Delighted that ‘The Starman and Me’ is on the shortlist for the AWESOME BOOK AWARDS 2019. The other shortlisted authors and books are Vashti Hardy with ‘Brightstorm’, Guy Jones with ‘The Ice Garden’, Jess Butterworth with ‘Running on the Roof of the World’ and Tasmin Winter with ‘Being Miss Nobody’.

The ceremony will be held at Cranleigh Preparatory School in May 2019.

Slow Start for Book Number 3

While my new book 'Halo Moon' is almost ready for the copy editing stage, I am trying to develop ideas for Book 3. Coming up with new ideas is REALLY HARD!!!  For 'Starman', Rorty was the first character to appear in my mind and I knew exactly where the story would be set. In Halo Moon, I knew immediately there would be three characters and one would have a really long journey to make and I was very familiar with the setting. 

This time, for Book 3, I received a VISION! I won't tell you what the vision was exactly because it would give too much away (and it could change as I develop the story further), but it was really intriguing and I think you're going to love it!  After the vision, two characters came into my head and started talking to each other. I was also able to imagine where they both lived. Then, overnight, the characters changed location from the original and rather boring English town to the SEASIDE! I have to say I'm quite pleased about that because sea and coast and islands and cliffs will be a far more interesting place. Also overnight, one of the characters changed her appearance and now gets around on an unusual bike. It's like they have minds of their own!

So you can see, sometimes ideas for stories just seem to parachute into our heads and the best thing to do when that happens is to write them down straightaway. What you can do then is to ask some questions: What does this character want? Is there anything bothering them? What has changed in their lives that they have to fix? Where do they live? What places and people and things are around them? Stories always have problems of one sort or another, things that change. These don't have to be huge changes or severe problems, but they have to be something that affects the character enough that they want to do something about it. This is what I'll be thinking about for my two new characters in the coming weeks. 




One of the things I'm doing now for my next book, 'Halo Moon', is contacting a couple of experts to make sure my science facts are correct and to translate some words into an old language using a very beautiful and ancient script. It's going to look fantastic! The script is found on an amazing object - but that is all I will reveal for the moment. To find out what that object does and what it looks like, you'll have to wait for 'Halo Moon' to come out early next year! As for the science facts, I will reveal more about those in another post.


All the shortlisted authors and their editors were asked to answer a few questions about their inspirations, what they found difficult and the editorial process. It's fascinating to read about the different experiences everyone had whilst writing their debut books and what the editors contributed to that process. It really highlights the vital role of an editor in guiding the writer - especially when it's the writer's first book. Take a look at the interviews.


Draft 3 of my next book is back with my editor!

This is good news indeed! Draft 3 means that most of the creative work is done. All that is left now is a bit of tweaking here and there and a big sigh of relief.

There are a few more steps before the book is published including copy editing where you think you've spotted all the possible errors in spelling and punctuation and but your editor manages to find thirty-three more, line editing where each word, comma and full stop are checked by a very patient person, and the first proof where you see the book laid out as it will appear as the final published book (this is exciting until you spot another three errors!).

There will also be a wonderfully creative illustrator hard at work designing the book cover. I should be seeing some ideas soon. Can't wait!

It is around this time that I will start to seriously think about the next book. I love this stage because anything can happen. Ideas will be forming which seem totally unrelated to each other. These are sometimes just images of things that pop into my head, phrases, things that I read about or watch on TV. Characters begin to take hold - I have no idea where they come from - but I just get a sense of them and maybe start to talk to them (in my head, of course, otherwise it would be weird). I am constantly collecting ideas in a notebook. I write down EVERYTHING. I have learned to do this the hard way by having a totally marvellous idea in the middle of a supermarket, then forgetting it by the time I've got home.

In the middle of March, I went to the Essex School Libraries Book Awards in Danbury where the five shortlisted authors talked about their books and the inspirations behind them. There were lots of wonderful pupils and teachers and librarians, and many brilliant questions from the students. Some of them had made animated films of the shortlisted book which were SENSATIONAL!!!


It was a little draughty in the marquee so some of us  kept our coats on.  I gave a talk about the inspirations for The Starman and Me. "It all started with a roundabout ...".

Here are all the authors with the wonderful Allison King who organised the event.