An end and a beginning


Thunder rolls in waves across the lake and rumbles from mountain to mountain up back. The house is built above a steep drop and the trees below bend and twist in the wind and rain, but nothing like last week’s gale that carried off the old chimney, smashing two skylights in its wake. Through the open doors and windows that look out over the valley and lake, I see swallows darting here and there, unperturbed by the storm. The air is cooler now, cleaner and more refreshing. A good moment to write.

My latest novel, In Search of Lost Girls, is ready. Only the ISBN is missing. I’ve paid for a new batch and it should arrive in a few days. Then I will be able to order the proofs. With the effort of preparing the sequel to Boy & Girl over, I find myself suddenly restless if not rudderless. Next on my agenda is the dystopian novel which I began a while ago with twelve chapters already written.

It’s always difficult to plunge back into a story, here all the more so because I want to make a number of changes before going on. My way of writing requires me to be immersed in the story such that I can follow the characters rather than dictating where they go and what they do. If the builders hadn’t done away with the fireplace when they put in the central heating some twenty years ago, I would willingly pull up an armchair by the log fire to read what I have already written. I’ll have to make do with the occasional flickering of lightning instead…

Almost there!


Today I finished the final edit of In Search of Lost Girls. For all the technical nature of editing, the end of the story still moves me greatly. The picture above depicts the famous Chapel Bridge in Lucerne that Peter crosses on his way to St. Leodegar’s church  where the book culminates in a series of emotional fireworks.

I signed up for a new batch of ISBN this morning and now I need to make one or two modifications to the cover and do the final text layout before I order the galley proofs. On track, then, to publish In Search of Lost Girls at the latest early September.

You could well read In Search of Lost Girls on its own, but to get the most out of it, I strongly recommend you read Boy & Girl first.  You have just the time to order it now and read it before In Search of Lost Girls becomes available.

The girl with the green dress


Green Dress 2

I’m doing the final edit of In Search of Lost Girls which should be published early September. Here’s a brief extract I have just worked on.
The pretty girl from the bakery, whose name was Bonnie, must have been waiting for him, because the moment Peter entered the little church she pounced on him, slung an arm round his shoulder, much to Fi’s disgust, and planted a kiss on his cheek. Peter struggled to get free, but she clung to him with the force of desperation.

She looked like a character from a fairy tale, although certainly not the sort you could trust, Peter thought. She had put on a green dress trimmed with white lace that barely reached her knees and wore white tights and dark green shoes to match. Her auburn hair was attached in a ponytail fixed with a silver clasp of a celtic design.

A writers’ scrawl for the Summer Solstice

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The idea of returning to Lucerne with a group of writers and illustrators from the SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) was really appealing. The city of Lucerne was important in my novel In Search of Lost Girls and this visit was a further chance to let Lucerne inspire me. In the photo above, the group study story dice that Elisabeth threw for us, rather like others might read the oracle.

Our first port of call was Rotsee. A small expanse of water above Lucerne where rowing fans gather to practice.

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The peaceful lakeside was an ideal place to write and there was inspiration in the air. The group scattered to quiet corners down by the water  to begin their work. But I had not come to write a new piece, rather to continue editing In Search of Lost Girls readying it for publication.

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Although I have visited Lucerne several times I have never climbed the walls. With Stephane to guide us, we settled in the gardens at the foot of the walls and were even able to climb inside the tower to stand atop the walls as the watch must once have done. It was there, perched above the city, that we heard the many bells rival each other to announce midday. Bells. Yes. I had to include them in my story and I happened to be editing a place where I could do just that. Here’s a very brief extract.

“She lived in Lucerne, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Imagine a fairly large city nestling in the mountains, at one end of a lake, a city of churches and sumptuous hotels, a city where the tolling of bells is a constant companion. Her parents had a mansion down by the lake with its own little port where they moored their yachts. They had several of them. Life was a formal affair in that house, with organised salons which only the best families attended, carefully planned meals prepared by first class chefs and servants that waited on the family at all hours of the day and night. I was never invited. She didn’t care too much for that life, but obedience was a virtue in her family, especially in women.”

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I wanted to visit Saint Leodegard, the Hof as it is called, but unfortunately there was a wedding and I was unable to wander freely through the church savoring the emotional scenes that brought In Search of Lost Girls to a close. The combination of the building, despite the modern-day drama playing out there, and the memory of my story, albeit fiction, still moved me deeply.

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As I said to Sheila on the trolley back to the station, Peter might have been able to finally unravel the dilemma that beset him in In Search of Lost Girls, but I fear his joyful solution may only be a short-lived reprieve. Unlike his namesake, Peter Pan, he will not be able to remain for ever in Never Never Land.

The Complex Weaver


Posted a new short story entitled The Complex Weaver. Here is the beginning:

“He’s not a Complex Weaver…” The young woman’s voice broke off as her words encountered silence.

Such a name should never have been heard; not even by an errant spirit like me.  But the Lord’s Keeper strode in at that moment and conversation faltered, then failed completely. A few patrons eyed the Keeper and with good reason. He was a striking man. Taller and more solidly built than any of those present, he wore a full length riding coat, pulled in at the waist but unbuttoned, revealing a silk waistcoat. But most of the men in the tavern craned to see the woman, hoping to catch a glimpse of the one who had dared say that name… (Read on)

A new cover text for Boy & Girl


As I prepare In Search of Lost Girls, the sequel to Boy & Girl, for publication, I went back and re-wrote the short description of the earlier book. Here it is:

Boy & Girl

When Peter awakes in the head of a girl, he is both delighted and alarmed that his secret yearnings have become reality. Very quickly, however, his error is apparent; this girl is not him. Kaitling –that’s her name– is twelve years old, like him. She’s the daughter of a magician, a prominent figure in another world. Boy and girl travel back and forth from each other’s minds, but have little time to get acquainted before Kaitling’s island is overrun by warrior priests and she has to flee. At home, a conflict erupts in Peter’s family forcing him to take refuge at a friend’s place. Meanwhile at school, a haughty new girl goads him about his girlishness and, spitting in his face, vows to rid the earth of people like him. The stage seems set for a desperate struggle to survive, but will ingenuity and youthful fervour be enough against folly and fanaticism?

Now would be a good time to read Boy & Girl if you haven’t already done so, before In Search of Lost Girls comes out this Summer. By clicking on Boy & Girl you will not only get access to the first three chapters for free, but you can also see how to buy your copy.

Secret Paths Editions