Thursday, 2 September 2010

Pick me!

It was is son's first day back at school today. He would have started yesterday but we had an additional 'training day' added onto the school holidays and we took advantage by heading off up to Norfolk on what turned out to be a really beautiful day. Many blackberries were picked.

Even though I have not had a break this summer, my writing discipline definitely wavers over the summer. My work schedule tends to revolve around my son's school schedule and when he is on holiday everything seems to go a little fuzzy at the edges.

The beginning of the school year here in the UK is exciting for me this year because I am very pleased to say that Uncle Montague's Tales of Terrors has been included in this year's Booked Up list. As I explained some time ago, Booked Up is a scheme whereby all children beginning their secondary school life at eleven years old, get to choose one free book from a set list - a list that this year includes books by Philip Reeve, Mary Hooper, Alan Gibbons and Michael Rosen, among others.

The website is now up and running so take a look. I mentioned a while back that I had to go in and do a short piece to camera and that the experience had left me feeling drained and miserable for days. I had a chance to look at the film today and though I wasn't embarrassing (which would have been worse, admittedly) I certainly wasn't at the top of my game. I don't look as excited as I should be by my own work. But maybe there's an explanation.

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror is a creepy book. It didn't suit being under those bright studio lights. It is a book that rarely comes out of the shadows. It is a book that would ideally be read in a leather wing-backed arm chair, next to a roaring fire in an isolated cottage with a winter wind blowing rattling the windows.

But perhaps you don't have access to such a location. Never mind. That's OK. Luckily Uncle Montague lives in just such a house and he brings the location with him. All you have to do is snuggle up in the glow of your bedside light (first making sure that the wardrobe door is tightly shut and there is nothing under the bed that shouldn't be there), and read.

If you like scary stories that is. . .


  1. 1st time reading your blog and wanna say hello to you!

  2. Just watched your video and you have to admit that the boy who thinks it's the best book ever is very cute and i rather like the passing the book along thing.
    Elin :)

  3. Hello to you too! Hope it won't be your last time reading the blog.

  4. Hiya Chris! Congrats on Uncle Montague being picked for the special list. It sounds like a wonderful idea! I'm probably a 'bit old' for reading such a book, but I've nearly finished it and I love it! I'm a fan of MR James so when my friend's little seven-year-old boy lent me his copy of Uncle Montague (he's very good & very prolific reader!), telling me that I would love it and had to read it, then I had to! I'm looking forward to reading tales of terror from the black ship and ... the tunnels' mouth... that title reminds me of one of my favourite ghost stories, the Signalman - lovely! Also I love Edith Nesbit's ghost stories. I love yours for being so short & that they get to 'the good bit'! like Ambrose Bierce's 'A Vine on a House' (wonderful!).
    I'm sure that many many children will pick yours and treasure it, and lend to their 'too old' pseudo-Aunties!
    Best wishes

  5. Hi Elin - thanks for that. The boy was great. I'd have been happier if they had left it all to children.

    And thanks Joey. I'm a fan of M R James too - obviously! But E Nesbit's stories are great. Ambrose Pierce too. Do you know the BBC adaptation of The Signalman? It's available on DVD and is very good. Tunnel's Mouth takes place in a location that is basically the site of the signal box from The Signalman. The story was very much in my mind.