Untold Riches!

Whoa! Time seems to be slipping past at quite a speed these past few weeks. I keep meaning to get on here and write something insightful and thought-provoking but, then, why start now, eh?

Well, I could tell you how things are going with My Brother’s Secret – y’know, talk about edits and how well the book is coming along under the expert guidance of the fab people at Chicken House. Or, I could say something about how a title change is in order for my next book for adults, and how the great team at Orion is busy preparing cover images and getting things ready for publication in the spring.

Or maybe I’ll just show you this . . .

Old Bank Junior School Letters

A giant pile of letters I received from the fantastic children at Old Bank Junior School.



Despite what some people might think, publishing a novel does not bring untold riches.

Nor, apparently, does publishing five novels.


Being an author is not a financially rewarding occupation and there are times when I (like many authors, I expect) can’t help wondering if I should be doing something else. But when I receive a pile of letters like this, it’s great to know that I might have inspired or entertained someone in some small way.

Or, at least, helped them avoid a maths lesson.


Here are a few snippets from those letters.








That’s all.

Energy, Editing and Bottom Coughs

School VisitsPhew! I’ve spent the past few days visiting schools and talking to young readers, which is always great fun but EXHAUSTING!

Children are always so full of energy and fidgetiness (is that a word? No, I thought not) and there’s always that terrifying thought at the back of my mind that they’re going to get bored and turn on me. Thankfully they didn’t! In fact, they seemed very pleased to be missing lessons – one group was missing maths, which is an added bonus  – and they all listened to me with only the smallest amount of fidgeting. There might have been a few bottom coughs from one group, but I pretended not to notice. I just thanked the gods of writing that I wasn’t sitting next to the perpetrator . . .

So, now I have time for a very quick breather, to complete editing My brother’s Secret, and then it’s back into the fray!

Wish me luck, I may be some time.


That’s all.

School’s Out!

Publication day is always a funny one. I mean; nothing really changes. Your book is out there, of course, ready for the world to see, but everything else is exactly as it was.

This is something that can sometimes leave debut authors feeling a little flat. After all the build-up and excitement of seeing your book in print, maybe having a launch, and then . . . well, and then you get on with writing the next one and hope that people will like what you’ve done.

And that’s how it usually goes.

My Friend The Enemy has been a little different, though. This feels like it’s had something of a fanfare, at least. With the super-organisation of the fantastic team at Chicken House, and the support of my brilliant publicist, I’ve been quite busy promoting the book. There have been some excellent reviews, I’ve been on BBC radio Newcastle talking about my books, I was live on Lionheart Radio ‘School’s Out’ show yesterday, and I’ve been lucky enough to do some great school visits.

IMG_0794Needless to say, the first time I was faced with 200 year 7 and 8 children, I paled at the thought of keeping them entertained for an hour but, you know what? They were great – not nearly as scary as they look! And there’s the added bonus for them of missing lessons to come and listen to me.

There’s nothing better than seeing so many people excited at the prospect of reading my book and having them crowd round after the session, asking questions about being an author.

Oh yeah, and the organiser from one visit tweeted to let me know that a year 7 student described it as ‘the best day ever in school’!

So, here’s a MASSIVE thanks for the warm welcome at Churchill Community College and Cramlington Learning Village. Both schools were fantastic!

I have some more visits lined up for next week, some for the beginning of next term and there’ll be the Durham Book festival in October and  . . . phew. It’s great to be busy.

So My Friend The Enemy is out there and now there are just another two weeks to go before we see Red Winter hit the shelves.

Two books published in such close succession . . . that’s pretty awesome, right?


That’s all.