Article/page published: 25 December 2016
Last updated: 13 January 2017
A dramatisation of my novel.
Fifteen-year-old James is mad about diving and trains hard. He has a natural talent and his dad encourages him to aim high. But James has always known he is adopted, and now he decides to find his birth mother and his true identity. He sets out alone, on the journey of a lifetime…
The idea for The Snake-stone came from one of my other novels, Dear Nobody. I was asked to dramatise it for the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, and one day in rehearsals the actor playing Chris, the teenage hero, said to me, “There’s a line you give me in this play that reminds me of a week in my life.”
“What’s the line?” I asked, already fascinated. “And what was the week?”
“The line is ‘I’m nothing to my mother now. I’m a speck of dust, and I’ve blown away.’ And the week was when I took a break from college to go in search of my mother. I’m adopted, you see.”
He had me hooked. I decided that my next novel would be about a boy going in search of his natural mother, and that the journey he makes would be a journey of self-discovery. But I also wanted to write the story of his mother, and I decided to make her the same age as he is now, both fifteen. The novel was published by Hamish Hamilton and is a Collins paperback, and then OUP invited me to dramatise it for this series. At the end of the play there are several pages of related activities.