Artist of the Month December 2018 – Jamie Thomson
Our December ‘Artist of the Month’ is the hilariously (he has a Roald Dahl Funny Prize to prove it), and only slightly evil – Dark Lord Creator himself Jamie Thomson. A prolific science fiction author, Jamie turned his hand to writing for children in 2012, and has since released six books from two different series aimed at younger readers. Jamie and his younger fiction are ideally suited to working with 6-14 year olds.
About Jamie Thomson
Jamie Thomson has been a writer of books and computer games for many years. He is now the minion and slave of the Dark Lord, Dirk Lloyd. He lives in the dungeons below his Master’s Iron Tower, chained to a desk, where he spends every day writing for his overlord. Or else.
The Dark Lord books are on sale in all good book shops, dungeons, dark towers and evil emporiums. It’s a comedic fantasy about a Dark Lord trapped in the body of a human boy here in modern day earth. They are semi-autobiographical.
What A Visit From Jamie Entails
Jamie offers both presentations and workshops, all designed to enthuse children about reading and get them excited about books – any books, though preferably his.
Jamie has created the ‘Dark Lord Travelling Road show’ which comes in various flavours, tailored to the needs of the school he’s visiting. It can be half an hour to an hour long and works for 10 kids up to 350 or more. It’s very interactive, very silly and great fun. Kids learn how to talk and laugh like a Dark Lord (350 kids all standing up and letting out their best ‘Mwah, hah, hah!’ is a sight to see and hear!) There’s plenty of creative interactivity too but mostly it’s about inspiring the kids to read.
Jamie also offers creative writing workshop, with lots of fun interactivity and silliness, but with some real tips and lessons about how to come up with story ideas, how to construct narratives and plot, how to create believable characters and so on. Whilst the road show can be for anything up to 350+ the workshop starts to get a bit unwieldy when you’ve got more than about 20 students.
Feedback from School’s Jamie has visited
“We were thrilled to welcome Jamie Thomson, author of The Dark Lord, winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Even the snow outside didn’t distract the children, who were totally engaged throughout Jamie’s visit. Jamie was brilliant with the children; he talked about his inspiration for his book and gave them lessons in how to be a ‘Dark Lord’ – you have to have the right laugh (‘Mwahhhahhha’!). He also did writing workshops with years 5-8 in which he used their ideas to form a story – it didn’t matter how crazy the ideas were, Jamie was able to weave them into a brilliant plot. The workshop and talks were very noisy and loud; the children had a great time:
“I liked how he made everything we said into something with a dark twist!” Ed, Year 5
“He was really funny, just like his books” Freddie, Year 5
“It was clever how he took all of our ideas and made them into a story” Olivia, Year 7
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jamie as a visiting author; he really inspires his audience and most importantly, reminds them how much fun reading can be.” Victoria Dilly Librarian & The Book Activist
“Thank you so much for your presence on Thursday and Friday it was very much appreciated by your followers. There were lots of positive comments from staff about the visits so thank you and well done.” Advisory Librarian, Portsmouth School Library Service
“Jamie Thomson, the award winning author, visited Heron Way for a two day workshop. During the two days, Jamie discussed with the children and parents how he became a writer and what he did to create his stories. He kept the children highly entertained and helped them to develop their evil laugh (Mwah, hah, hah!).
Over the two days he helped the children create their stories, shape their ideas and work towards writing an outstanding story. No idea was dismissed and Jamie supported the children when they got stuck. By the end of his visit, the children were inspired by Jamie and had achieved something that they could be very proud of. I think Jamie was also inspired by the children and had has much fun as we did. After both days we sold Jamie’s books and he signed them for the children – by the end of the second day we had run out of stock and some of the boys who had struggled to find a book they could enjoy had bought all his books.
I had parents and children saying how much they had enjoyed the days and we will definitely be inviting him back again.”
Tara Harmer, Deputy Head, Heron Way Primary School.
“Today pupils from our Year 5 classes went to Langstone Junior School for a talk by award-winning children’s book author, Jamie Thomson. Both classes have been reading his books in preparation – Mrs Trinkwon’s class have been reading, ‘The Dark Lord: Eternal Detention’, and Miss Wells’ class have been reading, ‘The Wrong Side of the Galaxy’. Additionally, the children researched information about the author and gave thought to questions they wanted to ask him.
Katie said, “I hadn’t heard of him before we started reading his books in class, but now I like him because he’s really funny.” Larissa said, “I’ve read a lot of his books but the other day I read two pages of The Dark Lord: Eternal Detention, which is what the other Year 5 pupils are reading, and I really enjoyed it. I think because of that I’m going to buy that book today!”
Jamie Thomson started the presentation with an insight into his career and told the children how he had not intended to become an author! He told the group he decided to become a writer later on in life, and that he had to practise every day to become good enough to write a book.
As the session was based on characterisation, Mr Thomson included a range of activities, encouraging the group to think about what qualities a character of evil nature (like the ones in his books) may possess. Together they covered the vocabulary used and all the children had fun imitating the evil laugh. They also considered what props such a character would have, as well as what sounds and music might play as they enter rooms.
Afterwards, pupils were able to purchase any of Mr Thomson’s available books, and some even had them signed! Once Miss Williams mentioned that Daniel was a big fan, Mr Thomson even agreed to be in an evil photograph with him – what a treat!
Thank you Jamie Thomson for a fantastic talk, our pupils really enjoyed themselves. Thank you to Langstone Junior School for holding the event.” Miss F Williams
“Thank you for an absolutely BRILLIANT day! I keep getting positive messages from staff, parents and students. It’s so good to be able to show how much fun books can be and the children always remember the days when an author has been here in school. They responded really well to your ‘larger than life’ stage persona and will definitely have gone home buzzing with excitement. ” this was the best author talk they have been to. Why? Because it was interactive and funny, and he didn’t just sit there reading from his book.” Librarian at The Angmering School
Interview with Jamie Thomson
When and why did you join Authors Abroad?
Many years ago now I think. Joined to get the Dark Lord Travelling Roadshow into schools, so I could teach children to be EVIL! Mwah, hah, hah!
Do you ever miss working on computer games?
I still work on computer games from time to time, but mostly just writing dialogue, storylines, narration, mission briefings and so on.
What did you originally want to do as a career when you were younger?
I wanted to be a stunt man in films!
What is the best thing about visiting schools?
Don’t tell anyone as it would be bad for my rep as an Evil Dark Lord, but making little children laugh out loud is very rewarding. Seeing their little faces light up with laughter is just really nice. Well, before I chop ’em up and put ’em in a pie, of course.
And the worse thing about visiting schools?
The travel if they are far away, but also it can be quite nerve wracking. You might have to entertain up to 350 kids or more and if things go wrong – well, children can smell fear and it won’t be long before you’re toast.
Kids who want to buy a book but can’t afford it.
What can we do to get children to read more?
Will the Dark Lord ever achieve his goal of world domination?
I’m still working on it, but time is running out. Also, my bones are getting old.
Is it difficult to make what initially sounds like a scary subject funny?
Not really. I started the books after 30 years or more of game books, computer games and stuff, which are all about creating evil bad guys and their backgrounds, powers and homes etc. So it seemed like quite a natural transition for me. You can’t create all that badness without laughing at it! After all, Evil can be scary, frightening, horrific but even so there is always something quintessentially absurd at the centre of it. All that effort – for what?
Where do you find your inspiration?
All around, from games and films and tv through history (lots of history) and books to old ladies talking on buses.
What do you do to relax?
I torture elves. On the other hand, it might actually be that I read, watch films and netflix tv shows and the like. And play lots of computer games. Too many computer games.
What are your future plans and ambitions?
Which award, nomination or recognition are you most proud of?
The Roald Dahl Funny Prize. My greatest achievement really. Well, after enslaving humanity that is.
How does it make you feel when children in an audience laugh at you?
It’s a wonderful thing. Also, hopefully they will then buy my books… or die.
I understand Voldermort recently gate crashed your show at one of your Broughton Hall Children’s Literature Festival appearances – who won out the Dark Lord and He Who Shall Not Be Named?
Well, it’s tricky. He’s got actual spells and that, and most of my powers don’t’ work here on earth. On the other hand, I actually have a nose.
Any plans for the Christmas break?
I call it Darkmas. There will be much feasting. No turkeys though. Just hobbits.
Paperback or Kindle?
Which is scariest – a zombie or vampire?
Neither. All the undead are my servants.
Would you prefer to visit the North Pole or the equator?
Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
If you were Prime Minister for the day what new law would you introduce?
500k a year retirement plan for children’s book authors who have won the Roald Dahl Funny prize, and who’s first name begins with J.
And to prove Jamie’s books are loved by all, here is a photo of a kitten called Serge reading Jamie’s first book in the Dark Lord Series.
Arrange for Jamie Thomson to visit your school
To make an enquiry about Jamie or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at email@example.com