Tuesday, 10 January 2012

An old obsession


I went to my studio today for the first time in a while.  Before Christmas I brought a load of boxes here from our old house and then delivered a stack of folios and so on, delivered to our new house from storage.

I had intended to get on with some writing, but made the fatal mistake of opening the folios.  I had not seen any of this work for five years, but some of it had been in drawers and folios for a lot longer than that.

Before we left Norfolk for Cambridge I had periodic burnings of artwork.  My wife would get upset at this, but there was no way I could keep all of the work I generated at The Economist and The Independent. A lot of it wasn't very good, to be honest.  It was done to such tight deadlines and to such specific briefs that although I could take pride in having delivered something, the result was not something I wanted to live with.  I didn't want to be the curator of some kind of archive of me.

Besides there is something cathartic about such destruction.  I have always believed I have better work ahead of me.  When I stop believing that I will stop creating.

The problem with destroying work is that perceptions change.  What seemed valuable can seem worthless a few years down the line.  The reverse is clearly also true.  I just have to hope I didn't destroy anything I wouldn't destroy today.  I'm pretty sure I didn't.  I'll never know in any case so why worry?

I am pleased I have hung on to this drawing though.  I must have been about sixteen when I did it, maybe younger, but certainly no older.  It is an illustration to Frankenstein and it shows an early eagerness to counter the cinematic image of the creature.

Mister Creecher was being formed in those ink marks.

Japanese Marlowe


I was very pleased to hear that my Tom Marlowe series for Random House is to be published in Japan and very excited to receive an advance copy of Death and the Arrow through the post yesterday.  It is a nicely produced little book - a hardback with illustrations throughout.

I wonder what Japan will make of my tale of 18th Century London?

More German tales of terror


I received copies of the audio book of the German edition of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship before Christmas.

German tales of terror


Here is the cover for the German edition of Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth.  It is published by Bloomsbury in Berlin and translated, once again, by Beatrice Howeg.  It is out at the end of this month.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Czech tales of terror


Here is the Czech edition of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship.  It is published by Argo.  I don't speak Czech at all but I really like the look of the title.  I particularly like that 'z'!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Stories from the shadows

I really ought to say a little more about Uncle Montague's Stories from the Shadows.

The play is being performed by the OnO Theatre Company and is directed by Gary Sefton who also adapted the script.  OnO are based in Crawley in West Sussex and they have been running now for 11 years, touring schools.

The young cast were excellent, but I think I have to make special mention of Andy Burse who plays Uncle Montague with a physicality that really adds something to his character.  I certainly did not write and Uncle Montague who was capable of leaping about like that, but it worked - it really did.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Another year over. . .

A new one just begun. . .

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.