September 2014

As I suspect is the case with most writers, the question of author photos has been, for me, a vexed one. My ten years working in a bookshop gave me strong views on what not to do: booksellers take great delight from jacket pics that are vain and pretentious. But what to do instead?

Since my publication debut in 2006 I’ve been using a selfie I fondly call ‘half-headed me and my evil eyeball.’

It was partly inspired by this shot of one of my heroes, Alan Moore:


As I explained at my school events, it also came from the hypothesis that if young readers saw my whole head it might put them off my books. ;p

I took the pic myself, treated and cropped it on my computer and thought the problem solved. However, as became apparent in the years since, it wasn’t. Repeated requests from schools, libraries, festivals and other interested parties for something ‘less arty’ and in higher resolution persuaded me at last that a rethink was required.

I’m lucky to know a photographer called Sylvie Joly, aka The Opsimath, whose work I think is fabulous. I contacted her, and here’s the result:


(Click for full size)

See that looming shadow, past my shoulder? It’s a Chinj from my book The Black Tattoo, beautifully knitted for me by my friend Elaine. This pic below was my second choice:


Thank you, Sylvie!

…Meanwhile as of last week I’m now on Wattpad, where I plan to put out some stuff. Come and take a look.

On my Facebook profile I’ve been nominated to list some of my favourite things.

Fifteen films I never forget:


Ed Wood

Wild At Heart


Mind Game

Sexy Beast

Porco Rosso

Once Upon a Time in the West

Men in Black


Finding Nemo

Black Cat White Cat

The Life Aquatic

Speed Racer

-and, hell yes-

The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

Ten Favourite Books:

Stone Junction by Jim Dodge

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

True Grit by Charlies Portis

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith

Burning Your Boats (collected short stories) by Angela Carter

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal


The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutuola.

The books list was harder than the film one. To discover another four hundred and ninety(!) books I love, check my LibraryThing profile. 😀