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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tigers and Dog Houses

 Roaaaaaaar! It's here! The Boy with the Tiger's Heart will be available on Thursday 28th August from a book shop near you or a click on the mouse. Eeeeeek.
 I'm still mad about the cover - by such a talented designer Levente Szabo who I've never met but am completely in love with. The cover he has done for the next book- The Dog, Ray is stunning too - and when the time is right I'll post that pic up too. Beezle is most pleased as you'll see(when the time is right) that there is not a dissimilar likeness.
 Pixie is identifying with the Bear in the story and Pocket (quarter Bengal) ---- well you can imagine who he thinks he is.

We are holding out for an Indian summer but have had to light the wood burner now as it's cold in the
house though I still can't bring myself to put in some double glazing. We have mostly metal windows with thin, greenhouse glass, which makes everything condensate. Double glazing seems such un unromantic thing to spend your pennies on. In fact I can't believe I'm even writing about double glazing.
 I expect it's because I've no pics of the funny ducklings to put up in spite of the fact they are looking very funny. I tried to repair the duck house that the badger/fox/pine marten had pushed into but the whole thing collapsed, even though I'd tried to tie it up with baling string. Everyone I asked who was any good with a hammer and nails rolled their eyes when I showed it to them, so in the end I bought a dog house. It's actually really good now someone has put a proper door on it and punched  few holes in it. Actually it's very smart but why would you want to keep a dog in a kennel? It seems cruel. When the girl in the shop asked me if I had a new dog I had to supress a scowl and barked "NO! It's for ducks."

My publisher - Hot Key Books have asked me to write a blog for them about The Boy with the Tiger's Heart. Which I've done for their website but here it is for this one.
Hot Key have asked me to write a blog about The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart. When I write my own blog I rely heavily on pictures of fluffy chicks and the antics of the many furred and feathered creatures I live with.

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I write about my constant battle with dust and fluff, the minutiae of everyday living in a small house within a vast landscape. On the computer screen, the writing of The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart felt a bit like that. You write a sentence and its whole future opens up like the very landscape that lies beyond the window.

The story originally followed a different path – a path I wasn’t sure led anywhere. It had the girl in it and the Bear but the boy with the tiger’s heart hadn’t been there to start with.  I was trying out other avenues in between distracting myself by going onto Google for a ‘bit of research’ and finding I’d bought half a dozen duck eggs off  E Bay  and some thermal socks.
Then one day I had  a  Mary Shelley moment. I was imagining a creature like Frankenstein but made up of animal parts and suddenly the boy with the tiger’s heart was born.
The book was always going to be about the wild – the loss of freedom and the craziness of Health and Safety. The world we live in now has Father Christmas’s in hi viz jackets, children being banned from wearing frilly socks to school in case they trip over them and the death of spontaneity.

The initial inspiration for the story came from reading the news about a man in America who kept a huge collection of exotic and endangered animals. One day he set them all free and took his own life. The result was that the police killed every single animal.  There are more tigers kept in captivity, especially in the States than there are in the wild. In researching tigers I have learnt a lot about conservation issues and the sickening demise of these beautiful creatures due to poaching and the destruction of their habitat. What better force to have in writing a book!
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