Railhead: First Reading

In real life, it seems, trains can’t cope with heat.They have to creep along very slowly or the rails will just melt, like a Twix on a sunny windowsill.(Who knew? And however do railways manage in places like Italy and India and Japan?)


So an extra big thank you to everyone who braved the heat and the sluggish trains to come to the 1901 Arts Club in Exton Street, London on Tuesday night for the official unveiling of Railhead.The book isn’t published until October, but my publishers, OUP, are keen to let people know about it well in advance. Here are publicists Keo, Liz and Alesha, who set up the event.


They’d invited along a selection of book bloggers and young reviewers who are going to be acting as ‘Railhead Ambassadors’.Some of them were very excited…


…while others were really, really excited…


I think they’d been told to look enthusiastic by Sarah McIntyre, who had appointed herself Ambassador-in-Chief and had her own uniform and everything.You can see more of her photos of the evening over on her McIntyreBlog.


So I read them the whole first chapter and a chunk of the second. Exton Street is right next to Waterloo, and we had all the windows wide open, so appropriate sound effects were provided by trains tiptoeing gingerly in and out of the station over rails which now resembled grilled Curly-Wurlies. I’ve been making some little movies to run behind Railhead readings, so it was a good chance to try one of those out as well: here’s a version with a bit of text added (it’s still kind of abstract).

Then the audience asked some excellent questions, and went off clutching signed copies of the proof, which I hope they’ll enjoy – it’s a bit worrying, unveiling a whole new world. But I think it’s a good one: I’ve enjoyed pottering around in it for the last few years, and it’s time to let other people have a look.

When I walked back to my hotel later it was still too hot to wear a jacket, and the next day was even hotter – probably the warmest weather I can remember in this country. I plodded through the baking streets to Paddington and got on a train which carried me back to Devon at walking pace. They do these things better in the Network Empire.


Railhead Updates

It seems like DAYS since I posted the lovely Railhead cover, so here you go:

Railhead: The Sequel

It’s still six months until it will be published, but I’m very happy to announce that my next project will be RAILHEAD 2.  I introduce a big new world in the first book, and of course there wasn’t really space to explore a lot of the background details, so I’m delighted that OUP are giving me a chance to revisit the Network Empire in a second book, continuing the stories of some of the characters, and introducing new ones.

(The October publication date is for the UK, by the way. I hope to have news of a US date soon.)

Railhead: The Motion Picture

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that the film rights to RAILHEAD were acquired last year by Warner Brothers. I believe the director currently associated with it is Doug Liman, who made Edge of Tomorrow, one of my favourite SF movies of recent years, so it’s in very good hands. As anyone who’s been waiting for a Mortal Engines adaptation will know, selling the rights is no guarantee that a movie will actually be made anytime soon, or even at all, but it’s still better than not selling the rights, so fingers crossed…

That Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow

RAILHEAD in Bologna

A big thank you to everyone who Tweeted, blogged, or shared the RAILHEAD cover on Facebook. I know it seems a bit early to be making all this song and dance about it (the book won’t be published till October), but it’s important to let booksellers and reviewers know it’s coming, as well as giving advance warning to readers. The OUP rights team are at the Children’s Book fair in Bologna this week, where they’ll working their socks off trying to sell the rights to publishers from other countries. Tom Gates author Liz Pichon spotted the big RAILHEAD banner on the OUP stand at the fair…

Also a banner for Pugs of the Frozen North, my latest project with Sarah McIntyre. (Check out Liz’s amazing, hand-drawn Tom Gates dress!)

Sarah has written an interesting piece for her blog about foreign publication deals, and some of the tricks she uses as a picture book illustrator to make the books translatable. It’s well worth reading.

I’m still waiting for the results of OUP’s Twitter competition to select ‘RAILHEAD Ambassadors’. McIntyre clearly thinks she’s in with a chance, and has designed a special ambassadoring hat for herself (plus Ferrero Rocher pin).


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