Endings and beginnings. And Pigsticks

Has it really been a year?!

Too much has happened and I have no excuses for not blogging. Well, apart from dealing with everything life throws at a person, of course. (And the fact I forgot my password log-in.) So, time for a catch-up methinks!

I hadn’t talked much about it, but I’d been working steadily on a series of books about a young Robin Hood. They concerned BIG details about the character, such as him learning to fire a bow, light a fire, and survive as an outlaw – things that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.

The trilogy began with Robin’s father dying, which proved problematic as during the writing I found out my mother had incurable cancer. I suppose the story and real life became intertwined in some way, and I found writing about a boy’s feelings concerning┬álosing a parent was a bit too close to the bone. So when I used the word ‘steadily’ to describe my work rate, it was more stop and go. But the publisher and editor were really understanding.

Mum died, I grieved, things moved on, and eventually we were happy with book one. Book two, in contrast, was easy to write. It contained a huge battle at the end – one which I thought was probably the most exciting thing I’d ever written.

And earlier in 2016, I was close to finishing the final part in the series when I heard that the publisher no longer wanted the books. They were trimming their list.

It’s a very strange situation to find yourself in. The cathartic nature of battling through difficult work and finally succeeding in reaching the end was not to be mine. However, I do now sit with an unpublished trilogy of books about Robin Hood growing up in Sherwood. Who wants them?

robin background 2

So, that’s Robin out of the way.

What else happened? I set up This Book is Funny, which was successful, and is back on the road again for 2016.

I travelled the world. I visited the US and China, making school visits and talking about my books. I’ve been back to China once more in this time, and made some terrific friends. I also now know that Pigsticks and Harold will be published in China, which is a wonderful thing. I cannot wait to see how they treat it.

Of course, Pigsticks and Harold have a new book out – Pigsticks and Harold and the Pirate Treasure! We’ve started getting some lovely reviews, and I think this is my favourite of the series so far.

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Now then, there is much more to say, but that can wait for a bit. Events are coming up, as well as new stories, and I am dead keen to write some ‘How-to’ posts about my model-making. I’ll be doing those soon.

So, for now, thanks for reading.

Harold is Superhamster!

superhamster

My daughter picked up Sarah McIntyre‘s new picture book at the weekend – SUPERKID! – which has a hamster in it. And it’s no ordinary hamster, either, it’s… SUPERHAMSTER.

So, of course, I couldn’t resist drawing Harold in a SUPERHAMSTER outfit!

Pigsticks and Harold face the jungle!

I’m working flat out on Pigsticks and Harold, and this spread has taken the best part of a day to colour, but I think it was worth it.

Pigsticks and Harold go Rockclimbing!

Because, you know, Pigs and Hamsters like to climb mountains!

Avalanche! And Goats!

There will be goats. There will be an avalanche. There will be plenty of cake.

Harold and Pigsticks try out comics

I’m doing some samples of Pigsticks and Harold as a comic. It’s very much in keeping with the original stories (in words!) that I created about my headstrong Pig and willing Hamster – I guess they were quite script-based, so suit comics well.

Here’s one of the pages of Harold finding a parcel on his doorstep.

Stories always take a variety of shapes and form before they settle, so it’ll be interesting to see where this path leads.