Find out what progress I'm making with new books, and hear about my plans
stocks last, the Joslin de Lay Mysteries,
the Hare Trilogy and Out of the Mouths of
Babes are sold as new, signed by the author and
personally dedicated to the buyer if specified
! Click here
If you want to see want you can buy
that is currently in print, there is an
update to this section here.
For links to buy books secondhand through Amazon Marketplace, see
the complete works here.
You can purchase all my current books at Amazon, and you can even get the older ones from Amazon marketplace.
Now available from OUP
paperback edition of Mystery Stories - click on the picture. From
creepy school computers to bungling bank robbers; from lost villages to
deadly Christmas presents :
Sunday 14th August 2011
been in the writing game now for nearly forty years. When I first
started doing school visits, I was so pleased when kids came up to me
and said, "I've read all your books." As the years went by, I was even
more pleased when they said, "My Mum says she read all your books."
When they started saying, "My Gran loved your books when she was
little," I wondered - just for a moment - whether my time might be up.
I suppose that in a sense it is. Being published by such as
Scholastic, OUP, Walker, Franklin Watts, once something I took almost
for granted, now seems a far-off dream. Thus is the hubris of
the complacent writer extinguished. Now I'm on my own and everything
has changed. Part of me feels like a farmer who has thrown off his
ruinous Tesco contract , opened his farm shop to sell direct and now
sniffs the heady air of freedom. The other part feels scared stiff.
why should I be? I have a long list of books to kindle. Some are out of
print. People have enjoyed them in the past so surely they can live
again. Some are new. Some are still to be written. But though the great
days of getting contracts before a word was on paper have gone for
ever, so, I hope, has the feeling of impotence when you're writing on
spec, with no clue whether your book will ever be read by anyone
outside your own house but with a strong suspicion that it won't be. In
the end, all a writer wants is to be read. Being part of a community of
writers bound together by past achievement and present quality is a
terrific privilege and it's why I'm blogging now.
Anyway, first up will be all six of The Joslin de Lay Mysteries.
that's what they used to be called. I can't blame anybody but myself
for such a limp title for a whole sequence. It sounds like Agatha
Christie or The Midsomer Murders.
So, from now on it's either going to be The Quest of Joslin de Lay
or The Long Journey of Joslin de Lay
. Both are stronger by far, I think, and much closer to the whole nature of the series. What do you think?
can afford to change this, by the way, because a request to Scholastic
to use the original covers first made a year ago has been at last
answered with the curtest refusal I have ever seen. That's what I mean
about publishers and primary producers. Out of print eight years,
rights reverted, what ever use can they find for them now?
I'll start with Of Dooms and Death and follow it with A Pact With Death, Hell's Kitchen, A Devil's Judgement, Angel's Snare and finally The False Father. Six
murder mysteries set in the Middle Ages, first published by Scholastic
between 1999 and 2002. They tell the story of Joslin de Lay, a young
French minstrel whose father is murdered. He starts on a journey from
France, through England to Wales to find his lost mother. Wherever he
goes - Suffolk, London, Oxford, Coventry, Hereford - death and murder
stalk him. Five separate mysteries to solve - until the last book, when
he can concentrate on the end of the quest and the solution to his own
I've always been proud of these books. When I came to
revise them for Kindle I feared that after not looking at them for some
time I might not like them after all. Never fear. I can read them now
as if someone else wrote them and - what a relief - I still like them.
In next month's blog, when the first two should be nearly ready to
appear, I'll introduce them properly.
else? I have the first two books of three set in Nelson's navy in the
Napoleonic wars: the journals of midshipman Edward Trefusis - and some
pretty hairy things happen in them. Bright Sea, Dark Graves is the title of the whole trilogy. The first story is called The Guns of St Therese: the second is entitled The Nightmares of Invasion. The third is still title-less and swashing about somewhere inside my head.
have two compilations of short stories planned, some old, some new,
some long, some short. Very short. And, biggest project of the lot, is
the Ellen Trilogy. In 2006, Walker published the first, Ellen's People, set in the first world war. In 2008 they published the second, Divided Loyalties. Both had really good reviews. Both were on several longlists and each was shortlisted once - Ellen's People for the Hampshire Book Prize, Divided Loyaltiesfor Calderdale Book of the Year. Ellen's People was published in th US by Candlewick, albeit with a new title,Without Warning. Divided Loyalties was taken and already in production. I'd made a few revisions and provided publicity blurbs. So far, so good. Cue for more hubris on my part.
Then everything went wrong. Candlewick pulled Divided Loyalties when
it was still in production, citing the dreadful state of publishing in
the US and their own need to cut titles and reduce staff. Over here
sales of Ellenand Loyalties just
weren't good enough. My agent pushed the third book, which I had
started and which many readers and reviewers had asked for. No go.
Anyway, I didn't have a three-book contract. Suddenly, my enthusiasm
for a third waned.
now both books are on the point of going o/p - if they aren't already.
Walker's alacrity when I asked for the rights to be reverted was
alarmingly noticeable. BUT - now I can finish the trilogy with an easy
mind. It will take time but will satisfy me very, very deeply.
That's it for now. Next month, more about Joslin. Or look at the section on Joslin (with the old covers shown)
Yule Logs now out !
Click on the cover to order from Amazon
Christmas has always been and always
will be a special time of year, a time either
of great happiness or great sadness and
sometimes both. Here are eight stories
of different Christmases, all of which are
memorable in their different ways.
The stories are arranged in order of
age: the first for young children, the last
There are two World War 2 stories, one
which refers to it and one which refers
to another war. There’s a football
story, a ghost story and two stories
with carols in them - and a lot more besides.
There’s a story about a really
weird Christmas guest and another about
a tumultuous family row. All
ordinary Christmases to start with, but
which turn into being anything but ordinary.
Each story has a postscript telling what
real memory lies behind it and how it came
to be written.
Many of my earlier books are back in print via the Back-to-Front
imprint of the Solidus Press. I have chosen some of my favourites to be rereleased by this new publisher. Here
are some that you can read now :
The Great Football Treble
All three books are now available. You can buy them by
clicking on the titles :
Two chilling ghost stories
You can buy them by
clicking on the titles :
Ghosts Who Waited