Yesterday I found myself in John Hampden Grammar School. And folks: either everybody there was very friendly, or I’m starting to get used to being suddenly confronted with, say, sixty-plus keen fresh-faced young humans expecting me to tell them what it’s like being an author. 😉


Actually I’m thinking it was BOTH. Two excellent sessions of about forty-five mins apiece passed without incident (or casualties!) And in each case I only had to get my new-grown human tongue around the Enthoven’s prose for just TWO readings from TIM, due to a constant flurry of pertinent and penetrating questions from the audience. There /was/, I admit, just one sticky moment, when a young gentleman in the front row of session 2 mentioned that he’d read something on the internet about the Enthoven having “a stalker.” I naturally told him I didn’t know what he was talking about – and I definitely didn’t threaten him with swift, moist, tentacular violence /at all/, no matter what anybody says. ;p



A MONSTROUS thank-you to Barbara; Mimi; ninja bookseller Becky (visible left, above) and, indeed, everyone else I met at JHGS, for a truly terrific visit.

To answer two follow-up questions from the Guestbook:

James: The straight answer is probably ‘no’. It’s one of the less pleasant facts about novel-writing that one can only really learn it by doing it – writing stories as best you can at the time, and if you fail, well, you hope next time you’re going to get better. Each one of the three books I wrote before Black Tat took up a minimum of a year of my life, and I put my heart into them. But I was learning my stuff (still am!), the books were ropey, and the agents and publishers I sent them to were right to reject them. Some of the concepts in the stories /might/ be worth taking on, I suppose – if only in the fond hope that one day I learn to be able to express them properly! But characters? Nah. Better to start from scratch.

Jack: I try to plan a story as much as I can before I start writing it. There are lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that if I know where the story’s ending is going to be, then I know it’s possible that I can finish it! That said, I find there’s always a point in the planning process at which one has to accept that certain answers are just not going to come, not until the writing’s underway and you’re in there working with what you’ve got. As with anything important, there’s always a time when you have to leap into the dark and hope for the best.

I seem to be typing this in a hotel in Newcastle. It’s great here. Hope I don’t have to eat anybody, but I’ll let you know. 😉


Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. 😉