Now, I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few thank yous. Firstly to the AMAZING team at HarperCollins Children's Books, led by Ann-Janine Murtagh. My editors Rachel Denwood, Alice Blacker and Lydia Barram are total geniuses who know exactly what works and what doesn't. Their ideas, their prompting, their prodding, their cajoling, their patience, their faith and, above all, their encouragement are all things that I have come to totally rely on. It is a FACT this book would be nowhere near as good as it is without their help. I say it every time but I really do feel incredibly lucky to be working with them.
The same can be said for Nia Roberts and Manda Scott who were in the art department when this book was made (they have both now moved on to pastures new). It must be difficult having to deal with a former magazine art director who thinks he knows best all the time. The reality is that he doesn't and that he appreciates all of your guidance. Thank you.
My publicity and marketing team, headed up by Geraldine Stroud and Jo Hardacre, are awesome. Jo, you make my events such fun to do. Thanks so much for all of your hard work sorting everything out for me over the last nine months or so. I really appreciate it. Also thanks for the posh lunch the other day - let's do it again soon! Massive shout-outs also to Siân Robertson (cut-outable pirate hat creator extraordinaire and my number one source for #PackedLunchPostIt ideas), Jess Dean (powerpoint slides wrangler and fellow working-from-home-and-the-procrastination-problems-that-exist-therein empathiser) and Sarah MacMillan (who was very calming when I was about to go on stage in Glasgow in front of 2500 kids AND whose great, great, great, great grandfather invented the bicycle). Thanks for everything that all of you do. I know what hard work it is and I really appreciate it.
My agent Jodie Hodges at United is always the first one to see the finished book (as well as several draft versions along the way). This whole me-writing-books thang is totally down to her and as such her good opinion is one that matters so much to me. It's great to have you in my corner Jodie. Thanks also to Emily Talbot, Jodie's assistant, who is patience personified and the most organised person in the entire universe.
Finally, I want to thank my wife Ally and children Ella, Kitty and Poppy for their support and their patience (I seem to be using that word a lot!), particularly as I got closer to deadline. There were a lot of ballet runs that I didn't do because of this book. Thanks, as ever, team. I love you all xxx
Right, I think that's about it. I'll leave you with this little trailer that I made for the book. In the meantime I'd better get on with getting the next one finished. Deadlines are a-looming...