Hi guys, Blimey, it’s been months since I did an update. What have I been up to?
First, my latest novel, Savannah Grey has been out since February, and gathered some nice reviews. Check out the BOOKS section for those. I was deeply flattered when Melvin Burgess, the YA fiction writer I admire so much, wrote to me saying that he liked it.
The overall view of people seems to be: well-written, gripping, and a little ... strange. Sort of a shorthand description of my career really, and I’m not complaining.
For my U.S. readers, you can obviously order Savannah Grey now from the U.K. but I understand my excellent States-side publishers, Carolrhoda, have now bought it, so you’ll be getting a fresh-minted edition coming out in your neighbourhood around February 2011.
I’ve also been sent a first draft of their likely cover, which I’d like to share with you because it’s so startlingly good (I think). Let me know if you like it ...
I’m pleased to tell you that SAVANNAH GREY was shortlisted for the Calderdale Award. It’s wonderful, actually, to be recognised by this group of schools and libraries twice.
BREATHE, my ghost story, won their award a few years ago, so I like these guys a lot. Great taste they have. Impeccable judgement. The winner of the award was Alex Scarrow (so maybe not entirely impeccable – ha!), but at the ceremony I also had a chance to meet the extremely nice Michelle Stevens and Terence Blacker, as well as reacquaint myself with Tim Bowler, an excellent novelist who also just happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
First, a new YA ghost novel I’ve really enjoyed writing, provisionally called THE LOVELY QUIET AND DARK. I’ve just completed the second draft. Hopefully it’ll be out in the late spring of 2011. Here’s a sneak glimpse ...
Dead things can sound alive when they choose to. Dead things can move around.
At first nothing woke fourteen-year-old Elliott. Tucked up warmly in bed, he failed to notice the eerie whispered rhymes. Or the sighs. Or the footsteps. Those footsteps came lightly and swiftly towards him – someone or something running incredibly fast across the floors of the old house. A presence long dead was on its return to the world of the living.
The visitor wrapped itself in its own hush. It pressed against cold walls, deeply excited. It swept its death inside shadows. It rarely came in a straight line. It came in impossible ways: soaring above lampshades, drifting between stuffed chairs. Passing over lush burgundy carpets, it never once needed to touch them. Floors are not only to be walked upon, one foot in front of another.
Gliding past portraits in the corridors, the visitor tenderly stroked them. It made time for that, kissing one or two of the less grimy paintings. Its lips, opening and closing upon their wooden frames, were never quite still. The rest of the time its mouth quivered with the murmur of sinister rhymes.
To start with the visitor kept well away from the new occupants of Glebe House. Only when it was certain everyone was asleep did it travel from the East Wing to the first floor of the main house.Elliott’s dad, Stephen, lay in his own room. He was turned away from the door, one of his bare arms inside the top blanket, the other flung across his pillow like an afterthought. The visitor knelt beside his face. For a while it simply stayed that way, holding its breath, gazing at his strong, muscular body.
Then it floated up to the third floor.
Elliott’s twelve-year-old brother, Ben, had his bedroom there. The visitor lurked just inside Ben’s door, observing his chest rise and fall. It watched until the moon rose like a pale creamy promise in the window. Then it was drawn towards the partially-open bedroom opposite.
Elliott was inside, asleep on his back, his mouth open.
The visitor wafted smoothly up to his face. Its movements lightly stirred the air, sending up small puffs of dust. In gentle waves the dust settled on Elliott’s black eyelashes, dotting the upturned tips grey. The visitor’s mouth was an even deeper grey. Grey face, grey hair. Lips pursed in the moonlight. Lips that never stopped murmuring. Tiny whispers. A rhyme that sparked the air, over and over.
‘Where’s the Ogre?
Where’s he been?
Where’s he hiding, in your dreams ...’
I also want to canvass your views about the title.
So far the reaction from people to THE LOVELY QUIET AND DARK is mixed. Adults tend to (quite) like it, girls are OK with it, and boys generally are indifferent. Here’s some possible alternatives I’ve put together.
If you wanna have some say in what it might be called write back to me to give me your choice.
Here they are:
TAKE MY HAND
THE DARK PASSAGE
EYES WIDE OPEN
WEAPONS FOR SMALL HANDS
THE HUNTING GROUND
THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED
GAMES FOR THE DEAD
FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
A WEAPON OF CHOICE
A FAINT FLOWING OF HAIR
And my own current favourite…. DO YOU WANT TO PLAY?
I’ve written an adult horror script, and I need to decide what to do with it (apart from getting adult horror companies interested, of course).
I think it would convert quite nicely with some tweaking into a YA graphic novel. Or an adult graphic novel. Or even a novel novel... I’m thinking about it.
My whole interest in graphic novels (comics) has been rekindled, actually, by meeting one of the great adult comic story writers, Mike Carey. He’s written some tremendous stuff in the CONSTANTINE series, and also some great fiction about a boy who is not Harry Potter, but appears to be suspiciously like a real version of the fictional character.
If you want to know more details about this intriguing series let me know ... I’ll be meeting him again shortly, and I’m really looking forward to it. Apart from that, I’ve got to decide what my next novel will be, and I’m debating with myself about that.
I have, however, got several developed ideas – it’s just a question of which to use. I’ll think about them while I’m on holiday in Ireland ... Can’t think of anything else right now.
Hope you like SAVANNAH.
Take care and be good to each other ... Ciao.