Christopher Edge

Blog posts tagged "The+Black+Crow+Conspiracy"

In good company

I meant to post this up back in Children's Book Week at the start of the month, but at the time I was chained to my desk checking the proofs of Shadows of the Silver Screen and writing the first draft of The Black Crow Conspiracy. Anyway, I just wanted to say how incredibly proud I am that Twelve Minutes to Midnight has been included in Booktrust's 2012 Best Book Guide alongside some wonderful books from fantastic authors such as Philip Reeve, Celia Rees and Eva Ibbotson to name but a few.

As well as appearing in the 2012 Best Book Guide, Twelve Minutes to Midnight also appears in a Booktrust's Children's Book Week list of their favourite stories with inspiring heroines, with Penelope sandwiched between Roald Dahl's Matilda and Neil Gaiman's Coraline. I cannot tell you how happy this conjunction made me!

Until next time when I'll have news of heroic adventures...


The Black Crow Conspiracy cover revealed

Lots of exciting things have been happening recently with Twelve Minutes to Midnight getting shortlisted for some more fantastic regional book awards including Southampton's Favourite Book Award 2013 and the Stockport Schools Book Award, the rather chic French edition of Douze Minutes Avant Minuit being published by Flammarion earlier this summer, and the wonderful news that Twelve Minutes to Midnight will be published in North America by Albert Whitman in the Spring of 2014. 

However, what I want to share with you today is something even more exciting - the front cover of The Black Crow Conspiracy! This will be the final book in the Penelope Tredwell series and will be published by Nosy Crow on the 9th January 2014. One of the joys of writing this series has been seeing the wonderful cover art that Eric Orchard has produced for each of the books. The first time I saw Penelope through somebody else's eyes was when I saw the fantastic cover art Eric created for Twelve Minutes to Midnight, and with his artwork for Shadows of the Silver Screen and now The Black Crow Conspiracy, I think he has outdone himself each time.


Rather fittingly, I think The Black Crow Conspiracy is Penelope's most exciting adventure yet and I hope you agree when you get to read it in January. 

The Black Crow Conspiracy: the soundtrack

The Black Crow Conspiracy, the third and final book in the series that began with Twelve Minutes to Midnight and continued with Shadows of the Silver Screen, was published today by Nosy Crow. To celebrate, I've put together a playlist that inspired me whilst I was writing the book - just click the links to hear the songs. This is the soundtrack to The Black Crow Conspiracy.

The Queen is Dead by The Smiths

The Black Crow Conspiracy starts in the shadow of Queen Victoria's passing as London prepares for the new King's coronation. But from across the sea, there are rumours of war...

Treason by The Teardrop Explodes

If, in the manner of Desert Island Discs, I had to pick one record from this playlist that summed up The Black Crow Conspiracy, it would be this song,and not least for the title. As the great man himself sings, 'Until you realise, it's just a story...' 

The Village Green Preservation Society by The Kinks

As Penelope uncovers the plot that lurks at the heart of The Black Crow Conspiracy, she learns that there is more at stake than just the theft of the Crown Jewels of England. 

Herman Loves Pauline by the Super Furry Animals

As was the case in Twelve Minutes to Midnight and Shadows of the Silver Screen, several real-life historical figures make an appearance in the pages of The Black Crow Conspiracy, including one namechecked in this fantastic song. 

The Economy by Tim Burgess

And finally, a beautiful song that I turned to more times than I can remember when I was writing The Black Crow Conspiracy. If 'Treason' by The Teardrop Explodes is the theme song to the book The Black Crow Conspiracy, then the album 'Oh No I Love You' by Tim Burgess was the soundtrack to my writing it. 

I hope readers of Twelve Minutes to Midnight and Shadows of the Silver Screen enjoy this final instalment in the series, and a huge thank you to Matt Imrie for his first look review of The Black Crow Conspiracy and Kirsty Connor for including it in her We Love This Book preview of the best Young Adult books of 2014


Shadows of the Silver Screen shortlisted for the Lambeth Phoenix Book Award 2014

Amidst the excitement of the publication of The Black Crow Conspiracy, the third and final book in the series that began with Twelve Minutes to Midnight, I was thrilled to learn last week that Shadows of the Silver Screen, the second book in the series, has been shortlisted for the 2014 Lambeth Phoenix Book Award. I was particularly pleased about this as Twelve Minutes to Midnight was up for the same award back in 2013, appearing on the shortlist then alongside books by such wonderful authors as Michael Morpurgo and Jonathan Meres.


Nobody writes a novel in order to be shortlisted for a prize - not even Hilary Mantel - but since Twelve Minutes to Midnight was published back in 2012, one of the most exciting things for me as an author has been seeing it appear on the shortlists of regional book awards across the country. After months spent writing alone in a shed at the bottom of my garden, to suddenly find out that young readers from Northern Ireland to Warwickshire, Redbridge to Southampton, not to mention Hillingdon, Dudley and Oldham too, were reading the adventures of Penelope and her friends at The Penny Dreadful was completely amazing and rather thrilling to me. When Twelve Minutes to Midnight won its category at the Stockport Schools Book Award, it was fantastic to have the chance to meet the children who had voted for the award - to see the wonderful and creative work that their reading had inspired and hear their excitement about the books they had read. For me, these awards are about celebrating young readers - encouraging children to discover new authors, pick up books that they might not usually try, and, most importantly, to read for pleasure.

I'm really looking forward to attending the award ceremony in Lambeth on the 1st of May and finding out what the readers there have made of Shadows of the Silver Screen. And if you're a young reader in Lambeth, don't forget to vote! 

Learning to Fly

If you’d have asked me what books inspired me to read as a child, I would usually have answered with The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper or The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner or even The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. But these books were all books that I read once I had learned to read, whilst the memories of the books that had got me to that point were lost in a haze of colour-coded reading schemes. 

All except one. I can distinctly recall sitting on a rug in the corner of my primary school classroom, a chill winter’s day rapping on the window outside, whilst I was lost in a story about a boy named Tim and a cat who could fly on a broomstick. I can remember the image of the two of them, silhouetted against the night sky, and, for the first time, the words of the story being mine to read alone.


The magic and mystery of this story stayed with me across the years, even though its title was lost somewhere in the overstuffed filing cabinets of my mind. Until, that is, Saturday the 8th of February – National Libraries Day, when I had been invited to speak at Tewkesbury and Dursley Libraries alongside the very talented children’s author and illustrator, Tom Percival.

After I had talked about mystery, Victorian moustaches and the final book in the Twelve Minutes to Midnight trilogy, The Black Crow Conspiracy, Tom stepped up to talk about what inspired his stories. He asked if anyone had learned to read using a 1970s reading scheme called Tim and the Hidden People, and, as he talked about the adventures of a boy named Tim and his cat called Tobias, I realised that this was the book that had held me spellbound all those years ago.

After Googling Tim and the Hidden People I’ve discovered that the reading scheme these books belonged to was called Flightpath to Reading. Now long out of print and fetching astronomical prices on eBay – £3000 for a complete set of 32 books! – the memories stirred by these covers remind me that this was the series that launched my love of reading. From learning to decode words and sentences to discovering the worlds of magic and wonder they could reveal, Tim and the Hidden People was the key for me, setting me on path that led to Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Neil Gaiman and countless other authors and books, as well as being the taproot of my own writing.

So, thank you Sheila K. McCullagh. Thank you for teaching me how to fly.