15 Days Without a Head will be in bookshops in 7 days time. By way of celebration, I will be publishing a new post here every day, leading up to publication on January 5th. The idea is to provide a few bonus items, such as you'd expect to find on the extras disc of a DVD – except these will be available before the main feature of course.
It's over three years since I started writing 15 Days Without a Head. Here's a diary of sorts – in pictures …
This is a 'cover' treatment I produced as a promo postcard to hand out at a SCBWI Agents Party I attended at the end of 2009. Dylan and Ptol agreed to pose as Jay and Laurence, but I had to mess about with the scaling to make Ptol look taller. The high-key treatment gave the photo a desolate feel that I thought suited the story. It was well received by the agents who saw it, but in hindsight focused far too much on the darker elements of the book. Even the strap line is menacing … not to mention the dead cockroach!
Dylan drew this one for me. I like it a lot, especially Nosy Nelly with the hooked nose peeking out from her flat.
Then he did another version and made it into a mug. Naturally this became my lucky writing mug and had to be used during each evening's writing session. Which reminds me, I must ask him to do one for the book I'm working on now!
My wife sketched this on a napkin in a café. In the book, Mina draws a picture of Laurence and Jay, and I always imagined it would have looked something like this.
The first published extract of 15 Days Without a Head appeared in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices Anthology in 2010. I'm very fond of this book; it changed my life as an author!
The Sherbet Lemon Special Edition Bound Proofs for 15 Days. The first time I saw the story as a book; a special moment. Nick Cross said you could see them from space.
The final cover for 15 Days Without a Head. The team at Oxford University Press went to a lot of effort to get this right, and I think they did a great job.
My favourite bit of the cover though is the quote from Keith Gray, one of my all time writing heroes.
Only two days left to enter the draw to win a signed copy of 15 Days Without a Head. Click here for details.
Tomorrow: What every writer needs …