Saturday 11 October 2014

On three...

A few weeks ago, I was at Hodder's London office for a meeting. My editor, Francesca, smiled as she handed me a finished copy of Cut Out and said, "Your third book!"

At the time, it didn't really sink in and, with the pressures of work (and the pleasures of two different literary festivals this week) publication day sort of slipped past, without me having time to think about it.

Writing and publication are oddly disconnected events. Cut Out was finished months ago and, since then, I've completed a new DI Harland novella, and started work on a fourth full-length novel. With my head now firmly in a different story, it was like an unexpected meeting with an old friend when I read the first reviews of Cut Out. It made me pause, thinking back to the day my agent called to tell me she'd negotiated a three-book deal. At the time, that third book seemed a long way away... but now the hardback is sitting in front of me as I type this.

It's been a brilliant and challenging journey, thus far... I still can't believe it's happening, and I can't wait to see where the stories go next.

Thursday 2 October 2014


I was genuinely saddened to read that old Tom and Jerry cartoons are being branded with a racism warning. In a world where there is so much equality and injustice happening right now, it seems wrong to demonise a cartoon cat and mouse from the 1940s.

To look at something seventy years out of context, is to see it through eyes that have no understanding of the period. To judge it against modern standards, is to judge it against standards that it had no opportunity or encouragement to embrace.

Of course, this may just be a legal safeguarding issue. We do live in a time where some people seem ready – even eager – to be offended at the slightest thing. But while some people may be uncomfortable with aspects of Tom and Jerry, others may be uncomfortable at the suggestion that a cartoon they like is "racist". After all, what does it say about you, if you enjoy racist entertainment?

Intolerant attitudes must be challenged and changed, but this feels like a well-intentioned shot in the foot. Until we've fixed the present, maybe we should be more tolerant of the past.