Tag Archives: book

Choose your Wheels

The Algarve book (title TBC) is finished and I’m drifting about today like a jellyfish on a gently undulating wave of idleness. The sea continues to preoccupy me even though I pressed SEND yesterday.

This post isn’t actually about the sea. It’s about two vehicles driven by my three main characters Precious, Harry and Nathan. Two vehicles which couldn’t be more different.

First, the Porsche Boxster. White, of course. Spanish number plates. It belongs to Nathan’s dad, but Nathan is borrowing it to impress Precious. Are you impressed? I’m impressed.

‘Take the car. Girls like good cars.’

I feel a rush of wonder. My father is going to let me drive his car? He hardly lets me touch his car.

‘Treat it well,’ Dad says mildly.

The second vehicle is Green Doris, the Piaggio Ape. Ah, Green Doris. Who isn’t green. She looks like this. At first, anyway.

‘But it’s blue,’ says Harry.

‘It smells green. And it’s old. And it’s kind of funny because it’s blue. So Green Dor– forget it.’

Two guys, a girl and the big blue sea. Two vehicles, one cool and one not so cool. If you had to choose just one set of wheels in which to buzz around the Algarve, which would it be?

Be careful what you wish for.

‘Eternal tourists of ourselves, there is no landscape but what we are.’

Fernando Pessoa




Purple Horses

A fried egg? Or the Millennium Falcon?
A fried egg? Or the Millennium Falcon?

“A parent saw a child drawing a horse, and it was purple. The parent asked the child, “Why are you drawing a purple horse? I’ve never seen purple horses.” To which the child replied, “How sad for you.”

I kick off with this quote in Get Started in Writing an Illustrated Children’s Book. I can’t remember who said it, but it’s stayed in my head for around twenty-five years, and so naturally I had to use it. Seeing purple horses has always struck me as a vital aspect of being a children’s writer.

It doesn’t specifically have to be a purple horse. It could be a shape in the fog, a tree masquerading as a ship, Bishop Brennan’s face in the skirting board. A log that might be a guinea pig if you squint. Something which proves that your brain is malleable and open to alternatives.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen? Could it be the start of a story?

Get Started in Writing an Illustrated Children’s Book, publishing November 2016.