Poetry and Verse
Chronophobia – The Desadomy Element is the first in a series of books for teenage readers that hopefully adults will also enjoy centred around Ray Hadley, a 12- year old boy. He discovers that a secret society, the Chronomen, have been long expecting him when he unwittingly breaks into one of their secret bases for time
manipulation, a chronoport, which to outsiders appears as a clocktower in a park in Brighton. Ray discovers that the Chronomen have an important task: to stop another secret order, the Tionites (short for ‘Creationites’ – so pronounced as in ‘sh’) from destroying humankind. The Tionites believe the work of Charles Darwin was a signal that humankind needed to end and they go about this by using futuristic devices
(chronomorphisers) to literally use elements from the past to destroy the present – and therefore the future. This process is described to Ray by his mentor, an enigmatic Chronoman called Hugo Blaste as ‘chronophobia’ as it means that those who try and stop this will never know what frightening aspect the Tionites could bring out of the past to kill humans (such as plague, lighting, hurricanes) – or those Chronomen dedicated to trying to prevent ‘the end’ of humankind. In this world, even walking across an empty road can be fatal if a Tionite decides to bring a lorry out of the past in front of you where you are crossing.
The Chronomen, armed only with chronomorphisers also must duel with the Tionites to use the past too to stop them. Both sides are involved in a war of ‘timefighting’ – taking whatever has been in the past around them to duel with. This war has been going on unbeknown to humans in general for 150 years and as Ray soon
discovers, it has been predicted that from now on he will go on to save the Chronomen at their lowest ebb – in a series of mysterious messages sent back in time. He is one of a small number of the Order who can timefight exceptionally well whilst having an encyclopaedic memory of all periods of the past – despite the fact he hates history lessons at school! Starting off being based in Brighton, (a literary yet, I feel,
underrated location due to its international level of recognition) the stories have the potential to go anywhere and ‘anywhen’, without becoming a predictable time-travelling story. The Chronomen cannot travel back in time, they just create ‘chronozones’ (time bubbles) around them. The first book follows Ray as he leaves behind his neglectful foster family into this whole new world, where he eventually joins the Order, through his first meeting with Blaste, his first timefight, meeting other gifted young Chronomen and women and through his first major challenge, that of stopping the Tionites in their attempt to end the world on New Year’s Eve, 1997. Along the way, he makes new friends and enemies, and finds out some of the truth about the car accident that killed his father and put his mother in a coma back in 1987. He travels back in time to the Ice Age, the Black Death, the building of No.10 Downing Street, Big Ben and Victorian Brighton before fighting a climactic battle on top of Brighton’s strangest church with a leader of the Tionites, Telemachus Cruikshank.
Due to its nature, the story is cross-genre, involving a unique mix of historical and science (‘Hiscifi?!’), teenage fiction, an old- fashioned quest in each story, and a blend of thriller and fantasy. It is more-or less contemporary but is designed to encourage children’s imagination about the past and hopefully make them consider, like the characters, what would happen if we were frightened of what could come out of the past to get us (chronophobia), and if we had to depend on our knowledge of yesterday to save the world today.
Beef Every Day But No Latin
Beef Every Day But No Latin is based on the true story of James Bernard Clifton, an 11-yr old schoolboy, who back in 1925 set up his own school in Hove, Sussex – which is still going today in Sussex! James and his school had to contend with a drunken headmaster, a one-legged swimming teacher, a dismal school cricket team, wartime bombing and a school dog fond of stealing the school’s only ball! A heart-warming tale that today’s children who are weary of Ofsted, constant testing and the pressures of adolescence will love. The thought of being someone who designs their own school will appeal to adults and children alike, as they see James get his own way on most things and choose the school’s subjects (no Latin), but have no luck on what he and his fellow pupils would have for schooldinners (beef!).