Project Updates

So, what have I been up to in the past two months since post 100? Well, mostly I’ve been working, both on the day job and various writing projects. I’ve also been editing and selecting short stories for the South Wales Short Story Competition which is a bi-annual event run by Candy Jar Books.

forever_a_print_Front_ENFrom an editing point of view I’ve mostly been working on Space: 1889 & Beyond, going through all the books and re-editing them in preparation for the eventual print releases. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and like so many directors, the print releases give me a chance to clean up a few things I was less than happy with the first time around. In particular, due to the turbulent events of season two (behind the scenes, what with authors dropping out at the last minute, etc), I had to pass the final edits of Leviathans in the Clouds onto another editor so I could tackle head-on the problems facing the next book in the series. Despite the good job he did, it’s quite clear that the editor wasn’t too familiar with the series, and so a few continuity errors remained between the preceding book and Leviathans in the Clouds, not to mention several stylistic choices that do not fit with the rest of the series. The re-edits allowed me to clean this up. The biggest casualty of the behind the scenes chaos was The Forever Journey, and still remains the one book in the entire series I am very unhappy with. It’s not that its a bad book — there is much within the pages to recommend it, and the authors involved did the best they could with the little experience they had. But it is such an important part of the series, a turning point in so many ways, that I’ve always felt it should be bigger and never quite felt like the game-changing book it was designed to be. So that will be my next task, doing a major overhaul of that book. The trick will be not to remove anything from the story, and so change it to the point that it will overwrite the eBook, but to enhance the story, add things to it. I have in mind a whole new sequence set on Earth prior to the journey, which will likely be told in flashback so as not to ruin the present narrative of the book. It was that present narrative that was damaged greatly by the initial release, as the book was released out of sequence and a bookend scene needed to be written so it still made sense when released after A Fistful of Dust.

Work on the re-edits, however, are paused for a short while since I am, due to illness, behind on a few projects. Primarily among them is The Forgotten Son, book one of Project Hush-Hush. The first draft is due at the end of October, which is tomorrow, and I’m still five chapters away from the end. I have spent the last few days re-reading the entire book, as it’s been a couple of weeks since I looked at it in any meaningful way. Re-reading with the distance of a few weeks has revealed to me Bannersome problems in the narrative — not plot holes, or even plot development, but the kind of things only an author would spot. I may just be seeing issues that aren’t there, so I’m not going to tackle them until after my editor gets a chance to read the entire first draft. If they’re really there, I know he’ll spot them.  I think it may also be partly down to the responsibility that is inherent in this series; it’s always there in the back of mind. We’ve got the copyright of something that has been a huge part of peoples lives for so many years now, that we have an immense responsibility to get it right, to do it justice, and to honour the intent of the creator of the property. In some ways I felt the same responsibility when I developed Space: 1889 & Beyond, but this is multiplied by a factor of a hundred.

seeker-preview (2) copySo, that’s two writing projects. Finishing draft one of The Forgotten Son, and enhancing The Forever Journey. After these? Well, it seems the next few months will mostly see me editing — be it on Project Hush-Hush or Space: 1889 & Beyond or on a forthcoming novel for Candy Jar Books. All this seems like a great time to get back to work on Augury, book two of The Garden. This presents me with a few problems. The original plan was to only have a year gap between Seeker and Augury, but it’s been almost four years since Seeker was first released, and it wouldn’t really work to have the second book set in 2012. So I’ve been pondering ways around it — how to make a gap of three years work for the narrative. It’s tough as a lot of the narrative is period specific, and the original year-long gap served a very unique narrative purpose. Part of my solution is to write a short novel set between the first two books, which I’m probably going to call Tales of the Three, which will detail the lives of Celeste, Theodor and Erwyn (and those affected by these lives — including, of course, Frederick, Edward Lomax and Julius), covering the background stories that were hinted at during Seeker. These tales will be surrounded by a framework showing the fallout of the events of Seeker for these three characters. In so doing, I will be able to remove a lot of material originally intended for Augury, this in turn should allow me to advance the main narrative forward a few years and bring it more or less up to the present day once more. Or at least that’s the plan. Fingers crossed it will pan out. Still have several things to work out, but currently it seems the most likely way forward with the series.

So, a little treat for you all, here’s an exclusive scene from the extended version of Serere, the prelude to Seeker, which can now be purchased direct from Lulu.com (and will soon be available globally for order wherever books are sold)…

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‘We’re not liking this, Aly,’ Detective Inspector Carbis said, ‘are we?’

Rowe recognized the look in his dark eyes, but they had been friends since she joined the force. He was responsible for her transfer to CID. He trusted her instincts as much as she did, and he knew that she’d walk down whatever path she had to in order to solve the mystery. She didn’t care how dark a path it turned out to be.

‘You haven’t heard the worst of it, yet, Gary,’ she replied. This was, at least for now, still informal and off the record. They were meeting in a quiet corner of a pub near Hirst Park, Carbis drinking a bottle of Smirnoff Ice while Rowe downed a pint of lager. ‘I managed to track down the identity of the old man. His name was Cliff Goleman, and he went missing in 1917! At the age of nineteen.’

‘The same age as Robin.’

Rowe nodded slowly. ‘You saw Goleman’s body; did it look 104 years old to you?’

‘I don’t think I’ve seen a body that old, Aly, living or dead.’

At this Rowe smiled. ‘Okay, fair point. But according to the autopsy, the heart, liver… all the internal organs are consistent with a man of no more than sixty years.’

‘Then it can’t be the same man. DNA records didn’t even exist in… when did you say? 1917? This is insane, Aly. Insane.’

‘I know.’ Rowe grinned, and finished the rest of her pint. ‘The DNA results led me to Goleman’s grandson. He’s fifty-eight, by the way, and the spit of Cliff.’

Carbis shook his head. ‘No, I’m not buying it. How could you even have found out about Goleman’s disappearance? Our own record keeping was bad enough thirty years ago, let alone eighty-five years ago.’

‘Harry Goleman is a lifer at the Scrubs, so his DNA is on the system. Seeing his picture was a bit of a shock, since for a moment I was sure I was looking at our corpse. A bit of research later and I’m reading about his grandfather going missing at nineteen, only three months after his marriage, leaving behind a wife who was, unknowingly at the time, two months pregnant. The gears shifted in my brain.’

Carbis narrowed his eyes. ‘Knowing how your brain works, I’m not surprised.’ For a moment he looked down at the bottle in his hand, while Rowe watched his rapidly thinning crown. ‘What do you propose we do?’

‘Let me continue to investigate this. A man presumed dead eight decades ago turns up, healthy as a sixty year old – well, other than the complete loss of blood – next to eight pints of blood that should, by rights, still be in Robin Turner’s body, which is now missing.’ She paused for a minute, before delivering her final card. ‘We’ve not seen the last of Robin Turner.’

‘This is quite a limb you’re out on.’

‘I know, but it’s my limb. And I know I am right,’ Rowe added with complete certainty.

Project Hush-Hush – Creating Real People

SecretThis is my 100th post! Yay. And so I shall be talking, a little, about one of the most important reasons why I write fiction…

Today I want to talk about characters.

Now, what with the secrecy surrounding this project I cannot be as open about the process of writing as I’d like. There are key elements of the story, and the world I’m building, that I simply cannot talk about. Which is annoying and exciting equally. So today I want to talk about the characters in the book, at least a little bit, and quite possibly in some vague terms as to be more detailed would spoil just that bit too much.

Characters are the most important part of any piece of fiction, more so than plot in fact. Characters drive the story — indeed, they are the story. The emotional journey each character takes is the journey the reader takes, thus why I call them the story. But for me characters are not just ‘types’ of people, they’re real, as real as you and me (but not you over there). I don’t create characters that only act a certain way, who have specific traits from which they cannot deviate, because people aren’t like that. Any one person can act in a variety of ways depending on the situation they find themselves in. People like to say, ‘oh, I’d never do that’, but it is nonsense. No-one, and I mean no-one, knows how they will act with any given situation until they are there being tested by it. Just as anybody who says ‘I am who I am, and I’m not going to change’ are talking even more nonsense. We change every day, with every single situation. People are in a constant state of flux, reacting and changing to every new situation that comes along. We all have our core beliefs, our default settings, but we’re all adaptable and open to change. My characters are exactly the same. They are determined by their experiences, not by specific traits. And with each new experience they grow, they change, they become either a better person or a worse one.

What follows is a list of characters from Forgotten Son, and a little something about them. This list is not definitive since it won’t contain the licensed characters (too important to reveal just yet) and neither will it include characters who have not appeared yet.

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  • John James — A minor character, at least for now since I have plans for him. A ten-year-old boy from London who is named after an old school friend of mine from Hackney.
  • Ray (Raymond) Phillips — This is a character carried over from the original version of Forgotten Son written back in 1997, although he was called Phil Raymond back then. He’s not much changed since his original iteration, except that now he’s a moderately successful author haunted by his past. But still the childhood best friend of or lead character. Oh, and he’s forty-one years old.
  • Owain & Louis Vine — Seventeen-year-old twins. These two came out of discussion between my publisher and I, as he felt I needed some younger people in the book, two characters who were polar opposites in their core beliefs. One who wanted out of the village of Bledoe and into the bright lights of London, and the other who never wanted to leave Bledoe. They’re also my way of having a tongue-in-cheek look at the misconceptions surrounding twins, a task made very easy by the fact that they’re based on two twins I know, Owen and Damien.
  • Charles Watts — A late addition to the book. Another seventeen-year-old, he was created to be the pull for Louis, to ratchet up Louis’ desire to leave the village. Charles is from London, and a teen who’s fallen into the relatively new skinhead movement. Being from London he also serves as a direct link to the events going on in that city, and a way to anchor the early Bledoe scenes with the larger story.
  • Thomas Hamilton — Big player in the larger story, but there’s little I can reveal about him without spoiling the series. So, moving on…
  • Sally Wright — At the start of the book, and thus the series, she becomes the fiancée of the lead character. She’s also Hamilton’s assistant. Beyond that, there’s little more I can say for now.
  • Walter Douglas — Best friend of our lead character, and has been for just over nineteen years. Which, of course, means I can reveal no more about him. Yet.
  • ‘Albert’ — Not his real name, but that’ll make sense one day. What can I say about him? Well, he starts the story dead. And then goes missing. The catalyst for merging the London story with the Bledoe story.
  • Mary Rositta — The mother of our lead character, and a bit of tragic lonely figure who has experienced much loss in her life. Named after my dear friend Simon Williams’ mother.
  • Mabel — Mary’s neighbour in the small village of Coleshill. Barely a cameo character, but chances are she’ll return at a later date. Named after my paternal grandmother.
  • George Vine — Father of the twins, and a typical gruff ex-military man. Concerned by his son’s behaviour, but is more likely to be at the pub joking about it than actually doing something about it.
  • Mrs Vine — She doesn’t have a name yet. Mother of the twins, typical housewife of the 1960s, also concerned about the twins but understands they’re young men and so she tends to give them their space. While quietly fretting about it.
  • Ahsen Khan — A Hospital Attendant (or orderly, as they’re usually known in the US) at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow. From Pakistan and named after an old school friend of mine. Only a cameo role, and a way to allude to the institutional racism of the 1960s.
  • Alf & Ralph — Two brothers in their mid-fifties. Delivery drivers who move goods and supplies for the NHS. Bicker a lot, with the elder (Ralph) often teasing the younger (Alfie, as Ralph calls him). Only a cameo role.
  • Henry Barnes — Landlord and owner of The Rose & Crown pub in Bledoe. Easy going chap who welcomes anyone into his pub, except ‘nancy-boys’, who he has no truck with that at all. A nod to the institutional homophobia of the 1960s, especially among older people. Believes men should be men, and won’t stand for all this ‘long hair nonsense that the young men seem to go for so much these days’. Like George, he’s every bit a man of his time.

And so those are the players thus far, with a few notable omissions, of course. A bit of insight into my thought process behind creating characters and naming them, and a few non-spoiler hints about the story. :)

Project Hush-Hush – Getting Direction

SecretChapter three is done! Yay!

Was a really fun chapter to write, with more setting up and getting the lead characters closer to the main location of the book.  One of the challenges faced today was working out how to get ‘Albert’ and Mary to a point where they almost literally crossed paths, and when you have one travelling by train and the other by car it’s not as straight forward as you might expect. Luckily they start from different points of England so in terms of time travelled they reach the same point at roughly the same time. However…

I believe in making the fictional Earth as real as the one in which we live, and so I often use real-world locations. In this book I’ve created a couple of new places, to give me more creative leeway, although Bledoe is based loosely on the real-world location of St Cleer, whereas Gotha Falls is based, again loosely, on Golitha Falls in Cornwall (as you see, in the latter instance I’ve not changed the name much, but change it I did so that I don’t have to be too accurate). Such creative licence has been called into play today, so that I could make my end of chapter cliffhanger work (end of chapter cliffhangers are a given in my novels). In my research I discovered that when you head into Liskeard by either car or train there’s a moment where the A38 passes under the railway. Perfect for what I needed! Except for one important catch; that particular bypass of the A38 didn’t exist until 1976 — almost eight years after my book! This presented a slight problem, until I decided that, you know what, this is fiction and dramatic licence can be called upon when needed. Thus, in this fictional Earth, the Liskeard A38 bypass did exist by March 1969.

Another thing I had to look into today, was how long it would take someone to walk from Harrow to Paddington, and the longest direct route is less than a three hour walk. Alas, this did not really fit the time scale I needed. So, as they say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, this lead me to come up with a plot point which, as it turned out, nicely fed into something else that was going on in the chapter. The upshot of all this I now know the a direct way to walk from Harrow to Paddington should I ever need to do so.

One other problem I spotted while writing today is that I accidentally revealed just a bit too much of the plot — with only one line. It’s a line I can’t reveal here, for obvious reasons, but just leaving it in joins together so many clues already littered in the first few chapters that it would ruin the first half of the book. I think, those paying attention may be able to work out this plot point, but there’s a big difference between the readers thinking they know the plot than the author telling them the plot.

And now something that’s not connected to Forgotten Son, and it’s a cover reveal for my forthcoming short story/novella collection. I don’t have a release date, but I do have a cover, and it’s rather shiny! Hope you all like it.

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Project Hush-Hush – Titles

SecretYeah, the name of this blog entry is a little misleading. I’m not going to reveal the titles for all four books of Project Hush-Hush, I’m afraid, but this is a little post to say that the authors and I have been discussing titles most of the day. It’s quite fun, since we’re looking to create a brand here, and that’s as much about stylistic choices as anything else, and one of the issues discussed is dropping ‘the’ from titles, eg. The Forgotten Son will be printed as Forgotten Son and so on. It gives the titles more of a punch I feel, plus using ‘the’ often stifles creativity in titles. Book two, though, is the only other title that doesn’t give away anything of the ‘hush’ in Project Hush-Hush, so it won’t do any harm is telling y’all that it’s called (The) Schizoid Earth.

Oh yes, and you might have noticed I’ve played around with the style of this blog. This is to more accurately reflect Project Hush-Hush and the retro-pop art style we’ll be aiming for with the cover design. It’s all getting very exciting!

siluet-orang-300x269I want to tell you a little about all the books, but I have to be very careful, so here’s what I can say. Book one, well, just keep reading this blog for info on Forgotten Son  (there’s plenty of information in previous posts). What can I say about Schizoid Earth…? Not a great deal as it’s pretty intricately planned and any information given would be too much. But it’s an interesting title, eh? Whatever can it mean? ;) Book three is equally mysterious, and will have to remain so for a while yet, but it does have strong links with Forgotten Son. Book four is going to be a MAD one, and I’m expecting something with a dark sense of humour, judging by the background notes the author sent me yesterday. Some of the details had me in stitches (laughing, that is, for the non-British among you), and yet it’s also going to be rather a serious tale with a lot of scope. Each of the books tap into something different from the late ’60s, each delve into the psyche of our main cast who will be introduced book by book, so that by the end of book four our lead characters will be in place to go forth and create havoc in the fictional world we’re creating. As I said, it’s all getting very exciting. You know, in case I wasn’t clear about that.

Isn’t it December yet?

Project Hush-Hush – Getting The Right Tone

SecretWell now, since the last blog entry (only a few days ago) I’ve completed chapter two of The Forgotten Son. And I’m really feeling like I’ve got the flow of the story down now. It’s always difficult with the first chapter, trying to capture the right tone, pace, mood, and find the right starting points for your characters. In this case, as I’m sure I keep on saying, I have the added difficulty of finding the right period. This is why it took so much longer to finalise chapter one, and only took two days to write chapter two. Not only have I found the flow in chapter two, but I can really feel the characters coming alive, especially the lead character (this book has more than one lead, but I’m talking about the lead character of the series — whom I cannot mention by name at this time) who is a character I have known for a couple of decades plus some change. Finding his voice should be simplicity itself — but there is an added challenge. Of course.

One of the main selling points of this series is that we’re exploring a part of the lead character’s life that has never really been touched upon before. There have been the odd hints here and there, but nothing substantial. Everything ever written about him (and there is plenty!) has always focused on an older version of him. But we’re dealing with him at the start of the adventure, looking at what turned him into the character we’ve all come to love over the years. And therein lies the challenge. One that, according to my publisher, I’m succeeding at. Shaun has read the prologue and first chapter and feels I have totally captured the younger version of this lead character, which is great to hear since I have found writing for him so very easy. The trick now is to keep it up.

The tone also meets the approval of my publisher. He used words like ‘brilliant’ and ‘love what you’ve done’. There is another phrase he said, but I can’t really quote it or it may give away a little too much of the project. Needless to say, my publisher believes I’m achieving exactly what he was hoping we’d achieve when we set out to do this. I’m confident that the other writers of the first ‘season’ will equally capture the feel we’re going for. I’m looking forward to hearing my publisher’s thoughts on chapter two (which I feel is superior to chapter one), and seeing what the other writers do. We’re currently bouncing titles around, and have probably settled on three of the four. Titles are so important — they tell the reader what kind of book it is, what kind of theme and tone of story they’re about to read, plus, in this case, it’s about recreating the period in which our series is set.  The kind of titles you see on books and television these days are not necessarily applicable to fiction circa 1969/1970. But, once again, I am confident we will have the perfect four titles by time we officially announce the series. Another thing we’re also thinking about at the moment, which fits in with the tone and period, is the cover art. We know the style we’re looking for, so all we need do now is find the right kind of artist to match that style, which also feeds into designing the series logo (which if done correctly will be kind of clever and should contain a nice in-joke for those who know).

Any excuse to show y Draig Goch, the Welsh dragon!

Any excuse to show y Draig Goch, the Welsh dragon!

Chapter two also contains my favourite little scenes of all I’ve ever written. It’s a small thing, a scene within a scene if you like, and only lasts for about half a page, but it had me laughing so hard when I was writing it — which means it may be one of the first things to go! KILL YOUR BABIES! No, no it won’t. It’s important, although high on cliché, but that can’t be helped since it’s another character that came with the exclusive rights we now own a license for, and that character is every bit the walking cliché. Which is fun. I don’t generally use clichés in my work — indeed, all writers know to avoid them like the plague. But when you’re using a character that was created as a cliché (although I wonder if it was such a cliché in 1969, or simply a misconception thing?) you can go one of two ways. Either ignore the cliché aspects, or play up to them initially and slightly move away from them over time — if you have the luxury of such time. Fortunately I do, since a character arc has already been put in place for this character and it will enable us to gradually move him from the Welsh cliché (oh yes, I forgot to mention that, it’s a typically clichéd Welsh character and so even more important for me to move him away from those roots) and turn him into a more well-rounded and believable person. Which in itself will be fun and rewarding, but for now, for that one small cameo scene in The Forgotten Son I go to play with the cliché and totally embrace it. Which was kind of liberating.

And so, chapter three is waiting. More strange happenings in the west country, as the child’s voice gets louder…

Project Hush-Hush – Placing The Props

SecretCracking certain aspects of The Forgotten Son is proving to be quite a challenge. Mostly it’s the time period — 1969 may as well be a hundred years for all the changes we’ve seen over the decades since. Indeed, in some ways it’s almost like visiting an alien world. It does make me wonder what would happen should one of us travel back to March 1969, just how well would we manage to blend in? I suspect not very well at all.

Today I’ll be, largely, working (or rather re-working) on the second scene of chapter one. Much like the prologue it is so very important to get the first chapter right. It sets the tone for the book (and in some ways for the entire series of novels), as well as introduces readers to the characters they’ll spend many hours with (if not years in the case of at least two characters — although in some regards it’ll almost be a re-introduction for some readers). Characters, however, are not the issue. I pride myself on being able to create a cast of characters who become as real to the readers as the people they know in their personal lives. Even using a previously created (and well-established) character will not be an issue for me, since the lead of this series is a character I have known for many many years. No, the biggest issue is, as mentioned above, establishing the period in which the book is set. 1969!

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An 8-track tape player… Vintage!

The trick now is to ‘add flavour’, little props and background details that tell the reader what year they’re in. I’m fortunate in that for the most part The Forgotten Son is set in a small Cornish town and is, thusly, not overly influenced by the popular culture of 1969. However this doesn’t mean I can ignore the ephemera of the time.  Indeed, it’s such ephemera that will help set the period. Old cars, grubby children playing on the streets and not stuck in doors playing computer games, the pocket transistor radio, old red phone boxes, large house phones that can only go as far as the cord stretches… Many little things that make the period. Things that are, for us now, so obsolete that teenagers would barely recognise them. Like 8-tracks — who remembers them? A popular way of listening to pre-recorded music while travelling in cars, before the rise of cassette tapes and, much later, compact discs. Popular music was on the rise in the ’60s, especially for teenagers, and so they were very open to new ways of listening to music with greater availability. Which brings me to the scene I’ll be heavily re-working today.

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A football picture… on MY blog?! Who’d have thunk it.

I’ve already created a new teenage character called Charles Watts, who will serve as a direct link to the happenings in London and, by extension, helps to encourage my wannabe skinhead character, Louis, who covets the London life he reads and hears so much about in the papers and television news reports. These two will be the direct link, and main reference point, for the popular teen culture of the time. To add flavour and remind the readers that they’re in 1969. To this end I’ve even gone against type (well, for me) and researched the football of the time. Which is something I never thought I’d do. Football is not now, and nor will it ever be, a passion of mine. Indeed, I can barely tolerate it, but it does seem to be a popular thing for most men, teenagers in particular. This all ties in to my earlier remark about the transistor radio, and having my teen characters listening to a real football match on the ‘tranny’, as it was often called (a word that also illustrates how much times have changed since 1969). Everybody, even me, knows of the World Cup of 1966, alas that’s three years too early for my purposes. Pity, as I wouldn’t actually need to research that — such is the historical importance of that event (I may not like football, but I can’t deny it). The match I’ve chosen does specifically date the book, literally to the day, and I’m expecting lots of boos and hisses from a large section of fandom, but alas an executive choice on dating was needed and it has been made.

How is this all going to work out? Splendidly is how. ;)

Project Hush-Hush – Event, Rewriting and … Acting?

So, what have I been doing the last few days? Well, first a few words on Project Hush-Hush.

SecretHow The Forgotten Son opens is hugely important, more so than usual for a book. The opening lines are so vital to the success or failure of any novel, but when it’s the first of a new series of a licensed project, those first few lines, indeed the whole prologue, is even more important. And so the publisher and I have been discussing this opening, and it occurred to us that I am in a unique position to rewrite a piece of history — or rather add something new to a piece of history that means a lot to a lot of people.  Yup, this is one of those entries where I can’t reveal too much about the content of the writing — the scene is too big and too integral to the concept of the series that to reveal its contents would spoil so much. So, you’ll have to just bear with me and believe me when I say that reworking the prologue is a unique thrill that may not ever be one I experience again.

I was showing the first line to two friends yesterday, both of whom are big fans (of what? Well, that would be telling), and only one of them understood the in-joke of that very first line and just what it meant. Just goes to show there are different levels of fans. I’m confident though that the majority of fans will get it, and that one line will set the tone for the rest of the series.

10551036_10152313417955197_986522740607362979_nIn other news I was at another Candy Jar Book Festival event yesterday, this time discussing ‘monsters and mirrors’ with fellow author Benjamin Burford-Jones. It was an interesting little talk. Not many turned up, but we did get an interesting few including a couple of kids who had all kinds of random questions to ask about monsters in fiction. My favourite part was the girl’s answer to my question, ‘what monsters do you like best in Doctor Who?‘. The answer? Why, the cake monster. Of course! (Must be an episode I’ve never seen!) During this event I also did a little bit of acting! Sort of. Ben was going to read an extract from his book, Beware of the Mirror Man, but it soon became obvious that he doesn’t have the most involving reading voice so I happened upon an idea. The section he chose features two characters — Sophie and Ell. Now, Ell is a mimic who happens to have a cockney voice, and as the title of the blog suggests I am something of a Londoner (albeit one who was born in Wales). So we acted out the scene, with me providing the cockney-voice of Ell. Which was great as Ell by far got the best lines in that scene, and we got a couple of giggles from the kids. Job done! ;)

Next up,as well as the ongoing research for The Forgotten Son I have the proofed version of Sharon Bidwell’s The Draco Eye to go through, and looking through the proofs of my forthcoming short story collection. All the stories in the latter have been published individually by Untreed Reads Publishing over the last four years, but they’re putting them into one all-new volume for release in a couple of months. So look out for that one!

Now, it’s time to head back to find out how John James is dealing with the creature that he’s discovered in the back garden…