Happy Puglication Day To Us


Today is the official publishing date for Pugs of the Frozen North, my third book with illustrator, megastar and international hatstand Sarah McIntyre.  It’s the tale of Shen, Sika, sixty-six pugs, and how they get mixed up in a wild and magical dogsled race to the North Pole. It draws on Sarah’s knowledge of Alaska and Russia, and my knowledge of Wacky Races. Sarah’s written a lovely blog about how she created one of the characters, hirsute heroine Helga Hammerfest…


And our brilliant puglishing and puglicity teams at OUP have been getting into the spirit, too…


Sarah also designed these lovely free-standing pugs, which will be helping to advertise the book in shops…


It’s been great working on these books with Sarah and the OUP team, and I think Pugs is my favourite so far. Thanks, guys!

Also, if you want to check out my old stuff, remember that this is also the publication day for these…



(Balalaika LP cover photo by Stuart Pyle, graphics by by Jo Cameron.)


I’ve spent the last few weeks finishing Railhead, which will be published by Oxford University Press next October.  Here’s what it looks like at the moment…

It’s not really finished, of course, because it now has to be handed to a copy editor who will find lots of errors and inconsistencies which will need correcting or explaining away. But I’ve been reading it (via Skype) to Sarah McIntyre (who has been sworn to secrecy, of course) and it finally feels like a complete story.

Illustration: Sarah McIntyre

In some ways Railhead is a return to the style of Mortal Engines – it’s set in a sprawling, far-future civilization, and it has evolved from many different drafts, written over many years. But it’s turned out to be less jokey than Mortal Engines, and somehow less English, I think – nobody could ever claim this one is ‘steampunk’.  And it’s a much bigger world than Mortal Engines, so, although Railhead is going to be one of my longer books, there’s still a lot which I haven’t had a chance to explore yet. Once Christmas is out of the way I shall be looking into the possibilities of a sequel.

That’s all I’m going to say about Railhead until nearer to the publication date, and I may not say very much then. I think one of the dangers of the internet is that we writers talk too much about our books, happily explaining where all the ideas came from, what the influences were. Part of the pleasure of reading a book is working those things out for yourself!

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bun!

Just home from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where Sarah McIntyre and I unveiled our all-new Cakes in Space multimedia CAKETACULAR.  Which went well, I think. The plan was to do something that was less like a usual author event, and more like THEATRE, my dears. So we perform what amount to comedy sketches built around ideas from the Cakes in Space book before Sarah leads the audience in some community drawing and we finish, of course, with a song.

We were very nervous beforehand – would we remember our dance moves, would the video insert work, etc… But all went smoothly, and we had two great audiences. Thanks to everyone who came along, and to the Festival organisers and technical staff, and to Elaine and Keo from Oxford University Press for looking after us.

And it wouldn’t be Edinburgh if Sarah didn’t manage to get us photographed Looming Over Authors More Famous Than Ourselves in the Authors’ Yurt. Here we are looming over Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman

We’ll be back on stage soon, at Daunt Books in London on 13th Sept, at the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival in Devon on 20th September and at Manx LifFest on the Isle of Man on 26th/27th September (exact timing TBC)

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