Winter 2019 Update

It’s cold and frosty in these parts, so a good time to stay indoors and update on what’s been going on since the summer. It’s not been that eventful, but I have been very busy with writing and illustrating, so a productive time all in all.

The fourth book in The Naughtiest Unicorn series (The Naughtiest Unicorn at Christmas) should be on the shelves of a bookshop near you right now.
It’s filled with snowy, tinsel-themed antics – including the search for the perfect Christmas tree and the traditional school play, The Legend of the Snow Unicorn. As ever, I drew the pictures for Pip Bird’s story (life’s a lot easier for illustrators when everything is covered in snow!). Find out more about this fun series for younger readers here.

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of writing a new book at this very moment. I’m really excited about it! Whilst I’m not allowed to divulge too many secrets, it’s part of a new series that takes place in Dundoodle, the setting for The Chocolate Factory Ghost, but involves a new set of characters – effectively it’s a spin-off of The Dundoodle Mysteries.

Archie McBudge and his friends may well feature in the books, but I’m using the stories to explore the different aspects of the magic that infuses the town of Dundoodle. It turns out that the Wyrdie Tree is not the only source of enchantment around. The first book in the series won’t be out until 2021, but I’ll keep this blog updated with as much detail as I’m permitted.

Speaking of Dundoodle, here’s the colourful cover of The Revenge of the Invisible Giant, the last of The Dundoodle Mysteries, brilliantly created by Claire Powell .

The book is in shops next April and I can’t wait to see what people think. The story involves the quest for a mysterious object that takes Archie, Fliss and Billy to parts of the magical world rarely seen, where they encounter many fantastical creatures of the Wyrd.

Druids, giants, warlocks, selkies and mermaids all feature — it’s a bonanza of information for Billy and his wyrdiological research and a lot of fun for me to write!

You can find out more here.

The Polish version of The Chocolate Factory Ghost (Duch z fabryki krówek) came out in August and appears to have gone down well, judging from the reviews. I’ve been making a list of the different versions of Archie’s name taken from the foreign editions I’ve seen so far:

English: Archie McBudge
Danish: Archie McBudge
Dutch: Arthur McBell
German: Archie McEllen
Polish: Archie McKarmelek
Persian: Archie Maccabee

Who would have thought Archibald was such an international name?

Finally, The Chocolate Factory Ghost has been nominated for a number of awards and I’m pleased to add another to the list: it’s among the twenty books up for The Fantastic Books Awards, run by Lancashire Library Service. It’s lovely to have this kind of recognition and have my fingers crossed for the announcement in the Spring.

I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!