Monday, 26 September 2011


 The continuing rewrites on Coalface went well last week; I'm really enjoying blending elements of Victorian history with the tale of a boy on a quest to avenge his father's untimely death.  And I'm getting ready to see 'Sent/Received', my text message story come to life at the Broadway in Nottingham next month.

Then this happens.

Picture I took tomorrow.
To paraphrase, OPERA and CERN reckon the neutrinos they've been measuring move faster than the speed of light.  Nothing is supposed to move faster than the speed of light.  It's left a lot of people scratching their heads, not least the reasearchers who repeated the experiment 15,000 times before they went public.

Whether the researchers have missed something obvious (after 15,000 experiments?) or it's something new and extraordinary that has skewed the results, or it's wormholes, or the tooth fairy, the thing that's always mentioned in the news reports is time travel.

So I'm back to thinking about Penny Farthing, the time travelling single mother we meet in Hidden Daughter, who treads a fine line between her dark, extraordinary past, and her desperate plans for her Catherine's future.  And how her fractured world breaks when she becomes the target of other time travellers, determined to know how she slips through history without the help of a trillion dollar machine.

Time to finish Coalface, and continue her story...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

In Progress

Flashback to Lowdham Book Festival...(cue wavy screen)

'So, what are you working on, Andy?'

'I'm writing something using text messages.'

'That sounds really interesting - is it nearly finished?'

'er, Yes!'

'Great, send it to me when you're done.'

'er, Okay...!'

Of course, had no idea whether it was finished, as I had no idea how it would finish.  It was one of those ideas that spring out of nowhere when you're stuck on another project; in my case, Coalface, my YA adventure story.  And as it rumbled around incomplete on a document file, I did wonder whether it was one of those ideas... or one of those ideas.

In that moment, in the fierce spotlight of a cosy cup of coffee behind the NWS book stall, I decided the only way to know was by putting the idea out there, showing people, rather than keeping them locked away, in case they would break.  I took a chance, and told someone.

Five drafts and a hefty bit of editing, it's not just one of those ideas, it's a finished work, ready to read, ready to be presented at Word of Mouth's next event at Broadway Nottingham on Halloween. 
Lesson learned - if you want to know what kind of idea it is, talk about it - not all of it, but enough to for you to know whether it will go the distance.  If it isn't, you've just saved yourself a lot of heartache.  If it is, get going with the next draft- remember, writers finish stuff.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What I did in my holidays

The light outside my window is bright, but not inviting, and I've had to dig through short sleeved things to unearth my old jumper from the bottom of the drawer - if there's any Summer left, it's not making itself known today.

Victorian pressure cooker/
steampunk ghost-trap -
you be the judge...
It's been a while since I last posted here, but looking back on the last post (to avoid repeating myself) has had a really positive effect - I completed the first draft of my YA Victorian adventure Coalface at the end of July, and have been using the summer to catch up on research while the manuscript steams in the corner, ready for action.

It's been a brilliant exercise - lots of photos of door handles, corridors, and time card clocks while everyone else takes pictures of the formal gardens; out of print books found in second hand stalls; and a trip to my local studies library to look over period newspapers.  It's influenced how I think about telling the story in many different, exciting ways - and reinforced the story I want to tell - a boy's quest to discover the truth behind his father's death, and reclaim his name from infamy.

But I can't start just yet - promised I'd finish something else first.  Will tell you more at the end of the week...