Today is the UK release day for my first X-men novel, First Team (it came out in the US and elsewhere in March). Those aren’t words I ever particularly imagined saying, but they’re certainly a delight. Writing for one of your favourite franchises is the goal of many IP authors, and I count myself very fortunate to have been allowed to play in so many amazing settings.

First Team follows the adventures of a number of lesser-known young mutant heroes – Anole, Cipher and Graymalkin – as they clash with the fanatical threat of the Purifiers, and the even darker forces controlling them. In some ways it’s a coming of age novel, seeing the protagonists learning about themselves and about the often-hostile world that awaits them beyond the doors of the Xavier Institute. All three characters were a joy to write for their own reasons, and I hope I’ve done them justice in the eyes of their long-term fans.

As is always the case, writing a novel is no solo event, and I’d like to pay brief tribute to the teams at both Aconyte and Marvel for making this book possible. Special mention has to be made of my editor, Lottie, whose refinements and improvements bear the story up.

A last word goes to the person whom the book is dedicated to. Grace Gaskell was a young lady who lost her battle with cancer last year. I can only hope that she would enjoy having her name included at the start of an X-Men adventure, and that such a small tribute goes some to inspiring her family, and others, in their struggle.

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