Steve Voake was one of my lecturers at Bath Spa University. He was incredibly inspirational – partly due to his success, but mostly due to his gift for teaching. I had a bit of a crush on him – not romantically, but writer-ly, if you know what I mean. I remember after one lecture with him, most of my friends and I went back to our student rooms and spent the night plotting stories using his method, completely motivated and inspired by his story and his advice.
We had the opportunity to go to his book launch for Blood Hunters, where we availed ourselves of the free wine and listened to a few readings and got the chance to ask questions. Afterwards, I bought copies of a couple of his books and got them signed. They still sit with pride of place on my ‘signed books’ shelf today.
Most of Steve Voake’s books have something to do with insects. The first one I read is The Dreamwalker’s Child, about a boy who’s followed by insects everywhere – they’re as fascinated by him as he is by them. He has an accident and falls into a coma, but it turns out to be an elaborate abduction plan, taking him to a world where he’s needed to save the day.
It’s typical popcorn rollercoaster upper middle grade stuff, but, partly because I knew him personally, but also because I just love his style of writing, I’ve always found that Steve Voake’s books are a cut above a lot of the middle grade stuff out there. He writes for younger readers too, though I confess I’ve never read any of those.
There have been a couple of books out since I read Blood Hunters a while back, and I really want to track them down and read them. I haven’t even got round to reading the second Dreamwalker book yet, but I just know when the day comes it will be a fantastic adventure, with the added bonus of filling me with nostalgia for University.