, a piano keyboard and not much else.

On a further Christmassy note, here’s a cool little video about the Nativity – the online story. It’ll give you a chuckle.

December 5, 2011

The Wildensterns Are Back. Violence Will Ensue.

With ‘Merciless Reason’ due out in March, we’re on the last stretch before it goes to print. The copy edits are pretty much complete, I’m working on the illustrations for the chapter icons at the moment, the team at Random House should have the page layouts done up before Christmas . . . and the cover is finished.

I know I’m biased, but I have to say I love it. I came up with the basic concept, but then James Fraser, the designer (formerly at Random, but now working freelance) took that and ran with it, recreating it in a brilliant layout. Then digital artist Steve Stone produced the final illustration, using a mixture of artwork, photography and computer imagery.

James has done most of the design work on my books with Random House and before this, Steve did the illustration for ‘The Wisdom of Dead Men’. Check out the portfolios on their sites – these guys are among the best in the business. Here’s the blurb for the book:

‘There’s no escaping this family. I’d have an easier time shaking the plague.’

It has been three years since Nate left Ireland, and his ruthless, feared family, behind. But the Wildensterns are not finished with him. When he discovers that his treacherous cousin is still alive, he is drawn back into their world of plotting, betrayal and murder.

At home, Daisy and Tatiana are among the few who are trying to stem the damage the Wildensterns are doing. The family has become even more hated by the people it treads upon in its thirst for power.

Fresh mysteries must be unravelled. The new church is being redesigned with strange mechanical devices built into its walls. An ancient relative is given control of the family. The children of an orphanage have gone missing.

One thing is for certain – the Wildensterns are back. Violence will ensue.