Steve’s Travels

Real Time Travel!

Alien Heart cover

Alien Heart is a two-part Doctor Who adventure I wrote featuring the 5th Doctor and Nyssa. I can’t believe it’s been over 35 years since I first watched these characters having hectic space adventures on TV.

My mind, as if zapped by a Dalek, is blown.

Incredibly, I was younger still when I met my first Dalek in the flesh. It was in 1978 at the Doctor Who Exhibition in Blackpool. My parents took me and my sister there for a treat for my 7th birthday. It took about 20 hours to get there but I still remember how excited I was.


Here is the “Alek” that confronted me there! There was a recording of Dalek voices and it was dark, just to add to the atmosphere. Happily, my dad bravely photographed most of the exhibits. I’ve only just discovered these slides still exist!

So come with me in a red Ford Cortina on a journey through time and motorways to witness them for yourself!

There was a scene from one of my favourite stories from 1977, The Robots of Death…


Metal mutt K9 had made his first appearance later that year. I was glad he was there to protect me with his nose laser!


The stary-eyed dude below is a Time Lord who’s just noticed the pudgy Cyberman is wearing his chest unit the wrong way round. Still, in 1978, I knew no better and loved it all.

Here is a frightening scene from 1977’s The Invisible Enemy. These guys were infected with an alien virus which turned their eyebrows bushy and silver. An alien virus who eventually grew super-big…


… and here is that Virus. He looks like a giant prawn! But he still scared me behind the sofa.


Now, this scene TOTALLY freaked me out. It was from another 1977 story called Image of the Fendahl. This Blackpool version of the Fendahl Core looks very jolly, like she’s just found someone to dust the place. She is way happier than the ultra-creepy version from the TV show.


And now, here is Mr Sin –an evil robotic pig-brained dummy – with his master’s laser dragon, both from The Talons of Weng-Chiang (also from 1977). For a little dude Mr Sin seems to have a seriously long arm. He terrified me – mainly because my dad used to scare me and my sister after each episode’s transmission by getting down on his knees and stalking us around the coffee table with a letter opener.


There was a version of the TARDIS console towards the end of the exhibition. How I hated the metal barrier stopping me flicking all the switches!


There was even an Ice Warrior in attendance. I had no memory of these Martians because the last time they’d been on TV I was 2 years old. But I knew they were Deadly Enemies of Doctor Who because I had a handy Doctor Who monster book at home.


How could I have imagined that decades later Doctor Who would still be big on TV, I’d have written an audio drama about Ice Warriors, and would even meet one in the icy flesh?


It’s a funny thing, time-travel.

2016 Writer Round-Up!

It’s been quite a Bond-flavoured writing year. At the start of 2016 I went over to The Hague to research the locations for Strike Lightning. Researching online is fine but it’s always good to visit a place if you can.
Hague street

Meanwhile, my second Young Bond was published in May, Heads You Die. I went on tour around the country promoting it at schools and festivals. It seems, as yet, no one has noticed the Alex Rider joke I slipped in…

Heads You Die

I had two more Secret Agent Mummy books published this year, too – along with Invisible Inc, a couple of new Monstar books and a short story in a funny collection, Holiday Ha Ha Ha!

Secret agent mummy 4

I also had a short, spooky book called MINDWRITER published by Barrington Stoke. The illustrations by Nelson Evergreen are brilliant. I’m happy to say I have another book out with BS next year.


In July I found myself sitting in a giant chair in Leicester Square, reading a section of Roald Dahl’s The BFG as part of the celebrations around the release of the new movie. The very next day, Steven Spielberg sat on this chair. COINCIDENCE??

BFG chair!

The following month saw me up in Edinburgh recording a BBC Authors Aloud show with the Scottish Book Trust which you can watch by clicking here. There’s also, mysteriously, a word-for-word transcript there which reveals just what nonsense I talk on a stage.

Steve Cole - Authors Live

Steve Cole – Authors Live

I was soon back into James Bond mode. Strike Lightning is set partly at Fettes College in Edinburgh and the staff there really helped me with my research. I kicked off the book tour there with a special evening event.

Strike Lightning

I was pleased to learn that my comic novel with Jim Field, Invisible Inc, was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award. My first Young Bond novel, Shoot to Kill, has also been shortlisted for the South East Book Awards, which is nice.


Over the Christmas holidays I shall be finishing work on my fourth Young Bond novel, Red Nemesis, which is just back from the copy-editor! It contains some of my favourite scenes from all my Bond work, and some of the most spectacular action I’ve dished out to the lad…

Red Nemesis James Bond

I hope you’ve had a busy and enjoyable year. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to scribbling more for you in 2017!

Strike Lightning!

My latest Young Bond novel is out, and to launch STRIKE LIGHTNING I went to Fettes College – the setting for the first third of the book, and the actual school that James Bond attended in Edinburgh, according to Ian Fleming!

I tried to channel some of Roger Moore’s suaveness but may have accidentally become The Saint instead of Bond!


Fettes College have been so helpful right the way along. They put me in touch with old boys who were actually at Fettes in the 1930s like Bond, and allowed me to tour the school, including all the secret nooks and crannies!

I decided to place James in Glencorse House at Fettes, and was honoured when I was presented with special ‘leaver’s cufflinks’ from Glencorse on James’s behalf.

Steve Cole given Fettes house Glencorse cufflinks

You can read more about my visit to Fettes by clicking here.

From Edinburgh I went on to Newcastle for more events, including one at the Royal Grammar School.


A massive thunderstorm in the night had woken everyone, myself included, about 4am so discussing Strike Lightning seemed extra-appropriate!

I hope you’ll enjoy Strike Lightning. Critics are saying it’s my best so far.

Riding Dinosaurs



Can you imagine having a full sized dinosaur in your school grounds? When I visited Swingate School in Kent earlier this month, that’s what I found.

I thought I’d fallen into one of my books!


There was a velociraptor hiding indoors – waiting for instructions from General Loki, perhaps?

I’ve had a lovely time visiting so many great schools. And an especially lovely time helping to present awards to kids in care in Norfolk at a big ceremony in Norwich.

And after talking about Stop Those Monsters lately, it was great to run into incredible illustrator Jim Field.

Steve Cole and Jim Field

Yes, that book was brought to you by men with beards. 


New Book!

Stop Those Monsters

Here it is – the first sighting of STOP THOSE MONSTERS! Out on June 4th. I hope you’ll like it!

Meanwhile, I’ve had fun in Oxford and Cambridge recently. Both had literary festivals…

In Oxford I did an event called Young Bond vs Young Sherlock with Andrew Lane (on the right in the pic below). With lovely author Tony Bradman ably hosting, we worked out the contest was probably a draw!

tony Bradman Andy Lane


I also met Safira (is that how I spell it?) who is a big reader, and her mum who is a great supporter of children’s books.

Steve Cole and Safira

I met them again when I went to Cambridge to host an event for the brilliant Anthony Horowitz.

Anthony Horowitz with Steve Cole

The event was to 450 people in the Cambridge Union Debating Chamber. It was a great celebration of Alex Rider and James Bond, and Anthony kept us all well-entertained!

more travels

Dressed upIt’s not often you turn up to a school and find teachers and pupils dressed up as characters from your books! I visited a school in Uxbridge and the first thing I saw were several Secret Agent Mummies and a sabre-toothed banana… Check out Posho Pig and a Dalek, above!

Steve Cole with Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve, Judi Curtin, Tom DoneganThen at the end of last week I went to Ireland for the brilliant Mountains to Sea festival in Dun Laoghaire. I took part in a talk about tips on becoming a writer or illustrator with Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve, Judi Curtin and Tom Donegan. It was really interesting to compare experiences!

Steve and Hannah


One would-be writer was Hannah, here. She’s read some Astrosaurs but this was her first try of Secret Agent Mummy!

Next day I did another talk. I was really pleased to find Let Loose the Leopard illustrator Bruce Ingman in the audience with his family, as well as the fab writer-illustrator Oisín McGann!Here I am with Alvie and Ted, who were both very cool.

Steve Cole with fans


Big thanks to Sarah Webb for inviting me to join in the fun in such a lovely location!

Now it’s back to the writing…

Adventures in Dubai

Steve Cole in the desert in Dubai


Sorry for being so quiet! I’ve been pretty busy writing and travelling all over for events.

I had great fun at the Bishop’s Stortford Festival, at the College du Leman in Geneva, at Nottingham Playhouse theatre for an official World Book Day event, interviewing Anthony Horowitz in front of 800 people at the Southbank Centre – and I just got back from Dubai and the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2015. It’s an incredible festival with amazing guests and a tireless staff making sure everything runs smoothly.

Here I am with book-reading competition winner Aaditya and his sister Aditi at the Festival’s opening ceremony! They were very cool.

Steve and two fans

I did an event at the Universal American School for a few hundred children. Here’s the hall, filling up…

Audience at Universal American School Dubai

They were a fabulous audience and the signing session after was bonkers. I did a festival event too, which was brilliant fun.

Steve at EAFOL15


The funniest moment was when someone asked, ‘How much coffee did you have before this event?!’

It was good to hang out with other  authors and illustrators. John ‘Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face’ Dougherty and David ‘Mr Gum’ Tazzyman were great company, as was that giant amongst men we call Philip ‘The Grunts’ Ardagh. Words are not enough to describe him. Not even with hand signals and an explanatory map.

Jenni Murray, the wonder woman of British broadcasting,  was lovely too!

Guests at the table

It was great to see so much of Dubai too – from the tallest building in the world and the biggest shopping mall, to historic Shindagha and an amazing desert safari. I have never been driven around in a 4×4 up and down desert dunes, plunging off them at crazy angles, seeing nothing on the horizon but sand. Unforgettable.

Steve in Desert

So many  lovely people were there. (I’ve posted lots of pictures on the SteveColeBooks Facebook page if you fancy a look.) Rachel Hamilton, David Mitchell, Michael Morpurgo, Adele Parks, Josh Lacey, Kate Mills, Liz Fenwick, Lemn Sissay, Owen Sheers, Lou and Joe Abercrombie (thanks for taking cool photos, Lou!), Mari and Jasper Fforde, Julia and Malcolm Donaldson… they all added smiles and sunshine.

Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature 2015 line-up

Let’s not forget the organisers and the volunteers! Yvette, Maryann, Avril, Annabelle,  Kathrin, Charlotte – so many more! – and of course, founder of the festival, Isobel Abulhoul OBE (she’s in front in the picture above. Can you spot me and David Tazzyman, trying to look cool in our shades?).

Let’s also not forget Jamilla the camel!

Steve Cole camel ride

It was a truly memorable week in all sorts of ways.

Meantime, I’m already back eventing, in Windsor and Ascot this time. Not *quite* the same, but…

I’m also back interviewing Anthony Horowitz on stage in Cambridge on April 18th. Tickets and info here.

A Blast at Christmas!





Sorry I’ve been away for a while! I’ve been leaping about all over the place. Mostly in Scotland, touring with the Scottish Book Trust Book Week Roadshow!

Beth and Emma drove me hundreds of miles over hill and vale in the special SBT van, showing me the mist on yonder crag, the fragrant heather on the banks of Loch Lomond and a salsa club in Glasgow, which was really quite something!


SBT girls and steveMy audiences were great; each day saw me speak to a primary school and a secondary school. And my Young Bond novel has had some more lovely reviews in the press! No wonder I felt so bouncy.


Luckily I found the energy to finish writing my second Young Bond book, which I delivered on 4th December. It won’t be gone long – I shall be working on rewrites in January, which just gives me time to finish writing Secret Agent Mummy 3 first! Can’t believe book 2 is out next month – THE CLEOPATRA CASE! See if you can spot it on a shelf out of its bandages!


Cleo case

Hope you enjoy the last days before Christmas – and the big day itself, of course!


Big Bond Blast!

Thursday 6th November saw the launch of Young Bond: Shoot to Kill! And the start of a nine-day promotional tour.

Things kicked off at the Bond in Motion exhibit at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden. My son came along to report on the event for First News!

Steve COle and son

I’m really happy that the book has  had some lovely reviews. The Times made it their Children’s Book of the Week!


I have done a lot of signing over the last little while!


And visited a lot of schools and libraries around the country. I’ve been to Ascot, Surbiton, Croydon, Streatham…


…Salisbury… the HIVE in Worcester…



Up to Blackpool, and Blackburn, and on to Motherwell and Glasgow.


I was quite tired when I got home!


I’ve been doing a lot of interviews about the book, too, both online and in print for all sorts of publications, from the Evening Standard to First News. I also wrote an article for the Independent on Sunday. It was fun, pretending I was a journalist!

On Sunday 23rd I’m off to Scotland with the Scottish Book Trust, visiting schools all over the country for their big book week. So the touring fun just doesn’t stop! Still, I’m sure I can finish writing my SECOND Young Bond book while I’m away…

I’ll keep you informed! Meantime, don’t forget you can – with your pet grown-ups’ permission – visit the Steve Cole Books page and the Young Bond book page on Facebook, for all the latest news…


It’s here! (While I’m not!)

Steve Bond book

Well, at last – one year on from when it was announced I was writing the new Young Bond books, a finished copy has arrived. I think it looks amazing. So pleased!

I’ve been out and about eventing for the last 6 working days.
I started off in a school in Aylesbury where I met a real super-fan – Caitlin! She was one of the brightest, bounciest little bundles of energy I’ve ever met.

Steve and fan

Then I went to Bradford-on-Avon to do two events in lovely Christ Church school, before flying off to Northern Ireland for events at the Derry Festival. What a beautiful place! And what a couple of amazing audiences!

Steve Cole in Derry

No sooner was I back than it was time for the Cheltenham Festival. I did a small teatime event for some competition winners…

Steve Chelters

…then the next day I spoke to a sell-out 600-strong crowd of kids in the big festival tent.

Now I’m back here and I’m EXHAUSTED. Thank goodness I can unwind with a new Young Bond book…!

Mission: Exhaustible

I’ve been keeping busy!


Last week I hosted the Southampton In2Music Concert at Central Hall. In2Music reaches thousands of children and offers first access to a musical instrument at NO cost. The kids learn in class each week for a school year, then take part in a big concert alongside amazing musicians such as shimmering string-section Cordelectra above.

I enjoyed hosting the show. The kids worked hard and had great fun playing. It was a lovely night. I even got to play the Aliens Stink song on the ukulele to everybody. You can see me playing that song to a smaller audience at a ReadingZone live streamed event by clicking here.

By spooky coincidence, Cordelectra played several Bond themes at the concert. And after taking part in the ReadingZone festival on Friday, I spent some of my Saturday with some lovely, friendly children’s book bloggers at a Bloggers’ Brunch in London talking about Young Bond. In utter secrecy, I shared with those bloggers some small but vital details about the plot of SHOOT TO KILL… or did I?

film reel

As well as cake and popcorn there were special little rolls of Shoot to Kill film lying around the venue… but what top secret images did they contain? Or did they in fact simply contain ordinary sweets? Or had something been hidden inside the ‘ordinary’ sweets? Or… ha ha!
Just over four months to go until my first Young Bond is published. I cannot wait!

Shoot to Kill!

Shoot to Kill cover


Wednesday was the 106th anniversary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s birth, and I was on a mission.

I drove to the Hay Festival to rendezvous with brilliant comedian and writer Charlie Higson. Charlie was there to pass over the baton of Young Bond Authorship to me as we unveiled the brand new cover of my first Bond book – which as you can see is called SHOOT TO KILL. (Don’t worry, the finished book won’t be quite that big.)

Steve & Charlie

It was great to finally meet Charlie and he was good fun. Some people thought we must have called each other up beforehand to co-ordinate our outfits!

The Hay Festival is always a laugh, and an opportunity to hang out with fantastic authors and illustrators such as Philip Ardagh, Tommy Donbavand, Louise YatesAbie Longstaff, Lauren BeardSarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve and many others.

Hay’s Starlight Stage was also the perfect place to launch SECRET AGENT MUMMY. I really enjoyed my event – particularly the extended musical section at the end where the audience gave me ideas for songs.

Steve at Hay


Although anyone who says writing Young Bond has made me more aggressive on stage is wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Steve with kids on stage

(No Toms were hurt in the making of this photograph – or Georges for that matter! Thanks for your help, boys!)

Big thanks to Harriet for minding me, to Mary Byrne for arranging the programme and introducing me, and everyone who braved the wet and came along to see me do my thing!



Who’s Bond

Steve LA

Hello! It’s been busy.

I enjoyed my week away in Los Angeles. I had some exciting meetings in Santa Monica, Venice and Beverley Hills, and spent 3 days as a guest at the ‘Gallifrey One’ Doctor Who convention. It was nice to have some sunshine… and Sontarans make surprisingly good company!

Steve & Sontaran

I got back during half-term and it was straight back to work on upcoming books… and school visits in Bedford, High Wycombe and Little Kimble.

I’ve just got back from Brighton, where I talked about my Young Bond book at the publisher’s sales conference – and had lunch with the brilliant Jacqueline Wilson, who was also there!

Steve Cole Jacqueline Wilson

Now I must crack on with the last rewrites on young James’s first adventure in my care… though I’m afraid I’m putting him through quite a lot!

Christmas Comics!

As many of you will know, I’ve always loved comics.

Marvel superheroes helped me get into reading!

They have inspired the creation of my own crazy costumed characters, from the Astrosaurs in their space armour to Stupendous Man in Magic Ink.

This year, I’ve been visiting schools and encouraging the children to take inspiration from comics when making up their own stories.

The European School of Mol in Belgium went so far as to hold a competition for the best pupil comic strip!

Mr Clayton there has sent me the winning entries.

I’ve had such fun reading them!

I thought you might enjoy them too.

I’m leaving lots of gaps between lines so we can see the comic strips in all their wonder without the CIA banner hanging down over them…

Here’s Mathilde, Moza and Luca’s ‘Super Chica Wow-Wow!’

I love the name, I love the action.

Take that, Snake!

Super Chica Wow Wow!

Check out Ernst’s ‘The Making of Horrulman’! I love a good origin story.
Horrul Man

Niamh’s ‘Dog Girl’ is fabulous. I love the last panel with Rat Man left smoking from DG’s electric whisker shot!
Eu School Mol Yr2 Niamh Dog Girl

And finally, here’s Winny and Eleonora’s ‘SWEET BACON POWER’! This has become the latest Cole catchphrase in my house.
Sweet Bacon Power


50 Years and 3 Crazy Days!


I’ve had a very exciting few days at the ExCel centre in London, hosting interviews on a stage for the BBC Doctor Who 50th Celebration. It was an amazing event, with about 8,000 people turning up each day! Lots of Doctors were there, including Matt Smith, and loads of companions too, as well as a ton of props and costumes from 50 years of Doctor Who.

If that doesn’t make you want to kiss a Dalek, what will?!


I got to work with some amazing people. Here I am in the TARDIS with stage producer Anne Sutton and my co-host, Stephen Cranford. They were both very professional (Stephen works for BBC Radio and Anne produces things for TV!).

Steve in the TARDIS

I got to meet 4 Doctor Who directors – including Waris Hussein, who directed the very first story – 1 producer, 2 script editors, 1 production designer, 1 production manager, 2 costume designers, 2 visual FX experts (including the man who blew up Daleks for The Day of the Doctor!), 1 Special Sound Effects maker and 4 actors…

One of the biggest thrills was to chat to two men best known for their voices – David Graham and John Leeson. David has played everyone from Parker in Thunderbirds to a Dalek to Granddad Pig in Peppa Pig, and John is the voice of K9! Both of them were charming and funny and a pleasure to talk to.


Now I just have to remember how to write books! I’ve got a lot of work to do…

Spanish Steve!

Steve Cole as Captain Britain

An Englishman in Spain! It was like two worlds colliding… a bit like Astrosaurs vs Cows In Action, out next week!

Those lucky Spanish children became the first to buy signed copies of AVCIA, which was exciting…

Those lucky Spanish children became the first to buy signed copies of AVCIA

I was so impressed with the amazing English spoken by the children, though for most it was their 2nd or 3rd language. I had to speak a little more slowly than usual, and do more acting, but the audiences and I had a superheroic time together!

Steve Cole in Spain

After ten days of jumping around and shouting all day before writing most of the night, I was exhausted. But I was very well looked after by Gary Carton of Bookbox International, who flew me out there, put me up in hotels and made sure I had food, drink and ice-cream! Thanks, Gary!

K is for… Edinburgh?!

Click on the link here to see the video of me naming my Special K-word.

What is YOUR fave word?

I always seem to have a lovely time at the Edinburgh Festival, and this year (my 8th) was no exception. I talked at two schools in Inverclyde, a library in Costorphine, and did a Doctor Who event with top Who-writers Justin Richards and Ben Aaronovitch.

On Saturday I had fun at my Magic Ink event (though I talked about all my old faves too!) and then met most of the audience at the signing after. It was lovely to chat and pose for pics.

Special thanks to Erin, who was brilliant on stage as the superheroic Mega-Mutt, and Angus who was the terrific Tiger-Shark Man. And big helloes to first-in-the-queue Josh, as well as loyal Edinburgh Fest regulars Elliot, Anya and Guy (good to see you again, people!).





Grateful thanks to Janet Smyth and the team, particularly Hannah Trevarthen, for looking after me so well. I had a great time!