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Showing posts from 2013

Season's Greetings


Sketchin' and Skootin'

I'm thinking of getting a skooter.
I've been looking at pros and cons and, so far, all I have is two pros - cheaper than my mini and FUN - but a whole list of cons.
1 - I wouldn't ride it after dark (so, no winter social life).
2 - I wouldn't ride it in rain and snow (that's about 6 months of the year out, then).
3 - There would be no room for a big supermarket shop, IKEA furniture or a Christmas tree taller than about 2 feet.
4 - They don't call two-wheel travellers 'organ donors' because they have a social conscience (Surrey Hills lanes are not very safe).
5 - I would look ridiculous on a skooter!
I've just thought of another pro. I could actually park outside my own house at last, instead of half a mile away!!
There must be more good things about skootin'. Any ideas?
(P.S. Unlike the picture above, I would, of course, wear a crash helmet!)

Eeeeeek, Ghosts!

Happy Halloween!
Want a scary book to read tonight? Check out 'Scarlett Dedd' for ghosts, gore, grotesquery, grimacing, gruesomeness and lots of giggles.

Beyond Words...

I'm launching my new book, GRAPHIC, in the middle of Dyslexia Awareness Week (14th - 18th October) which is perfect. It's a dyslexia friendly book AND a really exciting story.

AND it's a book full of illustrations (of course), which is even more perfect (if that's possible) because the theme of Dyslexia Awareness Week this year is BEYOND WORDS. Dyslexia can mean that it's not just words that put your brain in a spin, it's also numbers and coordination and remembering and keeping focused and all sorts of other things.

I've struggled with all of these so I know exactly what it's like!!!

Sometimes pictures and patterns, drawing and doodling can help and I know all about that too.

To launch GRAPHIC, I'm visiting schools and chatting to pupils who, like me, get that spinning brain feeling quite a lot. We'll be looking at my book (and others by publisher, Barrington Stoke), telling stories, drawing pictures, using or imaginations and having loads of …

Rain, Train and Insane Weirdness!

I went on a trip yesterday, all the way to rainy Oxford.
Monday was sunny.
Today is sunny.
But yesterday? Yesterday was wet.
Did it ruin my day? Not one bit!

The main purpose of the trip was to brainstorm with Jo (an author friend and fellow blogger - about a joint project we are planning. Neither of us has collaborated on a book before, though we know several authors and illustrators who have. So, it could all have gone horribly wrong right at the start line if, say, we'd hated each other on sight and disagreed about everything!

I'm very pleased to say that didn't happen. How could it? Jo is lovely. She met me with a broad smile (and a fab yellow car) at the station, cooked lunch for me and drove me around all over the place in her adorable car. And her book idea is genius - a potential bestseller/TV series/Hollywood movie!

We had loads of ideas over a delicious lunch and, as we live a little far apart to meet regularly, we devised a way of working th…

Books Are My Bag

Did you go to a BOOKS ARE MY BAG party yesterday at your local bookshop? If you did, then wooooo, fun wasn't it?! If you didn't, you might have noticed a few buildings completely covered with orange balloons and bunting and wondered what all the bloomin' fuss was about. Well, the fuss is about bookshops, which, despite ebooks and online sales, are still very cool places to visit. Especially when you pop in on a wet Saturday and meet amazing people like these...
A 'bag' of lovely authors (and poets) who were all at Barton's Bookshop, Leatherhead, yesterday - Antonia Cridland, John Griffin, Liam McCann, Roz Morris, Geoff Saunders and Harriet Steel (Prue). Oh, and Peter (with the very funky matching orange watch strap) who invited us to his BOOKS ARE MY BAG party! I forgot to draw Cameron. Sorry Cameron.

Back to School!

Calling all librarians and teachers!
I'm coming back to school!

After a short break (to write and draw a lot) I'm launching two new books and two new workshops. Click on the SCHOOLS button above for more details.


I'm packing for Edinburgh (cardi weather, apparently) and getting awfully excited about meeting lots of lovely book peeps at the EdBookFest over the next two days. I'm having tea and cake with Karen McCombie (and the girls from Barrington Stoke), catching up with the gorgeous editor of my first 4 books Hannah Sheppard, hoping to get a quick it's-been-too-long hug from Headline publicist Sam Eades (as she dashes past organising Neil Gaiman's phenomenal book tour) and then shmoozing with my scribbler mates in the author yurt.

If you're in Edinburgh, do come along to my event with the festival's Illustrator in Residence Barroux on Thursday (Part of the new and very exciting STRIPPED Graphic  Novel and Comic Festival). I'll be talking about EVERYTHING IS FINE (AND OTHER LIES I TELL MYSELF) and discussing our passion for telling WWI stories in pictures with Barroux. Tickets still available. (Neil Gaiman is sold out so come along to ours, it'll be loads bette…

A Perfect Holiday Read

What are you doing this summer? Will you go to the beach ? Might you slob about and read lots of books? Will you hang out with your friends and flirt with someone you fancy? Will you be waiting and hoping for something exciting to happen?

If your answer to all of these questions is 'yes' then you are just like Esther, the girl in my latest book. Esther's story begins on the last day of term and the start of the summer holidays. This week, in fact! If you get a copy now you can follow her story in real time.

But that's not the only reason you should put EVERYTHING IS FINE (AND OTHER LIES I TELL MYSELF) at the top of your holiday reading list. I think you will love Esther's story because it is full to the brim with sunshine, surfers, movie stars and beach parties. Not to mention having to cope with a troubled family, a heart-breaking mystery and a massive storm.

A perfect summer holiday read. Click here to buy it?

Based on a True Story

Lots of books are based on a true story. This week I created a mini picture book / graphic novel that's based on a true story. Here are two extracts...
Cute couple aren't they? And how do I know it's a true story? Because it's the story of my 'rents.
Congratulations on your GOLDEN Wedding Anniversary Mum and Dad! xx

Hooray for Hay Wi-Fi!

I had no internet connection for most of yesterday. I had planned to write this blog and post pictures of my weekend in Hay-on-Wye and check in on Twitter and Facebook and chat with all my mates. Then I saw that nasty orange light on the router, instead of the reassuring green one, and my world fell apart. I know you think I'm exaggerating but really, I'm not. I just hadn't realised quite how much I rely on my broadband internet connection to keep me sane. Even in Hay-on-Wye at the Festival - which is in the middle of nowhere and where mobile phones are pretty much useless - at least they had Wi-Fi. Back home in Surrey, a hop and a skip from London, spending a few hours without the internet I might as well have been paddling a boat up the Amazon. Solo.
Like many authors and illustrators, I have lots of online friends, people I 'talk' to every day but have never met in the flesh. So, last weekend at the Hay Festival was a rare opportunity to finally do that. I parti…

Everything Is Fine - The Trailer

The trailer for EVERYTHING IS FINE (AND OTHER LIES I TELL MYSELF) went live today and it's already making people cry! That wasn't my intention, honest! Well... alright... perhaps it was... a bit.

It took months to film it - almost as long as writing the book - because I had to wait for the weather to change so I could secure that sun-drenched beach and sand dune footage. Let me know what you think...


I have a new book coming out next month, yay! On May 9th, in fact. It feels like days, not a WHOLE YEAR, since I was writing it and now it's about to hit the bookshelves. It's been 12+ months of very hard work and I can't wait to show it to you. I'll be celebrating the launch of
'Everything Is Fine (And other Lies I Tell Myself)' with a small party at my favourite indie bookshop, Barton's in Leatherhead, on Saturday May 11th. You are invited to come along and have some Pimms (over 18s) and cake and, of course, to get a freshly minted 'signed' copy of the book.

New ideas that didn't set my hair on fire

There are a handful of questions that, without fail, infiltrate almost every Q&A session at the end of my writing/drawing workshops. I've been assured by other authors/illustrators that I'm not alone in regularly fielding this handful. They are: 1. Are you rich? (no), 2. Can I have some free books, please? (though, sadly, not always with the 'please'), 3. Are those really your drawings? (yes), 4. Can you put me in your next book? (the villain?) and 5. Where do you get your ideas from?

My replies to all five often disappoint, particularly the last one, because the answer is everywhere and everything. I'm sometimes a little more specific but that really is the most honest answer I can give. Sorry if it's not more romantic like nocturnal visits from a ghostly muse, or flashes of inspiration that set my hair on fire. Just, you know, standing at the Sainsbury's checkout and noticing a wobbly trolley wheel and thinking... car crash! (As you do. If you're…


Here's a sneak peak at my current WIP (Work In Progress). Bet you can't guess what it's about. Check back here later in the year for details and a publishing date.

Secret School Project Revealed

Now that it's officially been unveiled I'm able to share my Top Secret New Year Project. During the Christmas break I've been painting a mural at The Howard of Effingham School. It's a great school with a brilliant library and I'm regularly invited to run creative workshops for Year 7s and 8s. Apart from book publication days, visits to The Howard are the highlight of my year.

Here's the full story...

My task was to 'make reading cool' and to make the English Department an exciting place to be, so my proposal was to depict a mixture of set texts (Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Keats etc.) and my favourite YA fiction, giving them a quirky twist... and a liberal dash of humour.

At the end of last term the plot was hatched. Secret meetings were scheduled. Ideas were submitted. Sketches were approved. The dark, dreary walls of the English Department corridor suddenly acquired a set of huge MDF boards. The pupils suspected that something was afoot but knew th…