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Top Ten Joys of Writing Character

Creating and writing character is the breath and blood of good stories. As Will Storr says in The Science of Storytelling, “It’s people, not events,that we’re naturally interested in. The plight of specific, flawed and fascinating individuals that make us cheer, weep and ram our heads into the sofa cushion. The surface events of the […]

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My Top Ten Inspirational Writing Haunts

From tumble-down manor houses to tropical islands, from ruined abbeys to capital cities, places have always been a big inspiration for my writing. Here are my top ten inspirational writing haunts with some of the book extracts they’ve inspired. Caldey Island I visited this little island off the cost of Wales with my parents when […]

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Developing A Creative Curriculum Through Story Making

I’ve just begun a two-year project with Bradford primary schools, working with children in Year 3 to develop their oracy skills and confidence through story making. Over the past couple of weeks we have visited the Land of Treasures and heard about the King Beyond the Unknown Ocean, who wishes to own light itself. Today, […]

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Free Audio Story: The Statue’s Curse

As it’s coming up to Halloween, here’s a free audio story for you to enjoy! Two churchmen fight to erase the memory of a local prophetess, with devastating consequences. This thirty-minute psychological ghost story draws on the legend of the famous English prophetess, Mother Shipton, and of the Petrifying Well, beside which she is said […]

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BBC Radio York interview for National Adoption Week

I was interviewed today on BBC Radio York for #NationalAdoptionWeek. We talked about the process of becoming an adoptive dad, the joys & challenges of adoption and how the experience inspired my new book Bea’s Witch: A ghostly coming-of-age story. What are your experiences of or questions about adoption?

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Have you ever had a brush with the supernatural? If so, what happened?

I was initially asked this question by Heather for a guest post on her blog All the Ups and Downs, but as we’re approaching Halloween, I thought I’d post it again here! I think, perhaps, the supernatural is all around us, threaded through reality; so much so that it’s actually very natural! I guess that’s […]

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Bea’s Witch: An alchemical experiment in creative writing and educational practice

This is an extract from a blog written for Leeds Beckett University about creative writing and educational practice. Read the whole blog here

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How to Use Objects to Develop Character

Part of my writing process for my new young adult novel Bea’s Witch: A ghostly coming-of-age story involved using objects to shape the plot and develop the book’s main character. In this video, I introduce some of those objects and talk about my process. Let me know if you’ve ever used objects as a writing […]

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Distance, isolation and creative communication

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to start a new First Story school residency at Co-Op Grange Academy in Bradford. First Story places published writers in disadvantaged schools to encourage the students to write for pleasure. Over the coming year, I’ll be working with a group of students to […]

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Anthologies of Hope

Anthologies of Hope: I’ve been encouraged and inspired by the two First Story anthologies produced by students at the schools where I’ve been Writer-in-Residence this year.