July 2013

Let me introduce you to one of the stars of my current book. Not the owl; the guitar.


It’s a Fender Jaguar. This one’s new. Part of the reason I got it was to celebrate the fact that I’m now as sure as I can be that two guitars like it are definitely going to be in the book – together with all the other main elements that were in the book’s first working draft.

The second draft is due in mid-September. There’s plenty of work to be done, but that work is of a clarifying, refining nature – not the major surgery I was worried about. That’s a big deal for me. As my somewhat inarticulate post when I finished it implied, I was excited about the first working draft. The book had survived its darkest hour and was now starting to look like the book I want it to be. What I didn’t know was whether anyone else would want to read it.

I now have fantastic, inspiring comments and notes from the book’s first test readers: HUGE thanks here to Laura, Jack, Adrian and James. I now also have the notes and comments – and the backing and enthusiasm – of my editor, the redoubtable Ruth of Random House Children’s Books UK.

Before our meeting at the start of this month the last time Ruth and I spoke about the book was in Autumn 2011, in a pub in London’s West End. At the end of a long, arm-waving speech from me about bands, space travel, utopias, cowboys and giant squid Ruth nodded and said, ‘Sounds like you’re enjoying yourself. Show me when it’s done.’ For nearly two years afterwards those words were the only clue I had as to whether the book I wanted to write might be something Ruth wants to publish.

It is. And it’s going to have Fender Jaguars in, and everything. I am happy.

Back to work. 😀


Interested in some reading recommendations? I’ve just updated my LibraryThing Review Page with most of a year’s worth from Trapped By Monsters. All the books listed there you can read for free (or for a nominal ordering fee) at your local library – if/while you’ve still got one.

Lately, while gathering up what needs to be done to my current book, I’ve been engaged in one of my favourite bits of the whole writing process – researching things that might be relevant to my next.

Areas I read up on for my current book included cochlear implants, radical politics and marine biology. I found that the less I knew about each subject to begin with, the more satisfying it was to research it.


As anyone who knows what I look like will confirm, the subject I’m researching now is one about which I know nothing whatsoever. 😀