LoveReading4Kids

Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

Philip Caveney - Author

About the Author

"I was born in 1951 in Prestatyn, North Wales. My father was in the R.A.F, so I went through one of those strange, transitory childhoods where the family moved to a new military base every couple of years. The result was that I went through the anxiety of the first day at school over and over again. I still find it hard to establish real friendships.

I was a poor student but I somehow scraped through my 11 Plus (I still have the mathematical ability of a hamster) and while my parents headed off to a new base in Malaya, as it was then called, I opted to go to The Kings School, an austere boarding establishment in Peterborough, East Anglia, a city which was close to our last posting. There I underwent a harsh regime of tyranny and oppression (yeah, I know it sounds melodramatic, but believe me at 11 years of age, that's how it felt). At one stage, I and some of my schoolmates staged a breakout. We were picked up in Lichfield and later we were given 'six of the best' by the headmaster, Mr Wheeler or 'Spoke' as he was far from affectionately known. The pain of the beating was enough to convince me that corporal punishment was not the best way to deal with such behaviour. But bad experiences were a common occurrence there. I vividly remember witnessing a brutal mock hanging staged by the prefects on an unsuspecting youngster, an event which would later find its way into the pages of the novel Burn Down Easy.

It wasn't all bad news. Twice a year I got to fly out to visit my parents in Malaya, where I witnessed sights, sounds and smells that were light years beyond my narrow experience. The subsequent recollections would one day form the basis for an early novel called Tiger, Tiger. The other positive thing was that I began to enjoy my English classes, particularly compositions. I soon proved adept at turning the most boring essay title - 'holidays', 'pets', 'it was a dark and dreary night' - into a succession of horror stories so lurid that looking back I wonder how I had the nerve to do it. Instead of being showered with acclaim for my efforts, my teacher took every opportunity to belittle me, reading out my work in a sneering voice to a sniggering class while I sat there humiliated. But writing was my escape and no matter how much he laid in to me, the purple prose kept flowing copiously. Now, every time I get published, I feel I'm thumbing my nose at that teacher, who's name if memory serves me correctly, was Mr Long. And if he should, by any freak chance, be reading this... Up yours!

At sixteen, after a disastrous showing at the O levels, I left school and went directly to Kelsterton Art College in North Wales. After years of discipline, here was my chance to kick up the traces and in 1968, there was already a tried and tested route to rebellion. I grew my hair long, coaxed a beard from my chin and naturally joined a rock 'n' roll band. I started out drumming with them but somehow graduated to being their singer. They were called Hieronymous Bosch (cool name, we thought) and the more observant of you may have noticed that my novel Bad To The Bone was dedicated to them. Not surprisingly, it's based around a rock 'n' roll band only their singer is a woman. Freudians, make of this what you will.

The band kept threatening to get somewhere but never really did. In my last year at college, I started a first novel, a little thing called Nathan Storm. It never did get published but it found me an agent. What happened was, around 1973, the band's bass player, Steve and I went to London to seek our fortune. Fortune's being in somewhat short supply, we ended up sleeping in a Hillman Imp for a couple of weeks. Every night we would park up behind Doctor Barnardo's in Ilford and the kids there would sneak out stolen sandwiches for our supper (now that's poverty for you!). Anyhow, I got the address of an agent from somebody I met who had the dubious honour of being 'Diddy' David Hamilton's wardrobe assistant; and one fine day I took my manuscript up to the agents offices in Tottenham Court Road.

I chose an unusual approach. Overcome with shyness, I went in, dumped the manuscript on the receptionist's desk, then before she could even ask me what my business was, I legged it out again. I didn't stop running till I reached the nearest tube station. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to leave a friend's phone number where I could be reached, should stardom beckon.

It didn't. But the agent, a lovely lady named Janet Freer, phoned me back and assured me that though the manuscript was unsellable, she'd detected 'a spark' of something worth nurturing. (Whatever happened to agents like that?) Anyhow, she told me to bring her my next effort. By this time I'd taken up residence in London, in a proper house and everything. Just as well, it's hard to keep clean in a Hillman Imp. I even had a job of a sort, as a (get this!) Literature Collation and Distribution Officer (i.e. clerk) for a marine electronics firm called Kelvin Hughes. Needless to say, I was the world's most inept LCDO, the job was pretty much a front for my desperate attempts to break in to publishing. An electric typewriter and all the A4 paper I needed. Heaven!

After two years toil, I had finished my next magnum hopeless, a kind of spooky occult adventure entitled Magic Sam. I took it up to Janet who deliberated at length and informed me that though it was a definite improvement on my first novel, it still fell a bit short of the mark. Curses!

This was my lowest point. I really wasn't sure if I could put myself through such torture again. After much soul-searching I decided I still wanted this more than anything else in the world, even a recording contract. So gritting my teeth, I went back out to bat for one last time, and eventually (in 1977) came up with a manuscript called The Sins Of Rachel Gurney (later changed to The Sins Of Rachel Ellis, for reasons I will recount elsewhere.) I took it in to Janet and headed homewards feeling distinctly pessimistic about the whole venture. Then, a week or so later, I got a telegram telling me to ring her urgently. Why a telegram? Well, it may seem unlikely, but at this stage in my career I was so poor, I didn't actually have a telephone at home. I ran out to the nearest phone box clutching my last few pennies and phoned her number with a trembling finger.

Down the crackling line, I could hear her distinctive Canadian tones saying eleven words I'll never forget."

"Good news, kid. I think I finally got you a deal..."

Featured books by Philip Caveney

Other books by Philip Caveney

The Slithers

The Slithers

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/10/2017

After the death of his mother and the end of his father's high-powered career, Zach and his Dad have come to the north of Scotland to live rent-free in Grandfather Alistair's cliff-top cottage. Dad asks Zach to clean out the old garden pond, a rotting nightmare where not even a tadpole can survive. But when he drains the pond, he unearths something unexpected- a trapdoor leading down into darkness... He ventures down there and discovers something amazing - a glowing egg-shaped stone. Once brought back to the surface, Zach's run of bad luck seems to change entirely. Suddenly, he can't seem to stop winning and even Dad's career is unexpectedly back on track. But good luck can't last forever... The stone belongs to a race of ancient creatures that dwell deep beneath the ground - and they want it back. Pretty soon, unspeakable things begin to claw their way to the surface in search of the stone - and for Zach and his new friend, Pepper, there's one all-important question. Can they stay alive until morning?

Calling

Calling

Author: Philip Caveney Format: eBook Release Date: 31/03/2016

A boy wakes up on a train to Edinburgh.He is shocked to discover that no idea who he is or how he came to be on the train - and once off it, he finds himself immersed in the chaos of the Edinburgh Fringe. After a day of wandering the crowded streets, he falls asleep and is woken by the sound of bells tolling midnight - only to discover that is the night of The Calling - a magical yearly event when all the statues of the city come alive. He is the only human ever to witness it. He quickly makes a couple of allies - the Colonel, the bronze cavalryman of the Scots Grey's monument, and the intrepid explorer David Livingstone. They christen the boy 'Ed Fest' and take him to Parliament Square to meet Charles II, the king of the statues, who isn't particularly fond of 'Softies' (humans).He assigns Sherlock Holmes to investigate the boy's case, to discover his real identity and to get back to his home and family. But as the bronze detective begins to decipher the clues, he discovers that 'Ed' is on the run from a sequence of terrible events; ones that could threaten his very existence. The Calling is a magical story set during Edinburgh's most exciting event - and nearly all of its characters can be observed, standing on plinths in the heart of the city, waiting for next year's Calling.

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Explorers

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Explorers

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/03/2016

Deep in the remote heart of the jungles of Mendip, Sebastian, Max and Cornelius are in search of a legendary lost city. On route, they encounter the Jilith, a race of warriors locked in a deadly struggle with their mortal enemies, the fierce and brutal Gograth. Can Cornelius train the Jilith to defeat their enemies? Why does jungle girl, Keera think she knows Sebastian? Can Max avoid being turned into spare ribs? And, if they ever find the Lost City, can the three friends survive the ravages of the Night Runners - terrifying creatures that are already dead . . . ?

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/03/2016

Sebastian, Max and Cornelius are ready for another adventure and heading to the bustling port of Ramalat. Once there they intend to embark on a perilous sea journey in search of the fabled lost treasure of the pirate King, Captain Calinestra. But first, they must make it through the dark and mysterious forest of Geltane and survive an encounter with Leonora; a powerful enchantress, with a terrifying secret and a magical hold over Sebastian's senses. And as if that wasn't bad enough, when they finally reach Ramalat, a feisty female sea captain; an infamous young pirate; ravenous sea creatures, giant lizards; furious sea battles and breathtaking action await them. Will they discover the lost treasure? Will Sebastian live to tell the tale? Will Cornelius be beaten in armed combat? And will Max EVER stop moaning?

Alec Devlin: The Eye of the Serpent

Alec Devlin: The Eye of the Serpent

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/08/2015

Egypt 1923. Fifteen-year-old Alec Devlin is on his way to the Valley of the Kings. Accompanied by his faithful valet, Coates, Alec is to spend his summer holidays working on his Uncle Will's archaeological dig. It's not the first time he's spent his summer this way . . . but this year things are different. Uncle Will and his young assistant, Tom Hinton, have recently made an amazing discovery - an ancient tomb hidden deep below the earth. But only hours after opening its doors, Uncle Will falls mysteriously ill and Tom seems to have disappeared without trace. Together with Ethan Wade, the young American soldier of fortune who is managing the dig in Uncle Will's absence, and a pretty French woman called Madeleine Duval, Alec sets about unravelling the tomb's mysteries. Seemingly harmless animals have turned into rabid killers . . . long dead mummies are rising from their tombs . . . the spirit of a powerful High Priest is claiming the bodies of the living as his living hosts . . . Together Alec and Ethan must confront a terror that has waited three thousand years to be reborn.

One for Sorrow

One for Sorrow

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/05/2015

When Tom Afflick heads back to Edinburgh to stay with his mother and her partner, Hamish, he begins to think that he has finally come to terms with the breakup of his parent's marriage - but a sudden accident on a country road sends him tumbling once more, headlong into the past. This time, the book he is reading serves as the catalyst for his adventure. The book is Treasure Island. In 1881, Tom meets Robert Louis Stevenson, a sickly young author who has just published the story as a weekly serial in a children's magazine. Can Tom persuade him to try and publish the book as a novel or will one of the world's greatest adventures be lost forever? And is Tom going to prove to be the inspiration for some of Stevenson's best-known adventures? One ally in Tom's quest is Catriona McCallum, the young girl he last met in 1828, now an elderly woman and an author herself. But Tom's deadly adversary, The Plague Doctor, has once again followed him through time, and is intent on taking his revenge. As events spiral out of control, Tom realises that this is destined to be the deadliest adventure of them all ...one that he may not even survive.

Seventeen Coffins

Seventeen Coffins

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/04/2014

After his nightmarish adventures in Mary King's Close in Crow Boy, Tom Afflick is drawn back to Edinburgh. At the National Museum of Scotland, he sees the eight tiny coffins that were discovered on Arthur's Seat in 1836 - one of the city's most intriguing mysteries. After a violent confrontation with his stepfather, Tom finds himself spinning back in time again, to the year 1828, where the peril comes not from bubonic plague but from a series of unexplained disappearances. Lost and confused, Tom seeks refuge in Tanner's Close as the guest of two of the city's most infamous inhabitants - But even two hundred years after the events of Crow Boy, he cannot escape the vengeful pursuit of bogus plague doctor, William McSweeny. Tom is soon caught up in a desperate struggle for survival - and the mystery of the tiny coffins is finally solved.

Alec Devlin: Maze of Death

Alec Devlin: Maze of Death

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/12/2013

After his adventures in Egypt and Mexico, Alec decides that a summer spent on the island of Crete will be a far safer option, however unbeknownst to him several young travellers have recently disappeared from the island . . . A chance encounter with mysterious multi-millionaire Tobias Wolfe leads to an invitation to visit his private paradise, Candia and when Wolfe's daughter, Ariadne, slips Alec a note pleading for help, Alec can't refuse. Trapped in Candia, Alec discovers that Wolfe's obsession with ancient Greek myths goes far deeper than anyone could have imagined - plunged into a living nightmare Alec must use all of his ingenuity to survive.

Animal Factory

Animal Factory

Author: Philip Caveney Format: eBook Release Date: 29/11/2013

From the acclaimed author of the Sebastian Darke thrillers and Crow Boy comes an exciting novel that teens and adults will enjoy. Fred, the old sheepdog of Morton's Farm, has a dream that something bad is coming ... but surely it can't mean Ralph, the orphaned puppy who arrives shortly afterwards? More likely, it has something to do with the mysterious black dog who arrives at the farm sometime later, heavily pregnant. When she gives birth to a large litter of doberman pups, young Ralph is appointed as their guardian. As the pups grow, under the leadership of the runt of the litter, Kurt, the dobermans begin to exert a malign and powerful influence over the farm and in particular, the chickens. Animal Factory is an intense allegory about the rise of Nazism and contains scenes which younger readers may find disturbing.

Watchers

Watchers

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/09/2013

Thirteen-year-old Will Booth is feeling terribly lonely. Ever since his dad died, he and his mum and their dog Spot are doing everything they can to cope with the feeling of emptiness that his father has left behind. On a cold, miserable Saturday afternoon Will takes Spot out for the usual walk along the riverbank, but is met by a tall, odd-looking man. The man describes himself, and his kind, as Watchers and tells Will that he needs his help to save Will's dad from great danger. How can Will's dad be in danger? Who are these Watchers that Will meets? Are they travellers or something more than that? And what are the mysterious, misshapen humps hidden beneath their coats? Another exciting thriller from Philip Caveney - acclaimed author of the Sebastian Darke thrillers for children and the Alec Devlin mysteries - and sure to be a hit.

Crow Boy

Crow Boy

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2012

Young Tom Afflick has never felt so alone. His parents have split up and his mother has relocated him, hundreds of miles away from his home in Manchester to the unfamiliar city of Edinburgh. At his new school, Tom is simply known as 'The Manc' - a blow-in, an outsider. On a routine school trip to the historic site of Mary King's Close, Tom follows the ghostly figure of a young girl - only to find himself transported back in time to 1645, the year of the Edinburgh plague. Apprenticed against his will to a violent plague doctor, Tom needs to use all of his modern-day skills in order to survive, while he desperately searches for a way back to his own time. This children's historical novel is a departure for Philip Caveney - acclaimed author of the Sebastian Darke thrillers for children and the Alec Devlin mysteries - and is sure to be a hit with them.

Alec Devlin: Empire of the Skull

Alec Devlin: Empire of the Skull

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/08/2009

Mexico, 1924. At his father's hacienda, restlessly waiting for adventurer Ethan to arrive, sixteen-year-old Alec and his faithful valet Coates head out into the wilderness in search of an ancient archaeological site . . . only to discover that Mexico is every bit as perilous as The Valley of the Kings. Pursued by ruthless bandits, involved in a plane crash in the middle of remote rain-forest and finally an unwelcome guest in a lost Aztec city where the inhabitants still practice rituals of human sacrifice, once again Alec must use all of his skills and stamina to survive.

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools

Author: Philip Caveney Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2008

Sebastian Darke has the world on his narrow shoulders. The son of a human father and an elvish mother, he is deperately trying to become the family breadwinner and has taken on his late father's job - celebrated jester, Prince of Fools. Trouble is, Sebastian can't tell a joke to save his life. Dressed in his father's clothes and accompanied by his talking (and endlessly complaining) buffalope, Max, he sets off for the fabled city of Keladon, where he hopes to be appointed court jester to King Septimus. On the way he encounters a tiny but powerful warrior called Cornelius; the beautfiul Princess Kerin; blood-thirsty Brigands and enough perils to make him wonder why he ever decided to leave home. A hilarious and swashbuckling adventure!

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.philip-caveney.co.uk/

Twitter Updates

If this is your author page then you can share your Twitter updates with your readers right here on LoveReading

Find out more

Facebook Updates

If this is your author page then you can share your Facebook updates with your readers right here on LoveReading

Find out more
LoveReading
LoveWriting
LoveReading4Schools
NEW INDIE AND SELF PUBLISHED BOOK REVIEW AND PROMOTION SERVICE LAUNCHED!    Read More
×