Just a few words before I pack my bags and head off to the South of France. I’m going to be there for a month and the original plan was to finish CROCODILE TEARS there in peace and quiet…but as you may know, that’s all changed.
The book is already finished – and in second draft. And the big news is that my publishers in the UK and the USA have decided to release it early. They want it in the shops in the run-up to Xmas which of course (as usual) has put a lot of pressure on me to deliver. The publication date is November 12th. As soon as the book is out, I’m flying to the USA for a ten-city tour which means planes, limousines, hotels, shopping malls, media escorts, sandwiches, signings, miles and miles of freeways, local radio stations and distant branches of Barnes & Noble. Not entirely my idea of fun and always pretty exhausting. The only good bit is meeting the booksellers and chatting to American readers but it’s always such a rush that in the end it just becomes a blur.
Anyway, enough complaining. The main thing is that (I think) the book has really worked. It’s probably the most violent and action-packed AR yet – though that may change once my various editors get their hands on it. The violence, I mean. My favourite things in it are a greenhouse full of poisonous plants, a nasty journalist, a climax that really does throw everything you could possibly imagine at the page and a last chapter which I actually planned about five years ago.
I’m trying not to give too much away.
Now I’m in that strange, nervy time between finishing a book and waiting to see it in the shops. Whenever I get to the last word, I always think that it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Then the doubts set in. By the time publication day arrives, I’m convinced it’s no good at all. But you know what I’ve always said. Each book has got to be better than the one before and that, at least, is what I’ve tried to do with CT.
Incidentally, the early publication of CT means that my collection of horror stories, MORE BLOODY HOROWITZ won’t now appear until 2010. So you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out what happens to Darren Shan.
A few other bits and pieces about 2009 so far…
I’ve just got back from an amazing trip to China where I was a guest of Dulwich International College in Shanghai. I’d never been to China before and didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. It’s all so strange…communist government, capitalist society – this vast region that has only recently connected with the rest of the world. I loved the people I met (very open, very friendly), the incredibly brash and innovative buildings (high point was the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing) and the foreign-ness of it all.
Of course, I was just a dip-my-toe-in-the-water tourist. Maybe you picked up some of my Tweets. The Forbidden City, the terracotta warriors, the Great Wall etc. But the trip was huge fun. My favourite thing – an extraordinary spectacle in a huge square in Xi ‘An. Late at night, thousands of people getting themselves drenched by powerful jets of water spraying out of the ground as classical music boomed all around and multi-coloured spotlights cut through the darkness. Everything was synchronised, the fountains exploding in time to the music. All this in 40 heat! I just loved it. Anyway, here’s a picture of me in the Bird’s Nest. Just for the hell of it…
This summer has also seen the completion of the new series of Foyle’s War. The last time I blogged, I mentioned that it might be the end of the road for Foyle – and I was a little horrified to see the story picked up by the tabloids. So let me say here that no decision has been made and I have no idea if I’ll be writing it next year or not. What matters is that the new series is really, good I think. Really well directed. And interesting stories including the Russians in England, segregation in Hastings and a weird organisation called the British Free Corps (British soldiers in Nazi uniforms). If you live in Suffolk, watch out for a charity screening this October, at the cinema in Aldeburgh. I’ll be there!
We’ve also screened Collision a couple of times. That’ll be in ITV in November or December and I’m really excited about it as it’s so different to anything I’ve ever done. And that’s it. I’m off to Marlborough today for my son’s last day at school (and no more school fees, thank God!). By the way, he’s got a great blog that’s worth checking out: cass for questions is the name. I like it, anyway. I’m spending quite a bit of July in Suffolk, probably working on the book once my editors have savaged it. I’ve got one more TV series to write this year but that’s just about it which is just as well as I’m pretty knackered.
I hope you all have a great summer and for those of you waiting for exam results, fingers crossed (Cass doesn’t seem to fazed…but then he revised extremely hard for at least one afternoon).