Monday, 14 January 2013

The new year is upon us. . .

A belated happy new year.  It is normally about this time that I start to feel like the year is already starting to take a nose-dive.  I think

On Friday I am off to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the North-East Teenage Book Award.  I'm looking forward to that one.  I was shortlisted a couple of years ago (but didn't win) and it was a really nice event, with a packed auditorium full of very excited and intelligent readers.

This year Mister Creecher is shortlisted and in a way it is fitting to be going back to Newcastle, where I lived during my teens before leaving to go to college in Manchester.  It was in our bungalow in Kenton Bar Estate that I first saw James Whales' movie version of Frankenstein and where my obsession with the story and it's creation began.

As well as the North-East Teenage Book Award, Mister Creecher is still on the longlist for the Carnegie Medal, on the shortlist for the Coventry Inspiration Book Award, the shortlist for the Book Award St Helen's (BASH) and the longlist for North Lanarkshire's Catalyst Book Award.

At the end of the month I am hoping to be in Prague, a city I have wanted to visit for a very long time.  The details are still being finalised so I will talk more about that closer to the time.  But for the moment I will just say that a Czech puppet theatre company - Theatre Puls - are doing an adaptation of Uncle Montague's Tales of Terrors and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Other than that we are about to send Through Dead Eyes off to the printers.  This is my book set in Amsterdam and it will be out in March this year.  This is going to be the book I will be promoting through the spring and summer and that's going to be fun.  It is a slight departure for me from my recent books, because it has a contemporary setting involving a haunted hotel and a troubled boy visiting Amsterdam with his father.

The hotel is roughly based on the hotel I stayed in when I visited Amsterdam to collect my Vlag and Wimpel for the Dutch translation of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship.  I visited the hotel again for research the following year, staying in a different room in the attic.  As I was leaving I told the manager that I was writing a book about a haunted hotel in Amsterdam and he told me that the room I stayed in was one of only two rooms in the hotel that had ever reported ghosts.  Life and art curiously mixed for a moment.

In September my book set in the world of Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner will be published (along with the paperback of Through Dead Eyes).  It is now called The Dead Men Stood Together.  More about that nearer the time.

The next thing I have to come up with is an idea for the book to be published in 2014!

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