So my debut junior novel is out.

It’s all pretty damn exciting. It’s also good to know – given how ruthless young reviewers can be – those who’ve read ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ seem to have really enjoyed it.

So anyway.

I was walking along Ponsonby Road in Auckland on a beautiful Friday morning when I ran into an old mate with his ten-year-old son. Here was a kid dressed in a Manchester United shirt, with accompanying NZ Warriors shorts. He was a cool kid: funny and full of life, with mannerisms that seemed oddly familiar.

Then it clicked.

As we stood there in the sun, my mate apparently told me what he’d been up to over Xmas. I say apparently because I struggled to focus on a word he said, mainly because the main character I’d been working on for the past two years, the guy who had lived inside my head all that time, was standing right in front of me in a Manchester United shirt. If I was a casting director for ‘Shot, Boom, Score’ the movie, I would have chosen this kid right away.

Of course I tried to relay this to my mate (‘then for New Years we just had a quiet one’) but, not surprisingly, he failed to catch my enthusiasm.

It was all hellishly freaky. Even more so – the kid’s name was Toby, the same as my main character. I took all this as a good sign – though given the similarities – wondered if this new novel is fiction at all.

Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist whom I admire greatly.

He doesn’t suffer fools, though suffers for his art.

Today in his blog he paraphrased Linds Redding, an Auckland creative who recently died of cancer. Linds’ blog was enlightening, funny and honest. Although he admitted he enjoyed parts of his advertising career – and the people – ultimately Linds felt he worked in an industry which took his best years, not to mention ideas. And in the end he had nothing to show for it.

I hope Linds’ family are doing as well as can be expected. I never met him but he seemed a good, decent guy.

For what it’s worth, here’s what I took from his take on life:

If you’re a creative – be it art, music, writing, whatever – choose where to throw your energy. You only have a certain amount of it – and we ain’t here forever.

What is it you want to say?


No better feeling if you're an author

This freak.

It’s a habit I’ve had since I started writing books. Looking and feeling isn’t enough; one has to smell the pages. I read recently about a new cologne on the market that produces the very smell I’m talking about. Though I don’t think I’d go that far. Surely it’s better to wear Beckham or Usher than smell like a library.

I’m saying this because I arrived home from a Christmas break to find two copies of my latest novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ in the letterbox. Honestly, there is no better feeling. Nor does anything beat showing your two young daughters their dedication at the front. As a result, I don’t even have a copy of my own book.

This story has had a long journey, having started work on it over two years ago. I have to thank Joy Cowley for her incredible efforts, as well as the team at Allen and Unwin – namely Nicola McCloy, Sarah Brenan and Hilary Reynolds.

Thanks for your patience and creative input – you made it sing!

Shot, Boom, Score! will be released in Australia and New Zealand on the 1st Feb. If you live elsewhere, I’m sure you’ll be able to track down a copy online.

The blurb:

‘Toby, if you get twenty wickets and ten tries before the end of the year, Mum and I will buy you a GameBox V3.’

Toby thinks the GameBox V3 challenge will be too easy – he gets Player of the Day all the time. SHOT! But he hasn’t reckoned on Mrs Martin-Edge, the teacher from hell. Or on Malcolm McGarvy.

McGarvy is the biggest kid in the school and he wears a shark tooth around his neck. You know McGarvy is near because you get goosebumps up your arms.

And he’s going to make sure Toby doesn’t get that GameBox V3.