Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallers!

I hope you're spending the day doing something suitably spooky. I'll be writing, but I promise I'll be writing something extra creepy. And in a concession to Halloween, I'm reading a horror book:

I'm enjoying it so far, and hoping to get to the scary bit just in time to freak myself out tonight. I used to read a lot of horror, mainly Richard Laymon and Stephen King. I think I might start reading more, so if you've got any recommendations, do let me know.

I might watch The Descent tonight. Have you seen it? If not, WHY NOT?

So what are you up to for Hallers? Carving a pumpkin? Going to a fancy-dress party? Ignoring it completely?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Yes, that's right. Not NaNoWriMo. NaFiNoWriMo is where I'll be at in November. For those who don't know, National Novel Writing Month is when a bunch of crazy dedicated people knuckle down for the month of November and write a WHOLE novel (50,000 words or more) in thirty days. Impressive, no?

This is the first year that I've really, really wanted to join in. And I can't. And that makes me frowny. The reason I can't participate is The Deadline (January), and my self-imposed first draft deadline, which happens to coincide with the end of NaNoWriMo. So I will be immersed in National Finish Novel Writing Month. Not quite so exciting, but hopefully the sense of achievement will still be there. After all, it's not every day you finish writing a novel. Unless you write really, really short novels.

So I'd like to wish everyone who's brave enough to NaNo HUGE amounts of good luck. As for those of you who aren't crazy brave, you should probably come up with a crappy fake challenge like mine so you don't feel too left out for the month of November.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grown-up reading

I'm reading a grown-up book. (I KNOW! I'm just as shocked as you are.) And what's more, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. In case you're interested it's A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. So far it has made me laugh, made me cry, made me think and made me wonder whether I should read grown-up books more often. I'm finding this one very difficult to put down, despite the fact that it's definitely not a page-turner.

So... should I read more grown-up books, and if so, which ones? Just so you know, I'm not very good with long passages of description or, y'know, boring things.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blood from a stone

It's no secret that I've been finding writing a little tricky lately. I've been hovering at the 40-something thousand word mark for months and months. At times it's felt like I would never reach the magic 50k. Don't get too excited... I'm not there yet. This morning, book 2 stands at a mighty 49,000 words. This gives me hope that I might one day (maybe even today) reach the big five-o.

Towards the end of last week I got a rush of Deadline Fear. The January deadline has always seemed ridiculously far away. Now it is not. I was hoping to finish book 2 by the end of summer. Needless to say, things didn't work out exactly how I'd planned. My whole world has been turned upside-down. Writing hasn't been very high on my list of priorities. I tried to write, but it felt like I was hauling each word from the very depths of my soul*. It was exhausting and not fun in any way. Writing should be fun, shouldn't it?

So what's changed? Well, I got over myself. Writers write, right? This is my job now. I can't lounge around waiting for inspiration to strike. I have to MAKE it happen, by sitting at my laptop and staring at the screen for hours and hours. Even if I only write a couple of hundred words. It's something, and something is better than nothing.

I'm currently aiming for a first draft by the end of November. That will give me a month to sort it out and make it all shiny for my January deadline. So that's the plan. Feel free to mock me mercilessly if I'm still flailing around on the first draft in mid-December. (But if you mock me, I may cry.)

So what's YOUR plan? You do have a plan, don't you?

*Note to self: try not to write a grief-soaked book when you're, y'know, soaking in grief.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview with Entangled covergirl and photographer Josefine Jonsson

Remember my super-gorgeous book cover? No? Well, here's a little reminder:

*sighs* So pretty. Lots of people have asked me about it. Mainly they want to know... WHO IS SHE?! Well, I can reveal that she is none other than photographer Josefine Jonsson. Yes, she's the photographer AND the model. Pretty damn cool, huh? Obviously I had to track Josefine down and ask her some questions...

So... what's it like having your photo on a book cover? And not just a photo you've taken, a photo OF you too!
It feels really good! I knew there had been talking about using my photo for a cover but I didn’t see it finished until a person asked if it was me on your book. So I was quite excited when I saw it! As it is a photo that you clearly see it is me, it feels a little bit weird, but at the same time very awesome!

How do you go about taking such an incredible photograph of yourself anyway?
Whenever I feel like photographing it is nice to just take photos of myself, I don’t need to mind if the model or the make up artist doesn’t have time. Here I am in charge myself and if the photos turn out bad I can just throw them away! It is also very fun to portray different characters in my photos and the key is probably to experiment and try new things for your self-portraits.

The cover has had amazing feedback - some people have even gasped! What's the best reaction you've ever had from someone looking at one of your pictures?
I am very glad to hear that! The best reactions had probably been when I had my exhibition, because the people there wanted to talk about my work in another way than over the web. I can’t think of one specific comment, but it was nice to hear people say that they enjoyed my work to me personally.

I've had a browse through your portfolio and I find your pictures very inspiring. They make me want to write stories about them. What inspires you as a photographer?
Thank you! I usually say that I speak with my photography, instead of using words. I am quite fascinated with dreams and memories, so I try to create some with my photography. I find inspiration on art communities as well as everyday life. I am very interested in art, and have always been. I used to draw before I began photographing, and I think that I wanted to get out my feelings and thoughts in another way. Then I found photography which has helped me a lot with this. So I guess what inspires me the most are creating dreams and to create something that is valuable to myself as well as others.

What is your favourite of all the pictures you've taken so far, and why?
Choosing just one photo is quite hard, but I must say that even if I don’t work in a studio very much, my favourite photo is actually taken using this artificial light. Otherwise I always use natural light, but somehow this image sure has grown on me. I have wanted to photograph Ida for a long time now and finally had the chance this Summer. I like this image the most because it reminds me how much I have developed since I started. It is my new way of thinking of photography, but still I can see some of the old things in it that has inspired me within these 4 years. The image doesn’t really have a title, it just goes under the name “Ida”.

That is an incredible picture. Here are a few of my favourites...

Finally, the most important question of all. If you could only have one for the rest of your life, which would you choose: chocolate or cheese?
This was probably the easiest question, chocolate, without even hesitating!

Thank you so much for answering my questions, even if you did choose chocolate over cheese (WRONG!).

If you'd like to check out more of Josefine's work, have a mosey on down to her blog and website:

All photographs copyright Josefine Jonsson.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Exciting book news I forgot to tell you last week

Um... can't believe I forgot to mention this. I blame the fact it all happened the day I got back from New York, when I was still in a shopping-induced stupor.

Anyhoo, German rights for ENTANGLED have been sold at auction to Luebbe Verlag. This is very happy making for two reasons: Luebbe is an amazing publisher AND my book is going to be published in another language! Yes, I know that's bleedin' obvious, but it's so freaking cool. Deutsch! Memories of German lessons come flooding back. My favourite ever German phrase is: Ich mochte ein weichgekochtes ei. It means 'I would like a soft-boiled egg'. If I ever go to Germany, I will endeavour to say this at least three times a day.

Thanks to the especially brilliant and tireless Caroline Hill-Trevor - rights-selling legend.

What's your favourite foreign-language phrase? I'd like some to add to my collection. Danke.

Monday, October 11, 2010

NYC books etc

I got back from New York last week. Suffice to say that my suitcase was considerably heavier on the return journey than it was on the way out. The trouble is that New York is full of stuff, and I like to buy stuff. Specifically, books and clothes. Oh, and toothpicks in the shape of swords (seriously, they're great for serving hors d'oeuvres).

If you can believe it, I was actually more restrained on this trip. Last time, I went a little bit nuts. But back then I had a full-time job with a salary and everything. Things are different now. So I didn't buy every little thing that took my fancy. I thought: do I really need this in my life? No? Oh. But would everything be better and shinier if it was in my life? Yes? Awesome.

So, here are the books I bought:

The Lighter Side of Life and Death, C.K. Kelly Martin
I Know it's Over, C. K. Kelly Martin
Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler
Beautiful, Amy Reed (already read this on - it's bloody good)
Dairy Queen, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Nothing Like You, Lauren Strasnick
Her and Me and You, Lauren Strasnick
Shark Girl, Kelly Bingham
Sea, Heidi R. Kling
Hush, Eishes Chayil
In the Path of Falling Objects (excellent - mega-creepy, best book I've ever read about brotherhood)
The Tension of Opposites, Kristina McBride
Mentor - a memoir, Tom Grimes (not YA! Not fiction! But it IS about two writers...)

Thanks to everyone for their stellar recommendations.

Other things I did in New York included eating Korean food with my amazing friend Nova, whose YA novel Imaginary Girls will be published by Dutton in June next year. (I have a feeling this is going to be a very special book.) I also met up with some other fabulous friends, drank sangria, ate good and bad Mexican food, went to see The Social Network and pounded the pavements of Manhattan listening to my iPod.

It's wonderful being back. No, really. Ahem...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my 'I wouldn't mind getting entangled with... ' contest. I had a brilliant time googling all your answers. Not a bad way to spend a morning, I'm sure you'll agree. Anyhoo, we have a winner...

Maria @ The Serpentine Library. She chose Bradley Cooper. I have to confess that Maria might not have won had I not very recently seen The Hangover AND The A-Team. Bradley Cooper + Aviators = major hotness. Maria, please email me with your address and I'll get your signed ARC and Raised by Wolves in the post to you.

A couple of pics of Mr Cooper for you...

But wait! There's more! There were so many genius entries that I couldn't resist choosing a runner-up. And that runner-up is...

Kristy, who chose Jeremy London. Very specifically, Kristy chose Jeremy London in his Party of Five days - not Jeremy London post-drugs hell. I scoured the internet for a decent photo, but couldn't find one that did him justice in his prime, so I'm afraid you'll have to go without. Kristy, please get in touch so I can send you a signed ARC too!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest. You're all stars.