2014. It’s been an odd year for me. Good news and bad news. No, let’s be honest… VERY good news, and some bad news. But – for some reason – the bad news seems to have affected me more. Why? I’ve no idea. Let’s take a look…
At the beginning of the year, the final two books in my Fangs: Vampire Spy series were published by Walker Books – over two years later than the originally agreed date.
I won’t go into details, other than to say writing Fangs wasn’t easy for many reasons. I LOVE this series and we managed to garner some great publicity but, by the time the books came out, I’d simply lost my loyal Scream Street readership to other authors (as is only right – I can’t expect them to hang around when publication date after publication date is changed).
So, while I’m very proud of these books, they never really found a foothold, or the audience they deserved. They are, however, VERY funny – and I urge you to seek them out.
In other good news, I continued to write for the wonderful people at Badger Learning. Following my two stories aimed at younger girls and my first two graphic novels, I continued to contribute to their excellent Teen Reads series…
I’m very proud to be writing for such a savvy and reader-aware publisher, and I hope to continue to do so into 2015 and beyond.
Publishing opportunities for reluctant readers continued as Rising Stars bought and published my nine-book space adventure series, Space Hoppers…
With each story set on one of the nine planets in the solar system (yes, including Pluto!), Space Hoppers tells the tale of a galaxy run by kids, where teams of detectives hunt down a criminal adult known only as The Geezer. Great fun – and I got to sign 200 copies of the first title – Mudmen of Mars – at the TES SEN Show in London.
Away from books, I joined the team at the UK’s top weekly comic – The Beano – as the writer of The Bash Street Kids! If there was any way I could go back and tell the ten year old me that this would happen – he’d faint!
The adventures continue this very week, when I bring the kids’ pet dogs back into the main strip. Yes, The Bash Street Pups are back! All of which pales into insignificance to the email I received this week from David Sutherland – the incredible artist who has drawn The Bash Street Kids since FIVE YEARS BEFORE I WAS EVEN BORN to say how much he enjoys turning my scripts into fully realised adventures for the kids! Happy writer!
I’m proud to announce that I became the writer-in-residence at Water Primary School, here is Rossendale, Lancashire.
I visit the school at least once a month to teach creative writing, inspire reading for pleasure and encourage interest in poetry, prose, script formats and more.
Yet, after all that – none of it compares to the biggest news of all (no picture for this bit, I’m afraid. I have them, but I’m simply not allowed to share…) Scream Street – my 13 book series for Walker Books, Candlewick Press and 13 other foreign language publishers around the world – finally went into production as a TV show.
I’ve been involved in production meetings, I’m writing for the series, and I’ve visited the set to see the recording in action – and it is amazing! Trust me, the wait is worth it, and when Scream Street hits your TV screen sometime in the future, you’ll understand why.
But – of course – this is all just work, and the greatest joy came from the birth of my niece, Eliza!
The first child of my brother, Bryan, and his wife Bridget – Eliza is an irrepressible spirit with an amazing sense of humour. What a cracker! I’m very proud to be her uncle!
My own family continues to shine… Arran is now choosing is ‘A’ levels, while Sam enjoys his year three work on topics such as Frozen Planet and beyond…
So, what is it exactly that makes me feel that 2014 WASN’T a good year…?
I was ill, for one – and spent two, separate weeks in hospital with pneumonia…
…and I’m writing this after spending the week between Christmas and New Year in bed with flu. My health really hasn’t been good this year, and I’ve been forced to cancel a number of author events as a result.
But, I’ll get better – just as I did earlier in the year. Then, I went on to visit dozens of schools, write many books, devise numerous adventures for The Bash Street Kids – and still find time to be a husband to Kirsty, and a dad to Arran and Sam. That beats rejected book series, lost opportunities and soured business relationships hands down.
Hmmm… Maybe 2014 wasn’t such a bad year, after all…
Bring on 2015!