Tuesday 11 November 2014


... is the title of my new children's novel, publishing in April 2015. It is being currently copy-edited.
I loved writing this book. It is aimed at slightly younger readers, maybe a confident seven year old reader, but really for the 8 -12 age group.

Donald is An Amazing boy who can see and talk to ghosts. It's a good job he can, because his dad is one...

But he has to engage all his supernatural powers to fight a deadly wild ghostly force, that is whipping up destruction and madness on the south coast...

I tried to make this book fast and funny. I made myself laugh but that's fairly easy.

Can't wait to see what my younger readers think...

Sunday 15 June 2014

Midnight Pirates wins a prize!

I am delighted to report that Midnight Pirates has won the middle category of The Rotherham Children's Book Award 2014.  The ceremony was held in the gorgeous New York Stadium in Rotherham, and attended by hundreds of local children and a healthy turn out of shortlisted authors.
Sorry, I forgot to take any photos.

The children had the opportunity to meet all the authors before the ceremony, and then each author spoke for a few minutes, then the children were awarded prizes for the best reviews.

And after that, VICTORY! I resisted the urge to punch the air and howl as that wouldn't have been seemly, but I did when I got home.

Thank you Rotherham!

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Ha! New Book News.

I don't print out my manuscripts until at least the 3rd draft, so when I do, it is a BIG DAY.
 So today is a BIG DAY!

Here is PROOF of my manuscript. I promise it is not all blank pages inside. It is about 60,000 words long and is roughly for 8-14 year olds

Current titles are
1) The Nothings
2)The Extraordinary Gifts of Donald Memphis
3) How to Kill a Ghost

What do you think??????? ????? ?????

I still have to go through it and cut out a few (thousand) words, and go through my notes and write in changes and do some doodles because I'd love there to be some illustrations (not by me in final version)

This book will be sent to my editor at Scholastic this week and hopefully she will like it. (eeekk)
Then there will be more editing over the summer (or a complete rewrite if it is all pants) and fingers crossed it will be published in January next year.

So it is still very rough, like it has crawled out of a marsh, but over the next few months I, with my editor's guidance, will polish and buff and bully it until it is as sleek and sparkling as it can be...

Thursday 24 April 2014

The Two Hares by Radley Greenslade


In the beginning of my YA novel,  BULLET BOYS there is a reference to a story about 2 hares who made time stand still. Here is the original story of The Two Hares, told by Radley Greenslade to my aunt Jackie Hill. He also told the story to my mum, who told it to me. It was recorded in the 1980's.

If you want a real Somerset/Devon accent, here it is! I have hurriedly transcribed the story below the photos.


This picture below, taken by my aunt in the 1980's, showing Radley Greenslade telling one of his tales to my mum, and her cows! And above, Radley at Cooksley Farm. photos copyright J.R. Hill

Transcription of tape of  'The Two Hares' -Radley Greenslade

 What d’you want know about the hare dear?

Three year ago in May I was going down over the farm down over Lower Cooksley.
I never saw such a sight in my life, my dear
The sun was shining really lovely. And when I was going down over coming in from West Withy side,
There was a lady coming down across carrying a basket on her left arm like a shopping basket.
And she was, I never saw a lady dressed better in me life
She had on a lovely reddy, reddy,  checked dress, really lovely
And coming up from Cuckles, from Upton, up from the wood there, hence down’ bottom
I saw a shadow and When I saw he come on up. He changed into a man. One of the finest man ever I saw in me life. He had on a grey trilby hat with a great wide black bend  and a white collar and a lovely black charcoal  grey black suit and grey black grey overcoat.
A fine man. A parson twas. A squire parson. I should think of the forest
And as I went down the shadow kept coming up went to me. And when i got down there
Lower Cooksley farm, Cooksley. Upton.
Got down there a flock of  sheep  for fifty years

They went on around in front  of me and I went over and they went over in front of me in a circle like a horseshoe. I stood with my stick watching them.
It was like heaven. 
And when those two come up on the brink of the firs
Those two people they met as they come across the path  over the stake wire and come across the over side.

He came up the path there and
They met fifty yard away from me. And they turned into hares.
She turned a lady hare and he turned into a gentleman.
He turned into like Rupert the bear to start with, Zackly the same sort of clothes as Rupert the Bear.
And as they went off they clasped hands and they went on
She never changed her dress or nothing of her sort at all.  But he did.
And  they clasped hands and they started dancing.
And I never saw two people dance with so much love and affection in my life as they had. Really lovely. There aint no people  there seen such affection.
They danced there for a time and the heavens. When they was dancing the heavens and everything stood still. The water stood still. Heaven on earth. 
Heaven opened up to them.
Heaven on earth. Just like heaven. Nothing ever moved. Nothing never moved at all.
The water and the bushes and the leaves were as still as still could be be. And i was just like i was in heaven watching they.
The sheep was the left hand side of me.  
Everything stood still. Just like in another world
I caint understand it.

She didn’t change her dress but the gentleman did. He changed from Morning suit back into another suit and when he finished up he had on a lovely charcoal black suit and white.... white collar...
White tie. Pure white cloth
Beautifull clean. White collar, white tie up round his head and his ears went up. Pure white cloth.  He had on              High Top hat.
And he had gaiters  Three buttons. Lovely pair of black shoes. I’d thing he took Size 14 shoes. For certain.
I never saw such a man
They danced. He kept on changing clothes. He did.
Old squire , old landlord of Cooksley. I should say, come back, come back in the shape of a hare.
What i think about it, twas an omen from the dear lord that I was going to lose me home. 
To tell me I was going to lose me home.

I have seen on the television, talks like these , people interviewing me and they 'baint believed.
I know 
It happened to me
This is fact dear, not fiction. This is really fact, not fiction. This is fact my dear, not fiction. It’s fact, darling, not fiction.

Not fiction.
Not fiction.
I’m 69.

Back in my young days.

This is no fairy tale

Monday 10 March 2014

New covers and new books

Here are the new covers for BEAST, BERSERK and BEDLAM. I think they look great. What do you think?

New Book Update: 
It's happening! Due to deliver it to my publishers on May 1st. Currently being tinkered with and road tested. It is for readers age 8/9 + and is a story about the supernatural, oh and a boy called Donald Memphis.

Am still thinking of a title…

Recent school visits.

Thanks to Shapwick School
Lydeard St Lawrence Primary and
West Somerset College

For some great school visits.


I am looking forward to representing Midnight Pirates at
the Dudley Book Award and The Stockton Book of The Year in the next couple of weeks, and then the East Sussex and the Rotherham Book Awards in June. I am very pleased about these, but now back to THE BOOK.