How I came to write "Girl in the Attic"

I was sitting at my dining room table opposite my daughter Maya (aged ten) one Sunday morning in late October this year. We were eating breakfast. As I recall, I was reading the news on my phone.
   Maya said: “Dad, you know how you write a lot of books…”
   “Uh-huh,” I mumbled, not really listening as I was reading about the up-coming US election.
   “How come you never write anything we can read?” By ‘we’ Maya was referring to herself and her older sister Lara (aged fourteen).
   I put the phone down. I didn’t really know how to reply. It was a good question – especially since I’d always maintained that my main ambition in life was to write books for young adults. Yet all the books I’d written up to that point had been so very… ‘older adult’.
   In that very instant, I decided I had to stop making excuses. Yes, it was getting close to the end of the year and yes, I was busy at work finishing things up – blah, blah, blah… but none of that mattered. I wasn’t going to delay it a moment longer: I was going to start writing a book that my daughters could read and enjoy. It had to be something they could relate to – something I would have wanted to read at their age (and would still want to read today).
   So I said “Okay Maya – what kind of story would you like?”
   “It has to be a mystery,” she replied.
   “A mystery eh?”
   “Do you know anything about mysteries?” she asked.
   “Mm – a little.”
   “Because it has to be done right,” Maya told me. “Like, it should be set in a dark, spooky place… maybe an attic.”
   I immediately searched my phone for images of dark spooky attics. One of the pictures that came up caught my eye. It was a photograph by Karl-Heinz Spremberg.
   That photograph – which is now on the cover of the book and serves as the background to this website – was my sole inspiration (I bought the rights to use it, in case you were wondering).
   ‘Girl in the Attic’ was then written in nightly instalments, each published in this blog over the following six weeks.
   I had quite a ride. I hope you enjoyed it too.