Saturday, 31 January 2009


The first online review of Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows has appeared on Amazon UK. It is written by Adrian J Andrews. He gives the book five stars and heaps on the praise.

Adrian writes;

"This is a superb second outing for the little robot girl, Anne Droyd, and her chums (The first installment being "Anne Droyd and Century Lodge"). It's time for a winter holiday and the gang take a coach trip to Whitby where they stay at a peculiar and spooky guesthouse run by an equally peculiar family.

Part of the magic of these stories is that every single location used actually exists in real life, and Mr. Hadcroft's descriptions are so complete that it would be a doddle to organize Anne Droyd tours for the kids if you were stuck for something to do over a long weekend.

The author has really done his research too. Without giving too much away and spoiling the story, chemicals are mentioned at one point and the information being put across is accurate (very handy if a young reader is going to sit a science exam!) The style of writing has changed slightly from the first book which is completely befitting the subject matter, and now we are familiar with the characters, Will Hadcroft wastes no time throwing them into this new situation and takes us with them on a very pace-driven ride.

This is a much deeper story than the original and has been given a 'no messing' approach. All-in-all this book carries a lot of weight and leaves you champing at the bit to get your hands on the third installment (Anne Droyd and the Ghosts of Winter Hill) which, as I write hasn't even been written yet!

There are going to be ten Anne Droyd novels which, if the present offerings are anything to go by, are going to give a certain young wizard a run for his money and, like him, are crying out for a film producer to get his hands upon."
Thank you, Adrian, from the bottom of my heart.

I know a lot more people out there feel the same way about the book, but haven't written an official review. I'm grateful for all the positive comments received thus far, but I really do need them in writing to offer as evidence to the big name publishers.

At the top of this entry is one of the real life locations from Whitby. It's the building on Khyber Pass which served as the starting point for the House of Shadows of the title. The house in my story is situated on the grassy verge to the left. In the distance, you can just make out St. Mary's church and the ruined abbey.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Whitby Gazette

When I was three-years-old, I went with my parents, my grandparents, and my cousin Tracy to Whitby. There, I fell in love with the miniature railway situated on the North Promenade. Every morning before breakfast, I "helped" the driver test the track and run the engine round the track.

Three years later, I returned with my parents and younger brother, and there was the train again. I loved it!

Fast forward some twenty years. I persuaded my wife to visit Whitby. Everything was how I remembered it, barring one detail: the train and track had been replaced by a tractor pulling carriages around a now railless track. I was gutted.

When I knew I would be setting Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows in Whitby, I determined to reestablish the little train, if only in fiction, and have Malcolm and Sophie "help" the driver test the track before breakfast as I once did. And you never know - should the series take off and provoke many a fan to visit the town, the council might be pressured into putting the little attraction back where it belongs!
Caroline Gough at the legendary Whitby Gazette has published a nice piece about it, which you can read here

And the book is now stocked by the equally legendary Whitby Bookshop, presided over by Sue Keates, and located on Church Street.

The above photograph shows me aged 3 with cousin Tracy and Granddad on the platform to the much missed miniature train on the North Promenade, Whitby, 1973.