The Year Ahead

Two weeks in and 2013 is looking pretty eclectic. Just the way I like it.

There hasn’t been any time for hibernating. I’ve just finished inking the interior illustrations for The Shadow Lantern and, any day now, the typeset script will come back to me for proofreading. By the end of this month, the book will be ready for reproduction and I will begin looking forward to the first of May, its publication date.

I’m also juggling a couple of other projects […]

January 15th, 2013|

The Next Big Thing!

Last week children’s author and friend Lynne Rickards kindly ‘tagged’ me in her blog post called ‘The Next Big Thing’. I was one of five authors she mentioned – just as she had been mentioned along with four other writers in author Lari Don‘s blog the week before. Each tagged author answers some set questions about his or her current project and tags five more authors whose work s/he admires. This ‘meme’ has grown and grown in the […]

November 15th, 2012|


Things have been go, go, go since I last wrote a post on this blog – which I am ashamed to say is many months! What’s been going on since I got back from Finland in April? Let’s see. I finished a first draft of a new book, revised it, did quite a few events around Scotland, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, went to the USA, did a lot of paperwork, constant social networking on my Facebook page […]

September 6th, 2012|

Special Places: Pasila Library, Helsinki

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 […]

April 10th, 2012|

Special Places: The Estonian Children’s Literature Centre

I recently traveled across the Baltic Sea to Tallinn in Estonia and found not only a beautiful, atmospheric medieval city to explore, but a fantastic children’s book centre and library in the Old Town. The Estonian Children’s Literature Centre was established in 1933 and its archive library collects children’s books and periodicals in Estonian and published in Estonia, world classics in children’s literature and awarded books in their original languages, reference materials on children’s literature and illustrations from children’s […]

April 9th, 2012|

Helsinki: Another Exciting Week in the World of Finnish Books

My inspirational week started when I visited Villa Kivi overlooking lovely, frozen Töölönlahti Bay. This beautiful house is known as the Writer’s House and ever since it was built in 1890, it has been associated with literature. Famous Finnish writers and linguists lived and visited there until it fell into disrepair and the city of Helsinki bought the building and gave it to the Kivi-house Foundation in 1985.

Villa Kivi was renovated by the Kivi-house Foundation, which was founded to improve […]

March 31st, 2012|

Sunday on Suomenlinna

The fog lifted and the sun came out this morning. For the first time, I saw Helsinki under crystal blue skies and realised how close it is to Suomenlinna. Helsinki is a low-rise city. The Russian Orthodox church pictured next to the two Viking Line ships is one of the tallest buildings on the skyline. I watched the trucks loading onto the ferries bound for Stockholm and could actually hear the clanks and bumps from across the water.

Suomenlinna is one of […]

March 18th, 2012|

Helsinki: Exhibitions and Events

Sometimes you arrive in a new place, knowing absolutely nothing about it, and you are guided, as if by magic, to where you want to be. One of the first things I hoped to see was a bookstore. But a chance visit to the tourist info office meant that I found a brochure about a children’s book cafe that’s been set up in cooperation with World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. What caught my eye was the jubilee exhibition of […]

March 17th, 2012|

Helsinki: Arrival at 60° North

I haven’t quite caught up with the fact that I am now in Finland.

I learned just over two weeks ago that I had been selected for a Helsinki International Arts Programme residency and it felt slightly unreal. The Scottish Book Trust, who are administering the two new residencies for Scotland-based children’s writers, pulled out all the stops and rapidly got everything set up for my arrival. I packed my gear and said goodbye to the daffodils, knowing I was unlikely […]

March 16th, 2012|

What I’m Working on Now #6

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 […]

March 2nd, 2012|

The Crimson Shard Book Launch

In spite of rain and wind, a great crowd of well-wishers joined me on 1 October to celebrate the publication of The Crimson Shard, the follow-up to The Blackhope Enigma. I was pleased to see old and new friends, artists, librarians and teachers among them. Lindsey Fraser, of Fraser Ross Associates, gave a lovely introduction and I did […]

October 12th, 2011|

WASPS Artists Open Studios Weekend 2011…

…and the launch of THE CRIMSON SHARD!

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 […]

September 26th, 2011|

A Visit to Doon Hill

In which I encounter fairies.

It started as a typical forest walk in the Stirlingshire countryside. We passed the Old Kirk cemetery (of that, dear reader, you shall hear more close to Hallowe’en.) and set off past a few houses towards a path leading up the wooded mound that is Doon Hill. I have always wanted to visit because of its strange legend. A seventeenth-century clergyman, the Reverend Robert Kirk, is said to have either died or disappeared there after […]

September 5th, 2011|

New Competition!

I’m celebrating my Facebook page achieving 100 followers AND Blackhope‘s publication in the USA by launching a little competition.

You can win a signed paperback copy of both The Blackhope Enigma and The Crimson Shard (which will be published on 1 October in the UK), plus a hand-cut raven silhouette (made by me) and a leather-bound notebook with an original sketch on the first page (also by me). The deadline is 5 September […]

August 22nd, 2011|

Ravens and The Blackhope Enigma

My latest post at The History Girls blog.

Ravens figure prominently in The Blackhope Enigma so I decided to explore the history and mythology of our clever feathered friends (or is that fiends?). Click here to visit The History Girls blog and learn more about corvids!

August 12th, 2011|