When I was in primary school, I got the urge to travel and see a bit of the world. I hadn’t ventured too far from home before, because I lived on a rough Dundee housing estate where the ice cream van was called ‘Jack the Ripple’. So I bravely set out and discovered a Woolworths at the end of the block, which had a bargain book bin with tatty paperbacks for 5p each. Since pocket money hadn’t been invented yet, I bought as many as I could afford.
I can still recall the titles, in order of inappropriateness.
The Hot Rock by Donald E Westlake (Hilarious)
Freebie and the Bean by Paul Ross (Hilarious and filthy)
Through the Dark and Hairy Wood by Shaun Herron (Set during the N. Irish Troubles)
The Edge Westerns by George Gilman (Made American Psycho look cosy)
Nexus by Henry Miller (Probably shouldn’t have been sold to a child)
What was this mad stuff I’d discovered? It was challenging, exciting and forbidden. I dumped my Enid Blyton collection and vowed never to read a kid’s book again.
It’s a mindset I kept when I started writing teenage/YA novels. To me they’re just adult books with the swearing taken out. Younger readers can handle complex plots and ideas and don’t like to be talked down to. Adults can accept a few teenage characters. They were young once. A page turner should transcend age boundaries and that has always been my goal.
'Bunker Ten' was the first of these attempts. My publisher said it was too complex, violent and hard to categorize for teens and only brought it out ‘cause they’d paid the advance before they read it. It was short-listed for the Waterstone’s Book Prize, The Angus Book Award, the South Lanarkshire Book Award, The RED Award, the Stockport Book Prize - and won the Royal Mail Award. Voted for by kids.
Ironically, my favourite novel is for children - 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' by Alan Garner (read by mistake when I was in my 30’s). Yet it’s still a struggle to convince people that the same book can be enjoyed by adults and teens.
All it really takes is a bargain bin to get the ball rolling.
That’s why I’m giving away a free eBook of 'Bunker Ten' to anyone, of any age, who contacts me and asks for a copy. All I ask is that you share this post with any kids or adults that might be interested.
Jan-Andrew Henderson https://www.janandrewhenderson.com
BUNKER 10. Special Anniversary Edition
On Christmas Eve, Pinewood Military Facility blew up, leaving no survivors.
Inside were 240 personnel, a mixture of soldiers and scientists.
There were also seven teenagers.
This is the story of their last day.
Winner of the Royal Mail Award. Winner of the Royal Mail Award.
Short-listed for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, The Angus Book Award, the South Lanarkshire Book Award, The RED Award and the Stockport Book Prize.
‘I raced thorough it… Great stuff’ - Charlie Higson (Young James Bond)
‘A high octane, action packed adventure story’ -The Guardian
‘I finished reading it and just said, wow… 9/10’ - Sunday Herald
‘A plot that crackles’ - Scotsman Newspaper
‘A contemporary classic… this story is in a class by itself’ - In The Library Review
‘Delivers an emotional punch as well as an adrenaline rush and more twists than the average roller coaster… a treat’ - Write Away
‘Certain to attract a readership’ - Bookline
‘Hold tight for a non stop thrill ride’ - Teenreads
‘I was swept along by the sheer cleverness. It captivated me’ - Vulpis Libris
‘Just like a good Crichton Book… makes you sit back and think’
- The Phoenix Book Company
‘Every now and then a book comes along wherein the reader is genuinely surprised by a shocking development halfway through. This is one such stunner’
- Kirkus Book Review
‘An intelligent, suspenseful novel with all the ingredients of the perfect thriller’ - Teensreadtoo.com
‘Sets a high standard in excitement. Complex high-tech ingredients, wild and uninterrupted action, comical characters and multitudes of surprising twists and turns’- Chris Shanley-Dillman (Finding My Light and The Black Pond)
City of the Dead: The Fascinating Supernatural History of Edinburgh is now out!
Edinburgh is a modern, lively capital in a civilized western country. Yet it has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places on earth.
This book is an attempt to find out why.
It’s a history of Edinburgh‘s dark side,
a guide to its supernatural locations and an investigation into the occult in general
- including this city’s connections to it.
Jan-Andrew Henderson is a historian and award winning author who worked as a ghost tour guide in Edinburgh for twenty years.
If anyone knows the truth, he does.