Archive for December, 2013

All Change!

2013 has been a weird year for me. I moved house twice and had six books published, but not one of the six was a new novel.
So in 2014, I plan to stay put, publish fewer books and get stuck into some serious novel writing.
It seems weird that I published more books than even before in a year when I was distracted by house moves (and selling and buying and decorating and lawyers and packing and unpacking – all of which manages to be both boring and stressful.) However almost all the books I published in 2013 were written in 2012 or even 2011, and not one of them was a novel.
I was delighted with the new books though: The Magic Word has the most amazingly magical and funny pictures by Claire Keay and my first proper cat character (hello Beanie…); Masha and the Bear is possibly my favourite of the Barefoot Animal Stories so far, because I think Masha is the cleverest little heroine (nothing like Little Red Riding Hood – she doesn’t need anyone to rescue her from the animal she meets in the woods); but I love the Hungry Wolf too, because the lamb in that is so cheeky that you almost feel sorry for the wolf, and Melanie Williamson’s pictures of the daft wolf still make me laugh out loud.

2013's picture books

2013’s picture books

So, three beautiful books with great pictures and stories that I’m proud of. I hope I’ve done that before though.
The big change for me in 2013, apart from the constant house moves, was the publication of my first (and second and third) collections of myths and folklore. I’ve retold old stories before, in the Mountain’s Blood, or the gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood. But this year, full length collections of Scottish stories (Breaking The Spell), heroine legends (Girls, Goddesses and Giants) and winter stories (Winter’s Tales) all came out. I wrote the Scottish stories a couple of years ago, and the heroine tales last year. Winter’s Tales is the only book out this year which I actually wrote this year – it was pulled together in the spring before the first house move.
And I am so happy about these collections. Every single one contains stories that I love sharing with children, stories which inspire the fiction and novels that I write, and it is wonderful being able to share them with even more people.
Breaking The Spell includes the legend of Tam Linn, Girls Goddesses and Giants includes a seven-headed dragon, and Winter’s Tales includes Loki the Viking trickster god – all stories I love sharing, all stories which have inspired plots and scenes in the First Aid for Fairies series.

2013's myths, legends and folktales

2013’s myths, legends and folktales

Though it was weird writing these stories down! These are stories that I tell all the time in schools and libraries and at book festivals, to show what inspires my fiction, so I was typing exactly what I tell. And I think that’s worked (the books are getting really good reviews and reactions anyway…) It was also a fascinating challenge choosing the right balance of stories – dark and light, long and short, gory and funny, stories from lots of different places – and researching the background to them all. It felt like being a student again, only getting to choose my favourite thing in the world (stories!) to write my essays on.
So, lots of new books this year. Which is great. But unfortunately, there wasn’t much new writing in 2013. I often say that I can write anywhere: trains, staffrooms, cafes, outside dance studios… but that only works so long as I have my own study to go home to at night, so I can pull it all together. But when I didn’t know where I’d be writing next, and when all my stuff was in boxes, it was really hard to see ahead in novels, to concentrate on what happens next. So my writing this year has been a bit stop start…
Anyway, that was 2013. Three different studies and six different books. But no novels. I do feel bad about that.
However, 2014 is nearly here. And there’s a novel!
In March 2014 my first teen novel, a thriller called Mind Blind, will be published by KelpiesTeen. And I am SO excited.

Mind Blind

Mind Blind

This is another big change for me. Mind Blind is for older readers, it’s not about magic, it has some very nasty characters and some very dark and dangerous scenes. I loved writing it (last year…) I loved editing it (this year, on lots of different floors in lots of different houses) and I am so excited about what readers will think of it (next year!)
And also, now that I’m settled in my lovely new bigger brighter study, I’m working on a new adventure. But I can’t tell you about that yet. You’ll have to wait until next year, or maybe even the year after….

(And yes, those are not-yet-unpacked boxes in the background of the photos. I’d rather write than unpack…)