People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn't with them. Where is he? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, but then he finds a secret of his own: he discovers the creature that lives in the attic. Eren. Eren is not human. Eren is hungry for stories. Eren has been waiting for him. Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what's happening downstairs with his family. But what if it's a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth - or abandon himself to Eren's world, forever.
Eren is officially published in the UK on September 18th by Corsair, and it looks set to be an unusual story (with a great cover!). Thanks to Simon for writing this post for me and I hope you enjoy reading it!
My Favourite Mysterious Beings (In no particular order)
by Simon P. Clark
Who doesn’t love a good monster? Or a good hero, for that matter. Books are filled with tales of beasts, men, women, and ... well, things that don’t fit into those categories. Creating Eren was incredibly fun for me, but it didn’t happen until I’d spent years reading legends, myths, and plenty of great books. Trying to narrow down a few favourite characters has proven tricky, and I’m sure I’ve missed out plenty that deserve to be here. Forgive me, readers – and forgive me, future Simon, should you be reading this and shouting angrily at the computer.
The Sleer from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
In a book set in a graveyard full of ghosts, ghouls, a (maybe) vampire and other beings, The Sleer remains the scariest and least understood creature in Gaiman’s brilliant reworking of The Jungle Book. What is The Sleer? (Should I say what are The Sleer?) The Sleer sleeps in an old tomb, forever waiting the return of a master who has clearly long forgotten whatever spell created the poor thing in the first place. We never get a clear picture of what The Sleer is, what it does, or what it wants – but that doesn’t stop it being scary, powerful, and amazingly written.
Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker
Sometimes you can’t beat a classic. Dracula’s one of those books, along with Frankenstein, that’s been told and retold so many times it’s become part of our cultural fabric. Everyone knows Dracula – many without having ever read the book. That’s what makes the original so powerful: Dracula of the novel is far more cunning, ruthless and threatening than any film makes him out to be. Few authors can say they’ve created something iconic, but Stoker’s Dracula is, without a doubt, just that.
Skellig from Skellig by David Almond
Skellig, perhaps more than any other book, inspired me to become a writer, and Almond’s mysterious hero (if he is a hero, really) remains a bit of an enigma. What is he? Angel? Man? Owl? The book doesn’t tell you, but you don’t need to know: it’s his ability to dream, hope and inspire the kids when it’s most needed that makes him such an enduring figure.
The BFG from The BFG by Roald Dahl
Mysterious figures don’t have to be mean about it. The Big Friendly Giant (who, thanks to Quentin Blake’s illustrations, I will always being able to picture in an instant) is one of my favourite Dahl stories. Dahl’s love of language – Snozzcumber! Frobscottle! Whizzpopping! – shines through in this story, and the BFG’s solo mission to protect children and give them good dreams makes him a hero with few equals (he is, after all, 24 feet tall).
The Monster from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls is the kind of book that would have inspired Eren, if it hadn’t been published after Eren was finished. It’s a sad, funny, poignant, scary tale, and at its heart is the monster who visits Conor, telling him stories and warning of things to come. The monster’s real strength is that he’s something far bigger and older than Conor can understand, and thanks to Ness’ writing, that life crackles of the pages. He’s a wise monster, but one with compassion and kindness in the end.
Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Calcifer – a cantankerous fire demon bound by a mysterious contract to work for the magician Howl – has to be one of the most original and loveable magical beings to appear in children’s literature. He’s a bit mean, a bit cowardly, and a bit clever. He’s also very powerful – but just how powerful is he? Where did he come from? You’ll have to read the book to find out – but trust me, that’s a good thing. Howl’s Moving Castle is fantasy at its best.
[Click to enlarge.]