Years have a funny way of creeping up on us, don’t they? We think we know exactly where they are then some time around August they hide behind our backs, jump out and whack us in the face with a fist full of December. BAM! The year’s out. Done and dusted. And all those ambitions will have to wait until next year. So I’m ending 2014 with a few intentions left hanging, the biggy being the completion of my third book. I haven’t finished it, but I’m really, really close.
Even so I’d say 2014 has been a much more settled and satisfying year than any of the last half dozen. If you read my blog post this time last year you might recall I described it as the best and worst of times. At least 2014 has had less bumps in the road, even if the highs haven’t been quite as high. Here’s my year:
With a belly full of chocolate and a head full of good intentions I set out to dominate the literary landscape. My first plan, to elaborately murder all other children’s writers is soon dismissed as I’m not big on driving, and they live all over the country! I fall back on plan B: write stuff.
Sorrowline is on the longlist for the prestigious Brandford Boase Award. Even though it didn’t make the cut for the shortlist I’m still thrilled. But it’s not the only awards news: Sorrowline is also short-listed for the Spellbinding 2014 award. And Read Regional kicks off!
To coincide with World Book Day Timesmith is published in the UK! I do a launch event in my local Waterstones and I feel like a proper author!
I’m temporarily teleported to an alternative dimension where I’m the only author. I’m hailed as a gold-like hero and am promoted to the board of Waterstones AND Amazon. For a few short weeks books outsell nappies, chocolate and shampoo. But the stress of writing ALL books is just too much and my pen runs out of ink. I return home in shame after the great Waterstones/Amazon War wipes out the entire population of East Grinstead.
Spring spings and I boing all over the place! I make a return trip to Sweden at the invitation of The English Bookshop and meet lots of very friendly readers.
Sorrowline is published in Brazil! This is the third foreign language edition of my first book after Germany and Thailand. I also do quite a few events including one for the National Literary Trust at St James’ Park in Newcastle. But it’s not the only unusual event: I talk at the launch of the Cultural Ambassadors scheme in my home town and take part in a live chat show in a comedy club in Newcastle! Normal service resumes next month.
I have a blast working with the super talented Mark Jobe helping the pupils of Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough to write, develop and animate their own film about climate change. The project even won a few awards and was screened at a festival in Hollywood!
Time for a break! I have a family holiday in Spain and, while on a day trip to the beautiful city of Barcelona, I have a strange literary encounter. I’m reading George Orwell’s 1984 when I stumble into square named after the great man! I had no idea he had such a big connection to the city until that moment. I’ve now read more about his life and have realised what a fascinating figure he was.
I attend FantasyCon in York. It’s my first fantasy convention and I have a great time meeting up with lots of other Team Mushens authors. It’s also my first visit to The District CE Primary in Newton-le-Willows where I’m Patron of Reading. The staff and pupils have such enthusiasm for books!
I’m deep into writing my next book, a dystopian sci-fi adventure about two siblings facing the end of the world! I’m hoping to finish by Christmas, but it might take a bit longer than that. It’s good to be writing something new again.
I’m involved with a writing workshop for the pupils of The Avenue Primary School in Middlesbrough, helping them create their own story for a play about electricity consumption. Over a series of workshops they brainstorm ideas, develop characters and story then rehearse and perform the play.
The brilliant staff at the District CE reveal their Story Steps, and I’m thrilled to be one of the steps! I can’t wait to visit them again in the New Year and see it for myself.
It’s the end of the year already! It’s been a bit of a blur, hasn’t it? As Christmas fades away I’m still working on the new project. There’s a lot of story to tell so I’m not worried that it’s taken me longer than I’d hoped. Roll on 2015 and a fresh year to squander! I hope the New Year is good to you, thanks for your support during 2014.