Monday, October 09, 2006

The Darke Ages Are Coming

Sebastian Darke happened almost by accident.

I'd been quite happily publishing adult fiction for a number of years - fairly feisty psycho thriller stuff, mostly for Headline books; and then one day, my 10 year old daughter asked me if she could read one of them.

Now, here's the thing. It was pretty salty, full of murder and mayhem and goodness knows what; and proud though I was of my work, I had to admit that she just wasn't ready for it. So I told her, 'You know what? I'm going to write a story just for you.' And that's exactly what I did. I would write a chapter, read it to her and get her reactions to it. Then I'd ask myself, what happens next? And I would write the next chapter.

Couldn't be easier.

A few chapters in, I made a startling discovery. I was enjoying writing this stuff, every bit as much as my adult fiction; and what's more, I thought that I had finally created a bunch of characters that I could take on to other adventures.

I had three of them.

Sebastian, a 17 year old elfling, trying to fill the boots of his dead father, a celebrated jester. Only problem is, Sebastian can''t tell a joke to save his life.

Max, his buffalope, a talking (and endlessly complaining) beast of burden with ideas above his station. Max is the funny one and with Sebastian he forms a curious kind of double act.

And Cornelius, a powerful super-warrior who is half the height of most men but twice as powerful.

At the time of writing, I didn't expect to ever see their adventures in print. But then, I sent the first book to Charlie Sheppard at Random House and almost before I could say 'Shadlog's teeth,' Charlie was my editor, a three-book deal was signed and Sebastian Darke was at the Bologna Book Fair, doing very nicely thank you.

This blog is going to be all about what happens en route to publication and beyond. The thrills and spills, the wonders and blunders of children's publishing - somewhere I have never ventured before.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Philip Caveney


Blogger chineseyun said...

I've been reading about your 'Darke', but I got confused by something,cause I'm Chinese. So I wonder if I can get some help from you, sir. I read a phrase 'By Shadlog’s beard', but I can't find the word 'Shadlog'. Could you please explain it a little for me?

2:51 am  
Blogger Philip Caveney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:52 pm  
Blogger Philip Caveney said...

'By Shadlog's beard,' is something that Cornelius says a lot. I haven't revealed who Shadlog is, yet. Perhaps later in the series, I will...

6:53 pm  
Blogger chineseyun said...

Thanks for your answer and your time. I finally have a chance to read your whole book 'Sebastian Darke' and I guess that I'll have a lot of fun out of the reading. And I hope I can introduce your works to my students soon. All the best wishes to you, your little girl, and the whole family.

1:37 pm  
Blogger Philip Caveney said...

It may interest you to know that Sebastian Darke is going to be published in China (in Chinese, naturally) in January 07.

2:29 pm  

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