… author of Escape From Furnace, The Fury, The Inventors, and the brand new Devil's Engine series


I’ve just got back from the Hay Festival, and what a weekend it was! Along with most people who are blogging about the event, I’d just like to start by mentioning the weather. I mean it really was like an entire year’s worth of seasons squished into two days. Saturday afternoon was as beautiful and balmy as a summer’s day, with everybody walking around in T-shirts and whistling chirpy tunes and generally turning rather alarming shades of crimson. By the evening however, it was as bitterly cold as a winter night, with red cheeks in every direction for a different reason.

Sunday saw the heavens open, and I mean really open. I was outside for about five minutes scuttling from the car to the festival site and I got absolutely drenched! Ridiculous! In the course of the day I changed my clothes three times and each time only minutes later it was like Id been for a dip in the Wye. It certainly put a bit of a damp edge on things but being soggy was a small price to pay for being at such a great festival!

My event itself was buffeted by some of the fiercest winds in the history of winds (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly felt that way)! I was performing in the Book People’s Workshop and it was sold out, which was great! But the wind was doing its best to get inside, and the tent was rattling and groaning and whipping so much that I thought it was going to take off! I was convinced that we’d all step outside and find that we’d been blown up to Scotland or something.

Despite the gale, I think it went okay. People were struggling to hear me to start with but then a microphone was wheeled in. It’s the first time I’ve used one and it was difficult to resist the temptation to do a Tom Jones impersonation. The audience were fantastic, and came up with some brilliant inventions. Hopefully some of them will try and write a story for the ‘Invent Your Way Out Of Trouble’ competition starting soon. Thanks to everyone who came, you were all fab! Oh, and the festival even gave me a rose after I had finished, which was a lovely touch!

Once the event was over I could relax a bit (I still get so nervous before a show, I think I always will). I travelled down with my Mum and Jamie, so we all hung out in Hay for a bit visiting the book shops and a food festival and basking in the sun. Jamie and I played some American Football in a meadow, and I think I broke my finger trying to catch one throw! In the evening we went over to a camp site where some good friends of mine Luke and Sally were camped with Sal’s family (in the biggest RV I’ve ever seen). We had dinner there and chilled out a bit, which was lovely!

On Sunday, despite the rain, we had another good look round the shops (so many books!) and wandered around the festival site. Rather embarrassingly I didn’t actually manage to see any of the shows, although I did see some cool celebs in the Green Room (ooh, posh!) including Cherie Blair! To be honest it was just really nice to spend some time with Mum and Jamie, and to get a little holiday!

I’ve got some time off now before my next show, so it’s full steam ahead on Furnace 2. I’ll let you know how it goes. But thanks again to everyone at Hay for making me feel so welcome!


Yay! The Inventors and the City of Stolen Souls has just been delivered and it looks sooooooooo great! I honestly didn’t think the thrill of having a second book out would match the excitement of seeing the first, but I’m pleased to report that I was wrong. I got the same heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed, tingling-scalp feeling pulling the first copy out of the box Faber sent me as I did last year when I first saw The Inventors!

The best thing about having two books is that I can put them together on the shelf. The Inventors was getting a bit lonely up there by itself (it did have my creative writing books to keep it company, but they didn’t really talk to each other much, fiction and non-fiction just don’t seem to get on that well). The covers go perfectly, and the spines match as well, making them look like purple and red peas in a pod! I could sit and look at them all day, and in fact have done ever since they arrived. I really should get on…

But I do just want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thanks to everyone at Faber who worked so hard on the book, especially my editor Julia, her assistant Emily, plus, as always, Helena, Susan and Kate. Once again you’ve made mine and Jamie’s dreams come true and we will be forever grateful!

To celebrate the book coming out we had a lovely lunch at mum’s on Sunday, complete with a bottle of champagne (ooo, la de da!) and lots of crisps (that’s more like it). It was a really nice excuse for the family to get together, with my sister and her husband coming over and even my gran hobbling up the road to join the fun. The highlight of the day had to be playing Pictionary, although Jamie and I were beaten by Kate and Simon. But they are married, so can probably read each other’s minds, which is cheating obviously.

Anyway, I really had better get on. We’re driving down (across?) to Hay tomorrow for the festival and I’ve lost the cable thingy that goes with my sat nav. And if I don’t have the nice lady telling me where to go then I’ll end up in Bolton.
Hope to see some of you down there!

A trip to the sea!

What can be better, in weather like this, than to take a trip to the seaside? That’s exactly what I did on Sunday. I drove up to Sheringham with Kate (my sister), Nathan (poet, great friend and managing editor of Egg Box) plus his girlfriend Jennifer (who is going to direct our horror film next year). We went to my dad’s, as he lives about two minutes from the beach, and chilled out there for a bit in his gorgeous garden. Then we all strolled down to the seafront and basked for a while in the glorious weather!

It got so hot that I even decided to go for a swim! It was absolutely freezing when I first got in, like being dunked in a bath full of cold water with ice cubes in it! But after a while it warmed up (either that or I just went numb all over), and it was so refreshing! I stayed in for about half an hour and when I came out I was a very alarming shade of pink.

Afterwards we headed back to dad’s for a barbeque, which really didn’t do my diet much good at all. Although the double angry wopper I guzzled down after going to Brighton had already scuppered it I think. It was a really relaxing day, and just what I needed! It was great to see dad too, we really don’t see each other as much as we should do.

Anyway, The Inventors 2 should be at the Faber offices in a couple of days, I can’t wait!!!