Cheshire, Simon

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Cheshire, Simon

PERSONAL:

Born in Warwickshire, England; married; children: two. Education: Earned Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Movies, tinkering with technology.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Warwick, England. Agent—The Agency Ltd., 24 Pottery Lane, Holland Park, London W11 4LZ, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Worked in book marketing for schools, libraries, and bookstores until 2001.

WRITINGS:


Jeremy Brown of the Secret Service, Walker (London, England), 1997.

Jeremy Brown and the Mummy's Curse, Walker (London, England), 1998.

They Melted His Brain!, Walker (London, England), 1999.

Jeremy Brown on Mars, Walker (London, England), 1999.

Totally Unsuitable for Children, Walker (London, England), 2000.

Dirty Rotten Tricks, Walker (London, England), 2001.

Me and My Big Mouse, Walker (London, England), 2002.

Kissing Vanessa, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 2003, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Plastic Fantastic, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 2004, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Prince and the Snowgirl, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 2006, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of short fiction to anthologies, including My Dad's a Punk, 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

English author Simon Cheshire began writing at age sixteen, but did not find his niche until over a decade later, when he realized that, as he admitted on his home page, he still has "the mind of a ten year old." Working for several years in the publishing industry, specifically in book marketing, Cheshire eventually decided to give full rein to his quirky imagination. In 2001 he turned to writing full-time and has since published numerous books, among them the middle-grade novels Jeremy Brown of the Secret Service, and They Melted His Brain!, as well as the young-adult novel Kissing Vanessa. As Cheshire added on his home page, one of the best things about writing for children—particularly boys—is that "you can fill … stories with explosions, robot camels, alien invasions—all the fun stuff that you usually have to leave out of books for adults." Cheshire's young-adult novels deliberately steer clear of tackling social issues, offering romantic comedies populated with eccentric characters, told from a male perspective.

In Kissing Vanessa fifteen-year-old Kevin has become smitten with the new girl in his French class. Sophisticated and chic, the aloof Vanessa Wishart quickly becomes an obsession to Kevin, who forgets his goal of raising his grades. Instead, he focuses on ways to win the girl's attention, but has little luck; in fact, all his attempts backfire with humiliating results. Finally, the desperate and besotted teen asks for help from his enterprising and popular buddy Jack, who has developed a nine-step, scientific method to win a girl's heart. Reviewing Kissing Vanessa for Kirkus Reviews, a critic called the book a "sidesplitting romp through adolescent love" in which the author's "expertly written British humor" will make even U.S. readers "laugh out loud." Catherine Ensley, writing in School Library Journal, compared the book with popular novels by fellow British writer Louise Rennison due to Cheshire's "sarcastic wit," and dubbed the book "a fast and fun read." In an online review for Bookloons, J.A. Kaszuba Locke concluded that Kissing Vanessa "offers comedy, with insights into the reality of adolescent first love and how hard it is to just be and to speak for yourself."

Cheshire's middle-grade novels have been popular with the pre-teen boys that are often classified as "reluctant readers" due to their high-energy plots, likeable characters, and general silliness. In Jeremy Brown and the Mummy's Curse, for example, the doughty hero is chased by a herd of robot camels, while in Totally Unsuitable for Children the alien characters have names that sound like baby babble. The slapstick element of Cheshire's work, appreciated by readers and teachers, is entirely intentional. As the author noted on his home page, "I just write the sort of adventure stories I loved as a kid. If they get children reading and talking about books too, so much the better. To me, they're simply meant to be fun."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


PERIODICALS


Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2005, Karen Coats, review of Kissing Vanessa, p. 203.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2004, review of Kissing Vanessa, p. 957.

School Librarian, spring, 1998, review of Jeremy Brown of the Secret Service, p. 23; summer, 1999, review of Jeremy Brown and the Mummy's Curse, p. 80; winter, 1999, review of They Melted His Brain!, p. 1888.

School Library Journal, October, 2004, Catherine Ensley, review of Kissing Vanessa, p. 158.

ONLINE


Book Loons Web site,http://www.bookloons.com/ (June 6, 2006), J.A. Kaszuba Locke, review of Kissing Vanessa.

Piccadilly Press Web site,http://www.piccadillypress.co.uk/ (June 6, 2006), "Simon Cheshire."

Random House Teens Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/ (June 6, 2006), "Simon Cheshire."

Simon Cheshire Home Page,http://uk.geocities.com/simoncheshireuk (June 6, 2006).