Here’s a nice piece of Black Tat art that was sent to me this week:

Ethan  the blacktatoo 2009 no. 2

ebirk wrote: Charlie with the Scourge on his back in Hell. Thank you for the opportunity to submit my art.

Thank you for sharing it, Ethan! Whenever my stories inspire people to do or make stuff, that gives me an enormous thrill. This fine pic will be going up on the Black Tat Reader Art Page very soon. Anyone else reading this who wants to show me their work will find all the details about how to do that either there or on the Reader Art Page for Tim.

Meanwhile, here are some follow-up questions from yesterday’s Trapped By Monsters Halloween Event (which, btw, was an absolute hoot – click the link to read all about it!) A big thank you to Derek, 9, from my home borough of Hackney, who wrote into the Tim Guestbook to ask the following:

Why did it take you five years to write The Black Tattoo? And how is it fun?!

Why did Black Tat take five years? That’s how long it took to get the book written and polished into the best shape I possibly could. The polishing was what took the longest (you can find out more at the Black Tat website). Black Tat was a big project for me, no doubt about it. But like any big project, if you break it down into manageable chunks (small steps towards your goal), and you do them, and keep doing them, because you want it, and love it, and believe in what you’re doing, then you can get there. If you approach it like that, you can achieve anything you want.

Some of writing Black Tat was definitely fun. I was excited about the story. I had to be, because most of the process of writing it was work. But I did it, I’m proud of it, and when people write in and tell me they enjoy reading the book, that makes me very, very happy.

I also just wanted to ask how you became quite famous. Has anyone inspired you???

Quite famous”? Hee hee hee! I wouldn’t even go that far! 😀

I’m not famous. Most authors aren’t. But I am published: my books are available in shops and libraries and online, and people can read them if they want. For ten years that was my biggest ambition, and now it’s happened. How?

Again, no easy answer I’m afraid: I worked for it. I wrote stories. I sent them off to publishers and agents and anywhere else I could think of. I built up a pile of one hundred and thirty-four letters saying ‘no’. But I kept working on my stories, writing new ones, pushing myself to get better at this job of writing. I kept sending my stuff out. And eventually, one day, someone said ‘yes’.

Who inspired me? Lots of people! In particular, there were two terrific authors who came to visit my school when I was young: a comics writer called Alan Grant, and a poet called Ted Hughes. Both of them absolutely amazed me: they made this ambition of mine seem possible enough for me to decide to give it a serious go. It’s my hope that by visiting schools now and speaking to young people such as yourself, I just might – might – pass that sort of inspiration on to a new generation. Or, heh, that’s what I’m aiming for, anyway! 😉

Thanks for your questions, Derek. All best wishes to you,



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. 😉