Troubador The Dream Factory

BBC Radio Devon John Simes

Released: 28/02/2017

ISBN: 9781785899676

Format: Paperback

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The Dream Factory


For 16 year old Peter Young the price of finding his place in the world was to lose the world in himself; it was not a price he could afford. After the violent abduction of his parents by the criminal ‘Golden Hand’, Peter and his brilliant friend, Navinda, flee to the Dream Factory - a stone hut on a deserted beach. Peter has a precious secret that he must protect, but someone in the village is determined to find them and destroy the Dream Factory. The Dream Factory is a surreal comic thriller that will be enjoyed by readers aged 12 and over. It is a coming-of-age story that employs vivid characterisation and humour to navigate the reader through the twisting plot. Within the seemingly peaceful village of Dingwell we find a gun-toting spinster engaged in espionage, a French criminal mastermind, murder most foul, a nervous vicar with a secret past, a talking sparrow hawk and three children named Hendrix, Page and Clapton. The love story of Peter and Navinda unfolds in a world that is a maelstrom of deadly secrets, paranormal events and fear. The Dream Factory is a beautifully crafted and thought-provoking novel that will be enjoyed by young adults. This book delves into the issues of identity and how young people connect with the world – everyone has their secret ‘dream factory’. Developed with teachers and young adult readers, The Dream Factory is a thrilling, dark, funny and inspiring read.

The Dream factory is being published by Matador in February 2017. This will be the second edition! Here are some reviews:

Praise for The Dream Factory
Brilliant descriptions of characters and places enrich a twisty plot that kept me guessing right to the end. John Simes is a master story teller.
James Stevenson, author
Really good plot with lost of unexpected twists - I loved it.
Felicity Dunworth, author
An unusual and captivating story brilliantly told. John Simes is certainly a wordsmith with a great eye for detail and the ability to bring the characters right off the page. This story is often suspenseful, edge of the seat stuff, but often laugh out loud funny too! A great read for young and old alike. I would highly recommend.

Amanda James, author

This was a delightful read and, as other reviewers have said, it is in a class of its own as young adult fiction. Simes manages to hook you in right at the start of the book: something terrible and sinister has happened but you’re not quite sure what. It makes for a page turner of a story. The characters are all wonderful and develop as the plot unfolds: fantastical, humorous, murderous and outright hilarious. You will find it all in The Dream Factory: Ghosts.

Dr Cherie Woolmer

Books Monthly

That's Books

The story was so engaging and interesting and the start was so scary that it hooked me from the beginning.i just loved it and oh that beautiful cover. I really really hope for more titles like this from the author.

by Rubina Bashir

Clearly a middle grade book destined for children to start enjoying thrillers and mistery. Well written and developed story, captivating characters and good storyline.

by Amanto

John Simes

John Simes - teacher, school leader, consultant, Pink Floyd fan, lover of Franglais, surreal comedy, politics, poetry, modern art, Crystal Palace FC, cricket, travel. He founded Collingwood Learning to advise on school improvement. In 2013, John set up Collingwood Publishing and Media Ltd. He now writes fiction and supports programmes in the UK and Africa to set up new schools. He lives with his family in south Devon where he grapples with his various addictions - not least the stunning local landscape.

Dear Reader,

Writing the Dream Factory has been a brilliant experience – there is little in life as satisfying as completing a piece of work that honestly says what you want it to say, and for someone else to enter that world with you. The exciting thing is that the folk walking through my world – gently nudging open the doorway, looking for the light switch, wondering where I keep my beer - will mostly be strangers to me. Or as Peter Young realises in the Dream Factory, ‘There are no strangers here – only friends whom we have yet to meet.’ So, welcome all, dear friends.

I have spent most of my life teaching and leading in schools. Some of my experiences as a child are recorded in The Dream Factory ~ Ghosts (I really did believe there was a ghost in my room!). For all that I was a very lucky child, loved by my mum, dad and sister and probably spoiled a bit; I realised later that I was a darn sight luckier than some of the children I was to encounter in the classroom.

As a child I used to dream. When I was given my ‘First Book of Poetry’, I really began dreaming, and I did all those things you probably did – or do. I lay on my bed looking at the cracks in the ceiling, imagining, roads, railways, paths, valleys, landscapes.

I taught children who dreamed, whose minds would wander to more stimulating – or safer – shores. Or they would confront the demons they had discovered were plaguing their lives, and slay them in their minds, all this while wearing a quiet smile and pretending to do maths – or, in my lessons, puzzling how to write a haiku, or grasp the idea that ‘necessary’ only has one ‘c’ in it, or that Piggy really was a genius.

Early life for me was in a council flat in Penge. Someone nicked my bike, and menacing-looking ‘Teddy boys’ smoking fags would gather round the children’s’ swings and slide and scare us away. As a child you are little more than a witness to events, streets, pubs, buildings, parks and a bewildering array of squabbling relatives that would arrive in hordes, eat cake, puff on Woodbines and then depart again. All this while I am imprisoned on the sofa, like a pet in a cage, when all I wanted to do was be climbing trees or hide under the table. A trip to the doctor meant listening to a long conversation before my sleeve was rolled up and I was jabbed in the arm.

Childhood baffled me. Perhaps I didn’t listen or adults never bothered to explain. What was church all about? And why was the priest holding that infant over a huge stone sink and dribbling water on its head? And what exactly am I praying to? Why am I asking for forgiveness when, as far as I could see, I hadn’t done anything wrong? What was sinful about putting a lighted banger under grandma’s chair? And Christmas – stranger still. One Christmas night, I hid behind my open bedroom door. A man came into my room. I leapt out and yelled. ‘Bugger!’ said Father Christmas, dropping the presents before dashing off.

And so followed a life in teaching working with young people - and it still goes on. The writing of the 'The Dream Factory' commenced in July 2004; it was late and I was in my office at my school where I was Principal. I had been playing around with ideas for a book and with the school so quiet, took a walk around the silent buildings. As was often the case, I was the last to leave; a school is a wonderful place to work but at night it can feel strange to be virtually on your own in such a large building that housed two thousand students and more than two hundred staff. And so it was that I walked the corridors, looking at children's work displays. Our best teachers always had lively interesting classrooms that created an appetite for learning; the children who entered felt the wonder and endless possibilities of learning. As I walked, every sound - a blind rattling, or notices flapping - was amplified down the echoing stairwells and corridors. It was an eerie but exciting.

Back in my office, I hesitated - about to grab my car keys to drive home. Instead, a voice in my head started to speak....and that was how it began! You can find out more at For teaching resources and ideas, music and art, go to Join me on Facebook and Twitter. Email me at [email protected] Let's talk!

In my natural South Devon habitat..

Navinda Eman and Peter Young at the Dream Factory
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