We Hear Voices

Posted by on

A few years ago I couldn’t shake the idea of writing a story about a boy with a voice in his head. The starting point, in fact, was a conversation I had with a friend about John Wyndham’s books, which made me go back to a childhood memory of reading Chocky.
I was lying in bed, ill, as a bookworm child of about ten. In those days when we didn’t have phones, a few days in bed sick would mean I ploughed through book after book after book. My mum gave me a pile of John Wyndham novels, and my world changed. I was captivated.
Chocky was the story of a boy with a voice in his head, as seen through the eyes of his worried parent. It was fascinating, enigmatic, and I spent hours imagining what it would feel like, to have something that isn't you, speaking to you in your own thoughts.
Many years later as I started writing my own book about the boy with the voice, the story merged with the memory of reading it while convalescing, and became a story about a boy who develops an imaginary friend after recovering from flu. I started writing, just to see what happened.
That went on for years. The story went through many, many different incarnations. I wrote it alongside other books. I left it alone for months at a time, and came back to it when I remembered, or when I had a moment. I changed plot, characters, narration. Storylines came and went. When I showed it to my amazing agent, Steph, she immediately understood what I was trying to do and kept me going when I would have given up. My husband Craig became so familiar with it that I could just say something like, ‘you know that bit when they’re at the park?’ and he’d immediately know exactly what I was talking about. Eventually, and after many twists along the way, the book came into the hands of its perfect editor, Jen Monroe at Berkley, NY.
Since then it’s been a flurry of editing and more editing, and now it’s done, in that it is less of a manuscript and more of a book. Its title is We Hear Voices, and it’s going to be published in the US in October. I know it looks like the most casual thing in the world when an author says, ’Oh, here’s something else I wrote in my free time’, but it’s taken years and it's been exhilarating, frustrating and one of the most exciting things I've ever done.

Latest book

The One Memory of Flora Banks

As I’ve been writing for years and have thirteen books out in the world, I never expected that I’d be announcing a debut all over again. However, here it is: The One Memory of Flora Banks is my debut book for young adults. I started writing this as a thriller for adults, but as the story unfolded I realised that it was actually something quite different from anything I had previously written. I wrote it over the course of a couple of years, entirely as a labour of love as I had no idea whether anyone would ‘get’ it or…