Well, it’s done. Finished. Handed in. Nearly two years after I first started working on it (when it was about a medieval boy called Nathaniel and a modern girl called Hazel), All Fall Down has finally been sent back to the publishers for good. It’s an odd thing, reading the page proofs for the final time. Some parts are so much better than you remembered. Other parts still need a bit – more – work. Chapters that didn’t bother you in the least while you were writing them surprise you by affecting you emotionally for the first time. And then there’s the strange thing that happens when you see your words dressed in chapter headings and page numbers and all the other accoutrements of a Real Book. Something which up until then had been quite flexible and very definitely fictional, suddenly becomes a real story. Which – maybe – really happened. Very weird.
It is a wonderful thing to be finished, not least because it means I can start proper work on the New Book. (I love New Books. They are so full of promise and hope, and nothing too major has gone wrong with them yet.) This New Book is about a girl called Olivia Brown, who I have been spending all day today getting to know. She likes James Bond, and chocolate éclairs, and Batman, and she’s not afraid to punch you in the nose if she needs to. She’s just moved into a new house, and she thinks it might be haunted …
My working title is The Winter Garden, but it will probably change. They usually do. Like all my books, it’s really about family and loss, and young people trying to work out who they are.
My other exciting news is that as well as my usual books for Scholastic, I’ve been contracted to write two novels for the very wonderful people at Barrington Stoke. Barrington Stoke specialise in short, plotty novels by well-known authors. I love the idea of writing a book the length of a long-ish short story, and also of working with this fantastic company. The first book should be out in 2013, but watch this space.
I’m pretty happy about writing at the moment. I’m feeling positive about my new projects, and very happy (if slightly nervous) about having a new book out in 2012. I’m hoping to do a lot of school and bookshop visits in March and April to promote All Fall Down, so if you’re interested in having me visit, do send me an email.
And happy Hallowe’en. Keep a look out for Holly King and the Wild Hunt, if you’re out tonight.