Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Grumpface by BCR Fegan

This week I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from BCR Fegan. His debut children's picture book The Grumpface will be available from the 1st May.  I'm already a little in love with The Grumpface and feel sure this super book, and its author will go far.  


BCR Fegan Author

It is always daunting to stand on the threshold of a new and risky life decision. As an aspiring writer, the weight of this uncertainty is keenly felt. Will the sacrifices be worth it? Will the book that I have invested so much into, be met with joy or derision? I am quite sure that every negative reaction will sting just a little – at least to begin with. Every positive remark will be treasured – far more than its writer will probably ever know. Yet at the end of the day, the trial of public opinion must be endured by every author – good or bad. What follows could really be considered my grand entrance into this trial. What I offer is a little about my journey. From my love of reading and writing, to the precipice in which I now stand.




Reading – A marvellous adventure

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.”

Author Unknown

For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. My mother almost certainly played a huge part in this. She would always take time out of her day to read any number of picture books (often reading the same stories over and over again) before I was old enough to attend school. She would even write her own simple books which I would subsequently decorate with clippings from old magazines. A fantastic way to build word-association. As a consequence of this dedication, I eventually started school with highly developed reading skills, and a voracious appetite for books.

Thinking back to Primary School, some of the most anticipated moments all revolved around reading. From the Scholastic Book Club catalogues that we would receive, to the incredibly exciting (albeit rare) moments when I had been allowed to order a book and it had finally arrived! I recall taking part in a program called ‘Book It!’ and reading up to eight novels in a week. I even recall many projects I had completed at school that centred on reading and writing. It was safe to say, that creative writing remained my favourite subject – mathematics, not so much.

Yet for all the enjoyment I derived from reading, I remained very particular about the books I read. My once-a-week excursion to the state library would often see me sift methodically through children’s picture books and middle grade fiction as I began to develop crude methods to critically assess the merit of these small, rectangular objects. Now, for those who immediately picked up on that book reference, you may be interested to know that the assessment I eventually settled on came from the same timeless classic by Michael Ende:


“He didn’t like books in which dull, cranky writers describe humdrum events in the very humdrum lives of humdrum people. Reality gave him enough of that kind of thing, why should he read about it? Besides, he couldn’t stand it when a writer tried to convince him of something. And these humdrum books, it seemed to him, were always trying to do just that. Bastian liked books that were exciting or funny, or that made him dream. Books where made-up characters had marvellous adventures, books that made him imagine all sorts of things. Because one thing he was good at, possibly the only thing, was imagining things so clearly that he almost saw and heard them”.   ~ The Neverending Story

My book repertoire slowly grew. In fact, some of the children’s books I came to love have already been featured on this blog – particularly Enid Blighton’s stories. These included The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and of course The faraway Tree. Fairy tales (Puss in Boots), Golden Books (The Boy with a Drum), Dr Seuss (Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!), Roger Hargreaves (Mr Men) and Ted Prior (Grug) would also take up prominent places on the bookshelf, supplemented by the steady flow of library hard-covers.
You may be thinking that all this seems reasonably normal for a kid with a healthy appetite for reading. The difference is that I still haven’t grown out of my love for children’s picture books. Sure, I grew into YA fiction (which I also still love) and then fantasy, mysteries, thrillers and even poetry. However chances are, if you came across me in a library or bookstore, I would be sitting on a small child-sized chair, engrossed in a picture book. I enjoy them because they have the power of distilling an entire imaginative journey into such a small space. I enjoy them because they have pictures often drawn by talented artists. I enjoy them because now, finally after all these years, I have the opportunity to contribute to this exciting world. A world that has the potential to influence a child’s appreciation of books in their formative years.

Writing – A discipline limited only imagination

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

C.S. Lewis


For almost as long as I have been reading, I have also been writing. I literally have piles of well-worn notebooks in draws, cupboards and other nooks and crannies. However the decision to begin publishing these tales was made only recently, and for two main reasons:


  1.  From an early age, I had wanted to publish books and it was only a year ago that I was able to slow my life down enough to begin this process.
  2.  I had for some time grown a little discouraged with many children’s picture books that were hitting the shelves. It seemed to me that they had become overly didactic and absent of the butterfly-inducing excitement I felt a good book needed to have.

It was going to be a risk and I was aware that writing books that went against the tide of modern trends wasn’t a particularly good strategy. However, a part of me was sure that I wasn’t alone in my yearning for pure, unadulterated adventure.

My debut children’s picture book, The Grumpface, has been about two years in the making. It is the kind of tale that I would have enjoyed reading in Primary School, and it is my hope that it stirs the imaginations of children and adults alike. With the familiar structure of a fairy tale and the humour children look for in a story, The Grumpface is set in a simple but deeply intriguing world.

Debut children's picture book The Grumpface by BCR Fegan

The Grumpface

In a land far away, at a time long ago, was the Village of Hay, near the Forest of Ho.
In the midst of the forest, in the darkest place, lived a grumpy old creature they called the Grumpface

And once in a while did a traveller go, on his way to the village through the Forest of Ho
And so easy it was to get lost in that place And get caught in a trap by that grumpy Grumpface.

Our tale begins in a small village that sits beside a dark forest. Dan, the hero of our story is an optimistic, young inventor who suffers the unfortunate trait of being clumsy. Working day and night on his inventions, he hopes that his efforts might gain the attention of Bella, a flower girl whom he secretly admires.

When it comes to his attention that Bella has no more roses to sell, he decides to brave the dark forest in order to find her one. The only problem, is that the forest is inhabited by a grumpy creature known as the Grumpface, and this creature is not known for his kindness to lost travellers.

It doesn’t take long before our poor hero is confronted by the Grumpface who quickly challenges the young inventor to three tasks. If he is able to pass even a single challenge, he will be freed, if not, he will remain forever in the forest.

Ultimately, The Grumpface is a tale in the spirit of any grand adventure. It is about a clumsy young inventor’s quest for love, and the challenges he must face to find it. But it is also a tale of bravery, absurdity and happiness, and the power of these qualities over negativity and sheer grumpiness.

What inspired me to write this tale was my familiarity with young, grumpy children who seem determined to maintain their displeasure with something despite every effort to make them crack a smile. I’m sure every parent is acquainted with their own little ‘grumpface’ now and then. This story stands as a small piece of hope – that no matter how ingrained the grump, there will always remain in every one of us a smile or a laugh just waiting to come out.

The Grumpface will be available in Kindle, ePub, Hardcover and Paperback from most online bookstores from May 1.

Thank you for visiting, you are very welcome to leave a comment, and if you enjoy my blog, please follow with Bloglovin, thank you.

51 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book, and good to learn more about the author! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. It certainly appeals to me Valerie, and as you say it's nice to know something about the author. Barbara x

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  2. The Grumpface sounds like a great story! I love picture books and read MG books all the time. It was fun to learn about BCR and the kind of reader he became. Writing is definitely a risk and I am glad he followed his dreams. Wishing him the best of luck!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I’m with you on loving picture books! Thanks for your comment, Barbara

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  3. It sounds like a really good book, Barbara, and I love the illustration!

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    1. I’m glad you like the look of it Linda. I think it’s great. Barbara

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  4. Thank you to everyone who has shared a comment. I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. It is a strange thing indeed to see the book being talked about.

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    1. Thank you for the opportunity to share The Grumpface with my blog readers. I wish you every success. Barbara.

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  5. I would LOVE!!! to read this my friend as it sounds straight from my Granada 's mouth.
    found the story truly fascinating !
    little later ,i hope it will reach to my prat of land and i am waiting for the day excitingly .thank you for such a nice post and story ,loved it

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    1. Thank you Baili. I really appreciate your enthusiasm. You have described well the kind of reception I hoped for the book. It is certainly a tale that reads well by a grandfather or grandmother, late at night (perhaps beside a roaring fire). If it transports its readers (even a little) back to the days when fairy tales felt a bit more magical, then I will be extremely happy.

      I did notice that it was strangely absent from a number of bookstores in Pakistan. The best I could find was here:

      http://www.magiclamp.pk/productView.php?title=the-grumpface&ASIN=0995359210&s=1

      I will look into some of the other bookstores there and see how receptive they would be to stocking the book. Thank you for letting me know.

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  6. Hello Barbara! Oh what a lovely post- to learn about the author. This sounds like a wonderful book. Have a great week. Hugs :)

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    1. Thank you so much, you too. Hugs Barbara

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  7. I just LOVE C.S. Lewis's quote here, how true, how absolutely TRUE! And what a courageous undertaking this is, to invest so much time and yes, money, to follow this dream. I had this dream, and I still do, but my ambitions have turned another corner. Compiling a collection of ideas has so many options and each of us with the dream find our voice along the way. This gentleman has found his.

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    1. I absolutely agree with you Anita not only about the quote but also about finding our own voice. BCR Fegan has certainly found his. Have a wonderful week

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  8. I'm already in love with Grumpface! It's definitely on my list of books to share with my younger readers, but only after this older one enjoys it.

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    1. Hi Lee, I feel sure your younger readers will enjoy it as will you. Thanks for visiting, Barbara

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  9. Wow what a delightful sounding book. I am so glad you shared the interview with B.C. R. Fegan. Will be looking for this one to read. Hope you have a super day. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Debbie, enjoy! Have a great week. Hugs Barbara

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  10. Sounds like my kind of book! Thank you, Barbara, for inviting BCR Fegan to guest blog! Such a comfort to know that books like The Grumpface are still being written and will be read by those of us who are children at heart if not in years! Most of us here have never given up reading our childhood faves and books like them. No wonder we all love Barbara and her March of Time Books!

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    1. I thought it would be Colleen because I know we like the same kind of things. I was delighted to host BCR Fegan and very grateful to him for providing such a super post. Thank you so much for your sweet words, the feelings are entirely mutual. My lovely blog readers are the best! Hugs Barbara

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  11. Wishing you much success, BCR. And that cover has a serious grump face:)

    Hi, Barbara.

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    1. Hi Sandra, thanks for calling in and leaving a comment. Enjoy the rest of the week, Barbara

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  12. Nice post, BCR, and best wishes for much success with "The Grumpface!"

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    1. Thank you Marcia. I really appreciate your encouragement.

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  13. Sounds like a wonderful book. Wishing you much success with your writing

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  14. Thanks to BCR and Barbara! The Grumpface is a true original, although I wonder if Fungus the Bogeyman is a very distant relative :) Very best of luck with your writing - I share your excitement (and worries) about having a book 'out there' - enjoy it!

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    1. Hi Sue, it will be lovely if The Grumpface does as well as Fungus, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t. Have a lovely Easter xx

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  15. Hi Sue. Thank you - I had not come across Fungus the Bogeyman until your comment. I see exactly what you mean. Now you've got me looking for other resemblances (does his headwear look like a distant relative of the sorting hat?)

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    1. My son loved Fungus the Bogeyman when he was a boy! I didn’t notice a resemblance to the sorting hat, but I can see certain similarities now that you mention it. Not that it matters in the least.

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    2. The other resemblance I've just noticed is to my husband if he's woken up too early at the weekend :)
      Seriously, I'm right with you when it comes to children's books that aren't too horribly worthy or educational in the worst way. Long live Grumpiness!

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  16. This is my first visit to your blog Barbara, thanks to Sandra Cox. From the sound of things, I think I would like Grumpface, too!

    Congratulations to BCR. I hope the book sells as well as it sounds.

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    1. Thank you so much for coming to visit. I was surprised (and thrilled) to get a mention on Sandra’s lovely blog.

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    2. Hi Bleubeard and Elizabeth. Thank you for your encouragement. I hope the book sounds exciting then.

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  17. Sandra sent me - and I am so grateful.
    I am an unashamed bookaholic and don't limit myself to any genre (or age category).
    Grumpface sounds WONDERFUL.

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    1. It was so kind of Sandra to mention my blog and lovely of you to visit. Bookaholics are the best!

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    1. Thank you Sandra, and thanks again for the mention I really appreciate it. Happy Easter.

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  19. I am a "booklover" from my childhood to this day! I grew up reading story books and moved on to The Nancy Drew Mysteries. I read just about anything from A to Z!!!
    Sandra featured your blog which is also my kind of blog...I was already a follower :)

    Have a wonderful day!!!
    BTW...I love Grumpface :{

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    1. Hello Jan, thanks for coming over today. Sandra is such a treasure. I've found many lovely blogs thanks to her Wink and nod Thursdays. You can never have too many books. Happy Easter, Barbara.

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  20. What a fun cover, and I love the opportunity to hear about the history behind the writer. Hugs...

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  21. I just love the name Grumpface. It reminds me of my other half after a day's DIY! Have a lovely Easter, Barbara. xx

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    1. Thank you Guernsey Girl. I would love to know how many wives end up buying the book for their husbands. My wife has taken to calling me a grumpface every now and then.

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  22. Your other half must be related to mine! Have a lovely Easter Marilyn and thanks for coming over, Barbara xx

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  23. Thank you again to everyone for your kind words. I'm looking forward to the book's launch with both excitement and apprehension. I must give a huge thank you to you Barbara, as well. I really appreciate the opportunity you gave to me to share a little about myself and the book. Wishing everyone a happy Easter!

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    1. Happy Easter and thanks again for the post, I really enjoyed finding out more about you and Grumpface. I wish you every success with the book and with whatever comes next. Barbara

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  24. Best of luck with Grumpface. It will do well as what's not to like? Always great to learn more about other authors

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    1. I'm with you on that Darlene. It's good to hear the story behind the story, Barbara.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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