I’m giving thanks for the many wonderful days this past year – and reflecting on the ones that weren’t so good. Despite enjoying the fond memories of good times, I always find I learn more from the difficult days, even if it takes a bit of time to come around to realisations. This has not been a hugely productive year for completed manuscripts … but it has been useful for taking stock, learning new visual art skills, working with wonderful colleagues […]
I had an inspiring visit with Year 7 at St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate last month and I set them a little challenge to write a 50 word story about a nearby spooky place. The prize for the top five entries was one of my Blackhope Enigma notebooks.
The students certainly rose to my challenge and delivered some evocative stories. I think we have some budding writers! Here are the top 5 entries, in no particular order, as […]
Earlier this autumn I had the pleasure of visiting Belmont Grosvenor School in Harrogate and working with the pupils on creating stories and illustrations. Here’s a lovely article about the day. We had loads of fun making up crazy tales prompted by character and setting cards I brought along. Sometimes the best stories are created from random elements chosen by chance. I set a little competition for the pupils to illustrate a scene from their stories and I was recently sent […]
I haven’t been near this blog since last month because life has been incredibly busy (in a good way). The last time I checked in with great news about JET BLACK HEART, I was at the start of a jam-packed schedule of teaching, school visits, events and workshops. The studio started to resemble a dumping ground. I worked around piles of paper and books, sketches and snippets of material going into my current manuscript.
Today I did a ritual tidy-up of […]
This is a pretty cool surprise: JET BLACK HEART has been shortlisted for the 2016 Coventry Inspiration Book Award in the 11-16 ‘Rapid Reads’ category. It’s in a splendid list of eight books by great authors. That list will go through elimination rounds and be whittled down to three finalists.
NEWS FLASH: On top of that news, I’ve learned that Book Trust has chosen JET BLACK HEART to be […]
I don’t know whether the last week of August affects you the way it does me. I get excited in anticipation of the annual September buzz, the kind of buzz I should really be feeling on New Year’s Day but often don’t. That’s because years of schooling conditioned me to feel like September is the real new year.
This is the week I start looking at autumn jackets and new pens and most importantly, I think about my creative goals for […]
Participating in an Open Studios event can be a bit nerve-wracking. You clean all the paint-covered coffee cups, sweep up bits of paper stuck in the floor boards and generally make the place presentable without sanitising it too much. Then you think about what you’d like to tell people about your work and hope you don’t talk too much (or too little).
When the first visitors arrive, a little thrill runs through the building. You stand up a little straighter and […]
This fantastic poster greeted me when I arrived at Allerton High School yesterday. The excellent team of students who organised my day of speaking and bookmaking with visiting primary pupils also made a variety of wonderful posters, flip charts, bookmarks and certificates. They were all charming, friendly and creative – a credit to their school!
Big thanks to everyone at all the schools involved and to the Ilkley Literature Festival which sponsored the […]
This is one of the biggest weeks in the UK school calendar! Tomorrow, March 5, children across the land will come to school dressed as their favourite book characters. They’ll be celebrating World Book Day and all that is fun and inspiring about reading.
I visited a wonderful local school yesterday and spoke to 170 pupils aged 7-11 about my work. I asked them why we even care about books and reading. Hands shot up and children offered answers […]
This month has been excellent for art and writing inspiration. I kicked it off a couple of weeks ago when I spent a week at Lumb Bank, the Arvon Foundation’s writing centre in rural Yorkshire. It was magical, as I knew it would be, and it inspired my writing side in a very big way. But when the wordy side is stoked up, the visual side demands to be fuelled too.
I think this cool poster from Totally Locally says it all. When you venture out to make seasonal purchases, I hope you’ll support the retailers in your neighbourhood, your village, your town. They are your neighbours and their presence helps keep your area thriving, vibrant and diverse! And why not put books at the top of your shopping list? (Hint, hint.)
Happy shopping, everyone!
I’ve been loving having two spooky books published recently! The Shadow Lantern, the final story in The Blackhope Enigma trilogy, is out in the USA and Canada, and my stand-alone teen book, Jet Black Heart, is out in the UK.
I’ve done a bit of speaking and guest posting about The Shadow Lantern. It was a lot of fun writing for these […]
A few months ago I joined forces with four fellow artists to explore the idea of making new artwork in response to historic locations around Yorkshire. This was a bold experiment for me but I couldn’t resist because Lorna Barrowclough, Hondartza Fraga, Carla Moss, Valerie Zwart and I have so many cross-over interests – and we are now good friends as well. I […]