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

Fan Art Friday!!!

It’s Friday AGAIN!! Where do the weeks go?! The summer holidays have ended and it’s back to school / work / Furnace Penitentiary (well, hopefully not) for most of us. But there’s always Halloween to look forward to!! :-)

To celebrate the weekend, here’s another awesome piece of Fan Art, this time from superfan Tommy! I LOVE this portrait of Alex, taken from Execution. The expression on his face is totally saying “I am going to kick some evil ass!!!!!” Thank you so much, Tommy!!

If you’d like to see your artwork here, as well as on my official Facebook page, all you have to do is email it to me!

Have a great weekend, y’all!!

(I don’t know why I said “y’all”, I’m from England.)

Alex Sawyer in Execution, by Tommy

Walking Through Hell…

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Hell, as depicted by Hieronymus Bosch. The hell in The Devil’s Engine… is worse!!

I push up, the fires of hell right behind me, the screams of the demons like razored claws in my back. The weight of the world presses down on me but I can’t give up now, there’s daylight in sight, above me, just the faintest trickle. I fight on, dirt beneath my nails, my lungs on fire, every muscle drenched in acid. I’m nearly there, it’s so close…

Then I burst into the sun, I claw my way out of the mud, out of the blood, out of the festering ruin of hell… I’m free! I’m free!

So yeah, that’s kind of how it feels, having just finished the last chapter of The Devil’s Engine: Hellwalkers. (I love that my autocorrect wants to change that to Hillwalkers, which sounds like the over-seventies version of the book). Writing any book is difficult, but writing the final book in a series is always a huge undertaking. You have so much responsibility. Not least to your characters. I mean, you create these guys, throw them into hell (literally, in this case), you give them this huge undertaking. You come to love them, really love them, like they were your children. And you want the end of the story to work for them. I mean not all of them, some of them will die, horribly, but you want to be able to save as many of them as you can. And you want them to be able to step out of the end of the story and say, “Wow, that was incredible.”

You have a responsibility to yourself, too. A responsibility to tell the very best story you are capable of. I think I have. I’ve tried. I gave this everything I had and I think it works, I think it’s a story I can be proud of. I put my heart and soul into this—sometimes I think I literally put my soul into it… I wrote the last few chapters in a fit of sobs, because it felt like this was an actual piece of me I was pouring out. I know for a fact that I gave this as much of myself as I was able.

But the biggest responsibility, for a writer, is to YOU, the reader. I mean, I write these stories for you, nobody else. I want you to come out of this series feeling a little like I did when I finished writing it. Not screaming and pooping your pants (well, not just that), but going through that amazing process of closing the book, taking what feels like your first breath in forever, wiping the sweat from your brow and seeing the world around you like you’ve never really seen it before. I LOVE that feeling, the mix of exhaustion and delirium and relief and disappointment that you’ve left this fictional place and these fictional people and you’ll never go back there—not until you start reading again. I want you to feel like you’ve been on an incredible journey, an unforgettable adventure to hell and back. I want you to feel like you’re giving these characters a hug and saying, “Thank you for sticking by my side. We did it. We did it.”

It seems like a lifetime ago that the idea for this series popped into my head. I was walking down the street, listening to Hans Zimmer, and I had a sudden image of a girl fighting demons in a parking lot, and a boy stumbling into the chaos by accident. From that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the idea just grew and grew and grew. It always seems to happen this way—I have no real memory of actually writing these books, but I can remember every explosion, every monster scream, every stench of hell like I was actually there. I’m settling back into the real world now like I’ve been away for a while. It may take me a while before I stop flinching at every backfiring exhaust, and thinking that there are demons inside my house every time one of my kids yells out…

I’ll be speaking a little more about the process of writing this series soon, until then here’s the two tunes I was listening to that formed the heart of this series. The first is from Superman Returns, and is the one I was listening to when the idea for the story first occurred to me. The second is from The Thin Red Line, and I had it on repeat while I was writing the last few chapters of Hellwalkers (whilst sobbing my heart out in front of two very confused pugs…).

Thanks so much to those of you who have said lovely things about these books, and to everyone who is a fan. You guys are amazing!! :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw08JBvYj7E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnooGOhLIdM

 

2 Fat Authors

I’m not sure if anyone saw this, but a few years back awesome author Barry Hutchison and I took  a good, long, naked look at ourselves (ourselves, mind, not each other) and thought, “We’re fat.” So we decided to do something about it. We would blog about our battle with our love handles publicly, and weigh in each and every week to reveal how we were doing.

Well, three years later, and the results are in…

We’re still fat.

Yes, 2 Fat Authors fell by the wayside, because neither of us had the willpower to actually lose weight. I mean, it started well, we both lost over a stone. But then life got in the way, and as most overweight people will tell you life is full of things like Giant Chocolate Buttons, and Fried Mars Bars. And cheese. Oh, god, how I love cheese.

*runs off to eat some cheese*

Anyway, I’ve been thinking for a long time now that I need to get back on the old bellywagon. Daughter number three has just entered our lives and I’m finding it a constant struggle to keep up with all three of them (especially the four-year-old, as it’s not too hard to keep up with a baby and a teenager who rarely leaves her computer…). I really, really don’t want to be one of those dads who chases his kids around the park for five minutes before collapsing into a sweating, heaving, jellified mass while other kids’ parents call the paramedics and everyone’s crying and I’m trying to wheeze “No, don’t panic, it was just the tub of Pringle-flavoured double cream I had for second breakfast”, etc.

And for anyone who is friends with me on Facebook (send me a friend request!!), you’ll know that 90% of my posts are memes about being hungry and/or fat. Like this one:

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Haha, that cat is really hungry.

Hence this post. 2 Fat Authors is now officially back on. We’re putting less pressure on ourselves this time, because we’re big soft authors and we obviously can’t handle the stress. But the weekly weigh-ins will stay, for me anyway. As will the various diets and exercise regimes I try along the way. Any words of encouragement, or (knowing most of my friends) mockery will be gratefully received. Like before, it won’t be a crash diet or anything like that, it’s about changing our lifestyle and our attitude to food to make ourselves healthier and happier.

My first weigh-in was yesterday, and it came in at…

weighin 1

Yep, 16 stone, 8.2 pounds.

Ouch.

It’s not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but it’s only about seven pounds shy of that.

So, healthy living, here we come. I’ll weigh in again next Friday, tune in and see how it goes!

Over to you, Barry!!

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