Awesome Readers!

IMG_8810 2.JPGOver the past few years, World Book Day has grown to become World Book Week. And that’s no bad thing – anything that encourages the celebration of books and reading for pleasure is worth while. For many young people, their only main contact with books is in the classroom and, even with the best intentions, studying a book can kill it stone dead. I understand the benefits of studying literature, but I also know that writers (me included) want their readers to feel excitement, fear, sadness, elation, and wonder when they settle down and open a book. Studying a text, dissecting it in a classroom, reading a couple of sentences and then discussing them, removes the wonder.

IMG_8791.JPGSo World Book Week is a time to celebrate. It’s a time for us to revel in the joys of reading and story-telling (although, shouldn’t every week be a book week?), and it’s a time time when a school’s focus can turn on their library (if they have one) and their librarian (if they have one). It’s also a busy time for authors as we are invited into schools to meet and hopefully inspire future generations of readers.

FullSizeRender 6.jpgOver the course of World Book Week this year I was in schools every day, and so would like to give a big shout out to Bollin Primary, Hockerill School, Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, Jarrow School, Hepburn Comprehensive, Wirral Grammar School for Boys, and GSMS in West Virginia USA (who asked some great questions via Skype). Thank you to all the awesome young readers who listened to me, joined in, and asked questions, and to the fantastic librarians, teachers, and staff who looked after me so well. And there was even time for a quick dab.


And . . . in other news . . .

BOY X was voted by young readers as winner in the ‘Hooked on Books’ category at the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2017. All of my books for younger readers have been shortlisted for multiple awards (including the Coventry Inspiration Book Award in the past), so it’s very exciting to finally win – especially when the winner is voted for by the readers themselves.

Hooray for Boy X.Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 08.58.04.png

That’s all.




Book Awards!!

Once again, it’s been a long time since I have blogged. I do have an excuse, though. Honest. I’ve been working hard on a new book. Things don’t always go according to plan and I’ve been doing more deleting recently than I’d like to, but I’ll tell you about that later. I actually came here to tell you about something else.

My most recent book for younger readers, BOY X, has been nominated for a couple of awards!

The Coventry Inspiration Book Award 2017 and The Essex Book Award 2017.

It’s always a huge honour to be nominated for these kinds of awards because the winner is
chosen by the readers!! The Coventry Inspiration Book Award runs an on-line voting system; the book with the least votes is knocked out and then voting starts all over again. If you’d like to vote for BOY X, you can find the information right here.screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-08-58-49

The Essex Book Awards works in a different way. There’s a website where readers from the various schools involved can leave reviews, and the winner is announced on a special day in Chelmsford for all the participating schools. If you’d like to see some of the great reviews the children have written, you’ll find them right here.


Keep reading . . . it makes you smart.

That’s all!



The Big Blog Tour!!

Blog TourThis month has already seen the UK publication of MY BROTHER’S SECRET and the US paperback publication of THE CHILD THIEF. But it’s not over yet . . . The next couple of months will be an exciting time as a few more Dan Smith novels emerge into daylight.

THE DARKEST HEART (UK hardback) 3rd July, RED WINTER (UK paperback)  3rd July, MY FRIEND THE ENEMY (US Hardback) 26th Aug, and LE VILLAGE (French edition of The Child Thief) 21st Aug.

But let’s not jump the gun. It’s now just three days until The Darkest Heart and Red Winter come out to play, so the fantastic Graeme Williams, Senior Marketing Exec at Orion towers, has organised a blog tour. For the next ten days, I’ll be popping up around the internet appearing on various booky blogs to talk about the two novels and the inspiration behind them. There’ll be extracts, a chance to win a copy of the books, and there’ll be music, tea, biscuits, murder, and monsters.

Today I’m talking about murder for $40 over at CRIME FICTION LOVER. Why not come and join me?




Blog Tour

My Writing Process . . .

So Caroline Green tagged me in a bloggy challenge thing which gets writers talking about their writing process. There was no threat of violence if I refused, no promise that curses would be visited upon me, so I almost declined but Caroline was so nice about it all and . . . well, why not?

First, a little something about Caroline – who I met not long ago when I spent World Book Day at Wirral Grammar School for Boys . . .

Caroline Green’s first YA novel, Dark Ride won the RONA Young Adult Book of the Year. Cracks and Hold Your Breath have been shortlisted for nine awards, and she is currently the Writer in Residence at East Barnet School in north London. Her latest book, Fragments, was launched in March. Follow her on Twitter @carolinesgreen or check out

And now my bit . . .


What am I working on?

Recovering my sanity. The past few months have been so busy! I’ve just finished a copyedit sprint on the US edition of Big Game which will be out around Christmas time, My Brother’s Secret is coming out in just over a week, and The Darkest Heart is due in July. Every time I sit down to work on my next novel something else seems to come along. This book going to be an interesting one, though . . . murderous serial killing families and . . . well, I’d better stop there. If I say any more, I’ll have to find a way to keep you silent.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I’m not really sure what genre I’m in. My adult books are thrillers, maybe a bit of crime, but they’re certainly not your typical crime novel. They tend to be quite dark, with unusual settings and maybe a bit of foreign history/culture thrown, a little of the macabre, and I always put my characters in difficult settings as well as difficult situations. My books for younger readers are usually listed as ‘9-12’ which isn’t really a genre at all, and I especially like that. Genre can be too defining and steer people away from things that they might otherwise enjoy. I suppose My Friend The Enemy and My Brother’s Secret (due May) would be dropped into a genre with The Machine Gunners and Carrie’s War, but I like to think that they look at WW2 events with a more modern eye.

Why do I write what I do?

I write whatever stories come into my head. I don’t restrict myself to anything in particular, but write the kind of stories I like to read.

How does my writing process work?

On bad days, I wonder if it works at all! I’m not one for making detailed plans; I tend to get an idea and just start writing. Once I have a rough draft, I can identify where my research is lacking and where I need to patch plot holes and develop characters – I never really understand my characters until I’ve written a first draft.


So there you go. Tag challenge answered. Now I’m supposed to tag another author so . . .  I’ll introduce you to Mr Niel Bushnell. Yes, that’s Niel, not Neil, because that’s the way he likes to roll.


Niel’s first book, Sorrowline was published in the UK by Andersen Press in January 2013, with the sequel, Timesmith, recently published in March 2014. Find out more about Niel’s books and watch his fantastic trailers here – and learn all about his writing process, of course!




That’s all.