It’s official! I have two new websites that are linked under one umbrella – or should I say tree? It’s taken months to get all the materials together for my new author site and to update my illustrator site, but I think it was well worth the effort.
It’s wonderful to have the sites ready in time for the launch of The Shadow Lantern on 1 May. I hope you’ll click here to check out my new landing page and navigate to both sites from there. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
UK readers, it’s only a matter of weeks until The Shadow Lantern is published by Templar Publishing! You can now pre-order the final book in the Blackhope Enigma trilogy online. I’ve made it easier for you by including some links here.
I’m pleased to announce that ace book blogger Serendipity Reviews is the first to reveal The Shadow Lantern‘s cover here. Once again, I’m thrilled with the fine work Tom Sanderson of The Parish has done with the design. I couldn’t have asked for more appropriate and classy covers for all three books!
It’s been a week since I said goodbye to The Shadow Lantern and wished it well on its journey to the printer. The next time I see it, the pile of papers that made up the proof copy will have been transformed into a bound book with another stunning cover. One small part of me feels a bit melancholy about finishing my characters’ stories, but mostly I am excited about the book launch and UK tour later this spring.
It still feels slightly unreal to have created three novels. If anyone had told me seven years ago that I would morph into a novelist, I would have laughed in disbelief. But the sudden urge to start writing The Blackhope Enigma was so strong, I knew I had to go with it. The process was never easy because I had so much to learn (and always will!) about crafting stories, but it was fascinating and fulfilling. Knowing so many young people (and adults) had enjoyed reading it really spurred me on. By the time I began planning The Crimson Shard, I was hooked on my characters and their stories. The sequel grew organically out the first book and as soon as I had finished it, I knew that there would be a third and final story.
I’ve always loved trilogies. There is something about the number three that is quite powerful and complete for me. I feel very proud of all three books and am looking forward to presenting The Shadow Lantern to the world in just a few months.
I was given a lovely tour of Pasila Library last week (which has this stunning water feature). It’s Helsinki’s main library with almost 200,000 items, including materials in over 100 languages which can be sent all over Finland to other communities. Pasila Library does a particularly good job of supporting immigrants who are learning Finnish and about local culture.
I was very impressed with the whole library, but especially the children’s section, which had an excellent selection of books in English and many other languages. Many older Finnish children read in English, which I find pretty astounding, and there is plenty for them to enjoy here. The children’s area is decorated with quite a few animal sculptures and one very pretty water spirit. There is also an activity room where children come to paint and even to knit while they are read to by the librarian.
The library takes an active role in inviting young children to become library users, creating brochures, invitations and games that encourage them to visit. They even produced a high-end sticker game showing cartoon characters using the library.
The tiger is one of many sculptures in the children's department.
Many thanks to the enthusiastic librarians for showing me around and giving me some of their very interesting materials to take back to Scotland. And you can see a few more pictures of the library’s sculptures here.
It’s been October 2011 on this blog for far too long. Yes, it’s already five months since I posted after The Crimson Shard launch. Those months have been a whirlwind of travel, book promotion and planning the next project.
I’ve been from Bangkok to Boston and some other lovely places in between. I toured around West Sussex twice, speaking to avid readers and enjoying the wonderful countryside. Last week I attended the Scottish Children’s Book Awards (in these shoes), for which The Blackhope Enigma was short-listed, and saw a scene from my book performed live by talented young actors from the Lyceum Youth Theatre.
I am incredibly thankful for my creative life right now. There are several very exciting things happening that I will be revealing here soon. The top news is that I am writing a third book in the series that started with Blackhope. This will round out the series into a trilogy and I find that immensely satisfying. When I first set out to write a novel, I had no idea that it would evolve into a sequel and then another. The whole thing has happened organically. Each of the books can stand alone and yet they have links that pull them together into a whole.
After having written two books featuring Sunni and Blaise, my teenage characters, it’s great to be telling the next part of their adventure together. And it’s just as much an adventure for me to find out what they are going to do next!
Next weekend’s Artists Open Studios event coincides with the publication of my second illustrated historical fantasy novel for age 9+, The Crimson Shard, published by Templar Books. I’ll be opening my studio and displaying original paintings, drawings and limited edition prints, but I’ll also be taking time out to read from The Crimson Shard in the Gallery area of our building. These will be short tasters and will take place at 1pm and 3pm. Both The Blackhope Enigma and The Crimson Shard will be on sale and I’ll be signing them, of course! If you can’t make it to the Studios this weekend, but would like to read a sampler or buy either book, click here.
Click here for information on how to find the building.
It’s out on July 1 in the UK and ready for pre-order now.
Could I ask for a more classy cover on my first children’s novel? I think not!
Tom Sanderson from The Parish studio designed it, and I am delighted that he included my pen and ink labyrinth drawing behind the title.
The other big news is that The Blackhope Enigma is now available for pre-order here at the Templar website, along with a free download sample from the book.
We have some really exciting things planned in the lead up to publication, and I’ll be telling you more about the story and how I wrote it as we count down to July 1!