Category Archives: Uncategorized

Writing in both directions.

Currently, I’m wearing two heads, actually three or four or nine if you include my home life.  But as a writer, three.   And they pull me in different directions, up and down the age scale so that I’m trying to see through the eyes of six year old and a twelve year old, which as any parent or teacher can tell you, are VERY different goggles.

I’m working on the Clifftopper Adventure series – which will be out with Nosy Crow starting with the first one, The Arrowhead Moor Adventure, (April 2019) where cousins Ava, Aiden, Chloe and Josh stay with their delightful but busy grandparents at Clifftopper’s Farm and enjoy all sorts of adventures, stopping criminals getting away with it.   They’re a great deal of fun and exactly the kind of thing that I wanted to read at that age.  Just now, I’m editing the second one just as the first one tries on a shiny new cover (wait, wait, it’ll happen soon) and thinking about the third.  They’ll be for confident readers, aged 6 or 7+

Also, I’m thinking about ideas for another thriller… I’ve got a character – and a setting, and a crime. But that’s like my walking around the countryside head, dreaming, imagining.

And this,this is VERY exciting to me, I’ve just written the dedication for The Boy Who Flew. 

Dedication? You say, not much work?

No, but a dedication means that a book is going to be published.  And as Kate Shaw, my extraordinary agent knows, this book has been ten years in the making, ten years of stubborness.  While it has waited, flapping in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet for someone to want to let it out, ten other books have left home and taken flight.  So much has changed since I wrote the very first drafty chapters back in 2009 on the MA Writing for Young People in Bath – and yet, so much is the same.  The heart of the book remains, but I have grown up as a writer, and the book has been lucky enough to meet a terrific editor in Kirsten Stansfield at Nosy Crow.

Boy Who Flew Proof as I say – this is VERY exciting.

Update – I can show you the stunning cover and here it is – from Ben Mantle – isn’t it fabulous?



Twilight – my favourite time of day…

I like a hot sunny afternoon, of course I do.  And a bright morning full of promise – but there’s something about twilight that always beguiles me.  Whether a Waterloo sunset or that strange cold time in the countryside when the heat drops and the blacks become darker and you’re suddenly aware of things crunching under your feet.

My childhood was spent wandering damp river banks in almost darkness, soft ground giving way under my foot, things splashing into the river, unseen.  I always watched the disappearance of the sun with  delight – the sky went such extraordinary colours, the silhouettes became so clear before disappearing altogether.  The few houses in our valley would turn from black, to black with yellow rectangles as lights turned on, and I would creep around them hidden by the gloaming. So I set this story, Murder at Twilight in that same place and time of day – winter pulling in, the cold, the rain – the moments of clear sky. I added Viv and Noah, two warring friends, practically siblings, dropping them unwittingly into a crime but in a powerful landscape that both helps and hinders them.  Writing it, was like going straight back to being 11.

And as the hour changes this weekend, and we all go home from work in the twilight I will revel in that darkness – and I invite you to do the same.


Murder at Twilight – out now from all good bookshops.


When a book leaves home.

I’ve been lucky enough to have books sold into translation – and often, once published, you hear nothing more until a finished copy arrives – a finished copy I can’t read because I don’t speak the language.  I stroke the covers, stumble over the words, and put them alongside others on my Babel shelf. But over there in Poland, they’ve been very busy making these tiny animated adverts – taking Robert Ball’s terrific artwork and turning them into mini trailers, that make perfect sense to me, without language barriers.

I, for one, am impressed.

Here’s the first, for Murder in Midwinter (love the footsteps – and the psycho music)


And now they’ve done this one – for Saving Sophia (the plait’s my fave bit)


Both books are available, in Poland, in Polish through Zielona Sowa   Green Owl, publishers.

Murder mystery, not a thriller.


It’s my fault, really – I said I’d do a murder mystery in the library – well I love Cluedo, who doesn’t? So now I’m writing one and it’s so different from writing a thriller.

It seems that while one part of my brain is trying to extricate two children from certain death, the other is tying puzzle knots, making sure that no loose end is left hanging.

Come and join me in Salisbury library on Friday, 11.00 to see how I did, and I can see how you do with my clues.

You don’t need to book – drop in any time from 11 – 1

Part of the Salisbury Lit Fest.


The daft things we do…


This is me and Maudie a week ago. Full of excitement. But now it’s now and what seemed a good idea at the time seems a bit scarily close.

In just over three hours time, we’ll be bookselling at Waterstones in Salisbury – testing our expertise in kid’s lit.

You can test it too.

Come and join us.  3 – 7 the two idiots at the back of the shop.






Stuff that holds you up.

Now I’m not doing Nanowrimo – which for those who have never heard of it is a group of people who all try to write a novel in a month.  It leads to massive word counts and finished novels and is probably a thoroughly good thing, but personally, not for me.

I am though, trying to write a novel in a month. Or at least, finish one that I started a while back – I’m motoring through, huge word counts, massive chunks of plot down on virtual paper and the end is in sight.

But then I get stuck.

And its the silliest thing.

Two girls get into a boat and look for some food.

Olivia reached out for Grandpa’s lunch package.  Oh no. Innuendo.

Olivia rummaged around under the seat and found Grandpa’s sandwiches. Now I can’t stop the innuendo.

Chloe handed Olivia Grandpa’s packed lunch.  Even worse.

Reaching into a bag Chloe took out the lunch that Grandpa had given them.  Too  long.

“Time for lunch” said Chloe, digging out Grandpa’s package.  Arghghgh!

At which point, I go and have lunch and spend all afternoon looking for an old photograph.


As you were….

Here’s to sleep –

This year, my hopefully attainable, New Year’s resolution is to get more sleep.

Not to work more, or to eat less, or to exercise more, but to sleep more. And I don’t just want to lie in bed, I want to sleep properly. Deep sleep, the kind that  knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care.  The sort of sleep that means you go to bed with a knotty problem but wake up with it somehow solved.  The sort where strange and inexplicable dreams wander off with your worries and leave a soft rabbit’s ear of comfort in their place. The sort of incredible sleep that actually leaves you refreshed.

So – to this end, I have ordered the Empress of mattresses. One, according to the sales woman, that will transform my sleeping habits.

Hopefully, more sleep will make me a nicer person a more disciplined person, a clearer minded person.

Hopefully, more sleep will transform my  writing habits, eating habits and exercise habits too.

Ask me again in a year.