“Teleportation in the rain” – Why I write for Teenagers

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown, By Tim Flanagan

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown, By Tim Flanagan


“Teleportation in the rain” – Why I write for Teenagers.

A Guest Post By Tim Flanagan

Writing for teenagers is refreshing!

It provides me, as a writer, a lot more freedom to write ideas and possibilities than I could ever get away with in an adult book. Teenagers are much more likely to accept things that an adult’s methodical and scientific brain would be closed of to. With children there is no ‘that’s not possible,’ or ‘he wouldn’t do that,’ or ‘because of the erratic nature of ion’s it would not be physically possible for teleportation to occur when it rains.’

As a teen, I read loads of books. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I particularly loved to read comics; they were pure imagination and fantasy. It was an exciting moment for me when I would visit the local Virgin Megastore and buy a DC Comic. I always went for the ones in plastic covers so that I could keep them in perfect condition. Other things I read – Sherlock Holmes, Action Man and the odd Dragonlance book.

But, despite reading loads, my English teacher had a problem with me.

When I was about 14 years old my English teacher said that I could never compose complete sentences, so being a stubborn person, I set out to prove him wrong. I remember sitting in my bedroom spending ages writing the greatest piece of descriptive work I possibly could about a tree. Yes, you read it right – a tree. The Thesaurus had never been used so much! But the important thing was that I went back over the 500-word piece of writing and edited it several times joining the short sentences together to improve it. I realized that I couldn’t write as fast as my brain worked, so editing and rewriting were vital if I wanted to improve the structure and flow of my work.

The next piece I wrote was a fantasy story that ended up being a lot longer than was required (don’t they always!). After I had handed in the masterpiece I had called ‘The Citadel’ (together with an artistically drawn front cover) the English teacher stopped me in the corridor as I was going for my lunch break and asked if I had really written ‘The Citadel.’ He then gave me the highest mark possible for it and from then on we seemed to have a reasonable appreciation of each other.

It was quite some time later when I went back to fantasy novels. After University I wrote a couple of medical textbooks, but let’s be honest, they’re pretty boring. For my own pleasure I had continued to write many different things including an Agatha Christie style whodunit, as well as a rather depressing story that was supposed to be a love story, but many of them still sit unfinished in a folder. One of the reasons I think I got bored with them was because they were restricting in many ways for me as the writer.

Things changed for me one morning in the bathroom two years ago when my son James and I came up with the idea for The Moon Stealers. He was only 9 years old at the time. We were getting ready to go out and he asked me to tell him a story. I plucked the name ‘The Moon Stealers’ out of thin air and by the time we had finished getting ready we had the whole idea for the story mapped out. James wanted to draw some pictures based on the story, so I started writing some bits down but I soon realized that the story was going to be much longer than a few pages. Throughout the entire process of writing the books, he still goes through every chapter I write with a pencil looking for errors or making suggestions. He loves the fact that he gets to read them before anyone else in the whole world. It’s even given him some additional ‘street-cred’ at school!

They always say that a writer should write what they know, but I don’t totally agree with that. You should write what you enjoy. Writing for teenagers takes me back to my childhood. It awakens the excitement I used to get from the comics I read, or the tingles I felt when I heard the first chord of the Star Wars theme tune. To a child anything is possible. And, as a writer, that’s exciting.

Writing is inspiring. Children are refreshing. Freedom to write what you want is liberating.

Sentences are sometimes short.

About the Author:

At some point in Tim’s childhood, he was abducted by aliens and sent on a voyage of knowledge and discovery across the universe. Eventually the aliens realised how pointless this was and, as a failed student, he was returned to Earth and left with a family who brought him up as a human bean. But, the persistent memories of new worlds, dragons and other creatures, continued to knock at his frontal lobe, desperately trying to break out.

To avoid making a mess and calm his imagination, Tim began writing as a way to communicate with Earthlings. Fuelled by Chilli and Nachos and a bottle of wine, Tim manages to balance a love of loud rock music and fast cars (preferably red!) with emotional chic flicks, smart leather shoes and a well-tailored suit. He has successfully infiltrated the humans and hides behind the façade known as a family. He learns from his children, but is regularly told to stop acting like a child by his wife.

Naturally shy and unsociable by nature, he is selective of the human company he keeps, preferring to be around old books, bonsai and art. He cries at ‘It’s a wonderful life’ but sulks if fed evil vegetables disguised as Parsnips or Peas. He is bored by mundane conversation, excited by architecture and castles and fuelled by Caramel Latte Macchiato’s.

Occasionally, he likes to catch up with old acquaintances on Tatooine, Westeros, and Middle Earth, and stare at fantasy and concept art as if it is a window to his childhood adventures. He is always trying to learn lessons from the masters, Mr Charles Darwin and Mr Lionel Ritchie, about life and love. Tim’s galactic mission is to translate his brain activity into a language that inspires and entertains you, transports you to different worlds and grants you an audience with the characters you have dreamt about, but never dared to remember. All of this in an attempt to redeem himself with his childhood alien abductors and travel the stars once more.

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown, or The Pumpkins of Doom.

A Lawrence Pinkley Mystery

By Tim Flanagan with illustrations by Dylan Gibson

Eighteen-year-old Lawrence Pinkley is Whitby’s greatest Private Detective. In fact, he’s Whitby’s only Private Detective.

Pinkley’s skills are called into play in the first case of a reluctant career.

One night, in a high security laboratory, a scientist mysteriously disappears, leaving behind an overly nervous assistant and a trail of pumpkin juice. Pinkley is hired to investigate the disappearance by the professors beautiful daughter, forcing him to quickly learn the skills he needs to solve his first major crime.


But every move Pinkley makes is being watched.


As he blunders from one clue to the next he stumbles across secret messages, talking pumpkins, the Russian mafia, and hired hitmen. His life now depends on him solving the case. Not to mention the future of mankind!

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Links to Tim’s other books:

The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)

The Moon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)

The Moon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)

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