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An interesting day

Well, it’s been an interesting day, and it certainly got this new site off to a flying start. I was first told that School’s Out was about to be optioned over two years ago. Needless to say I was pretty excited. Quick as a flash, nothing at all happened. The recession hit, companies retrenched, silence fell, and Stronghold beat School’s Out to the punch as Abaddon Books‘ first optioned book. Last month I attended the London Book Fair where the estimable Jason Kingsley, head honcho of Rebellion, told me that another company was about to option the book. Once bitten, twice shy – I allowed myself a soupçon of excitement but adopted a firm ‘believe it when I see it’ philosophy. So when the press release arrived and I found out that the deal had gone through, I had to pinch myself. Lucky I set up a new blog yesterday, but it was more lucky accident rather than cunning plan. Having spent the day being deluged with congratulations from lovely people, I’m still beaming. I can’t, however, answer all your questions at this time. Mostly this is because I honestly don’t know the answers yet. And don’t expect a constant trickle of news, either – the movie business does not move quickly. The one question I can answer right now is: “Are you going to be rich?” To which I am free to reply: “Hahahahahahahahahahaha! No.” But I’m still smiling 🙂 Read other posts tagged School’s...

School’s Out – unpublished prologue

The blog Daily Writing Tips recently published Three reasons to ditch your novel’s prologue. It contains much wisdom. The following extract was part of the pitch that got School’s Out commissioned, and it stayed in the book ‘til very late in the day, but I eventually decided to cut it. My editor was a bit wary of that, but I convinced him. It was fun to write, and helped me establish the tone, but it was the only part of the book not written in the first person by Lee, so it felt out of place. I felt the eventual opening was much stronger because it established the ‘voice’ of Lee, his age, the setting of the book, and his attitude to authority all within the first few lines. Three months ago When the anti-psychotics finally ran out, Alex began to wonder if rescuing his brother from the asylum had been the wisest move. After all, delusional psychopaths with messiah complexes do not make for the easiest of flat mates. By the time the knife made an appearance he was pretty confident that he had made a serious mistake. ‘Dave, what’s the knife for, mate?’ No response. Just the scary eyes, the fixed stare and the knife. ‘Dave? Do you, um, want to talk about it?’ Eyes. Stare. Very big knife. Alex considered his options. He’d seen his brother in the grip of an episode only once, years ago, before he’d been sectioned. It hadn’t been pretty. Since the murders Dave had been resident at a secure facility just up the road. There, on a daily diet of drugs and...

Interview with Mass Movement Magazine

The following interview was printed in Mass Movement Magazine. It was conducted by Jim Dodge Jr and is reproduced here by kind permission of the editor. Where did you first come up with the idea for School’s Out? I know your bio says that your time spent in boy’s schools only minimally affected the story but I’m not so sure. What’s the real story behind the story? The thing that established writers always tell aspiring writers is ‘write what you know’, so when it came to pitching a storyline for Afterblight it just seemed natural to set it somewhere I knew intimately, both as pupil and, briefly, teacher. Boarding schools are a very particular environment, full of weird rituals, power struggles, festering resentments, unspoken loves, vicious vendettas and strong friendships. It’s very fertile ground for stories, as the Jennings and Harry Potter books ably demonstrate. Another truism is that every writer’s first book is in some way autobiographical. And while I never crucified any of my teachers, or shot a prefect in the head, I‘d be lying if I said I hadn’t daydreamed about doing it when I was at school. All. The. Time. I was not a happy boarder, to put it mildly. I had – still have! – issues with authority, and being in an environment where I was subject to the whims of teachers I didn’t respect, and prefects I didn’t like, was very hard for me. I ran away more than once, came close to expulsion several times. And yet, bizarrely, was made a prefect myself at one point. I was a terrible prefect, too young to...