Some Pictures from the Voewood Literary Festival

Portrait by the official and very talented festival photographer, Maxine Moss, taken in the Voewood basement, with her daughter about to decapitate me.

© Maxine Moss, and see the rest of the portraits here.

I couldn’t do these events without Simon Wilkie …

With Simon Finch and Paul Blezard.

Simon Finch and Clare Conville opening the festival

Adam Ant on Sunday night.

Caffeine fix with a big hero, DBC Pierre.

Simon and Diana Athill

One of my favourite events – Glen Duncan reads with a performance by Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld.

Paul Blezard and Gavin Turk.


Guardian Masterclass – How to write fiction

I wrote a small piece for the Guardian on self-publishing The Highfield Mole (which became Tunnels). You can read it here:

And there’s also a Guardian Masterclass ebook with my contribution in it available for purchase here:



The Bomb And Me



Two more of Vane.


More Spiral Photos

This is Vane. Just don’t get too close.




The second Spiral photo

Hey, I’ve no idea what it is, and I’m the author.




The first of the Spiral photos

You probably think it’s all just made up, but – I tell you – this stuff’s real.


New Interview

New interview with Brittney Breakey just posted. Click her photo for the link:


Closer Spanish Translation Publication Dates

I’ve been getting quite a few questions from Spanish speaking fans about the release dates for Closer (‘Al límite’ in Spanish), and here, courtesy of Sirius from MundoTúneles, is some further information:

– Spain (6th June, confirmed)
– Chile (approx. July)
– Colombia (approx. August)
– Argentina (October, confirmed)

Sirius tells me that for other countries such as México, he thinks the release of Al límite will follow on approximately two months after publication in Spain.

For more information:


My Seven Question Interview

My interview with WritingRaw.com has been posted here:


New Interview

Click on Steven McEvoy’s picture for a new interview just posted on his blog.

And here’s the cover of Spiral, the fifth and penultimate book in the Tunnels series, to be published in the UK later this year and in the US in spring 2012.


Happy Styxmas

I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas, but please give the poor, downtrodden Colonists a passing thought on this day as they do their best to mark the festivities with a glass of ripe slug sherry, and a meagre slice of pack rat, drizzled with grub juice.

Artwork by the very talented Mr Kirill Barybin of Germany © 2010


What I do (sometimes): Loop Snakes

It went something like this:

1. Siobhan from Scholastic in New York calls me. There’s an spare page going begging in the American edition of Freefall – how about an additional illustration to fill it? Siobhan leaves no stone unturned when she produces her editions – not only are they in hardback (why can’t they do this in the UK?), but of all the ones released worldwide they’re also amongst my favourites because of the fantastic design work she puts into them.

2. I try to think of an excuse because I’m a). writing Closer, b). essentially very lazy, and c). a below average artist.

3. I panic, but eventually acquiesce. But an illustration of what, I ask Siobhan. She’d like one of the Loop Snakes in chapter 15. I panic some more.

4. While I have a mental picture of these creatures, trying to draw them is a completely different matter. I usually work from photographs, so I realise I’ve got no choice but to put some serious time into this task.

5. This is how they’re described: “Around four inches long, it was like a thin, perfectly white snake and didn’t appear to have any eyes. With some sort of sucker at each extremity, it moved by turning end over end, as if it was continually performing cartwheels”.  So there it is, and I decide to make some in my youngest son’s FIMO modelling clay on the kitchen table. He watches on in amusement, telling me I’m mad, but “funny”.

6. I do a variety of different snake positions, then put them into the oven to harden.

7. They go a little pink, but the clay still hasn’t set, so I cook them some more.

8. I burn them. I’m annoyed with myself because they’re meant to be white.

9. So now I have to paint them.

10. And I add some detail at the same time (machete only in picture because I feel like hacking the stupid things up by this stage).

11. I grab my camera and go outside into the garden. It is dark. My son Frankie helps me to arrange the Loop Snakes on the scorched ground where we have bonfires. I use lengths of cotton and gobs of Blu-Tack to try to make them stay in place, but they will keep falling over. I shout at the snakes, then wonder if my neighbours are listening to the lunatic who lives next door. Finally, the snakes are more or less in position, and Frankie and I manage to take some photographs before they all begin to keel over.

I’ve even done a special edition Loop Snake – this is the Stepped-on-by-Chester version.

12. I select one of the photographs and work on it on the computer, then I print it out so I can draw over it. I re-scan the result and treat it a little more on the computer, eventually printing it out again so I can continue to draw on it, and so on. I suppose it’s similar to the way I write, but you can see the results more quickly.

13. Some hours later, I arrive at this version. I send it through to Siobhan, who tweaks it some more so it will look right on the page.

14. I proudly show it to Frankie, but he isn’t overly impressed. He says I’m a cheat because I didn’t draw it from scratch.


Drake and Eddie

From the scene in Closer, an exceptional new illustration by the very talented Kirill Barybin. I hope to have some more examples of his work in the next Tunnels book!


Eagle House School

Some photos from the talk we gave at the wonderful Eagle House School Literary Festival in June.

And would you believe there’s even a school dorm named after Freefall …

All photos © Eagle House School. Click here for further details of their festival: http://www.eaglehouseschool.com/FestivalBlog.htm


New Project …

Don’t know when I’ll ever get the time to finish writing it, though. Tunnels doesn’t leave much room for anything else.


Closer Film

Brilliant new film by Joel Guelzo.



American Tour, 2010

Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.




Chicken House Tenth Anniversary Party


A chatter of authors at lunch after the Chicken House tenth anniversary party last Friday – from right to left; Andrew Newbound, Sophia Bennett, Lucy Christopher, CJ  Skuse, Ross MacKenzie – with the infinite, incomparable and inestimable Barry Cunningham in the foreground – Di Toft, Pat Walsh, Brian “The Hat” Williams, and me. All the characters we’ve created were relegated to the room next door where they were fighting it out with each other. Jaw-rattling racket for around ten minutes, then the Styx emerged victorious, of course.


Here comes the thaw.

That long, bitter winter, the snows were slow to melt, and I began to feel as though I’d never see the capital again, with its bustle and its people.

I shall miss Smethers, but at least he had a bit of meat on him.

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