Jack And The Spitfires
12/03/12 15:48 Filed in: Jack And The Spitfires
When I was a boy, adventure books made life joyful. All I wanted to do was read – in the car, under the blankets, at the breakfast table, even walking to school. And what I loved best were the adventure series, with a shelfload of numbered volumes to buy at three and six, or seventeen-and-a-half new pence a time.
I started with the Famous Five, and then Narnia. There were Willard Price's Hal & Roger stories of global safari, and Captain WE John's adventures in the air with Biggles, my favourite hero. I devoured the James Bond novels, without ever registering the sadism or the snobbery or the drug use. And there was Sherlock Holmes, Bilbo Baggins, Allan Quartermain, Dr Who, Tarzan, Conan and John Carter.
The best stories, though, were the ones with children as the heroes – so I was delighted, 25 years later, to discover the Harry Potter series with my son, James. Every night I read a couple of chapters aloud to him... and between instalments we went back and read Biggles, and Narnia, and The Hobbit. The quality of new adventure tales for children was impressive too, especially Anthony Horowitz's Alex Ryder series and the Eoin Colfer stories about the world's youngest master-villain, Artemis Fowl.
A few years ago I wrote a memoir called A Real Boy, about bringing up our younger son, who is autistic. I wanted to balance the books, in a manner of speaking, so at the same time I began writing a children's adventure, the sort of sci-fi fantasy I would most like to read to my older boy. I wanted to set it in another world, starring four children, all of them very different but thrown together into a breakneck adventure. And if they couldn't be friends, they must at least learn to trust each other as they faced terrible dangers and fought awful monsters.
I wanted villains, and double-crossers, and bullies, and space rockets, and flying cars, and death-rays, and an evil god, and a fearless dog, and sea-monsters, and chariot races, and motorbikes, and a beautiful, vain heroine trapped in a mastermind's lair. And there had to be Spitfires.
Because I was writing for the sheer joy of inventing children's adventure stories, I was able to have all those things and much more. Now the Jack And The Spitfires books are available on Kindle – and the first in the series is a free download here. You can read the first book for nothing – and if you enjoy it, the next two are already available.
The opening episode in the series is The Rocket. Book two is The Mines and the third is called The Marble. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them.
Now download Jack And Spitfires – Book 1: The Rocket