As a rule, I like surprises -
So long as they're not the big spider in the bed, aliens with a vendetta visitation, sudden summons to judgement day, or even worse... pub running out of beer type.
Surprises are particularly something writers seek to spring, whether with characters or stories, because they make for memorable books.
And as a rule, I don't like assumptions.
I know I shouldn't make them, tell myself not to, but I do; as, I imagine, do most of us.
Because it's a human failing, right?
But in favour of assumptions - they often lead to surprises of the pleasant sort.Read more
I've been playing with voices for my new book, and (1) enjoying it enormously, but also (2) reflecting how it's something we all do in life.
I'm not sure if my narrator is going to be. Abrupt. And terse. Really uptight. And jagged.
Or much more relaxed, flowing and gentle, florid and feeling, elegant and eloquent.
But then, we all adapt our voices according to our needs.
I was with Cambridge University this week, trying to encourage more state school students from my dear south west to apply.
And I noticed how my voice changed throughout the session; from more formal with the teachers, to more relaxed and yoof speak with da kidz.Read more
I like a metaphor as much as a duck likes bread (see what I did there? Oh, I'm on form today. Watch out!)
The reason for such chirpiness? Trumpet fanfare on standby...
I've had an idea.
Now don't be unkind and say - is that it? Big deal. What's he on about now, etc?
Firstly, ideas are the most precious of commodities, for a writer and just about everyone else.
All creativity, innovation, exploration, discovery, understanding and so many other wonderful journeys start with the idea.
Secondly, I rather like this idea. Actually, that's very British understatement.Read more
Why does the alarm always sound when you're in the middle of a really great dream? Why do footballers wear such bad suits? Why is that pair of shoes you like never available in your size?
The world is full of questions. And the answers can make a real difference to a life.
This is a question I came up with this week. (Yes, I know I'm weird, but bear with me.)
I'm doing an event for a bunch of a hundred highly talented state school youngsters at the end of the month.
They're the future leaders, real achievers, and will go onto the best universities in the next couple of years. Or they should, anyway.
Because there's a problem, a real issue they have to face first.Read more
I've been asked the same question quite a few times this week -
How does it feel?
It's a reference to my new old book, or my old new book, which even by my standards is a weird way of putting it.
To explain -
A new publisher, the excellent Fahrenheit Press, kindly came along and asked to republish my back list of novels.
And first up, the start of the series, out this week...