GET ME IN THE STUDIO!
Have you got a long car journey coming up as you head off for your hols? Might I suggest a little - ah - in car
or in ear
entertainment..? After years of not getting round to it I have FINALLY recorded my first audiobook independently - working with my ever so handy husband Simon (who has a recording studio). THE SHAPESHIFTER: Dowsing the Dead
is now available as an audio download on Amazon/Audible! Go HERE
to listen to a sample and buy it if you like what you hear. :)
We have plans to record a load more. The first three Shapeshifter books were recorded years ago by the lovely Glen McCready but the last ones left undone. The Unleashed series also didn’t get finished. So over the next few months we will also be doing the following:
* The Shapeshifter: Stirring The Storm
* Unleashed: Speak Evil
* Unleashed: The Burning Beach
* The Shapeshifter: Feather & Fang
* Destination Earth
* Death By Detention
* Broken Mouth (short story collection)
Of course, now that I’ve committed to reading all of these aloud, I realise I have made a TERRIBLE MISTAKE. I have put SO many characters with accents in! And now I will have to try to do the accents. Wish me luck...
More on my AudioBook Odyssey soon...
NIGHT SPEAKERS WINS HULL CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD
I was SO delighted to win the Hull Children’s Book Award for Night Speakers WITH fellow author Tom Palmer for Armistice Runner (pictured right of me). It was a genuine dead heat... which meant that the HCBA organisers had to hare off and order a second award. It was a fab event, in a massive big top, and loads of schools attended with their best young readers. Fellow finalist Andrew Norriss (pictured far right) was also there and, I don’t mind telling you, the partying the night before was WILD! ;)
HAY - THE BOOTS! THE BOOTS!
This year’s Hay on Wye Literary Festival was a delight. Not just because I got to do my brand new show about Night Walker, the third in my Night series with Oxford Children’s Books - but because I got the chance to wear THESE GLITTERY BABIES...
I ordered them online, unaware that they were coming all the way from flippin’ CHINA! The carbon footprint doesn’t bear thinking about. But - oh - when the box arrived and I opened it up with shaking hands, ANGELS SANG IN HEAVENLY HARMONY as the tissue paper was pushed aside and red sparkly light shone up into my wonderstruck face. If they hadn’t been the right size I would probably have cried. But they WERE!!!! They were even comfortable! I wore them for hours at Hay, getting as much attention for my boots as my books.
Still, Night Walker did OK for attention, too. I signed, after the show, for an hour and half. It must be the boot magic...
NIGHT WALKER strolls into the bookshops
It’s been such a maniacally busy 2019, with shedloads of events all over the UK, as well as far flung places like South Korea and Abu Dhabi, that I have barely had time to mark the publication of book three in the Night Series.
Night Walker is a particularly special instalment in the NIGHT Series, because at last I get to tell the backstory of one of my all time favourite characters - Spin, the vampire. Or IS he..? Spin definitely identifies as a vampire and he has the look, the night time lurking and the fangs to prove it.
But the truth of Spin’s circumstances and condition are revealed in NIGHT Walker... and they’re pretty dark. I made a microdocumentary trailer to go with the launch of NIGHT WALKER (see it HERE) in which you get to meet Sam Taylor, who is my real life inspiration for Spin (although he’s a whole lot nicer and has never, to my knowledge, stalked, menaced or bitten anyone!).
Meanwhile, I’ve been writing in a bit of a frenzy too and have just finished the last book in the NIGHT series - NIGHT FOREVER. Before this one comes out in spring 2020 there’ll be NIGHT TERRORS, out in September, which I finished six months ago but will be doing final tweaks on soon (we authors live a very confusing life).
While writing NIGHT FOREVER I got the chance to do some very important research.
I’ve set a crucial part of the last adventure in the series at the top of the Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest tower!
While I was a guest at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, the fabulous Emirates Literature Festival people organised a trip to the tower for me, just up the road (two hour drive!) to Dubai. The tower - which is 828 metres high - was absolutely breath-taking and my personal guide, the EmLitFest’s lovely Jennifer Malton (who took the above photo) gave me some amazing inside information which has very much shaped the way the story has gone. I always maintain that you get ten times more valuable intel from people than from internet search engines.
Abu Dhabi was also a chance to hang out with some of my favourite fellow authors too. We don’t get out much, but when we do we like to paaaaaaaaartay! Well, sit around and gossip over drinks, anyway.
Here we all are making weird hand shapes because... well, just because...
L-R: Curtis Jobling, Paul Blezard, Emma Craig Jobling, MEEEEE, Sarah McIntyre and Lucy Carr.
The trip was rather wonderful; we stayed in the amazing five star Andaz Capital Gate hotel which leans further than the Tower of Pisa in Italy (by design, not by mistake). My room was big enough to hold a small reception in, with panoramic views of the city and the coastline. Like this...
And the sunsets were spectacular... like this...
And the flights in business class were sooooo exciting. Flying in the massive airbus for seven hours was like being on board the Starship Enterprise. I fly so rarely that my exciteometer broke.
But that wasn’t the only thing that broke.
Turns out, while I was flying into this very hot, dry country, eating way more meat than I normally would, travelling to Dubai and back by air-conditioned car and then flying home for another seven hours, I was BREAKING MY KIDNEY.
A day after I returned my lower back on the left side started getting a bit achey. By the early hours of the next day paramedics were loading me into an ambulance, incoherent with pain. A day and a night in hospital and a scan the next morning and it was confirmed - I had developed kidney stones. THAT was why it felt like a shark had bitten me, liked the flavour and decided to chew for a few hours. Only it was no man-eating fish... it was teeny tiny kidney stones of doom.
These little spiky blighters form from crystals in your kidneys as a direct result of not drinking enough. I’ve never been good at drinking lots of water and that, combined with the dry heat, the dehydrating flights (not helped by the odd complimentary glass of Champagne, I’ll admit!) and eating more meat than usual (I’m gradually reducing my meat intake as time goes by and usually only have a very small amount of chicken each week) - well, it was a perfect recipe for a kidney stone.
Or two, as it turned out when the scan results came back.
I tell you this only as a CAUTIONARY TALE.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND DON’T END UP WHIMPERING ON A TROLLEY IN YOUR PJs IN FRONT OF A BUNCH OF STRANGERS!
I am recovered now. And I drink four pints of water every day to stop that ever happening again.
Heed me. Heed me.
So... what else is going on in Sparkesland? Well...
SCRIBE TRIBE IS BACK!
YOUNG WRITERS OF HAMPSHIRE! I’m planning two new Scribe Tribe courses this summer - one in Winchester and one in Chandler’s Ford, both quite close to where I live in Southampton. If you’re aged 9 to 14 and are passionate about writing, click HERE for more info.
These will be the second and third courses of 2019... I seem to be averaging two or three a year, which is about all I can fit in. They have all been immense fun and I’ve been privileged to meet some seriously talented young writers.
If you’d like to find out more about Scribe Tribe click HERE.
Now, as I get to the summer months, it’s Hay Festival next week (at time of writing) and quite a few school events follow. Then, after a little break, I’ll be writing again. There’s ALWAYS another story waiting to land.
Hope to meet you some time at a festival, school or library.
Now go and drink a pint of water.