It’s been a while since I posted here, but plenty of things have been happening behind the scenes. As I mentioned in my last post (s0 long ago now!), I have been busy with what is called “Ghost Writing”. My latest piece of Ghosting has been for a spin-off of the massively popular Beast Quest series of books.

When anyone finds out that I’m a writer, the first question they invariably ask is: “Have you written anything I might know?” As the person asking this question is usually an adult, I spent years replying, “No, probably not.” But once I started helping Adam Blade out with his Beast Quest series, I was able to say: “Probably, if you have a son who is between 7 and 10 years old.” Beast Quest has been growing now for over a decade, and there are more than a hundred books in the series, and at last count they had sold over 18 million copies worldwide. To have been involved in this phenomenally successful series has been a privilege and a joy - and to have been offered my “own” spin off series of 4 books was a surprise and a delight.

Let me explain how Beast Quest works. Adam Blade and a top-notch team of creative editors sit around a table, working out story-arcs for a new series (the books used to have a 6 book arc, now they have a 4 book arc). Once they have the whole thing planned out, Adam asks “ghost writers” to come in and write the actual books for him. This is not because Adam cannot write well - he can, he is a very good writer. But his workload is heavy, and the books need to come out to strict deadlines, and so other writers are brought in to turn the basic plots into fully fleshed-out books, while Adam concentrates on the more boring and tedious work of getting the books from the original concept to hard-copy volumes on the shelves of book shops across the world. (Trust me, I’d rather do my part of the job than his!)

For those of you who may never have heard of Beast Quest, it is set in a fictional semi-medieval world full of magic and monsters and wicked wizards, and follows the adventures of Tom and Elenna as they seek to free Beasts from the spells of various evil sorcerers and witches. The heroes travel to many strange realms in their quests, but all are of a similar kind - where Kings live in stone castles and dragons inhabit mountain lairs, and where the highest technology lies with the wheelwright and the smithy. Tom has a magical shield and armour, and Elenna is a dead-eye with a bow and arrow; Tom rides a white Stallion named Storm, and Elenna’s best companion is a wolf named Silver.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I received an email two years ago, telling me that the creators of Beast Quest had come up with a spin-off to be called Beast Quest New Blood, and that it was to be set in contemporary London - and that they wanted me to write it! I jumped at the chance, of course. One thing you learn very quickly when you become a professional writer (a person who makes their living from writing) is to always take any jobs on offer.

I was born and brought up in London. which I imagine helped when Adam was looking for a writer for the new series. But the entertaining aside, is that a couple of months before getting this offer, I and my wife Claudia and our cat Tallulah (known as Lulu) had just sold our house in London and have moved two hundred and fifty miles west to live in the coastal town of Bude in Cornwall. It is a beautiful place, and from my office window I see rolling green hills dotted with sheep and horses. The cries of gulls fill the air and if I look to the right, I can see the Atlantic Ocean. As I always wanted a home with a sea view, you can imagine how much I am enjoying this new life.

Also, for me, it was a bit of a “coming home” as my maternal great-grandparents were born in Cornwall - in villages on Bodmin Moor, about a half hour drive from where we now live. Claudia and I had been dreaming of this move for about 20 years, so it really was high-time to turn the dream into reality. Claudia bought a little business selling pet supplies and wild bird food, and I set about writing a few things I’d been thinking about for a couple of years. And then came the Beast Quest email, and my own ideas got put on the back burner for the time being.

Two of the books in this new series have already come out, and two more are on the way. If there are others, I will be kept busy, if not, I will have time to pursue other projects. Among these projects is a potential rewrite of a non-fiction book I co-wrote with a colleague some years ago: a guide to writing a chidlren’s book and getting it published. A lot has changed in the past few years, and we’re sure an update is needed.

Beast Quest New Blood: Book OneBeast Quest New Blood Book Two: The Dark Wizard