Phoenix

Lucky thinks he's an ordinary Human boy.  But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing – and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.

Now he's on the run, racing through space, searching for answers.  In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair...

An IBBY Honour Book, representing the UK on the International Honour List
Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award
Nominated for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal & the Kate Greenaway Medal
Winner of the Warwickshire Secondary Schools Book Of The Year Award
Winner of the Haringey Children's Book Award


Click here to see UK buying options
Click here to see USA & Canada buying options
"Phoenix is brilliant – a total pageturner" – Jacqueline Wilson
"Dazzlingly illustrated... Ambitious, multi-layered, action-packed adventure that will appeal to both boys and girls...  stunning and uplifting" – The Guardian
"Not only does it break new territory – epic space adventures are, after all, not in abundance on the children’s shelf – but it is layered with depth and meaning right from the get go. A touching, meaningful story for children and adults alike" – Interzone

"Fierily poetic on a galactic scale... totally transporting" – Metro 
"I loved this space quest of a story. It has great worldbuilding, sparkling characters and a thrilling plot...  Hats off to SF Said for this fabulous tale. And to Dave McKean, for giving the magnificence and the glory of the galaxy such awe-inspiring artwork" – The Bookbag 
"A powerful story of great scope and ambition, from an expert storyteller" – The Independent On Sunday  
"Fabulous, high-octane stuff, with an uplifting ending, stunningly illustrated by the brilliant McKean" – The Daily Mail  
"I can’t recommend this enough. A remarkable adventure story for any age" – Dorkshelf

"A must-read.  My son couldn't put it down!" – RJ Palacio, author of Wonder 
"Big, bold, beautiful. Great to read aloud.  A wonder to hold in your hand" – Frank Cottrell Boyce 

136 comments:

Harry said...

we desperately need to know if there will be a second phoenix book, please say!

Rebecca Sellwood said...

Id like to know if you are writing any more sequel's to varjak paw or phoenix

SF Said said...

Hello Harry, thank you so much for your comment! At the moment, I don't think there will be a second Phoenix book. The way the story ends, it's hard for me to imagine where it would go next!

But I am writing another science fiction story; right now I'm on the third draft. The working title of this one is TYGER, and I think it might end up being even better than Phoenix when it's finished! I hope you'll look out for it when it eventually comes out.

SF Said said...

Hi Rebecca, thank you very much for visiting, and for your questions! I don't think there will be a sequel to Phoenix - see my reply to Harry above for more information on that, and on my next book...

However, there will be a third Varjak Paw book one day - I wrote a bit about that question here.

Ivan said...

Dear SF Said
What will be the next your book?
What will it be?
How will it be called?

SF Said said...

Hi Ivan, thank you for your questions! The next book after Phoenix will be the one I'm working on now. The working title is TYGER. I'm not sure when it will be finished; I'm on the 3rd draft at the moment, and have been writing it for about a year... I'll post an update if I have any big news about it!

Ivan said...

Thanks for the answer please tell me what is this book?
what plot?

SF Said said...

My stories always change a lot over the course of the writing, and as I'm only on the 3rd draft, I can't say much about it yet! All I can say at this point is that it's a kind of science fiction/fantasy story; and the title TYGER takes its inspiration from the William Blake poem.

Ivan said...

This book will also be linked with the cats?

SF Said said...

It won't be about cats like the cats in Varjak Paw. But there is a tiger in it!

Ivan said...

This book is about animals?

SF Said said...

It's not exactly about animals, but it does have a tiger in it... I'm afraid I can't say much more at the moment, as I'm still in the early stages, and my books always change a lot as I develop them. I'll post an update on the blog if I get to the stage where I can say more. Thank you for your interest, though, it means a lot!

Anonymous said...

Dear S.F SAID,
I ADORE you're books especially PHOENIX, TYGER sounds great and believe me, I'm gonna get it as soon as it comes out !!! I think PHOENIX is your best book because it makes you feel sad, happy, doubtful and loads more emotions and I believe a book should make you feel that way!
When you came to our school you left a big impact on everybody and left people feeling completely.... STARSTRUCK!!!!!!
From Anonymous!

SF Said said...

Thank you for leaving me such a fantastic comment - it really made my day! I'm so glad you liked Phoenix; I agree with what you say about emotions, and it means a lot to hear that Phoenix made you feel all those things. I definitely felt all of them when I was writing it!

I really enjoyed visiting your school, and will be making a blog about it soon. And I hope it won't be too long before TYGER is finished - but I'll keep going for as many drafts as it takes!

Thanks again!
SF

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Said

Do you know when Phoenix will be available in the US. We can't wait to read it but our Amazon has it for $47 right now. We are big fans of the Varjak books.

Talia and Greg

SF Said said...

Dear Talia and Greg,

Thank you so much for your kind comment! At the moment, Phoenix has yet to find a US publisher. I hope that we will find one soon, but so far, we've been hearing discouraging things from them.

Are in touch with any other Varjak fans in the US at all? It would be wonderful if readers could make it clear to publishers in some way that there would be a market for Phoenix out there...

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said
SF Said im a big fan of your books i've read every single one accept for phoniex.But there is one question that is always banging my head what does happen to sally bones the gang leader?Does she die?Does she come back and fighting even harder?If she does come back can you make her die at the end of the book a really painful death with a lot of gor and stuff (if you do a third varjack paw.)(BTW you came to my school friars primary school my names beverly i have an hotmail if you want to contact me its called beverlyzouzoua@hotmail.com

SF Said said...

Dear Beverly,

Thank you very much for your comment! I love it when I read a book and then continue thinking about it long after I've finished it, so it really means a lot to hear that you're still thinking about Sally Bones. I will definitely do a third Varjak book one day - I wrote a bit about my idea for it here.

In the meantime, I hope you'll give Phoenix a go, even though it's not a Varjak Paw book. I'm still thinking about it, even though I finished writing it more than a year ago!

With best wishes,
SF

Yvan Christ said...

Hi sf said your books are outstanding

SF Said said...

Hi Yvan, thank you so much! I wish I could write them faster, but my aim is always to make each one as outstanding as possible, and that always takes time... It's hard work – but it definitely feels worth it when I hear comments like that!

With best wishes,
SF

shola Auguste said...

hi sf said im shola from beckford primary school i love your book outlaw varjack paw its so nice how varjack paw makes all these friends on the way and meets jalal in all his dreams and learns different skills and now im reading pheonix its so sad how lucky's mother diesit makes me so eye opened and now ive got all your books

yours sincerely shola-marie

SF Said said...

Dear Shola-Marie,

Thank you so much for your kind comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed the Varjak Paw books; and I'm even more glad that you're also enjoying Phoenix! I agree that there are definitely sad things in it, but I think there are also good and hopeful things too... Lucky makes friends, just like Varjak does, and learns a lot along the way... Please let me know what you think when you get to the end!

Happy reading - and please say hi to everyone at Beckford Primary for me!
SF

Anonymous said...

Hi Sf said,
Hi I'm Lily and I am very grateful for you visiting St Joseph's and sighing my book.
I hope that your new book Tyger is coming along and not to many drafts left until the final copy! Thank you for say go your dreams because it has made he think that if you want something you should go for it!
Best wishes Lily Maud O'Connor

Anonymous said...

Hi S.F SAID
my name is Kelechi ,
Thank you for visiting our school St Joseph's you have really inspired me by saying what ever you write GO for it you've helped me and thank you for the autograph (I'M STILL HAPPY) And good luck writing Tyger
best wishes kelechi Abel Okoli

SF Said said...

Dear Lily,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Tyger is coming along well, but I've come to accept that it will take as long as it takes, so it could be a while yet... hopefully not 7 years this time, though! Good luck going for your dreams!

All the best,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Kelechi,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment – it was inspiring for me to meet such great readers! Good luck with your writing, and with all your dreams!

All the best,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hey Sf, you may or may not remember me but when you visited my school in Newton Aycliffe you inspired me to write a book about my favourite things and I did just that sent me your email and i will send you it. Thank you for the inspiration. By the way I am on my 500th run through on phoenix. I love it so much.

SF Said said...

Hello! Thank you so much for your kind comment - I have great memories of visiting Newton Aycliffe. I'm really glad to hear you're still enjoying Phoenix, and it's great to hear you've been writing! Perhaps the best thing would be if you could pass your writing on to Mrs. Laing or one of your other teachers, and then they could forward it to me.

Thanks so much again, and best of luck with your writing!
SF

Ayah said...

Here is my Phoenix review - Ayah Year 4B Wix Primary School

Lucky, a curious orphan boy with an incredibly adventurous spirit living on Planet Phoenix is all set to go out on a thrilling and memorable experience in space. He thinks he is an ordinary living boy with little self-confidence; however, he’s more than that. He soon discovers an uncontrollable power bursting inside of him.
He is heading on a journey filled with both excitement and hazard, where humans and strange aliens are both deadly enemies. He is searching for solutions to end this long-lasting conflict, helped by an unusual alien warrior girl. By working together, these two people must, even though they are from different species, find a way to help save the galaxy. Together, they can save the whole universe from danger! Will they succeed in this, or will the whole galaxy face a catastrophic war… forever?

I absolutely adore this fascinating novel because it is filled with both excitement and adventure all in one book. I’m not particularly interested in space and astronomy and generally non-fiction subjects. However, this book intrigued me to start reading about the atmosphere and solar system. My favourite character from this imaginative tale is the warrior girl Bixa: she is a wonderful reliable friend, always there to help, even though she IS bossy at times!

The lesson I learnt from Phoenix is that you should be confident and positive: always believe in yourself because in the end you can be successful if you persevere. I truly recommend this book for any reader looking for adventure and inspiration. Hopefully there will be a forthcoming book about Lucky and the new peaceful life between humans and aliens that he worked so hard for!

SF Said said...

Dear Ayah,

Wow! That is an amazing and brilliantly written review - thank you so much! I love what you say about Phoenix, especially the fact that you started reading about the atmosphere and the solar system because of it. And I have to admit, I love Bixa too, even though as you say she is bossy at times!

By the way, do you know about the weRead Book Award? If you like, you can ask your teacher to submit this review to them, and they'll publish it on their site! The deadline is very soon, though - I think it's this Friday. Here's the link, with the explanation of how to do it: http://www.weread.org.uk/takepart/

Thank you so much again, I really appreciate it! And please say hello to everyone at Wix for me – I still have happy memories of my visit!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Dear Sf Said,
yesterday i went to a local bookshop and looked around but i couldn't find the book i wanted so i asked the manager. He looked and looked at last he found the book i wanted i bought it. It is called Phoenix and it was by you. I started reading it yesterday it is great so far. And it is very detailed. Best wishes Isobel

SF Said said...

Dear Isobel,

Thank you so much for finding a copy of Phoenix, and thank you for letting me know! I hope you enjoy reading about Lucky's adventures among the stars...

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

you came to my school cheetham community school and guess what I have actually started to write a story

Anonymous said...

you are my inspiration

SF Said said...

That is so exciting to hear! Well done, and keep writing! I've done a few writing tips on this blog which you might find useful; the first one is here.

I really enjoyed the visit to Cheetham – it was inspiring for me to meet such great readers. Please give my best wishes to everyone, and thank you all for the fantastic welcome!

SF Said said...

Thank you, that is an amazing thing for a writer to be told. My readers are my inspiration, so thank you for leaving me such a wonderful comment!

Anonymous said...

hi SF Said
I believe that all of your books are amazing and phoenix is my all time favourite I loved the dramatic death of his mother because just thinking about it sent a chill down my spine what's your next book called. I believe that your that best author of all time keep doing what you do :)

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your amazing comment! I think Phoenix is my best book so far, so it really means a lot to me to hear things like that from my readers.

I hope that I will keep getting better as a writer, though. The book I'm working on right now is called TYGER, and when it's finished, I think it will be a big step up on Phoenix. I've been working on it for 2 years so far; I'm not sure how much longer it will take, but hopefully less than the 7 years that Phoenix took me!

Anonymous said...

Phoenix is the next book that I'll be reading at a book club and I'm looking forward to read it. From all the comments I think you are the best writer that I've heard of. And also for the comments this book is very intresting. Also in year 4 at my school we all read Varjak Paw together.

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment – it really means a lot to me! I hope you enjoy reading Phoenix, and flying among the stars with Lucky and Bixa. Please let me know what you think when you've finished it!

TYRESSE said...

Hello

Your book phoenix is AMAZING! I love the amazing vocabulary in the book, i was really into that book, it caught my attention! 10/10 i rate it, ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! looking forward to the next part (if we get to read in in miss gunn stokes or mr halls class ��) THE MOST WONDERFUL, AMAZING, EYE-CATCHING, EMOTIONAL BOOK. P.s when lucky dreams about the stars calling him, it reminds me of varjak paw, when he dreams about Jalal! VERY EXCELLENT! best author ever

TYRESSE said...

Hi, tyresse again

Will you write another varjak paw book? If you are, i got a good title for it:

THE RETURN OF VARJAK PAW!

From tyresse

SF Said said...

Hello Tyresse,

Thank you so much for that AMAZING comment – it really means a lot to me! I'm glad you're enjoying Phoenix. It was a very emotional book for me to write, so it's good to hear that it's emotional to read as well! And I think you're right about the dreams; Lucky's dreams definitely remind me of Varjak's dreams, too.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Hi again Tyresse,

I'm planning to write one more Varjak Paw book, one day. I wrote a little bit about my idea for it here.

And I have to say, The Return Of Varjak Paw is a very good title! I might just use that - thank you so much for the suggestion!

Keep the Way alive,
SF

tyressemusic@gmail.com said...

Hello, tyresse again

Will you be visiting new north academy school again this year

Best wishes
Tyresse

SF Said said...

Dear Tyresse,

Thanks for your message. I've been talking with the school about visiting again, so I hope it will happen this year – I really enjoyed visiting last year!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Said,
I was looking for new book in our local bookshop and the lady at the desk recommended Phoenix. I'm really glad she did because I think this book is great and look forward to reading Tyger. I loved the way Dave McKean illustrated it in a dark, eerie way because it was like having two stories going on at once. I reckon it was well worth the seven years of writing but I hope Tyger doesn't take that long because i can't wait. No pressure!😁. Ben aged 10.

SF Said said...

Hi Ben,

Thank you so much for that fantastic comment – reactions like that make the seven years of writing feel worthwhile! I'm so glad your bookshop recommended Phoenix, and I'm even more glad that you enjoyed it!

I hope Tyger won't take as long, too – I'm about 2 1/2 years into it at the moment, and I definitely feel I'm further along than I was 2 1/2 years into Phoenix, or Varjak Paw. I'll be posting about it here whenever I finish it, so come back from time to time and see where I've got to!

With best wishes,
SF

suryaa said...

I just read a little bit of phoenix which i'm on chapter 3. it is amazing.and good luck for tyge. i can't wait until it comes out!

SF Said said...

Dear Suryaa,

Thank you so much for your kind comment about Phoenix! I'm really glad you're enjoying it so far. Please let me know how the rest of it goes!

And I will do my best to finish TYGER as quickly as I can - hopefully less than 7 years this time!

With best wishes,
SF

Tawny Class said...

Good afternoon Mr. Said,

This is a message from Tawny Class at St.David's Primary Academy (Moreton-in-Marsh). Firstly, we would like to congratulate you for being selected for the prestigious IBBY Honour list, we all hope you win!
We have just finished Chapter 10 and are loving it! We are intrigued to see where the story will take us. Some of us think that Lucky and Bixa may fall in love, others predict that the Axxa will betray Lucky!
The fantastic description combined with the immense tension and beautiful illustration has made this an unforgettable read.
We are all eager to see this on the 'Big Screen' - do you think this is something that could happen?

Thank-you for writing such an EPIC book, we wish you the best for the IBBY Honour list and your upcoming book (can't wait to read it).

Tawny Class.

Anonymous said...

Can you make a 2nd book of phoniex =]]

SF Said said...

Dear Tawny Class,

Thank you so much for your fantastic message! I'm so glad that you're enjoying Phoenix, and I love your theories about what might happen next in the story. Please let me know what you think as it develops, and as you fly through the stars with Lucky and Bixa...

I would love to see a film of Phoenix one day, and it's definitely possible. Dave McKean's amazing book trailer gives you some of idea of how brilliant it would be! But it's very hard to get a film made, so realistically, it could be a while.

And thank you so much about the IBBY Honour List! Just to clarify, there are no further stages to it – the list is the thing itself. Each country selects books to go on the list, and Phoenix has been selected for the UK. So it's an amazing honour to see it there!

With thanks again, and very best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for the lovely comment! At the moment, I don't have any plans to write another Phoenix book, but I am writing a book that I think will be even better one day! The working title is TYGER, and I think it might well be the first book in a trilogy. I can't say much about it just yet, but here's a blog I made that mentions it.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon Mr. Said,

We were excited to read your reply. We were about to tuck into another chapter of Phoneix, when one of our students wondered whether you had replied. Thank-you so much for the response.

We are delighted to hear that 'Phoneix: The Movie' could be a possibility in the future (there are plenty of children here that would relish to be a part of that project!).

Some of us were wondering if we could have a Skype chat in the future? We have many questions about the book that we would love to ask you.

Congratulations once more on the IBBY Honour List! We must jet off to discover what happens to Lucky...he's just killed three Axxa Pirates!

Tawny Class

Anonymous said...

hi jemima here from tawny class. I just wanted to say how intruiging your book is. we just finished reading the part were you find out bixa ad her crew are just like us but with firey eyes. I can't beleive hoe flabagastingly amazing your book is!! Mr.Spicer (our teacher) and the whole class were hoping you could skype us we have LOADS of questions to ask. If you don't please reply to my comment.

from jemima

PS. my favourite characters are lucky and bixa

SF Said said...

Dear Tawny Class,

Thank you so much again! It's great to hear about your reading experiences as you travel through the galaxy.

I'm not very comfortable with Skype, I'm afraid, but I do love visiting schools and meeting readers in real life! If you'd like to discuss arranging a school visit, just leave me an email address and I'll send you all the information.

With thanks again, and very best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Jemima,

Thank you so much for your amazing comment! It really means a lot to me to hear things like that from readers. I'm so glad that you're enjoying Phoenix. It took me seven years to write the book, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear things like that!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Hi SF said I love your book Phoenix hope your next book is going to be good

SF Said said...

Hi there, and thank you so much for the kind words about Phoenix! Who were your favourite characters in the book?

I hope my next book is going to be good too! I've been working on it for 3 years now, but it still has a way to go. Phoenix took 7 years in the end, but I hope it won't be as long as that this time! The working title is TYGER, inspired by William Blake's poem, which I wrote a bit about in this blog post.

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

sorry that I had to write on here but I couldn't find where to write.what will tiger be about

SF Said said...

Hi there,

I can't say too much about TYGER at the moment, as I'm still working away on it and my books always change a lot as I work on them! But I made a blog post that talks a bit about one of its inspirations - William Blake's poem The Tyger - on this page.

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

I recently read Phoenix in my school and my reading roup broke out saying theories and conspiracies about being a movie and a sequel. Will there be? I hope there is, even a book series/animation will be awesome. The sci-fi equivalent to Harry Potter.

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your great comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed reading Phoenix. I hope there will be a movie of it one day. There is some interest in a possible movie at the moment, but nothing definite as yet. I'll certainly make an announcement about it here and on Twitter if it progresses!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,
Will there be a graphic novel for phoenix? By the way the book was AMAZING!!! 10/10
from Yanis

SF Said said...

Dear Yanis,

Thank you so much for your amazing 10/10! That really means a lot to me.

There are no plans at the moment for a graphic novel of Phoenix, but I feel that Dave McKean's incredible illustrations in the book make it almost a graphic novel already! Have you seen his book trailer for it?

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

Your book was brilliant! It was one of the books recommended by our English teacher. My brother read Phoenix and said it was a gripping novel. He and my father enjoyed the book trailer as well.
From Yanis

SF Said said...

That's amazing to hear, thank you so much for letting me know! Please thank your English teacher from me for recommending Phoenix - it means a lot to know that a teacher has recommended it. And please thank your brother and your father for their kind words too!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

hi mr said i read ur book and it was 13 points and i read it in 2 days and i loved it i recommended it to so many people and they loved it!!!!!!1

SF Said said...

Thank you so much! I think it's fantastic that you read Phoenix in 2 days - and thank you for recommending it to other people too, that really means a lot to me!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

dear mr said
im such a fan and i love all your books and my teacher told me to read phenoix and i said no im reading varjack paw but then she told me its by sf said i gasped and screamed in shock i was so happy to read the book and when i saw it. it was soo thick i was glad of three things:
1. the outlaw of varjack paw was finishing
2. its by YOU!
2.it was so thick and i was happy because it would take me a long time to read it and plzzzzzz do part 2 of phenonix thx!!!!!!!1
from your biggest fan ever

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your amazing comment! It really means a lot to me to hear things like that about my books. And I'm really glad you enjoyed Phoenix too!

I'm not planning to do another Phoenix book, but I am working on a new trilogy at the moment. The working title is TYGER and I wrote a bit about it in this blog post. I hope you'll look out for it when it's published!

With best wishes,
SF Said

Anonymous said...

Dear SF said
Hi this is Izzie from Whaplode church of england primary school . recently we have whached your amazing trailer for the Phoenix and it looks amazing . I can't wait to start reading it . Thank you for making varjak paw 1,2 they were the best books ever I could not put them down!! Who is your favourite character in phoenix ?

Your sincerely
Izzie may McNamara ��

SF Said said...

Dear Izzie,

Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed the Phoenix book trailer. It's hard for me to pick just one character in Phoenix, but two of my favourites are Lucky, the human boy who dreams about the stars, and Bixa, the alien girl who he meets in space...

Happy reading!
SF

Millie Chettleborough said...

Dear SF Said
You probably don't remember but you visited my school (Chadlington) and I purchased all you books (not disappointed!). I am reading Phoenix for the 21st time this week. Bit annoying since I haven't been doing anything else because my nose seems to be permanently glued to the pages! I am considering being a writer when I am older! (right after being: the first lady docter who, zoologist, explorer, charity worker or actress!)

Keep writing,

Millie

SF Said said...

Dear Millie,

Thank you so much for your lovely message! Of course I remember you - I'm not going to forget the first lady Dr Who in a hurry!

I'm so glad you've enjoyed my books, and I'm amazed and honoured that you've read Phoenix 21 times. Who's your favourite character, and what's your favourite bit?

It's great to hear that you're considering being a writer. I made a blog all about writing, with some background on how I wrote Phoenix. Here's the link to that blog - I hope you find it helpful, or at least interesting!

With best wishes,
SF

Millie Chettleborough said...

Dear SF Said,

Thank you so much for the link to the blog. Extremely helpful and really helped me with something new I've been working on. It is called The Realm. Here is a brief blurb:

'When I upon your Mother she was near death. She deserved to die!'

Nicky had always been an outsider. Her father left her to an orphanage visiting her every year to threaten her against everything. The Earth only has one year to live before the sun collapses. On a visit to the Rollright Stones Nicky is forgotten and left there. In the rising of the new moon Nicky must uncover legends, fight for her life, find a safe house, open portals… or be destroyed!

What do you think? My favourite character in Phoenix is Bixa because she really puts the boys in their places (if you know what I mean) and does all she can to be brave and courageous even in the most extreme circumstances. My favourite part in the book is when Lucky finds out he is related to Theobroma! It's a bit heartbreaking when he wants Lucky to die for him to win the war! Thanks again for the link.

Happy writing,
Millie

SF Said said...

Dear Millie,

Wow! Thank you so much for that - I think The Realm sounds fantastic. You should definitely keep writing. Have you ever read any Alan Garner books? Your blurb reminds me a little of the kind of things he writes. He was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s; not so well known now, but I think you might like him...

And thank you for the thoughts on Phoenix. I totally agree with what you say about Lucky and Theobroma - it is heartbreaking, isn't it? And I love what you say about Bixa! She's probably my favourite character too. In a way, I think the book ends up being her story. You think it's Lucky's story all the way through, but finally, it ends with her point of view – which was not the case on the first draft, or even the tenth!

Happy writing too!
SF

Millie Chettleborough said...

Dear SF Said,

Thanks for the recommendation. I haven't read any Alan Garner… do you have any specific books you would recommend? I am on my fourth draft for The Realm. I am thinking of adding Aliens living in the centre of the Earth? How many drafts do you think a story needs? Are you going to be writing any new books? Please say yes!

Thanks
Millie

SF Said said...

Dear Millie,

I think I'd start with Alan Garner's first book, The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen, and see what you think. He's one of those writers who developed as he went on. So I'd start at the beginning, and if you like it, then carry on in order of publication.

You may not like it at all, of course! It's probably dated quite badly - it was written in 1960. But it started a wave of really interesting books with a mythical/magical/otherworldly element - not just his own, but also books by writers like Susan Cooper (The Dark Is Rising sequence) and Ursula Le Guin (The Earthsea books) - who I think you might also enjoy... they were certainly big influences on me!

As for drafts - every writer is different. Some need more than others. But all of us do more than one. All you can do is keep working on it until it's the very best you can possibly make it; until it's exactly what you would most want to read yourself. And I think it will be worth it, because you have some brilliant ideas.

And thank you so much for asking about my new books! Yes, I'm writing one right now - or possibly three! It's a trilogy called TYGER. I wrote about it in this blog post - have a look and see what you think...

All the best,
SF

Millie Chettleborough said...

Dear SF Said,
The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen is great! I finished reading it and now I am moving onto his next book. Tyger sounds great. When do you think you will be publishing it? I will be first in line to get it! Does it have anything to do with the Tyger poem by William Blake? I have started illustrating for my pieces of writing but I am still not sure how to put it up to publishing standards... Is there a book explains it?

Many thanks,
Millie

P.S Why do you publish your books under the name 'SF' and not your first name? I know other authors do it (like J.K Rowling) but why?

SF Said said...

Dear Millie,

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen! I hope you enjoy The Moon Of Gomrath too - it's a sequel, so it follows on straight away. I think it might be even better than the first one, but let me know what you think when you've had a chance to read it.

Thank you for saying that Tyger sounds great and that you'd like to read it - that means a lot! I honestly don't know when it will be ready to publish, but my agent wants to see something this summer, so hopefully it won't be too much longer. And yes, William Blake's Tyger poem is one of the inspirations. I can't say too much about it, but I did write a blog post about Blake which might have a couple of hints - this is the link if you want to read it.

It's really interesting to hear that you're illustrating your writing. Blake did that too - he was one of the first to do it. I don't know if there's a book that explains how to do it - I know almost nothing about illustration, only writing! But I think it would be a great thing to do, as illustration always adds something to a story. So maybe it's worth asking an art teacher or artist about it?

And finally, I use initials because my name is Arabic, and very hard to pronounce if you can't speak Arabic! So initials just seemed easier for me. But it's true that a lot of other writers do it too - JK Rowling, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien - I'm not sure why. Maybe it just looks sort of writerly?

Good luck with your writing, and your illustrations - it sounds to me like your books are going to be brilliant!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

I am such a big fan i love all of your books like phoenix the outlaw varjack paw their all amazing i hope you make more books.

Anonymous said...

I REALLY LIKE YOUR BOOKS AND I HOPE THAT YOU WRITE MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS

Anonymous said...

i really like your book phoenix i hope you do lots and lots of other books

Anonymous said...

Hello I love Your books their amazing

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Said, i rally like your books and when i started to Pheonix i couldn't put it down! r u going to write a sequel to Pheonix?

Anonymous said...

I love your book so you should make a Phoenix 2.
#FREETHEBROS#BLESSED

Anonymous said...

Hey SF Said, your book Phoenix is amazing and it makes you just keep reading. Its so amazing that you just cant stop reading and cant put the book away. Its very adventurous and I have recommended it to all my friends and family!

Anonymous said...

Hi i'm Zaki and so far Phoenix is one of my favourite books ever! But why did you change books completeley from Varjak Paw to Phoenix?

Regards,Zaki

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Raad I like your book Phoenix a lot I don"t know how you can think of this this book is one of the best book I ever read

from raad

Anonymous said...

hi i really love reading the book phoenix you have to tell you tube when you get your new book out please. plus when reading it its so intense and interesting
thank you

Anonymous said...

hi I'm Ruqayyah i love the book Phoenix and my question is when is the second Phoenix coming out P.S your a really really really great author.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sf. Said, your book Phoenix is amazing! Your ideas for this book is very interesting, I just cant put the book down! It leaves a cliffhanger after every chapter. Where did you get the idea for this book? Also why did you choose this idea? This would be interesting! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

sf said, i wish i could have my own copy of Phoenix to keep as i have been reading it up to chapter thirteen and think it is fantastic!What inspired you to become an author and write Phoenix?

Anonymous said...

Hello MR SF Said your book Phoenix has inspired me to write a book called Phoneme its an adventure book and a guy called Linx its an interesting book and Phoenix is a really shocking and really cool book hope you make more awesome books so it can inspire kids in the future enjoy {: plus how did you get the idea for a space book and a boy called lucky and a moon called Phoenix?

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said, me and my class have been reading Phoenix and its amazing, everyone loves it. We are on chapter 13 so far and we are excited to know what happens next, we even made pictures like the illustrations from the book.

Anonymous said...

dear SF Said,

hi!My name is Sahar and at school we are reading Phoenix, right now we are on chapter 13 and so far me and our class are loving this book!I have been wondering how on earth did you get all these ideas from?!you are the best author ever.

Anonymous said...

hi, i love your book phoenix. right now i am on chapter thirteen. where did you get the idea for phoenix?

Anonymous said...

Dear SF Said,
I am reading Phoenix at school and I think you are a very good author.The description in your book makes me want to read more,you have really inspired me to write my own book at home. I really love how you leave a cliffhanger about the wolf after every chapter. How did you get the inspiration to write this wonderful book? We are so interested in your book(Phoenix)that we've got up to chapter 13! I can't wait to know what happens to Lucky...

From Andrea

Anonymous said...

Hi,I loved your book Phoenix.I would rate it 10 out of 10!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear sf said,

I have really enjoyed reading Phoenix because it's really thrilling and creative! My teacher has put on very funny voices and has mad it interesting for my class, it has been so intriguing that we'v got up to chapter 13! I have love your cliff hangers about the wolf and I think they all link up as a story, do they? I have been wondering, how long have you been an author and how did you get such good ideas for your story? But what I really want know is what happens to Lucky...

From Hannah

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Said,
In school we have been reading your intriguing book Phoenix ,I really love the way you finish your amazing chapters with the wolfs and the brilliant illustrations by David McKean . So far we are in chapter 13 ,once you pick up the book you simply can't put it down until you've read all of it. What made you want to give Lucky the power of a star? , why did you want Lucky's mother to die? and why did you want Lucky's father to be in the army at war? (YOUR BOOK IS AMAZING)

by Shehzil

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Said,
Reading Phoenix at school has made it much more fun and enjoyable. When our teacher reads it to us everyone listens so well so we can hear every bit of your amazing book. We all moan when our teacher stops reading at the end of the school day because your book is so interesting and we want to find out more about the story. Your descriptions are so great and will help me in my own writing! Now we are on chapter 13 and i am so exited to discover what happens to Lucky after he faints. Its so interesting how Lucky is just an awkward boy and then as the story goes on he somehow has the power of the stars. I've got so many questions like, how did Lucky's Mum learn the Astral Martial Arts?Why did Lucky's Mum trust the aliens? When does Lucky learn how to control his awesome power?What do the pictures at the end of the chapters mean?Who is the wolf? I love Phoenix and hopefully i will read your other books!

SF Said said...

That's an amazing thing to hear - thank you so much for giving Phoenix such a high mark!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for this amazing comment - it really means a huge amount to me to hear reactions like this to Phoenix. I'm so glad that you and your class are enjoying it, and that it's even helping you with your own writing!

And thank you for your questions. I think if you carry on reading, all of them will be answered eventually!

With best wishes,
SF Said

SF Said said...

Dear Hannah,

Thank you so much for your message! It sounds like you have a brilliant teacher, so please thank them for me too!

To answer your questions, I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember, but the first book I had published was Varjak Paw, which came out in 2003. I think you can get ideas for a story anywhere and everywhere! But as for what happens to Lucky... I think you're just going to have to keep reading to find out!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Shehzil,

Thank you so much for your amazing message! I'm really glad you're enjoying Phoenix, and I'm especially glad you like Dave McKean's illustrations, because I love them too!

Thank you for your questions as well. It's not so much that I wanted any of those things to happen; it's more that they were vital parts of the story, and once I found them, they had to be there, whether I liked them or not.

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you very much! I don't have plans to do another Phoenix book at the moment, but you never know...

In the meantime, if you want to know what I am currently working on, here's a link to a blog post about my new book TYGER!

SF Said said...

Dear Andrea,

Thank you so much for your message - I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying Phoenix, and that you're writing your own book at home!

The inspiration for Phoenix came from many different places. Here's a link to a blog post where I wrote about some of them.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your message - it's amazing to hear that you and your class are enjoying Phoenix so much! And it's even more amazing to hear that you made pictures like Dave McKean's brilliant illustrations! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book - keep reading!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Raad,

Thank you so much for your amazing message! Phoenix took me 7 years to write, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear a reaction like that.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Sahar,

Thank you so much for your wonderful message - it's great to hear that you and your class are loving Phoenix! I wrote a little bit about where I get my ideas from in this blog post - I hope you find it interesting.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, it's great to hear that you're enjoying Phoenix! I wrote a little bit about where I get my ideas in this blog post - I hope you will find it interesting.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your amazing comment! I'm really glad you enjoyed Phoenix and that it inspired you to write Phoneme, which sounds fantastic!

To answer your questions, I wrote a little bit about where I get my ideas from, and how I write my books, in this blog post - I hope you'll find it interesting and helpful!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Zaki,

Thank you so much for your message - I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed Phoenix! After I wrote The Outlaw Varjak Paw, I wanted to write something different, something on a much bigger and more ambitious scale. I was thinking about stories I love myself, like Star Wars, which take place over a whole galaxy. So that's why Phoenix ended up as it did!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much! I am working on a new trilogy at the moment called TYGER - here's a link to a blog post I made where you can read more about it.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your message! I think authors are really just readers who decide to write the stories they want to read themselves. I wrote a little bit about this in a blog post that I hope you'll find interesting.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your message - I'm really glad to hear that you're enjoying Phoenix. I love stories with cliffhangers myself, so I'm especially glad to hear that you're enjoying all of them too!

I wrote about some of the inspirations behind Phoenix in this blog post - I hope you'll find it interesting.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much! There are definitely more books on the way. At the moment, I'm working on a new trilogy called TYGER - if you want to know more, have a look at this blog post!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Hi Ruqayyah, thank you for your wonderful comment! At the moment, I don't have any plans for another Phoenix book, but I am working on something that I think will be even better one day! It's a trilogy called TYGER - I wrote a little bit about it in this blog post if you'd like to know more.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, it's great to hear that you're enjoying Phoenix so much! At the moment, I'm not planning to write a sequel, but I am working on a new trilogy called TYGER. Here's a link to a blog where you can read more about it if you'd like to know more.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

What a lovely comment - thank you so much! It really means a lot that you've been recommending Phoenix to all your friends and family. The book took me 7 years to write, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear a reaction like that!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying Phoenix. And don't worry, I will definitely tell the world when my next book comes out! Here's a link to a blog I made about it, if you'd like to know more.

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much, that's a wonderful thing for a writer to hear! I don't find writing easy, and each book has taken me a long time to write, but all the hard work feels worthwhile when I hear a reaction like that.

Here's a link to a blog I made about TYGER: the new book I'm writing right now!

With best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your amazing comment!

Anonymous said...

reading phoenix from my library has been very enjoyable and exiting thanks for making it

Someone Random said...

Dear Mr Said.

This is the best book I have read in many year! Before this I wasn't too enthusiastic about books but yours truly changed my perspective! Thank for this amazing journey of Lucky and their must be sequel one day!!

Kid regards, Riko

Anonymous said...

What an amazing book. So well written with such creativity and imagination. It's a real page turner. I was just wondering if there will be a follow up of pheonix as I'm really itching to find out what becomes of bixa and follix with there newly received powers. Also I was wondering if there was a way of privatly messaging you as I have some questions which I want to keep hiden untill im ready. Its book orientated.
Thanks so much for writing pheonix.
Best regards
Sahian

SF Said said...

Dear Sahian,

Thank you so much for your amazing comment - it really means a lot to me. Phoenix was a very difficult book to write, and took 7 long, hard years of work, but it all feels worthwhile when I get a reaction like that.

I'm not currently planning to write a follow-up to Phoenix. (Here's a link to a blog post where you can find out what I am writing!) But if you were ever to write a story about Bixa and Frollix, I would be totally honoured and would love to read it!

You can always leave me a message here, and if you say in the message that you don't want it to be made public, then I won't publish it - messages can't be seen by anyone else unless I publish them. I could then reply here, under this message; or if you leave me an email address, I could reply by email.

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Dear Riko,

Thank you so much for your fantastic comment! I'm so glad that you enjoyed Phoenix, and it's amazing to hear that my books have made you more enthusiastic about books.

To start with, have you read Varjak Paw and The Outlaw Varjak Paw?

And of course there's a whole world of brilliant books by other writers out there for you to discover! Here's a link to a list of my top 10; and here's a link to a blog I made about my own favourite book.

Happy reading, and best wishes,
SF

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I'm really glad you've enjoyed reading Phoenix. Have you had a chance to read Varjak Paw yet?

With best wishes,
SF

Lottie Longshanks said...

I am just trying to decide which book to review for my entry into the Gaurdian young critics competition. I have read six of them but it is hard to decide which to write about because I keep remembering reading Phoenix when I was eleven and although they are all very worth reading not a single one of the marches Phioenix. I still often go to sleep thinking about it and listening for the music of the stars. I just wanted to say again, thank you so much for writing it.

SF Said said...

Dear Lottie,

Thank you so much for that wonderful comment! I loved what you wrote about Phoenix at the time, but to hear that it has stayed with you all this time is just amazing. It wasn't an easy book to write – 7 years, 13 drafts, and many times I wanted to give up... I'm 3 and a half years into writing my new book TYGER right now, and sometimes I wonder if it'll be worth it in the end – but your message has given me hope that it will, so thank YOU!

And best of luck with the Guardian young critics competition - fingers crossed for you!

With best wishes,
SF

Anonymous said...

I love phoenix. In my opinion, a book should have a death scene, a plot twist and a meaningful ending. It's the only book I've red that does all three, especially the latter. The ending made me cry.

I'm an aspiring author. I'm six months through writing a post apocalyptic fantasy, and I figure I'm near the end of the first draft. It would be great if you could send me the first draft of phoenix so I can see the difference from it to the ending, for motivational purposes.

SF Said said...

Thank you so much for that amazing comment! I love what you say about the ending; it made me cry, too, every time I was working on it.

Good luck with your writing - I can't send you the first draft, as I never show anyone my first drafts! But I can give you this link to a blog I made, in which you can see some of the 2nd draft, and compare it to the 13th and final draft. I can tell you that Phoenix changed enormously over the 13 drafts, and I only really found that ending 2 or 3 years into the writing. Before that, I'd been trying to give the protagonist (he wasn't even called Lucky at first!) a straightforward happy ending, but gradually, I realised that the logic of book wouldn't allow it. So it's not the ending I started with, but I feel absolutely sure that it's the right ending.

Thanks again, and best wishes,
SF