Hey everyone,

TPBP LOGO in blue

Great news! Orca Rising has been long listed for the People’s Book Prize (Children’s Category). It’s now up to the public to vote for their favourite book, so please vote for Orca Rising here (because it’s your favourite right?!).

 

Halfway down the page, under “Reviews” is a field to put in your name, email address (don’t worry they won’t spam you!) and Submit to vote. You can only vote for me once, but can vote for up to 3 books in any category.

Thanks for your support!

Chris

I celebrated  World Book Week with pupils from AIS school with a reading from Orca Rising… I asked them what they think happens next, and there are definitely some budding writers with amazing imaginations in Years 9 and 10!

Then, I shared with them a little writing tip; to write the end of a chapter or scene first to give purposeful writing with an intriguing ending – as well as a nice launch off point for the next chapter. The kids then came up with final lines of their own for a scene of their choosing, and will in the coming weeks go back and write the build up. I’m really intrigued to see what they come up with!

I signed copies of the book and hope i’ve inspired a few people in the room to try their hand at writing, and with luck a few more into reading for pleasure.

For pics of the event are available here on the AIS website.

 

Hey Chris! How’s the book going? Thanks for asking, let me tell ya!ORCA RISING packshot3

So it’s been two weeks since Orca Rising came out in paperback. Cue two weeks of head scratching at the Amazon Bestseller Ranking, it would be nice to see how the book was doing in actual numbers rather than how i’m doing comparatively to the 6 million other books in their library! From what i can tell with the spiky line graph, it’s going okay-ish.

It was brilliant  to see Orca Rising hit the top 100 in two categories of Young Adult fiction too; let’s hope it stays there! I’ve had some really pleasing reviews too but the more the better as it really helps to persuade people to give it a try.  My silly mug also appeared in the Chichester Observer around publication time- though I only just found out!.

This week i’m visiting Almuñécar International School to talk about Orca Rising, writing and strong-arming some Year 9’s and 10’s to writing themselves with some fun, inspiration activities (that’s how i’m branding it-  but to be honest, I’ll just be happy if they don’t throw stuff at me.)

Thistle publishing

I’ve also been reading my books by fellow Thistle authors, and it’s been great to discovery such high-quality fiction in genres i don’t often read. Jack Was Here by Chris Bardsley was a fantastically dark novel about an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD on a manhunt for a lost teenager through Asia. Woodcutter by Shaun Baines a brilliant piece of Newcastle noir full of gangs, violence and unexpected twists. Next I read Sarah’s Scholefield’s Redferne lane, which was a nice change of pace, featuring a troubled love story as its main plot, but also examining the lives of a host of characters living on the Lane battling old age, coming of age and parenthood. Last and by no means least, i’m close to finishing Kate Fulford’s Inlaws and Outlaws (awesome title!) which feature the mother in law from hell, and is just a downright hilarious read.  Next it’s Corkscrew by Peter Stafford-Bow.

 

5*  “a fantastic read – fast paced and action packed’

5* “I was completely gripped. Thoroughly believable whilst also having plenty of action to keep you turning the page…”

5* “For fans of Anthony Horowitz, Ally Carter, Eoin Colfer and Robert Muchamore this is highly recommended – a thrilling YA page turner with a lot to offer girls and boys in the 21st Century.”

5* “Gripping and satisfying.”

4* “An enjoyable read and if you liked Charlie Higson’s Young Bond series or indeed “The Maze” or “The Hunger Games” then I do not believe you will be disappointed. The ending certainly sets up the probability of a sequel for which I certainly will look out for.”

Review links:

https://www.netgalley.com/book/134277/review/381653

 

 

Hey everyone

Really pleased to announce my new Young Adult spy thriller Orca Rising is coming out on Thistle Publishing on the 12th April. Beyond excited it’s finally coming out, and love the job on the cover (thanks Thistle!).

The e-book is out to garner some early reviews, but you can pre-order the paperback now on the following link!

Happy reading!

Chris

 

Full jacket!

 

 

I submitted this article to the Navigator Around the World in 80 pages competition in December and come January, Hurrah! It’s made the shortlist and will appear in print in 2016.

Psari view
Psari view

“I hope you don’t have soft hands,” is the first thing Spiros says to me when he picks us up at Athens airport. I’ve flown over from England with Jason, Spiros’ son, to add a third man to their father-son olive harvesting team. After a long drive west, we arrive at Spiros’ hilltop house in Psari nestled in the Messenian foothills.

At dawn the olive-banked mountains are a hazy lilac. We get straight to work, squeezing into Spiros’ old Mercedes with our harvesting gear. We lay floor covers over the frost while Spiros, in his seventies, nimbly climbs up the tree with a chainsaw and surveys the branches. He shares his knowledge with Jason. Groves are handed down and divided; it’s not uncommon to have a single tree owned by multiple family members.

Olive tree

Jason and I smack olives from the felled branches with the tridents. Its physical, repetitive work but it’s satisfying when a thwack produces a volley of olive bullets into the plastic covering. The olives are like Mini-eggs; pastel purples, yellows and pinks. A tree complete, Jason and I pile the wood, and then drag the olive-laden sheets to the next tree. By lunchtime we’ve only done eight trees and already our hands are blistered.

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   Spiros & Jason sacking up olives

Although rural, it’s not quiet. The trees produce every two years, and from November to January, the harvesting is feverish; chainsaws buzz near and far and the presses run day and night. At day’s end we collect the olives onto one or two groundsheets and sack them up by the armful and by five we’re bouncing back up the mountain by the Merc’s headlights.

At home Jason and I collect firewood and fill bottles from Spiros’ homebrew wine cask. We ready the stone hearth and enjoy an ice-cold beer each to quench our day’s thirst while the fire takes. Grubby and cut we snack on olives and feta drizzled in oil, lemon and oregano. As evening deepens, we three sit in our pyjamas, mostly silent, supping wine and stare like lost cavemen at the fire

The harvest takes seven days and yields seventy hessian sacks for our efforts, 545 litres all told (eighty bathtubs). We visit the olive press and meet the owner Panos who greets us with gifts of dried figs and shots of tsipouro. 

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Spiros at the olive press

At the end of the press is a trickling stream of fluorescent liquid gold. We siphon off a few bottles and I sample it: it’s nutty, aromatic, rich and wonderful.

 

Jason and I leave tried but happy. When Spiros shakes my hand at the airport, I can’t help but notice it’s a little rougher and hardier than before.