Bernice Chardiet approached me about this series. She had the idea of children's games gone wrong - and deadly - and wanted me to develop it into four books. They were a huge struggle to write because of a poor editor at Puffin. This editor rewrote one book without telling me and made the whole experience quite horrible. Thankfully I've never had problems like that with anyone else! Puffin asked me to write further books, but I refused. A fifth book was later issued with another writer taking over, but it bombed.

Tag (You're Dead), Puffin, 1992
Danny and Nicole think the abandoned house next door is a great place to play. But they discover a ghost named Zack whose touch can kill. Suddenly tag isn't just a game any more...

Hangman, Puffin, 1992
Tiffany and her friends Crystal and Lauren are playing hangman when the power goes out. Their baby-sitter vanishes, and then they realize that somebody is hunting them one at a time...

In the "truth is stranger than fiction" category, shortly after this book came out, I did a school visit. After the talk, three girls came to me and said that they loved Hangman because their names were Tiffany, Crystal and Lauren - and they were best friends. "And I'm a wimp, just like my character!" Lauren added.

Hide-And-Seek, Puffin, 1993
A swim team is on their way home after a meet, but the bus breaks down by a mysterious house. To pass the time as they wait repairs, the kids start a game of hide-and-seek. But some of them really do get lost...

My editor didn't like this story and asked for a huge rewrite, which I refused to do because it would have ruined the story. So she rewrote it behind my back. When I found out, I was furious (especially since she hadn't rewritten the parts she'd complained to me about!) and had them credit the book as "based on an original story by John Peel". If you're interested in what my original plot was, I recycled it as my Are You Afraid Of The Dark? book The Tale Of The Restless House.

Simon Says, Puffin, 1993
Kayla's moved to a new town and starts a new school. Here she discovers everyone is terrified of a kid named Simon, and always does exactly what he says. Then she finds he's turned her best friend into a kitten...



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