Blog Tour - The Train to Impossible Places
The Train to Impossible Places Blog Tour
I was lucky enough recently to get sent a copy of The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell.
This is an absolutely brilliant, hilarious, exciting and fun debut novel, about a young girl who gets up in the middle of the night to find a goblin putting a train line through the middle of her living room. She ends up joining the mail train, delivering packages and letters to fascinating characters throughout a number of different impossible, magical realms.
I totally loved it, and so I am thrilled to be able to bring you this piece written by P.G. Bell, about the books that made him a writer.
I hope you enjoy it, and that you check out this stunning new book.
The Train to Impossible Places is published by Usborne, and is out now in hardback.
The Books That Made Me a Writer
Ask any writer which books inspired them to take up the craft and they'll usually reel off a handful of long-held favourites: landmarks in their reading experience that helped to change their perspective of themselves and the world.
The same is true of me, of course. I wouldn't be a writer today if my mother hadn't read me The Magic Faraway Tree stories as a boy, and made me fall in love with reading. You wouldn't be reading this blog post if I hadn't gone on to discover The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and the Discworld novels some years later. (The Train To Impossible Places would certainly be a very different book without their influence.)
All this is very true and noble and good, but it's not really the whole story. Because as much as my favourites might inform my writing, the books that most inspired me to put pen to paper are the ones that fell flat for me. So here's a brief salute to the disappointments. The ones that didn't quite click. And, yes, the outright stinkers.
The trouble is, those books don't linger in the memory, and it wouldn't be fair to list them here even if they did. But I remember all too well the sense of betrayal when, as a voracious young reader, I picked up a book that promised to be everything I wanted, but which failed to deliver. Mind-bending sci-fi with a killer hook and a lurid cover? How could you possibly get that wrong? Colourful fantasy with rich world-building and a hint of horror? Of course I'm going to love it.
Except, whenever I didn't, I often found myself thinking, "I could do better than this." As I got older, I would sometimes find myself re-writing a book in my head as I was reading it: as sure sign that it wasn't pushing the right buttons. Then one day, after one disappointing book too many, I finally took myself at my word. What if I really could do better? There was only one way to find out. Twenty years, and a great many abortive attempts later, here I am.
So if the good books are the foundation on which my writing stands, then the bad books are the catalyst that prompted me to have a go myself. I've tried to do better. Whether or not I have is up to all those other young readers out there, some of whom will inevitably give up part way through The Train To Impossible Places thinking, "I could do better than this!"
And I really hope that, one day, they will.