Sunday, 25 March 2007

9: NEW! Book covers for entire series!

If you have a look on the right-hand side of the blog, and scroll down, you'll see I've put up all the covers for the entire series. And don't they look wonderful..
Drum roll for Dan Andreasen, our fantastic cover artist!

8: Pishogue and the Horns of Pan..

What's pishogue? It's the name given by the Hidden People to what we Obvious World people call magic.

The pishogue of the Hidden World comes in many forms.

There's the production of dreams and also of nightmares. The Dream-makers made good dreams, and the slave workers of Pandemonium, in Uncouther lands, make nightmares.
There's the making of tricks and jokes and annoyances (the Tricksters, like Hinkypunk Hobthrust and Monsieur Reynard, are especially good at that.)
There's glamouring, which is turning things into what they're not--for example, turning yellow autumn leaves into a pile of gold. There's spells of all sorts, like the long-stalker spell, which can make an ordinary pair of shoes turn into things that can carry you a long way, fast, or the thinning spell, which makes you invisible.
There's pishogue to do with music and with stories and paintings and all kinds of things like that. There's pishogue to do with food and with cars (like Adverse Camber's cranky car, Metallicus, for instance)..There's all kinds of pishogue, from all the different parts of the Hidden World.

If you're a really great maker of pishogue, you might be rewarded with the Hidden World's highest honour: the Horns of Pan. This award is traditionally given by King Pan, ruler of the forest kingdom of Arkadia, the Hidden World's oldest and most respected realm. (That's Ted's picture of Pan and his court of nymphs, above).
Getting the Horns of Pan is not only a huge honour, it also means you're allowed to do all kinds of things, as Thomas Trew and his friends find out in the new book, Thomas Trew and the Horns of Pan. Read it to find out more!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

7: The new book's here!

Today I'm holding in my hot little hands the first advance copy of Thomas Trew and the Horns of Pan, the second in the Thomas Trew series! It looks gorgeous! (That's the cover, on the column at the right of the blog). Its official release date is April the 19th in the UK, and June in Australia. Make sure you watch out for it!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

6: Pinch and Patch

Pinch and Patch Gull are twins, and Thomas' best friends in the Hidden World. They are Middlers, like most people in Owlchurch, and they are also the only children living there--apart from Thomas! They're lively, mischievous, clever but they often get into scrapes. Thomas has a wonderful time with them!

My friend Fiona McDonald, who's a wonderful artist, doll-maker and maker of soft sculptures, was inspired enough by the first book, and the mischievous Gull twins, to create a pair of gorgeous dolls which I took with me on visits to schools. They were a huge hit!

Above are the dolls. And here's Fiona's website:

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

5: Meeting the real Trews!

The real Thomas Trew and me at Waterstones in Ramsgate, Kent (with copies of the book and dolls of Pinch and Patch, created by Fiona McDonald)
Thomas, his sister Alice, and me at Waterstone's, Ramsgate

There's a real magic about this series, ever since its beginning in that dream. Wonderful and unexpected things seem to happen around it. One of the most delightful began one day when I opened my email inbox and discovered an amazing message waiting for me--from the real Thomas Trew, and his family!

What had happened was this--Thomas, who's twelve, and from Ramsgate in Kent, had googled his name one day, and found out that his namesake was the hero of my new series! He was astonished--it's not every day you realise, after all, that you share your name with a book character. And so he and his family got in touch with me. We exchanged quite a few emails. They asked me why I'd chosen the name 'Thomas Trew' for my hero, and I said it was because my Thomas is a Rymer, descended from the first Thomas, who was also known as True Thomas. I had just reversed the name, to get Thomas True--but used 'Trew' as it was a real surname. But I had absolutely no idea that somewhere out there would be somebody with the exact same name! It was a real buzz to find out!

It was even more of a buzz to meet the real Thomas Trew and his mother, Linda, father, Dave, and younger sister, Alice, in Ramsgate, during my promotion trip for the first book, around England. To everyone's amazement, Thomas even looks rather like the picture of my character on the cover of the first book! We all got on really well, and had a really fun time together. (And what's more, they all really liked the book!) We also had to do heaps of media interviews, for it seemed like it wasn't just us interested in this lovely example of life imitating story. Newspapers, radio and TV--including both the BBC and ITV--were delighted with the whole thing, and ran several pieces about it. The Hidden World had set its special magic on us!

We're all still in touch now--in fact you can see a comment from the Trews at the end of my first post on this blog. (Hello, and love to all the Trew family!)

The third book in the series, Thomas Trew and the Klint-King's Gold, which comes out in the UK in June, and later in the year in Australia, is dedicated to the real Thomas Trew and his family. And Alice, who dearly wished she could have a part to play in one of the books, is going to get her wish! I waved my magic wand and hey presto, a character called Alice appears in the sixth and final book!

Friday, 2 March 2007

4: The wonderful Ted Dewan!

One of the great pleasures of writing the Thomas Trew series has been the possibility of working with one of Britain's top illustrators, Ted Dewan. It's really exciting for me to see how Ted takes the characters and places from my books and makes them pop up into view at once with his marvellous, mischievous pictures! Every time I finish one of the Thomas Trew books, I can't wait to see what Ted is going to make of this new lot of characters, places and things!

Like, for instance, above, from the first book, here are the Mayors of Aspire, the most exquisite and rather snobby Lady Pandora and Mr Tamblin, with their car and chauffeur, Herne..and Thomas, of course!

Sometimes the pictures look exactly how I'd imagined they might look, other times I get a real surprise! But always a pleasant one! In fact, Ted's pictures are so imaginative and strong that I always end up thinking, 'That is exactly how that person/place should look like. However did he know?'

Born in the US and now resident in Britain, Ted has written and illustrated many picture books of his own, as well as illustrated books for other authors. He's won several prizes, including the Mother Goose Award and the Blue Peter Award, and he's also frequently published cartoons in the major British newspapers. He lives in Oxford with his wife Helen Cooper, who's also an author/illustrator, and their daughter Pandora (yes, isn't that a nice coincidence!)

I had the pleasure of meeting Ted in person when I was doing school visits in Oxford last year. It was wonderful to meet hi and not only see the originals of his fantastic pictures, but also to catch a quick peek at the next batch!

His website is at