I’m fortunate enough to live in a rose and wisteria-strewn 12th century cottage in the English countryside with my wonderful wife Julie, daughter, son, and miniature sausage dog, Sasha.
Does this have any bearing on me being a New Adult author?
Well, Sasha appears on the cover of The Barking Detective Agency, while the house serves as Elly’s home in A Horse for A Kingdom, a tale revolving around one of the Princes in the Tower when he was held in nearby Stony Stratford.
Perhaps, too, the house is responsible for opening up my mind; because here’s a true ghost story, an event that happened when we first moved into the house.
My daughter was only three at the time, and my son was yet to be born. We’d only just moved into the house, having moved up from London that very day.
My daughter was both entranced by the new house but also upset that we had left behind all that was familiar to her; so, very quickly, Julie and I laid out rugs and comfortable chairs around the huge fireplace so that it looked and felt more like our London home, then left her quietly reading a book while we went to the kitchen to prepare something to eat.
Around fifteen minutes later, my daughter came into the kitchen, saying that she felt much better now ‘after talking to the boy’.
‘Boy?’ we asked. ‘What boy?’
‘The little boy; he’s been talking to me on the sofa while you were in here.’
We rushed into the room, looking around.
There wasn’t any boy there of course.
‘There isn’t any little boy here,’ we said.
‘Of course,’ my daughter replied. ‘He told me he wasn’t alive anymore. He lived here a long time ago.’
A child’s wild imagination? Well, that’s what we thought at the time; but there were other strange things, other strange presences (but not really frightening ones) that happened over the years that made me think otherwise.
And so I began to write.
If you were offered the chance to be totally irresistible, even to the most gorgeous boy you know, would you stop to think there might just be the tiniest bit of a catch? Well I didn’t. And believe me, it wasn’t a tiny catch. It was the worst catch of all. See, it turns out the girl I thought was my best friend is a real, genuine freak. And I know that because now I’m one too. I’m a freaking freak
Is the Porcelain Princess a fairy story or does she really exist? Carey searches for the Princess as she tours with the puppet theatre inherited from her parents, hoping to somehow grant life to her disintegrating puppets. But why are real people illustrated in stories about the Princess? And why do they succumb to the Fading, slowly vanishing? Carey finds the Princess – but soon wishes she hadn’t
Odd-job boy Jack Leroyson, he just don’t get it. They’re saying his screen-goddess employer’s just gone and died from a drug overdose. So how come no one’s mentioning the early morning visits of all those White House staff? How come no one’s sure when she died? Rogue CIA agent Brad Friedberg tells Jack straight; sometimes you’ve just gotta accept lies as the truth. But Jack, he just don’t get it.
The Boy In White Linen
Visiting Jerusalem, Lil is drawn to Harry, a young British Army Captain, after meeting a mysterious boy in white linen. Stranger still is a unicorn, visible only to herself and a few others. The recently-ended Great War has flooded the city with guns and, with a clash of religious festivals policed by just two hundred men, riots break out – and every person killed, like Lil, had seen the unicorn.
Dragons didn’t go away – they evolved. They look, act, and think like humans. So when Jake and Celly fall in love, how is he supposed to know that she’s a dragon? With powerful wings, knife-like talons; and skin sparkling like gold. On discovering the dragons, man rounds them up – only for them to fight back under Celly’s leadership. Will it be man or the dragons who face extinction?
The Rules. Book 1; The End
Rules of chance, even physical laws, are breaking down. The time of magic is returning. Bethlehem Jones finds she’s sharing her body with Lynese, a water-sprite entrapped within a warrior ancestor. More powerful magical spirits are shedding their own human confinement, restarting an ancient war. Can Beth use Lynese’s powers without surrendering her own control? Or is Lynese her most dangerous foe?
It starts off with a hit and run. Next it’s a car crash. Then the school bus is obliterated by a train. Then there’s a fire… Each time, it either involves someone who upset Jasmine, or Jasmine miraculously survives. She reckons the angel Gariel is protecting her. But Gariel needs a book, and Jasmine doesn’t know where to find it – and the longer she takes, the more the school seems to be in danger
The Wicker Slippers
What would you do if you found an ancient pair of witch’s slippers in the old cottage you were staying at? Janet, who loves Lee (who loves Maxine), tries them on. Maxine, who loves Greg (who prefers Janet), tries them on. Then they find a book of potions. Then they find that the house has decided it isn’t going to let them go. Witch one will the slippers choose?
The ‘quiet girl’. The ‘serious girl’. The ‘Oh just ignore her’ girl. There’s always one girl in class like that, isn’t there? Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s someone else. Maybe you’re glad it’s not you. But maybe, just maybe, the quiet girl’s quiet for a reason. See, she’s got a secret. She sees all your secrets.
Miss Terry Charm, Merry Kris Mouse & The Silver Egg
Terry Charm comes from a long line of witches – so why can’t she cast any spells? Worse still, Princess Pea has asked Terry to help her Prince complete a task set by the Queen. The Goose that lays the Golden Eggs has to lay another one – oh, but it has to be a Silver Egg! Worse still, Sara Casam is determined to make sure Terry fails. And as everyone knows, Sara Casam is the lowest form of witch.
Heartache High: The Wakening
Ever been broken hearted by a hopeless love? Then count yourself lucky you didn’t find yourself enrolled at Heartache High. The beautiful Gillian Hazlehurst does – and finds she can never return to the real world she’s left behind. Her friend Steph Johnson offers to help her work out how she ended up trapped here; but the mystery only deepens, as in the real world Gillian doesn’t even have friends
Heartache High: The Primer
Heartache High’s Primer for Students, as written by Stephanie Johnson, Heartache High Permanent Student. Ever been in love with someone who didn’t even know you existed? Or someone who broke up with you? Congratulations; you’ve just enrolled at Heartache High. Oh, but didn’t anyone tell you? Once you’ve enrolled, you can never leave. (Includes the first chapters of Heartache High: The Wakening.)
How close have you come to finding yourself enrolled at Heartache High? Closer than you think, if you’ve ever been in love with someone who didn’t know you existed. Or someone who broke up with you. At Heartache High, you’re surrounded by students just like you. People who endlessly hope it won’t always be a hopeless love. Problem is, once you’ve enrolled at Heartache High, you can never leave.
I’m the weird girl. You know; the one every kid in class avoids, just in case what I’ve got is catching. Not that I care. See, there are worlds other than this one. Worlds we pass on to when we die. Worlds, even, where we exist before we’re even born. They’re the worlds of the Nyxt. And, if I don’t handle things right, they’re about to declare war on the living.
Safe from infection behind the walls of the Oasis, and about to be married to the brilliantly inventive Dorian, Angeic knows nothing of the Outside. But Dorian clones a twin from his DNA, a twin with a conscience who sympathises with the Outsiders – and grows uglier as he suffers whatever Dorian inflicts on himself. Yet Angeic is drawn both to him and into helping free the exiled Outsiders.
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