A Killer Is On The Move . . .

School VisitsThree school visits in the space of less than a week doesn’t sound like much, but when that means nine one hour talks, (very) early mornings, long train journeys, and then digging down to find the energy to be interesting and engaging and . . . well, it’s harder than you’d think.

BUT . . . visiting schools is one of the great things about writing for younger readers. They’re so passionate about stories and get so excited about author visits and (this is the best bit) they get to miss lessons.

So, here’s a great big thank you to the staff and pupils at Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Dame Allan’s School and Westfield School. Oh, and I can confirm that the school meals were excellent and made a change from boring old sandwiches.

That’s not all I’ve been doing, though. Oh no. I’ve also just finished checking the page proofs for The Darkest Heart. Everything seems to be in order, which means the book is all ready for printing, and I’ve finally been able to reveal the cover art – which looks fantastic! I’m very pleased with the design, which capture the mood of the book so well. Orion has, as always, done a fantastic job and my editor has coordinated everything perfectly. We’re now all set for July publication – I’ll post up some more details in a few days, along with a sneaky insight into what the book is all about.The Darkest Heart (final cover) smaller

 And there’s more . . .

I have delivered Big Game. With some trepidation I submitted it to Chicken House without having first received my agent’s seal of approval. There was something of a rush to get it to Chicken House, so it went as it was and . . . phew! They like what I’ve done to turn the screenplay into a novel! Of course there’ll be tweaks and things to change and having the film connection means that everything has to go through a few more stages than usual – we need the producer’s approval – but things are looking good so far. Oh, and there’s some fantastic cover art for the book but . . . well, you can’t see it. Not yet. Sorry. The producer has to approve that too!

All in good time. But you’ve read this far so here’s a photo from the Big Game shoot. Bizarrely, the colours match rather well with The Darkest Heart cover art, but that’s only a coincidence. Anyway, here’s one of the crew having a rest on the set of the Presidential Suite inside Air Force One . . .

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 11.23.10

That’s all.

Secrets, Games, and The Darkest Heart

Busy times . . .

Page proofs for THE DARKEST HEART have just arrived, which is always a nervy time – the last chance to make minor changes before it goes off to be typeset and, well, made ready to be put into its cover – which is looking great, by the way. My brilliant editor at Orion is expertly overseeing everything in preparation for publication. I’d love to share the cover with you but it’s not quite ready so . . . oh, maybe a little tease . . . just a quick glimpse of a small part, eh?

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 14.59.35


Nope. Sorry. That’s all you can see for now.

Over in the world of younger readers, page proofs for MY BROTHER’S SECRET are now done and dusted, with just a few minor adjustments – which means everything is on course for publication. As usual, all the chickens over at Chicken House are doing a fantastic job of getting everything ready for that.

The manuscript for BIG GAME is looking good and . . . well, I say ‘looking good’ but that means I’ve come to a point where I’m happy with it, my children have read and enjoyed it, and it’s now gone to my agent. Of course, this doesn’t mean my agent will be happy with it. She will cast a (hyper)critical eye over it, and then we’ll see, eh? Best not to relax just yet. If I do that, I’ll only end up regretting it.

On the subject of BIG GAME, I’ve also seen preliminary art work for that cover and it’s looking fantastic. Very striking and exciting. I can’t wait to share all these things!! In the run up to World Book Day, I’ve got a number of school visits organised, so I might be able to share a few things with the audiences there, but everyone else will have to wait a little while longer.

Here’s something I can share, though – a brief video of me reading a little preview from MY BROTHER’S SECRET. I can’t help cringing when I see myself on film, but that’s no reflection on Gulliver Moore’s directing and camera expertise; he’s done a great job.




That’s all.

Almost Famous . . .


As Seen On Blue Peter!

That moment of letting go.

Both books are now written, edited and copyedited, so it’s all out of my hands from here.

My editor at Chicken House joked about having double homework (or double detention) because I had to read through two copyedited manuscripts, and it does feel a bit like that. At this stage I have read both books more times than I can remember, and I know what word comes next in each sentence, but it has to be right, doesn’t it? And that’s where the moment of letting go comes in – that moment when I press send on the email and the manuscript zips off to my editor, ready to be typeset in STONE!!

No more changes. That’s it. Done.

It’s difficult not to panic just a little bit . . .

Blue Peter MFTE pic!

On The Blue Peter Judges’ Desk!

THE DARKEST HEART is currently set for a July 2014 publication and MY BROTHER’S SECRET is set for a May 2014 publication.

Seems like ages, doesn’t it?


Oh, how about this, though? My children were watching Blue Peter last Thursday and spotted someone reading My Friend The Enemy!

Here are a couple of screen grabs of the book in close-up and there on the judges’ table. Sadly, no front cover publicity but, y’know, it was there on the telly ‘n’ stuff.

Almost famous.


That’s all.