I am the author numerous books for children and young adults, and co-author with my brother, Marcus, of the graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills
and illustrated novel Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black.
On the way to realising my childhood ambition to write, I read East Asian Studies and Philosophy at Cambridge University, before working variously as an academic bookseller, painter, researcher and script developer for film and TV, and therapist. Tsunami Girl
is the product of my lifelong immersion in Japanese culture, history and belief, and my many journeys and close friendships made in the country. My co-creator is Japanese manga artist, Chie Kutsuwada, who brings a vital visual voice of the book powerfully to life. The communities of the 2011 disaster recovery have been so welcoming and inspiring - and Tsunami Girl
is dedicated to them. Our new book - 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Cafe
- will be out in November 2023. よろしくお願いします.
The first book in my Mysterium
trilogy - The Black Dragon
- was published by Hodder Children’s Books in 2013 and won the Rotherham Children’s Book Award. Following completion of the Mysterium
, I returned to my fascination with East Asia and set my Ghosts of Shanghai
trilogy in war-torn, (and ghost-ridden) 1920s China. In 2020 Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black -
illustrated by Alexis Deacon -
was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
Over the last 10 years I have made more than 300 school and festival visits both in the UK and abroad, and speaking and teaching in schools has become a vital and rewarding part of my work as a children's and YA writer. I also teach adult courses on Japanese culture for former WEA groups.
I live near Ely, Cambridgeshire, am married and have two wonderful grown-up sons. I still combine writing with my work as a Zen Shiatsu therapist. In my spare time I draw as much as possible, try my best to improve my Japanese - and wait for the weather to get cold enough to go fen skating.