A year and a month or so, ago, Murder in Midwinter was published. It was my first intentional attempt at a thriller for children and in the last year, it’s proved a thrilling ride for me.
In that time it’s been shortlisted for several awards, including the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award, Best Crime Novel for children, the Salford children’s book award, and back in May, it won the Leeds Children’s Book Award 9 – 12s.
It’s spawned a murder mystery hunt that I put together for libraries and bookshops (you can enjoy me and it in action December 2nd, Gloucester Waterstones) It’s had some lovely reviews, and sent me to masses of schools to talk about exciting writing – and reading on the edge of your seat.
And, it’s been on the Booktrust Bookbuzz programme which has meant that tens of thousands of eleven year olds across the country have chosen Murder in Midwinter as their free book to keep from a list of 17 titles. Over 900 schools joined the programme, more than one hundred thousand children have benefitted and although the books don’t have all the sparkles of their bookshop sisters, they have every word of their stories. This wonderful scheme has meant many more school visits, some stretching away into 2018/2019 – and a bit of a rethink about the books I write.
No-one, especially not me, thought Murder in Midwinter would be so popular with 11/12 year olds – so the the next book, the one I’m writing right now, is going to be just as thrilling, just as real, and this time, based on actual things that actually happened in my childhood.
I won’t say any more right now.