Christopher Edge made his debut with Twelve Minutes to Midnight, the first in The Penelope Tredwell mysteries. Thirteen-year-old Penelope writes chilling suspense stories under the pen name Montgomery Flinch, for a late-19th-century London magazine she inherited from her parents. The second in the series, Shadows of the Silver Screen, will be published by Albert Whitman in September.
On your nightstand now:
As I'm just about to head off on holiday, a whole pile of unread books is teetering by my bedside, battling to win a place in my suitcase. Railsea by China Miéville is tussling with Generation A by Douglas Coupland, John Williams's Stoner is fighting a desperate rearguard action against Terry Pratchett's Dodger, whilst Michael Sherborne's fascinating biography H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life has ambushed Red, the autobiography of the former Manchester United full back, Gary Neville. Who will survive this literary Ragnarök and make it to the beach unscathed remains to be seen....
Favorite book when you were a child:
Thunder and Lightnings by Jan Mark. This book was to blame for the sudden rash of drawing pins that studded my bedroom ceiling one summer as a squadron of badly painted Airfix models took flight. A wonderful story of friendship, rather shamefully, it remains the only book by Jan Mark that I've ever read.
Your top five authors:
Frank Cottrell Boyce, Graham Greene, Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami and Roald Dahl. Interestingly, all of these authors have written for adults and children except for Murakami, although I personally would love to see a picture book adaptation of A Wild Sheep Chase.
Book you've faked reading:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, but unfortunately I gave myself away by pretending to know the ending.
Book you are an evangelist for:
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. This is the children's book that I would press into the hands of anyone who wanted to know what was so great about children's writing in the 21st century.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Curious Warnings: The Great Ghost Stories of M.R. James. This is a rather beautiful hardback edition from Jo Fletcher Books, and the content of the stories more than lived up to the sinister promise of the cover.
Book that changed your life:
Violent Cases by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. I discovered this graphic novel in my local comic shop when I was growing up in Manchester, England; the illicit promise of the title appealing to my teenage mind. But when I picked it up and started to flick through the pages, I was entranced. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. It was like nothing I had ever read before. In black-and-white and without a superhero in sight, it was a story about childhood told in the most remarkable way. I ended up skipping school to get it signed by Neil Gaiman himself on his very first signing tour, and that was the moment when I realized that I wanted to become a writer--a notion that previously had seemed as remote to me as becoming an astronaut.
Favorite line from a book:
The opening sentence of Brighton Rock by Graham Greene: "Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him."
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Tim and Tobias by Sheila K. McCullagh. This story about a boy named Tim and a cat who could fly on a broomstick belonged to a 1970s reading scheme called Flightpath to Reading and was the book that taught me how to read. From learning to decode words and sentences to discovering the worlds of magic and wonder they could reveal, Tim and Tobias was the key for me, setting me on a 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. Now long out of print and fetching astronomical prices on eBay, I'd love to have the chance to read this book again for the first time; to remember how it felt to be taking my very first steps into the world of fiction.