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Black Light Express (and ‘Railhead Three’)

Black Light Express, the second volume in the Railhead trilogy, is out now as a paperback in the UK, published by Oxford University Press, cover illustrations by Ian McQue, and available in all good bookshops…

…and it’s also available as a hardback from all good bookstores in the USA, published by Switch Press (who did the cover artwork in-house, as far as I know…).

I’m currently busy writing volume three, which will be published in the UK next spring. It was slightly delayed by trips to New Zealand, etc, but mainly by me taking my time because I wanted to get it right. The third book in a sequence always has a lot of back story to deal with, and a loose ends to tie up. But I think the current version does the former fairly efficiently, and I think it finds its way to the right ending, while visiting plenty of interesting new worlds on the way, so I’m hoping to get it off to the printers soon, and the great Ian McQue is already working on a cover. I’m looking forward to sharing that, and Railhead 3’s actual title, as soon as I can.

Railhead Resources

Now that Railhead is on the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal pupils in schools all over the country will be reading it as part of the Carnegie Shadowing scheme (and probably going ‘this is SO BORING’, but hopefully it’s winning a few new fans). Anyway, here’s an interview which I recorded for the Carnegie/Kate Greenaway website. It was shot outside my house a few weeks ago, and the curious creatures in the background are Alfie and Iggy, the alpacas.

Here’s a companion video in which I put my glasses on and read an excerpt from early on in the book…

You can find another version of that reading, complete with music and visuals, here.

And if you’re reading Railhead and would like to know more, don’t forget the Railhead A-Z; twenty-six short entries about the world of the book and some of the things which inspired it.  Here’s Part One (A-E), Part Two (F-L), Part Three (M-R) and Part Four (S-Z).

And here’s the official soundtrack!

And here’s the unofficial soundtrack (put together by Jake Hayes for his Tygertales blog)!

Suffolk, Norfolk, and the RAILHEAD paperback.


I’m just back from a World Tour of Suffolk and Norfolk, in which I talked about Railhead to pupils at Culford School in Bury St Edmunds, the City of Norwich School, and Reepham High School. I was also part of the Norfolk Children’s Book Festival, organised by the Norwich School and held in Norwich’s beautiful cathedral. Here are me and fellow author Ruth Eastham signing books in a windy cloister. (We had so many to sign that I didn’t have time to say more than a quick hello to the great Jonathan Stroud, who took this photo).



The books I’m signing are the new UK paperback edition of RAILHEAD, which Oxford University Press made sure was available for these gigs. It should be in the shops by now, too. It’s one of those rare occasions where the paperback looks just as good as the hardback, if not better. It still has the title printed on the page-edges, and designer Jo Cameron and her colleagues at OUP have used Ian McQue’s artwork on the front, while his pictures of Zen and a Hive Monk are featured on the insides of the front and back covers.


So if you haven’t read RAILHEAD yet and you’d like to, hurry to your nearest bookshop! (Or just buy it online.) Recommended price is £6.99.

Finally, HUGE thanks to Lynn, Tom, Marilyn, Matt, and Minty from the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre, who drove me around, organised book sales, and provided tea and cake. If you find yourself in Norfolk, you should seek out their fascinating shop.


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