Sunday, 19 April 2009

Lancashire - Everton - Leeds

I did an event at Lancashire Libraries on Saturday. It was great, as events in Lancashire always are. It was at Clitheroe Library. They asked great questions and took some good penalties.

Then I did an event near Man U's ground. All the families were Man U. Some were saying they thought Everton would beat Man U in the semi today. They were right.

I am going to Liverpool tomorrow for another event. I expect to meet lots of happy Everton fans.

While in Liverpool I will also have a look at the Slavery Museum. In reading about Ghana I am fast finding out that a large part of the country's history is bound up in slavery. So I think it's important I find out more, seeing as my next book is about a more modern form of slavery.

Friday, 17 April 2009

First research

I went into Leeds today to research my new novel. It's a nice time. Going into libraries and bookshops.

I had a good look through some travel guides to Ghana. Places to stay. Things to see. It was very useful. As were the history books about West Africa. Although there won't be loads of historical background in the book, I like to have a good understanding of a place before I go there and write about it. Well, as good as possible.

I also found a book about an Englishman with Ghanaian parents who travelled to Ghana. That will be really useful.

I got an email off my agent yesterday: Puffin want the book by the end of August. That's good. It means I have to get stuck in. I have all of August off to write, except a few events in Leeds, so it'll give me time to write once I'm back from Ghana.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


I am going to start writing Football Detective 3 tomorrow. Or the planning.

This is the best bit. Anything is possible. The book is perfect in my head: because it's not on paper.

Part of the book is set in Ghana, home of the legendary footballer, Tony Yeboah, who I saw many times at Leeds in the nineties. If you want to see something amazing look on You Tube at his two goals against Liverpool and Wimbledon, both within a week, for Leeds. Awesome.

Today - after taking advice from Naomi - I booked my flights. To Ghana. I have to admit to being nervous. But that's part of the thrill of writing books. I was nervous going to Moscow to research the last book. But it was one of the best trips I've ever been on. And it means the book (Dead Ball, out in August this year) is more realistic, and hopefully better.

Naomi is sending me a list of Ghanaian novelists to read. I start to work out the plot tomorrow. Then lots of reading.

I love being an author. I love it.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


I am thrilled to say I've been put on another shortlist for a book prize: the Cheshire Schools Book Award. So thank you to them.

I missed out on the Blue Peter Book Award and the Stockton Children's Book Award last month. But being on the sshort lists was great - as was meeting the other authors. I very much enjoyed talking to the other authors in Stockport.

Football Academy

My new series, Football Academy is out this week. Two books: Boys United and Striking Out. It's great to see them on the shelves.

The series focuses on a Premier League under-twelve side. Each book is about a different boy and his progress at United. But each book also includes all the fourteen members of the squad.

I did a lot of research to get the books right. I went to Burnley FC to meet their academy players, parents and coaches. They were very helpful. I also talked to people at the FA.

Each story - I hope - shows what it is like to be an eleven-year-old playing at a Premier League academy. If you've ever fancied knowing what it's like, then it might be for you. It's not all fame and money. That's what I found out when I was researching the books.