My new novel published in February 201.
My agent Philippa Milnes-Smith calls this book "Stig of the Dump meets The 39 Steps.' It's not a bad description. Like John Buchan's book, this is a fast paced adventure story--a chase really-- which runs all the way from London up to Scotland. And there is also a wild 'Stig' character--in this case a Bronze Age boy who has come back to the present (he's the 'Crog' of the title). Only, unlike Clive King's wonderful character, my 'Stig' can talk and has a mission.
In any really good novel your characters are learning something, almost as much as the reader. That is of course the case for Crog and I had a lot of fun introducing him to fish and chips and flushing toilets. But it is even more true for my modern day characters, Wilf, the hopeless but charming thief, and his fiesty sister Ishbel.
I can't tell you what they learn--that would give everything away. But this is a novel about the games we play with each other. It is about the past and about death and about memory and --of course--about deception. It's about those who seem to have everything. And those who have nothing.
Crog is due out in February 2015. I hope everyone will enjoy it.
This is Glencoe, a glacial valley on the West coast of Scotland. It is not so very far from civilisation--Fort William is only a few miles away and there is a road running along the valley bottom--but it remains one of the most forbidding and atmospheric parts of Scotland. Even if you drive through Glencoe enclosed in your car, you still feel the force of the great, wild mountain ridges lowering down on you.
Part of Crog is set in Glencoe. The great mountain Buachaille Etive Mor ('the big shepherd of Etive') is climbed by my characters. It is key to the narrative and so too is Crog's name, which is an anglicised version of a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'hand' or 'claw' or (particularly relevant here...) 'grasping hand.' I wanted the feel and resonance of an old language in this book and, just as Tolkein would have been thrilled to have 'The Lord of the Rings' translated into Runes, so I would give anything to have a Gaelic edition of Crog.
Click here for how I found Crog's name.
And please click here for more about my life as a writer.