Well, this is the end of pass 3 of "operation word reduction."  I've managed to reduce a 118,500 word book to 85,400 although that's still not quite enough.  Although other books for this genre and age bracket have been bigger (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is 87500 words), they're outliers.  I won't be able to relax until I get to a number in the 70,000s.

It's an odd sort of task really.  I described it recently as like a sculptor trying to shrink a 10ft statue into an identical 7ft one, a chip at a time.  You have to be careful because you don't want to chip off any vital details!  Still, for all it's slow, frustrating work, I'm convince I'll get there in the end.  I just hope the book retains it's character and feel (as is my intention).

One thing that really keeps me going is the constant interest and support of friends, family and work colleagues.  It really does help and I consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by such a nice bunch of people. I really hope I can justify your support and encouragement and one day autograph a copy of the book for you in Waterstones.