Tuesday 9 December 2014


Considering I’ve written two books in blog form, I’m pretty bad at blogging. It has been months since I last wrote anything on here. I do have genuine excuses – deadlines, dodgy health, Football Manager 2015, but the time for excuses is over. It is time to blog.

I recently visited Gosford Hill School where I am Patron of Reading. I met the Year Eight boys’ book group. They had just read Joe Cowley and had loads of great questions for me. I think they were slightly disappointed that the wee balloons bit wasn’t based on a true story, though.

After that, I ran a writing workshop with a class of Year Eight boys. We started off by writing ten word stories before expanding them into longer ones. There were some excellent ideas and some quite frankly bizarre ones. And this is from someone who recently gave some serious thought to writing a story about a haunted settee.
Anyway, I had a fantastic time and I’m looking forward to reading some of the finished stories that may come out of our session. And, if they go on to become best-selling novels with block buster film adaptations, I will only ask for seventy per cent of the profits. Pretty reasonable, I think.
Now, as a Patron of Reading, it is only right that I should recommend some books. This year has been pretty full-on, so I haven’t read as much as I would have liked, but I have still managed to read some brilliant books. Here are my five recommended reads from 2014.

1.       Who Framed Klaris Cliff? By Nikki Sheehan.
Gripping thriller about imaginary friends and shady government conspiracies. Has an ending that made me go ‘oooooh’ and I’m not someone who goes ‘ooooooh’ willy nilly.

2.       Pants are Everything by Mark Lowery.
Hilarious sequel to the equally brilliant Socks are not Enough. It follows the misfortunes of Michael Swarbrick and his crazy family, including his proud nudist Mum.

3.       Wonder by RJ Palacio.
If you haven’t read Wonder already, get on it. It is amazing. It is about a ten year old boy born with facial deformities and his efforts to fit in at school. There must have been some dust in the room when I was reading it though, because there was definitely something in my eye.

4.       Butter by Erin Lange.
One of the best books about bullying I have ever read. It is at times hard to read because of the viciousness of the bullies, but it is well worth sticking with to the end.

5.       In Bloom by Matthew Crow.
In Bloom is the story of two teenage cancer patients who meet and fall in love. Sound familiar? Well forget comparisons to the Fault in Our Stars, because this book stands out on its own. Stirring, heartbreaking and at times, laugh-out-loud hilarious, when I was reading it I was both awestruck and riddled with jealousy over the fact that I will never write anything this good. Well, except maybe that haunted settee story.

Stick one of those on your Christmas list – I promise you won’t regret it. Now, all there is left for me to do is to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. To get you in that festive mood, I’m going to leave you with my all time favourite Christmas song.


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