2011 was a difficult year for me in many ways. I had a mini stroke in the early part of the year and it meant that I missed out on a lot of the excitement of my World Book Day flip book with Philip Reeve and it played havoc with my schedule. Added to that, I lost my father. He had been ill for most of the time we have lived in Cambridge. An old soldier, he faded away until he was barely there at all. It was a sad end for a man who had been so proud and in control for so much of his life.
I have high hopes for 2012 though. I have signed a new two book deal with Bloomsbury and I submitted a proposal for the first book just before Christmas. That book, if accepted, will be published in 2013. I sent the second draft of The Mask back to Bloomsbury at the end of the year and that book comes out in October 2012. March sees the publication of the paperback of Mister Creecher with a new cover. Here is an early version. The actual one will carry some of the nice quotes the hardback has collected.
Last month, on a dark and rainy afternoon, my son and I met up with my agent, Philippa Milnes-Smith, at the Old Vic Tunnels to see a performance of Uncle Montague's Stories from the Shadows, a theatrical interpretation of four stories from Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror.
I was a little nervous about the whole thing, not really knowing what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It worked very well and I was struck by how much of my writing had survived. It was fascinating to hear my words spoken and acted out. I haven't read from Uncle Montague for a while. Without wishing to sound immodest, I thought it sounded pretty good.
I have also had a couple of meetings about producing Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth as a play. I can't really say an more about this at the moment because it is at such an early stage of development that I don't want to jinx it. But if it comes off, I think it is going to be something special. Watch this space.
We have also had some more film interest in Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror. I was sent a link to the website of the director who is interested in the idea and his showreel was really nice and he would be a very good match for my writing I think. I should be having a meeting about that in the not too distant future and I'll let you know anything concrete.
I am still in the running for the Salford Book Award with The Dead of Winter and I very much hope that it survives onto the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal. The Dead of Winter is part of a Kindle promotion on Amazon a the moment and it has been fun to see it sitting at No. 1 on the horror listings in Children's Books.
I have been asked to do the Edinburgh International Book Festival again this year. I am so pleased to be invited again. Edinburgh is such a great city to visit and the festival itself is incredibly well organised. I'm looking forward to it already.
I intend to write more this year. As well as writing my book for Bloomsbury I would like to write at least one other book for children or teens. I still harbour ambitions to write a graphic novel and I may try my hand at writing a screenplay this year too. But I would also like to write something for adults. I'm not absolutely sure what that will be yet, but I'll let you know if and when it comes to anything.
In the meantime, let me wish you all a happy new year.