The Gold Monkey Key (Part One)

It’s not that I don’t like books about crime or that I dislike Tartan Noir – quite the opposite: I’m a big fan of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Malcolm MacKay, yet somehow, I’d never read anything by Val McDermid, which is strange in itself. But even stranger for me, who hates gore and horror,Continue reading “The Gold Monkey Key (Part One)”

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The Jade Dragonball: a resource for teachers

David and I have prepared a chapter-by-chapter resource for The Jade Dragonball which offers ideas for mini-projects and discussions, questions to test factual knowledge and elicit opinions about events and characters in the book, and links to curated sites. We hope you will find it useful. An example is pictured and if you are interested,Continue reading “The Jade Dragonball: a resource for teachers”

What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 4)

Perhaps the biggest thing I learned while researching and writing this book with David was that the Song Dynasty was the time when the amazing Qingming Scroll was created. The artist responsible for the painting, Zhang Zeduan, really brings history to life. One of my absolute favourite scenes is the trouble the ship’s crew isContinue reading “What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 4)”

What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 3)

I first came across cicadas when I worked in Japan. I can remember walking down a road in central Tokyo shortly after I arrived and wondering “What is that noise?” I’d never heard anything like it in my life. It was incredibly loud – like someone screaming and using a drill at the same time!Continue reading “What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 3)”

What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 2)

One of the evil characters in our book – you’ll have to read it to find out who – has a tattoo which plays a vital role in helping Sara, the main character, understand what is happening to her. When I was writing the scenes, I knew I needed something like a tattoo as aContinue reading “What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 2)”

What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 1)

This isn’t to suggest I wrote the books myself. I didn’t. It’s just what I learned. As for David and what he learned, I guess he’ll tell you himself. First lesson? Surprise, surprise: it is really tough writing a book! It takes an awful lot of time, energy, planning, enthusiasm, co-operation, determination, and support. AsContinue reading “What I learned writing THE JADE DRAGONBALL (Part 1)”