A short reading from The Wearle

I’ve been waiting ages to put up a new post in anticipation of the cover of Dark Wyng arriving. The artwork for that is almost done, but still being tweaked. So in the meantime, here’s something slightly different. The UK paperback of The Wearle is published this week, on April 7th.  Yay.  By way of celebration, here’s me reading a short extract from one of the ‘Hom’ sections of the book. (‘Hom’ is dragon name for humans.) There are five sections altogether. Three are told from the dragon point of view, and two from the human. In this reading, the ‘Hom’ boy, Ren, is out hunting with some of the men from his tribe when one of the men decides to challenge a ‘skaler’ (a dragon) with disastrous results…

Note: the extract was recorded on a small camcorder on my writing desk at home. Fans of The Last Dragon Chronicles might be interested in the background behind me. You can see a framed poster of the cover of Fire Star. And sitting on the speaker nearby is a firebird! The cream-coloured telephone doesn’t work, by the way. I just like the retro feel it gives to the room.

Enjoy the extract. Great excuse for me to wear a hat!  Cover of Dark Wyng very soon, I promise. Hrrr!


Dark Wyng is coming…

It’s that time of year again.  Happy Christmas everyone!

It’s been a few months since I posted anything so I thought I’d bring the blog up to date with where I am with Dark Wyng, the sequel to The Wearle.  I’m going to tell you right away, this hasn’t been an easy book to write.  The Wearle was amazing.  It almost fell out of the keyboard.  But Dark Wyng has been a real struggle.  And I have no idea why.  Some of the scenes in it are really good, on a par with, if not better than, the first book.  But somehow the story hasn’t really gelled like The Wearle.  Still, the good news is the book is written, and manuscripts always improve massively at the editing stage, which is where I’m at now.  I expect to finish editing by about the end of January.  By then I’ll have a pretty good idea of where to go next.  So think of me this Christmas, sitting in my room by flickering candlelight, wearing a pencil down to the nub as I cross out sentences and scribble new ones in their place.  Okay, it’s not quite as Dickensian as that, but I will be working during the holiday, and so will Jay – it’s a tradition in this house!

Have a great time, everyone.  Very soon now the cover of Dark Wyng will be finished and I’ll be able to post the artwork here.  Don’t miss the paperback of The Wearle in April.  All the best from me for 2015.  Hrrr!


The Wearle has landed

I’m very pleased to announce that The Wearle is now available in the UK.  It was published, in hardback, on October 1st.  I was in Vienna at the time, which is why this post is happening four days after publication.

I’ve been waiting such a long time to see this book in print.  Like all my stories, it started out as a series of vague ideas: What would happen if a colony of dragons (a wearle) landed on an early earth-like planet? How would an intelligent, if undeveloped, society of people react to the disruption?  Would there be any possibility of mutual interaction between the two species?  Would there be war?

The thing is, you never know the answers to these questions until you pitch in.  So the first challenge was, where to start?  For once, that was relatively easy; it had to be the dragons.  Over the fifteen years of The Last Dragon Chronicles, I’ve received lots of stories from children who’ve been eager to show me their own take on dragon lore.  Interestingly, ninety percent of these stories were told from the dragons’ point of view.  So it seemed like a good idea to try it, to look through the dragons’ eyes and hear the thoughts that were in their heads.  If it could work for rabbits (Watership Down) why not dragons?

And so The Wearle was born.  You’ll know, if you’ve read the first chapter, that the story begins with the dragon colony so well-established on Erth they are engaged in a ritual to decide who will be the guardian of a female giving birth to two young.  Right away, I had to stand in their midst and be part of their world.  I’d always had the idea that the book might begin with an action sequence – a battle – but I didn’t expect to see two dragons fighting over the right to become a father.  This highlights one of the most exciting things about writing a fantasy novel: you never quite know what’s going to happen.  This can be a daunting challenge, of course.  There are plenty of dark alleys and irritating cul-de-sacs waiting to beckon your fledgling storyline.  But if you happen to get onto a strong narrative path, then the story potentially unwraps like a flower.  A long, long time ago, before the Chronicles, I wrote a book called Fly Cherokee Fly, a short novel about pigeons (and bullying).  Cherokee was one of those stories that seemed to fall out of the clouds, fully-formed.  Not since that book have I experienced that feeling again.  But with The Wearle, I did.  I honestly don’t think I could write a better fantasy book – but I’m going to try!  I’m already well into the second book of the series.  It has a working title of… No, we’ll leave that for another post.  (Sorry.)  For now, just enjoy The Wearle and share with me the joy of seeing it in the world.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!

It’s a tough life…

…but someone’s got to do it, as they say.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting my publisher’s new offices on the north bank of the River Thames.  I’d gone to chat with her about the second Erth Dragons book and a few other bits and bobs, but she’d also asked if I could sign some copies of The Wearle.  I said, “Of course. How many?”  Answer: three hundred.

It looks a daunting task when you see the picture of the stack, but I’ve signing the wearle 4signed many more than this at events.  I was once at my publisher’s distribution warehouse signing a huge consignment of Fire Star, when someone casually said, “We’ve got another author coming in this afternoon.”  I said, “Oh, yes.  Who’s that?”  They said, “Billie Piper.”  My pen immediately skewed across the page.  “Billie Piper?” I repeated.  “Yes,” they said. “She’s written an autobiography.  Can you keep signing – neatly, please.”  I said, “Can I meet her?”  They said, “No. Anyway, you’ll be finished by the time she gets here.”  At this point, I still had about 150 books to sign.  I said, “If I slow down and sign really, really neatly, do you think-?”  They said, “No.”  Sigh.

There was no prospect of a famous Dr Who actress turning up to this signing of The Wearle (but thank you Lauren, Cat and Anna if you’re reading this!) but it was still a lot of fun.  If anyone is wondering what happens to all these signed copies, they’re mostly headed for major retailers at Christmas.  If you want one, it might be worth popping into your local store and asking if they’re likely to have any that you can reserve.  I’ve also been told that the print run of the hardback isn’t that big.  So they won’t be around for long.  Get them while you can folks.  Bye for now.  Hrrr!

signing the wearle 2

Welcome to the Wearle

It’s been a long time coming, but in one month’s time my new ERTH DRAGONS series will be upon us.  Book one is called THE WEARLE.  This little blog is dedicated to the series.  If you want to know more about me and my other books, you can always have a look at my official website: icefire.co.uk

I thought I was done with dragons when I finished The Fire Ascending, the seventh and final book of The Last Dragon Chronicles.  If I’m honest, I never really planned to write about the scaly beasts in the first place.  It was pure serendipity that kicked it all off.  But they’ve fascinated me now for the last … fifteen years or so, and I couldn’t quite escape their influence, even in my interim series The UNICORNE Files, which has a growing dragon theme.  People in publishing also kept telling me, ‘Dragons are dead.  They’re yesterday’s thing.  Write something different.’  I could see the wisdom in that, for certain topics clearly go in ‘phases’, but that line of thinking never quite tallied with the fan mail I was receiving for the Chronicles.  People clearly LOVED Dragons and wanted more of them.  So what the heck; I wrote THE WEARLE.

Followers of the Chronicles will know that ‘wearle’ is just my name for a colony of dragons.  I won’t go into the whole story here.  Click along the top bar and have a look at the ‘About’ section etc.  The glossary is an interesting read in itself.  It will give you some idea of the world we’re in.  It’s pretty much ‘Earth’ – but not quite as we know it.  Hence the reason for dropping the second vowel.  To be honest, I’ve never been one for ‘world building’.  I greatly admire people like Philip Reeve who are excellent at inventing interesting places and conjuring up wonderful devices to fill those places with; I simply don’t have a big enough imagination for it.  I write best, I think, when I’m close to some sort of familiar domesticity.  The Wearle’s setting is a bit outside my comfort zone, but the dragons are plentiful and the drama is intense.  So prepare to be drawn in.

I’ve been given permission to put up a sample chapter, which I’ll release a bit nearer the publication date of the UK hardback on October 1st.  In the meantime, you can read the prologue, which neatly sets up the basic story.  To get the true flavour of the book you need to meet Gabrial, G’vard, Grymric, Gossana and the many other dragons who populate the Wearle.  That’s coming, I promise.  For now, enjoy discovering how the universe came into being (ahem).  Till the next time.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!