It’s Here!!!!

Now, pdfs and all the other technological and digital whizz bangs that allow files and pictures to be shared between computers and tablets and pills and potions and what not are all very well, but, believe me, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to compare with holding the first paper copy of the book you’ve spent the last three years working on in your hands.

There it is, pictures, words, the whole blessed shebang: a real, actual, frankly all-but-breathing thing! You can take your Kindles and your iPads and all the other devices that depend on moving electrons around and shove them. Give me paper, give me vellum, give me inky fingers and pages you can flick through marvelling at the pictures, the design, the way the words sit upon the page.

So, here it is, Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom, held in my slightly shaky hands!

In my hands.




Magic Realism for the Masses

The wave of urban fantasy novels that began in the ’90s (‘Neverwhere’) and went into overdrive in the 2000s (twinkly vampires in suburban America) appears to be a move into the mainstream for magic realism. Rather than levitating nuns in exotic South American destinations, we now have policemen using magic and personified river goddesses in London (Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series).

It might seem strange, for a modern city can be the most prosaic of environments, but a slight change of perception reveals that wonder and mystery lies all around. A woman sitting on a wooden chair on the platform at King’s Cross tube station (District Line) was one of the strangest things I have ever seen. Walking home one evening, down a quiet suburban street where no one moved and life continued behind doors and windows, I realised that it would be no surprise to walk out of this world entirely.

The new urban fantasy novels show an inchoate sense that there is wonder all around, and that it might break in on our ordered, sensible lives at any time, with unpredictable, possibly disastrous but never dull consequences. It’s only a matter of time before someone reports seeing a unicorn in Kensal Rise, or dwarves in Dulwich.

Timothy and the Animals

Timothy and the Animals is now available online, from the excellent On The Premises team. A taster:

Dear Mr. President/Prime Minister – please delete as applicable

(Timothy had seen this on a form once and thought it looked very official.)

I love animals, but we’ve only got cats and dogs round here, unless you count Megs and his gang. Please could you send me one of yours,

Your Friend,


PS. I promise to vote for you when I grow up.

PPS. And say nice things about you to the papers.