The paperback of Circus Maximus: Race to the Death has been out for three months now and I've had a brilliant time doing my first in-person school visits including Brentwood County High School in Essex - where librarian Ann Smy is doing wonderful work - and Sandroyd Preparatory School in my own neck of the woods in Dorset. Meanwhile, I also got to have a Teams meet-up with the Year 4s of St. John's C of E Primary in Worksop, who have been reading extracts from the book and doing some brilliant descriptive writing and artwork about the horses in the story. They even had a pony visit their playground so they could get first-hand inspiration - that is what I call hands-on learning of the highest order. Race to the Death was also featured in The Stylist as one of 6 Best Books to Buy for Christmas, and towards the end of November, I had a splendid time at the Waterstones Finchley Road Christmas Book Fair, signing copies of the book alongside the likes of MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman, Elle McNicoll, Michelle Harrison, LD Lapinski, Robin Scott-Elliot, Anna Hoghton, Mitch Johnson and Ross MacKenzie (who turns out to have the same taste in writing music as me - ie lots of film soundtracks). Just as November turned into December, several more lovely pieces of news came in - a longlisting for the Dudley Children's Book Award, and the honour of being named Sue's Children's Book of the Year by the wonderful Sue Chambers of Waterstones Finchely Road, who has championed the book throughout 2021. Sue is also the first person to have already read and published a (happily very positive) review of book 2 in the series, Rivals on the Track, coming soon on February 3rd (see Books page for more), which has also been named as a February highlight in the children's previews by Fiona Noble for The Bookseller. Meanwhile, I am hard at work on book 3 in the series......watch this space!
One to Watch