Thursday, July 26, 2012


Okay then...

For those of you who have read KOTW, first of all, I'm glad you seem to be liking it, but I'm going to have to ask you to be careful. And for those of you who haven't read it- which is the vast majority of you- I'm going to have to ask you to be EXTRA careful. There are spoilers all over the place, on forums and Facebook pages and Tumblr... 

The heartening thing is that these spoilers don't pop out of thin air. Everything is tagged with spoiler warnings, which I really appreciate. But I know you lot. I know how impatient you can be. I know that if you're on a forum and you come to a post that's hidden behind a spoiler warning, and all it takes is one little click... I know how tempting it is to just sneak a teeny tiny peek...

Which could ruin the entire book for you.

We have, what, 35 days until it's widely available? That's a lot of days for mistakes to be made, or for something to slip out...

So be careful. I was never a fan of releasing this book so far in advance of the Ireland/UK date but I was convinced it was necessary in order to facilitate the tour. If it doesn't work out, it won't be happening again. I don't know what that would mean for any future Down Under tours, but I'll deal with that if it crops up. 

So, I want to thank everyone for behaving themselves as far as spoilers go, and ask that they continue to be very, very careful about what they say. 

And also, some of those spoilers (of which I am allowed to read, because, y'know, I wrote the book) and your reactions to them have made me grin...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tom Percival Back Cover Madness!

You lucky, lucky people...

I am, of course, referring to those Minions who talk with those funny accents. A full 36 days before the rest of us, Kingdom of the Wicked is now available in Australia and New Zealand.

The normal rules apply. No Spoilers. None. None whatsoever. There's not even going to be spoiler zone Blog post for you to discuss it in secret- not until it's available in Ireland and the UK. You're just going to have to keep it to yourself and off the internet for 36 days. That is your punishment for getting it early...

And you have it SO early that not even I have a copy. How is THAT fair?

In other news...

A new school-type event is now listed in the Sydney section of the tour schedule below. If you want to get involved... er... I dunno what you have to do... Get your school to register, or something?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


By now most of you will have heard about what happened in Colorado during the Dark Knight Rises midnight screenings. The gunman does not deserve to have his name mentioned here. He does not deserve any degree of fame or notoriety. He is beyond pathetic. He is beneath contempt.

I'm not going to talk about the victims, the dead and the injured, because even as a writer I don't have the skills to put into words the senseless horror of what has happened. Neither am I going to talk about the friends and families who have lost loved ones. I try not to talk about things about which I know nothing- and I cannot imagine their pain or their grief.

Instead, I'm going to talk about Art, and life imitating Art, and Art imitating life.

This pathetic nobody of a person chose the Dark Knight Rises as the perfect place to make his bid for fame, and so people are going to start laying the blame at the feet of films. And those who aren't laying the blame on films are laying the blame on video games- because they like films, and they don't like video games. The pro-gun control people in the US are already blaming it on the availability of high-powered weaponry, and the anti-gun control people are, bizarrely, complaining that MORE people didn't have guns in that cinema. They appear to want a return to the days of the Wild West, where everyone was shooting at everyone else. Both sides will, invariably, start pointing their fingers at the movies, and at video games, for desensitising their children to violence and being the root of all evil in the world.

And this is not something I'm going to debate here. I've said it before on this Blog- video game violence densensitises children to video game violence. Real life violence is a TOTALLY different thing. It's real, for a start, which is something a lot of people tend to forget.

Let's think about another group of people who have been affected by this tragedy. It may seem shallow to start pitying the poor filmmakers, but as a writer I can at least begin to understand what they must be going through. They've spent the last few years of their lives making this movie. They've spent the last few months gearing up for its release. They've spent the last few weeks worrying and fretting and fidgeting. And they've spent the last few days in shock, after some pathetic loser hijacked a night that was supposed to be a celebration, and twisted it into something disgusting.

No matter what this loser's proposed motivation might turn out to be, blaming the films he watched or the games he played or the books he read is as short-sighted as it is irresponsible. The plain fact of the matter is that the blame lies with one person and one person alone- the man with the gun. The man who opened fire. The man who decided to kill.

Lunatics seize their inspiration from all sorts of places- the Beatles' Helter Skelter and Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye stand out most prominently- but inspiration is not the same as motivation. Early reports suggest this loser may identify with the Joker. But does this mean Christopher Nolan or Heath Ledger share even one iota of blame? How can it? If the Joker wasn't an inspiration, then something else would have been. The inspiration doesn't matter. Watching The Dark Knight didn't make this loser kill. Only the motivation matters. Why did he kill? What went so wrong in his life that he did this? What went so wrong in his head that he pulled the trigger?

Whenever I hear about another mass shooting in America, or anywhere around the world, a part of my mind always slips away to wonder how I'd react if I had written something like that into my books. When I was writing Kingdom of the Wicked, I had a sequence in mind for the super-powered teenagers to rampage through their school, killing and destroying as they go. When I got to the sequence, though, I paused.

Do I really want to write about teenagers killing their schoolmates? After everything that's happened? And what if I do write it, and the book is released, and a few months later there's another school shooting in the States? It'd have nothing to do with me or my books, obviously, but I'd still have used a horrible scenario that is all too real in a book that is meant simply to entertain.

What if, in Death Bringer, Melancholia had visited a cinema? What if she'd started killing people at random? After Thursday night, how would YOU, the reader, have felt about that? You'd never be able to see those chapters in the same way again, would you? It'd be forever tainted by life imitating Art.

But does that mean it shouldn't be written about? Should a writer shy away from such things on the off-chance that something similar might happen in the real world? Is there any way to actually answer that question and still consider yourself a decent human being?

Speaking for myself, I wasn't comfortable putting that onto paper. If this had been some other book, a book about these spree-killings, then I would have written it and I'd have been proud that I did. But to use it as an action sequence, primarily to entertain? No. I couldn't do it.

Writers, all artists in fact, have a duty to the truth. Stories are lies- no matter what genre they plug into- but the writer must seek the truth in the lie. They must be honest. And in order to be honest, they must reflect the world around them. Simply by doing that, though, they run the risk of life veering too close to their Art, and they risk being tainted by association. But I genuinely believe, with the whole of my heart, that it's a risk they have to take.

My condolences to the friends and families of those who have been hurt or killed in this evil act.

Slight Changes

Hi all,

Just a quick note to point out two slight time changes to the UK dates-  at Southampton and Guildford- to make sure that readers have enough time to get to the events.

For the Irish dates, we're checking when most schools are back in Kilkenny and Newbridge. Both signings were originally scheduled to happen in the middle of the day- but if the schools are back in session by then, we might move those start times to 3 PM. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and for all those people asking for a Belfast signing, you now have your wish...

The changes have been made to the post below.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Double Rainbow

Another public event in Perth has been added to the Australian
tour, plus contact details for the South Perth Library event,
and more details about the second Adelaide event-

check three posts down for information. 
For those who have asked, the Brisbane event on the morning
of the 13th IS a public event. A few schools are coming along,
but it's still open to the public also- even though it's on at 11 AM
on a weekday...
EDIT: Also, the Southampton and Dulwich events have been
switched for the UK tour. The change has been made to the below

We're having a pretty awful summer here in Ireland, but
sometimes you can find little moments of prettiness in amongst
all the dreary drabness.Like this double rainbow outside my

I liked that double rainbow. It was a nice double rainbow. But I
didn't like it nearly as much as this guy liked HIS double rainbow...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ireland and UK

Right then, I have here the details of the Ireland/UK tour. My publishers do like to keep me busy, the little scamps, but this tour isn't quite so arduous as they've been in the past- probably because they know I'll have just come back from the ANZ tour, and will be feeling pretty sorry for myself...


30 August: 

Easons, Newbridge, Co Kildare-   Public signing - 2 PM

Easons, O'Connell St, Dublin- Fan Event - 6.30 PM

31 August:

Dubray Books, Kilkenny - Public signing- 4 PM

1 September:

Waterstones, Drogheda - Public signing - 11 AM

Easons, Swords - Public signing - 3 PM

2 September:

Easons, Cork - Public signing - 12 noon

5 September:

Mountains to the Sea Festival, Dun Laoighaire


7 September:

Waterstones, Southampton - Public signing - 4.30 PM

8 September:

Waterstones, Bournemouth - Public signing - 11 AM

Village Bookshop Dulwich, London - Public event - 6 PM

9 September:

Waterstones, Bluewater - Public signing - 12 noon

13 September:

Waterstones, Guildford - Public event - 7 PM

14 September:

Waterstones, Birmingham (New Street) - Public signing - 5 PM

15 September:

WHS, Stoke - Public signing - 11 AM

Waterstones, Liverpool One - Public signing - 3 PM

29 September: 

Bangor Literature Festival - Morning

Easons, Belfast - 3 PM

14 October: 

Cheltenham Festival

And now I am going to watch the Silva/Sonnen fight from last night. I haven't even glanced at online stuff today for fear that someone will have mentioned who won. Oh I'm looking forward to this...