Can you believe that, we are almost in September? I can't believe it. But to be honest I'm just counting down the days till I go to Florida next September.
With a new month comes new books! I am so excited for September and these are the top 5 I cannot wait for.
Can you fall in love with someone you've never met, never even spoken to - someone who is light years away? Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth - with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication is via email - and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there's something worse than being alone...
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since Aelin shattered the glass castle, since Chaol's men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
Now he and Nesryn sail for Antica - the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire and of the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme. It's Chaol's one shot at recovery, and with war looming back home, Dorian and Aelin's survival could depend on Chaol and Nesryn convincing Antica's rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover there will change them both - and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
Bella Fisher is back - and is cool, calm and collected as ever. So:
NOT EVEN REMOTELY. Her fledgling relationship with Hot Adam seems to have stalled mid-flight (he isn't really speaking to her), her big sister Jo has gone off to university leaving Bella to deal with ditzy Mum on her own, something is up with her best-friend-dynamic with Tegan and Rachel and horror of horrors, horrendous ex-boyfriend Luke has an ACTUAL MODEL as his new girlfriend. Mum opens up a doggy ice cream parlour - Give a Dog a Cone - which Bella is forced to help out at on Saturdays. Yes, dressed up as a dog. For some light relief she enters a radio competition to secure a performance from hot band of the moment The Helicans at her school - but another contestant begins turning into her sabotaging nemesis. Throw in a suspicious new lodger and the world's most chaotic dog agility course and you've got another truly hilarious, truly relatable and truly madly awkward story!
An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman's search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.These are the things Lux knows:She is an artist. She is lucky. She is broken.These are the things she doesn't know:What happened over the summer.Why she ended up in hospital.Why her memories are etched in red. 'The nightmares tend to linger long after your screams have woken you up ...'Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux's time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.If her dreams don't swallow her first.
Today, I am very excited to welcome Sophie McKenzie to the blog. I am a huge fan of Sophie and have been reading her books since I was a teen. ALSO her new book SweetFreak is out today. I read it last month and it is brilliant.
Sophie is the award-winning author of a range of teen thrillers, including the Missing series (Girl, Missing, Sister, Missing and Missing Me), Blood Ties and Blood Ransom and the Medusa Project series. She has also written two romance series: the Luke and Eve books and the Flynn series, which starts with the novel Falling Fast. Split Second is her first teen stand-alone novel in seven years. Sophie's first novel for adults is the psychological thriller Close My Eyes.
TWITTER - FACEBOOK
1. Tell me about SweetFreak…
In SweetFreak popular, confident Carey is framed for sending her best friend a death threat. The threat, traced to Carey’s laptop (which wasn’t hacked, is password protected and only bears Carey’s fingerprints) has been sent from an anonymous user calling themselves SweetFreak via a social media app that allows the user to manipulate photos of people to show them being killed. Carey’s world falls apart as her friends desert her and even her mother struggles to believe she is innocent. Carey fights back, determined to find out who SweetFreak really is and why they have targeted her.
2. What do you love about writing?
Everything! Seriously, I enjoy each stage: the planning, the actual writing and the editing afterwards. I particularly love getting lost in the story and the characters, in the same way that you do when you read a book you really enjoy. And I love the lifestyle that goes with writing too: being able to work to my own schedule, taking time off when I want and making it up later. It’s an amazing freedom.
3. What made you want to write about the topic bullying?
I kept coming across articles about online bullying and the horrific impact it can have. I found these stories of vulnerable teenagers with their lives ripped apart heartbreaking and it struck me how much easier social media (and its anonymity) makes it to bully people. I wanted to write about the impact of bullying, from all sorts of different angles, but to do so in the context of a suspense mystery – a book with a (hopefully) exciting story that might reach more people than a straightforward newspaper article or report.
4. Carey and Amelia go through a lot in this book and their friendship is hanging by the thread. Was there a reason you wanted to write about friendship and the ups and downs of it?
I’m fascinated by the ways human beings interact and what motivates us. Friendships between girls are often intense, especially when you are at that stage when you’re moving away from a primary reliance on family relationships but haven’t yet had a serious romantic involvement. Over the years I’ve written about all sorts of different relationships, but the ups and downs of young teen female friendship was something I really wanted to explore in this book.
5. Have you read anything recently that you've just loved?
I really enjoyed The Girls, by Emma Cline and also Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. On the younger teen front I’ve just discovered The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward, which are great too.
6. Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m currently writing a reworking of a children’s classic which I loved as a girl. I’m about a quarter of the way through my first draft and thoroughly enjoying it! I can’t say anything else about the project just yet, but I’ll be revealing more soon on Facebook and Twitter. www.facebook.com/sophiemckenzieauthor @sophiemckenzie_
Get ready for a brand new edge-of-your-seat read from bestselling author Sophie McKenzie! When everyone thinks you're a liar, how hard will you fight for the truth?Carey and Amelia have been best friends forever. Then Amelia starts being trolled by SweetFreak, a mysterious and hateful online account, and Carey is accused of being behind the vicious comments and threats. Shut out by her other friends and shunned by Amelia, Carey is determined to clear her name and find out who's really sending the messages. But as the online attacks spill over into real life, events start spiralling out of control... Can Carey expose the real SweetFreak before it's too late?
John Young is a writer who is originally from Belfast and now lives near Edinburgh. A former lawyer, he founded and runs The Teapot Trust, a children’s art therapy charity, with his wife Laura. He was a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award winner in 2013. His debut novel, Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist, is available now from KelpiesEdge.
It’s difficult to write a young adult novel (‘YA’) when the term young adult isn’t defined to any degree that’s helpful. Many writers rue the day that the term YA was coined – even a considerable percentage of target YA audience refuse to give the genre any credence. To which age range does this nefarious term refer? Does YA refer to the age of the characters or the age of the readers? Is YA its own cocktail of sub-genres of sci-fi, zombies, vampires wizards, false love and talking bears? I don’t know.
I do know that I love many so-called YA books, but that doesn’t make me a young adult nor does the term satisfactorily describe the beauty of much of young adult writing. So what is it?
From my own perspective, when I was within that vague young adult target range there was little for me to read between Enid Blyton and James Herbert. It was a culture shock for me to go from ginger beer to gouging rats. With that in mind, I wrote Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist for someone like me when I was a young adult and looking for something different. …Terminal Optimist is a black comedy about escapism. That’s what I needed when I was a young adult, to escape a school that failed; to run away from “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland with the clawing violence and aggression that prevailed at that time. I also wanted to laugh about it, because that was what we did.
Times were different then, and experiences vary from person to person. My own children think I’m joking when I say that I counted myself lucky to get home from school each day without being stabbed. Most kids I knew suffered through school pretending to be thick to avoid getting a kicking for being a swot. That’s no atmosphere to stimulate anything, never mind learning how to cope for the rest of your life. It was this ignorant vandalism of education that caused many people I knew to struggle upon leaving school. I walked out of school with an angry attitude aged 15 with my future balanced between crime and college.
In the end I chose crime – well, criminal law – and took a job in East End London, writing defence statements for convicted and remanded criminals. I was just a teenager, chatting to murderers, drug dealers, and armed robbers. Some were headcases, but many were not that different from me except their lives fell a different way, their life opportunities weren’t the same as mine, their motivations, influences and choices were negative. If they had been given a second chance, maybe things would have been different for them.
Few stories are written about disadvantaged kids, even fewer make the star character an ill child, because the danger is that their illness becomes the focus and I desperately wanted to avoid that. My experience of looking after a disabled and sick child is that people have the tendency to see the chair and the tubes and not the person, when what that child really needs is to get out and do stuff, laugh and be treated like everyone else. Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist tells the story of Connor running away from his care home, without the cancer medication that’s
keeping him alive, spurred on by the school bully and the need to see his dad. However, this isn’t a sick-lit story, it’s a bittersweet comedy about second chances in love, life, family and friendship.
It was written with the aim and hope of being as relevant and appealing to any YA reader as it is to any adult.
Quick-witted, sharp-tongued Connor Lambert won't take it any longer: the bullying, the secrets, the sympathy. He's been dying from cancer for years, but he's not dead yet. He's going down fighting.
Forming an unlikely friendship with fellow juvenile delinquent Skeates, the pair stage a break out and set off on a crazy tour across Scotland -- dodging the police, joy riding and extreme partying -- to find Connor's dad, an inmate at Shotts prison.
But Connor's left two things behind -- the medication he needs to keep him alive, and the girl who makes living bearable.
A fresh and bold debut novel full of heart, guts and raw emotion. Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist is a brilliantly funny, thrilling exploration of friendship, identity and mortality populated with witty, sharply drawn characters.
Today I have the lovely Perdita & Honor Cargill on the blog today with a guest post, extract AND giveaway. Perdita & Honor have been so wonderful to giveaway both of their books signed, bookmarks and a notebook and one of you lucky lot will win it. Just head to my twitter to find out how you can win.
Honor and I almost fell into writing and collaborating. Honor’s brief (but weird) experience of professional child acting gave us the idea (our main character, Elektra, is a child actor), we had a shared love of stories and we had a long (boring) family holiday together to give us the space to get started…
What’s almost more surprising is that we’re still writing together nearly three books in - we’re editing the third Waiting for Callback book right now (send chocolate). In the meantime, Honor has finished school and gone off to Uni. We’re not at home together and she’s got student life and niche Roman/Greek stuff to distract her. How are we making it work?
I guess first, we’re lucky that we never got used to working in the same space. If we’d tried the whole side-by-side thing we’d have murdered each other by now. Instead we always gossiped plot together and then separated to write (me, mostly in the attic, Honor, mostly in cafes with excellent cake supplies). We always swap everything we’ve written and get brutally stuck in criticizing and re-writing until we’re both happy and it all smooths out. We can work this way as easily London/Oxford as when Honor was at home and we still do as much as we can in the holidays. It helps too, that we’ve got different strengths. Honor does more of the actual writing, especially dialogue, and I do more editing and structuring.
But the most important reason we’re still writing together is that it’s fun. And it’s more fun because it’s shared. That doesn’t mean that it’s not hard work, it’s so much work – but there’s two of us to share it. We’re each other’s first readers; we make each other laugh - not least when we’re writing the fictional Mum/Daughter bits…
We thought it would be fun to have an extract that showed that relationship, so here’s Chapter 4 of Take Two. Elektra’s in the kitchen with her mum. She’s just got her contract to ‘star’ in a movie… everything’s good until, Oh God, her mum switches her (full-on) attention to Elektra’s love interest, Archie… Enjoy!
When Elektra is discovered by an acting agent, she imagines Oscar glory can't be far away, but instead lurches from one cringe-worthy moment to the next! Just how many times can you be rejected for the part of 'Dead Girl Number Three' without losing hope? And who knew that actors were actually supposed to be multi-lingual, play seven instruments and be trained in a variety of circus skills? Off-stage things aren't going well either - she's fallen out with her best friend, remains firmly in the friend-zone with her crush and her parents are driving her crazy. One way or another, Elektra's life is now spent waiting for the phone to ring - waiting for callback. Can an average girl-next-door like Elektra really make it in the world of luvvies and starlets?
Today I have the lovely Akemi Dawn Bowman on the blog today with an interview with Katie over at QueenOfTeenFiction and Zoe from Ourfirstyearhere.
Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of Starfish. She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in England with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. Starfish will be published later this year (9/26/17, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster), with a second YA contemporary to follow in Fall 2018. She is represented by Penny Moore of Empire Literary.
Photo by Rory Lewis Photography.
TWITTER - WEBSITE
Kiko is half-Japanese, which is awesome! What lead to you writing her with this heritage?
When I started writing Starfish, I knew I wanted to write the book I needed most as a teenager. I’m half-Japanese myself, and when I was growing up there just weren’t books that reflected a biracial experience like mine. And I knew in my heart when I decided to write a contemporary that this was the book I needed to write. I wrote Kiko to reflect my heritage, so that in turn she’d be able to reflect someone else’s—someone who’s still searching the bookshelves for the story I could never find.
What sort of research did you have to do before writing Starfish?
Starfish is very much the book of my heart. And I guess in a lot of ways, I’d already done the research simply by living through the experiences that I have. Starfish is about identity and family and healing, and how all three can sometimes be tangled together. I want to preface this next part by saying that not everybody has the same experience, and biracial people are not a monolith. But my experience was very similar to Kiko’s; I grew up with a feeling of not belonging—of being both not Asian enough and not white enough—and it really affected the way I saw myself. I’ve also lived with social anxiety for most of my life, which Kiko also has. So I think this book was less about research and more about taking pieces of my own experiences and reshaping them into a story that felt both organic and important. I didn’t write a biography, but I wrote the book I think would have helped me immeasurably if I’d only had the chance to read it in high school.
Is there a character that you found the most challenging to write about?
I think Kiko’s mother was the most challenging in some ways, because I created a character who doesn’t treat her children very kindly, but doesn’t necessarily have a big, eye-opening backstory as to why. She is incredibly narcissistic, but also has no idea how much she’s hurting people—Kiko specifically—because she has an inability to look past her own feelings and needs.
I think anyone who has experience with a parent similar to Kiko’s will see something familiar on the page. But on the flipside, those who don’t might be looking for an explanation as to why she is the way she is. They’ll want redemption or closure or a reason. But sometimes the people with parents like Kiko’s don’t get to have this. They don’t get an explanation in real life. And I think that might be tough for some people to understand, and so the challenge for me as a writer was to decide who I’m writing this story for—the majority who might not understand, or the minority who will?
And ultimately, I wanted to write a book for the people who don’t often see themselves represented, and that includes those who have grown up with trauma from an emotionally abusive parent. And I hope it helps some people, and that it resonates with those who really need it. I’ve had some wonderful readers already reach out to say that Starfish, for them, was like finally being “seen”—and that honestly means everything to me.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
That healing doesn’t happen overnight. That beauty isn’t just one thing. That sometimes you can be both okay and not okay, and that I see you—I understand you. And I want readers to feel a sense of hope, and to embrace who they are and believe that they absolutely belong in this world just as much as anybody else.
What inspired you to write Starfish?
I think I already tapped into this a bit in my earlier answers, but I wanted Starfish to be a mirror for readers who don’t often get to see themselves in books.
Were you a childhood bookworm? And if so, what were your favourite books?
Yes, absolutely! When I was really young I used to devour Nancy Drew and Baby-sitters Little Sister books like they were candy. I was also really into the Goosebumps series, and I’m pretty sure I read Night of the Living Dummy at least fifty times. As I got older, I discovered His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter series, and they basically changed my life forever.
Would you say Kiko is like you at all?
I’m sitting here laughing, because if anyone I knew was standing over my shoulder right now they’d be screaming “YES!” so loudly. When I was drafting Starfish, I was never consciously trying to make Kiko and I similar. But I think because of the nature of the story and the shared experiences of identity and social anxiety, there are definitely similarities there. That being said, I think it’s a lot more fair to say that Kiko starts off similar to how I was in high school. But Kiko is so much stronger than I was, and her journey and growth is what I wish I’d had years ago. Also, Kiko doesn’t like Batman, which is so not like me at all. And okay, I might have put that in the book on purpose so I could point it out to my family and say, “SEE, WE’RE NOT THE SAME PERSON AT ALL,” but still. I love Batman! So we’re not exactly alike!
Do you have any writing or editing rituals?
I like to have a chai latte or a sugary snack (Milk Duds, preferably!) to sit down with, but I don’t know if that’s a ritual so much as just me having a sweet tooth. I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, so when I get a window of time to write, I’m in full-force light-speed mode trying to get every single word on the page in one sitting. I kind of write in bulk at odd hours, and I’m exhausted literally all the time, but it’s the only way I can get anything done. I’m so disappointed in myself for not having a cooler answer for this. Other authors have epic playlists and the most gorgeous sticker charts and post-it setups for edits, and I basically eat chocolate and write until my face feels like it’s going to fall off or one of my kids starts crying—whichever comes first.
Did you visit any of the art schools for research? And if so, did you have a favourite? –
All of the art schools are fictional, so there wasn’t any research there. That being said, the architecture and style was loosely based off of various campuses I’ve seen over the years. Brightwood was definitely my favorite—I love trees and flowers and nature. Being surrounded by so much green helps with my creativity, so I thought it was a perfect setting for an art school!
A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school.
Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she's thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn't quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.
But then Kiko doesn't get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.
From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.
Claire McFall is a writer and a teacher who lives and works in the Scottish Borders.
She is the author of paranormal thriller Black Cairn Point, winner of the inaugural
Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017. Her debut novel Ferryman won a Scottish
Children’s Book Award, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted
for the Branford Boase award. Her other books include dystopian thriller Bombmaker.
Trespassers, the much-anticipated sequel to Ferryman, will be published on 14 th
Why I Write YA
I’m a grown up. A real one. In three months’ time, I’ll be 35. Thirty-five.
It’s horrifying. If you’d asked me when I was fifteen, I’d have said that was middle aged. As a matter of fact, I asked pupils in my school a few years back – when I was turning the then-terrifying age of 28 – when they thought middle-age began. Their answer? Twenty-five. I’ll be a decade older than that. The worst thing is that I don’t feel like a grown up. Grownups are mature and sensible and they do things like going to the garden centre on a Sunday for a wander and a bit of cake.
As I write this I realise I’m going to the garden centre on Sunday… There’s a difference, though. There is. I’m going to buy some furniture for the horrifyingly expensive patio I’m getting put in – and maybe a gas grill because coal barbeques always take too long – and there won’t be any cake because I’m on a diet.
You see – I am! I am a grown up.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. They were supposed to discover the key to immortality before I was 30 and then I was going to magically stop ageing. But that seems to be beyond scientists – stupid scientists! – so here I am. Nearly 35. And it sucks.
“Why is all this relevant?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s one of the big reasons why I write YA. I just can’t let go. In my head, I’m still 17. Some days, even 15! I don’t want to go to work, I don’t want to have a mortgage and bills and be supervising builders in my garden. That’s for grown ups – and I. Don’t. Want. To. Be. A. Grownup.
Sounds childish? That’s my point!
I have Peter Pan syndrome in a big way, and because of that, I think I identify with teenagers more. Because of that, I think (I hope!) I relate to teenagers better. The ideas in my head aren’t about politics or marriages and divorces or police dramas or anything like that. I don’t know how to tell that kind of story – and d’you know what? I don’t want to!
I’ll tell you another thing: being young is the best thing ever! I’ll pause for a moment while you snort your drink out through your nose in disbelief. It is! It really is. Do you know why? Because you, young people, can do anything with your life. Go anywhere, be anything. Imagine life as a giant room full of doorways and each doorway is an opportunity. Right now? Every single doorway is open to you. Every day, every month, every year, as you get older, those doors start to close. I’ll now never be a ballerina, or a rock star. I won’t go to university to study biology and discover the key to immortality (although, clearly, I should have!).
I’m not saying that I hate my life, at all. I love my life; it’s awesome. But I’ve had to make choices, and each choice closed a few more doors. And I was so busy bolting through doors that I never stopped to appreciate the wonder of where I was. The sheer sense of opportunity. The world is your oyster. I’ve never really understood that phrase, and I don’t like oysters, but you get my point.
One more reason before I go – and hopefully this one won’t make me look like an old fart desperately clinging on to her youth! YA readers are way cooler than adult readers (and that counts even if you’re an adult reading YA!). YA readers come find your website. YA readers talk to you on Twitter and Facebook. YA readers will come with me on a mad fantasy journey and won’t raise their
eyebrows and sneer well, that would never happen… YA readers create fan art (fan art! The best thing ever!). YA readers are the bomb – and I want to keep writing for them as long as they’ll let me.
Dylan has escaped a horrific train crash unscathed.
Except she hasn't.
The bleak landscape around her isn't Scotland. It's a wasteland haunted by wraiths searching for human souls.
And the stranger waiting for her isn't an ordinary boy. Tristan is a Ferryman, tasked with transporting her soul safely to the afterlife, a journey he's made a thousand times before.
Except this time, something's different.
Torn between love and destiny, Dylan realises she can't let Tristan go, nor can she stay with him. Eventually, inevitably, the wraiths would capture her soul and she would be lost forever.
Can true love overcome the boundaries of death?
today I have the lovely Stephanie Kate Strohm on the blog today with an interview with blogger Liv over at Livswonderfulescape.
Stephanie Kate Strohm is the author of It's Not Me, It's You; The Taming of the Drew; Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink; Confederates Don't Wear Couture and the upcoming The Date to Save and Prince in Disguise (Fall 2017). She grew up on the Connecticut coast, where a steady diet of Little House on the Prairie turned her into a history nerd at an early age. After graduating with a joint major in theater and history from Middlebury College, she acted her way around the country, performing in more than 25 states.Although she was born in New York, she currently lives in Chicago, and doesn't discriminate against any type of pizza. When she's not writing, she loves baking, walking her dog Lorelei, taking dance cardio classes too seriously, and playing board games with her husband.
Photo credit: Melissa Lynn
What inspired you to write the book?
The idea to write a YA love story told in the format of an oral history came from my editor at Scholastic. From that point on, I knew I wanted to set the story around the prom, because I LOVE prom! I went to three proms when I was in high school and was the first person to sign up to chaperon when I taught high school. It feels like such a moment of celebration, and I'm a sucker for a fancy dress.
Do you have any awkward high school experiences and if so what?
Pretty much all of my high school experiences were awkward! I was obsessed with boys - I had endless crushes that were never reciprocated. Probably the most embarrassing thing was that I kept a blog detailing all of my (not very interesting) interactions with the different guys I had crushes on. Luckily, none of them ever found it!
What can you tell us about your next novel?
My next book, The Date to Save, comes out in September! It takes place over Homecoming weekend at San Anselmo Prep - the same school in It's Not Me, It's You - so you'll see some familiar faces. Things go crazy when the football game, academic battle, student council elections, and school play are all accidentally scheduled at the same time!
Who are some of your favourite authors?
My favorite authors are Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, and J.K. Rowling.
Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a major public breakup with her boyfriend threatens to ruin Avery's plans for a perfect senior prom and Avery starts thinking about all the guys she's dated. How come none of those relationships worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery tracks down her exes and interviews them, compiling a total account of her dating history. She discovers some truths about herself along the way...just in time for prom night!
Today I have the lovely Simon James Green on the blog today with an interview with Josh from Joshandabook with Simon and his character Noah! A very funny interview and check this book out, you can also win a copy of the book over on my twitter.
I’m an author and screenwriter and I sometimes do a bit of directing too. I actually did a Law degree at Cambridge University, but decided I loved writing and directing too much to go and be a lawyer. I’ve worked on lots of West End shows including The Rocky Horror Show, Rent and West Side Story and I’ve also directed Hollyoaks for Lime Pictures / C4. I write screenplays with my good friend Sarah Counsell, including Rules of Love, a feature-length musical rom-com for the BBC, which has since sold around the world. Noah Can’t Even was selected for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ‘Undiscovered Voices’ competition in 2016 and it’s my first novel.
-Starting with a challenge; sum up your book in five words.
SJG: Madcap coming-of-age comedy!
NG: Full of lies, really awful.
- Where did the idea for the book come from?
SJG: I’ve always loved coming-of-age stories, and I’ve always wanted to write one about a geeky boy questioning his sexuality. I also really enjoy writing comedy - making people laugh is the best feeling – so I knew I wanted it to be funny too. Finally, there was a particular piece of writing advice that stuck in my mind: in every chapter, turn up the heat on your character a little bit more and make life even harder for them. Those things combined in my head to create the story.
NG: Right, Simon (1) just because I get good grades and once built an Airfix Avro Vulcan B Mk2, which I hung from my ceiling on bits of cotton, that doesn’t make me a ‘geek’ necessarily. (2) Shut up about my sexuality. (3) You know full well that you stole the idea from things I told you for your own profit and have probably even bought a Nespresso machine on the proceeds whilst I have received only grief from everyone laughing at me.
- How much of the books content came from your own experiences?
SJG: The book isn’t really autobiographical, but I did base certain elements on my own teenage years – for example, I absolutely hated PE at school, just like Noah does.
NG: That’s a lie. The book is based entirely on secrets that I told Simon in confidence. He got me to trust him by buying me some Skittles and then saying nice things about how he thought my poetry was good. When my defences were down, he got me to open up more about my life and unbeknown to me, he was writing all this down to use in his stupid book.
- When the cover was first shown to you, what was your initial impression?
SJG: I loved it! It’s such a bold, attention-grabbing image and it sums up so much about the book. I couldn’t have been more pleased. It was designed by Liam Drane at Scholastic, who’s a genius!
NG: I hated it. It’s an appalling, diabolical image that I suppose someone thought was funny or something. It’s not exactly subtle, is it? Personally, I prefer the sort of covers you get on more literary books – maybe a picture of some barbed wire, or a shattered mirror reflecting a fractured face, to indicate the inner turmoil of the character – that sort of thing.
- Secondary school/high school can be a rough place for a lot of people. What tips would you give to anyone in school for surviving it?
SJG: Always remember that almost everyone is going through their own form of private hell, and despite appearances sometimes, everyone is in the same boat and feels the same insecurities and anxieties. Find people like you, who you connect with and don’t make you feel like crap. Hang on to those folks and be there for each other - they’ll get you through. Finally, it may seem like it, but it’s not forever. It will end. And things will get better.
NG: I found that becoming Head Student Librarian granted me a lot of respect amongst my peers, especially when they beg me not to give them fines for late returns. Having a position of power strikes fear into the hearts of the mean kids and I know that when they call me rude names and make gestures behind my back it’s only because they are scared and jealous. Also, I keep a list of everyone who has wronged me so that one day, I can get revenge on them.
- What tips do you have for any aspiring writers?
SJG: Write the thing that you would want to read – it’s a long slog, so you’ve absolutely got to love the thing you’re working on. Get feedback on your work – whether from a crit group or a freelance editor, if you can afford it. Keep going, read lots, believe in yourself – I truly believe there’s a place for everyone’s story, you’ve just got to find it.
NG: I am actually a successful writer and have recently won a prize for one of my poems, which has now been included in a special anthology, so I am well placed to give out writing advice. I suppose my number one tip would be this: you need a lot of stationery if you’re going to be a professional writer who wins awards, like me. The Viking catalogue is a good place to start for all the essentials, like folders, reams of paper and an array of different types of pen.
Simon and Noah are both on Twitter - @simonjamesgreen @noahgrimes12
Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyonc tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is...Well, it's pure hell. Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light? But Noah's plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That's when things go from bad to utter chaos.
Today I have Eugene Lambert on my blog today with an interview with blogger Andrew! It is a fun, silly interview that will make you laugh and smile.
Eugene Lambert grew up in Wolverhampton, a fate worse than cliché. A refugee from the worlds of academia, science and engineering, he graduated from Bath Spa University with an MA in Writing For Young People in late 2013. When not scribbling in his cabin, he flies gliders and goes for long walks in the Cotswolds. Rumours of his being an identical twin are ... true.
Eugene's debut SF novel, The Sign of One, was shortlisted for the 2014 Bath Novel Award. The list of writers who have influenced and inspired him is a long one, but Alan Garner and Patrick Ness would both be near the top of it!
Q. Sum your book's essence in five words.
A. Twins; adventure; mystery; horror; prejudice
Q.What was the last song that made you dance round your kitchen?
A. That is classified. But it could've been an early hit by a Swedish band beginning and ending with A.
Q. If you could, what's the one piece of advice you would give to your pre-published self?
A. Be prepared for it not getting any easier!
Q.Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
A. Winter. Definitely winter. Give me snow or give me death.
Q.Cat or Dog?
A. Cat. (Don't have to pick its poo up!)
Q. Plain or flowery?
A. Plain. (Sorry. Introvert me.)
On Wrath, a dump-world for human outcasts, identical twins are feared. Only one will grow up human, while the other becomes a condemned monster with "twisted" blood. When 16-year-old Kyle is betrayed, he flees for his life with the help of Sky, a rebel pilot with trust issues. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realizes that he is no ordinary runaway?although he has no idea why he warrants this level of pursuit. The hideous truth they discover could change the fate of Wrath and its harsh laws forever. Their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them?or bring about their destruction.
Today I have Greg Fowler on my blog with a video interview. The wonderful Lina at Ink Road Books help me set this up as he was visiting and I really enjoyed the video! Check it out below and check out his book which is beautiful and wonderful.
Greg Fowler lives in Wellington, New Zealand with his wife and three children. Outside of his love for writing, Greg is a professional risk consultant who worked in Washington DC with the likes of military contractors to the Pentagon during the Iraqi Conflict. Greg’s passion for storytelling started when he was about ten years old and never faded. It was only thanks to a gentle nudge from his wife Fiona that his work moved from a pile of pages gathering dust in a spare room to appearing next to his inspirations in a bookstore. As for the future, Greg intends to make time for the rest of those stories to fall out of his head and on to the page.
Eddy knows he's not like other teenagers. He doesn't look like them. He doesn't think like them. He doesn't go to school or have friends like they do. Eddy's not even allowed to leave his bedroom - except on shower day of course. He doesn't know why; all Eddy knows is that he's different.Abandoned by his mother and kept locked away by his grandmother, Eddy must spend his life watching the world go by from his bedroom window. Until Reagan Crowe moves in next door and everything starts to change. She's kind, funny, beautiful, and most importantly, she's Eddy's first friend. Over time, Reagan introduces Eddy to the strange and wonderful world outside his bedroom: maths, jam, love.But growing up isn't that simple for either of them. And Eddy has a secret. The tree that's slowly creeping in through his window from the garden is no ordinary tree. But then again, Eddy's no ordinary boy. He's special...Set over the course of five years, T is for Tree is moving, life-affirming, and shows that we can all find greatness in the small things.