When I was in primary school, I got the urge to travel and see a bit of the world. I hadn’t ventured too far from home before, because I lived on a rough Dundee housing estate where the ice cream van was called ‘Jack the Ripple’. So I bravely set out and discovered a Woolworths at the end of the block, which had a bargain book bin with tatty paperbacks for 5p each. Since pocket money hadn’t been invented yet, I bought as many as I could, with the money I had saved for cigarettes.
I can still recall the titles, in order of inappropriateness.
The Hot Rock by Donald E Westlake (Hilarious)
Freebie and the Bean by Paul Ross (Hilarious and filthy)
Through the Dark and Hairy Wood by Shaun Herron (Set during the N. Irish Troubles)
The Edge Westerns by George Gilman (Made American Psycho look cosy)
Nexus by Henry Miller (Probably shouldn’t have been sold to a child)
What was this mad stuff I’d discovered? It was challenging, exciting and forbidden. I dumped my Enid Blyton collection and vowed never to read a kid’s book again.
It’s a mindset I kept when I started writing teenage/YA novels. To me they’re just adult books with the swearing taken out. Younger readers can handle complex plots and ideas and don’t like to be talked down to. Adults can accept a few teenage characters. They were young once. A page turner should transcend age boundaries and that has always been my goal.
‘Bunker Ten’ was the first of these attempts. My publisher said it was too complex, violent and hard to categorize for teens and only brought it out ‘cause they’d paid the advance before they read it. It was short-listed for the Waterstone’s Book Prize, The Angus Book Award, the South Lanarkshire Book Award, The RED Award, the Stockport Book Prize – and won the Royal Mail Award. Voted for by kids.
Ironically, my favourite novel is for children – ‘The Weirdstone of Brisingamen’ by Alan Garner (read by mistake when I was in my 30’s). Yet it’s still a struggle to convince people that the same book can be enjoyed by adults and teens.
All it really takes is a bargain bin to get the ball rolling.
That’s why I’m giving away a free eBook of ‘Bunker Ten’ to anyone, of any age, who contacts me and asks for a copy. All I ask is that you tell people about the offer, so they can look up my website and get a free copy too!
Beneath Pinewood research facility are the two most dangerous creatures on earth. A little girl and a mouse. And now they’ve escaped.
Age 13 – Adult
Winner of the Royal Mail Award. Short-listed for the Waterstone’s Book Prize, The Angus Book Award, the South Lanarkshire Book Award, The RED Award and the Stockport Book Prize
Edinburgh: City if the Dead has been out of print for a while, so an updated, revised edition is finally out! City of the Dead: The Fascinating Supernatural History of Edinburgh is available here, or on Amazon and the E-Book Version comes out on the 24th. Subscribe to my website and you’ll also get a free eBook – the horror anthology Book of the Dead plus more free books and stories in the months to come.
I’m updating my subscription service so that I can give away more free books and stories. Unfortunately, if you’re already a subscriber, the new system has to re-register you. Bummer.
But all you have to do is resubscribe on the website – and you get a free copy of Book of the Dead! Yaaay!
City of the Dead’s own J A Henderson has his new teen thriller ‘It’s Only the End of the World’ is now out.
You can get it here on on Amazon or in all good bookstores. Hopefully some crap bookstores too.
Black Hart Entertainment/City of the Dead are releasing their horror anthology Book Of The Dead on the 5th Sept. It will be available soon as an ebook on both this website and Cityofthedead.com
I’ve got two stories in it!
Please note. This is not a kids book. There are bad words…
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J.A. Henderson’s new teenage thriller is out soon! It’s Only the End of the World will be published by Floris books on the 16 August.
Charlie Ray is a bit of a sad sack, until he meets a girl with no memory carrying around an artificial intelligence called Nostradamus. Now they want him to break a violent psychopath out of prison, destroy an evil corporation and stop mankind going extinct.
He’s going to have a busy week….
Here’s a fantastic competition that’s free to enter. Write an 8 word story and the winner gets their entry displayed on a billboard! It’s open worldwide and I’ve already submitted 3000 entries. Kidding! It was only 2,876. @qldwriters @J_A_Henderson_
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