Monday, 17 September 2012


I’m delighted to announce that my next children’s novel for 9+ readers will be published in time for Christmas 2012. 

TOUGH LUCK is the story of two 13 year olds living in Bristol, Brandon and Helen, who are involved in a quest to find out about  a nine year-old Jamaican slave, Jake Silver, sold in Bristol as a Georgian pageboy in the 18th Century. 
But right now, Brandon thinks he’s the unluckiest thing on legs. How could anyone get into deep tough luck trouble at school because a conker fell on their head?  Only Brandon, of course!

At the ice rink with Helen, a racist gang threatens them. Brandon insists Helen goes home, telling her they’ve been targeted because he is black and she is white, but he knows this isn’t the real reason. It’s his tough luck. 
He gets trapped in the ancient lanes in the centre of Bristol – the gang race behind him, their footsteps ringing on the cobblestones. They catch him and kick him to the ground. Helen and her father arrive in the nick of time.
When Brandon’s mates start a fire on waste ground, leaving Brandon to deal with it, suddenly he’s in trouble with the law…and his parents...and Helen. He’s terrified of reporting his attack, but Helen has an ancient family wedding photo and together they begin a quest to find Jake Silver. They discover that he escaped in a bid to gain his freedom, and unearth a startling link between Jake and the present day – Helen is his great-great-great-great granddaughter.
My previous book for confident readers

Central to the story is an examination of the continuing problems of race hate and racial attacks. This is linked and compared to the theme of mingled populations, especially how people of differing colours often settle, marry and fade into the dominant population. 
At the start of the story, Helen has no idea she has an Afro-Caribbean ancestor, and Brandon, who is Afro-Caribbean, is trying to ignore the prejudice he’s experiencing. The theme of luck, chance and Synchronicity – those strange coincidences that make us stop and wonder about the way life takes us – are also explored. Brandon’s tough luck often has fortunate consequences, although he doesn’t always see things that way!
my book for younger readers

TOUGH LUCK will be published by Thornberry Publishing 
an innovative independent publisher in December 2012 
and will be available on Kindle for all those techno-kids.

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