Thursday, December 30, 2010

One week to go

Here's one of those sneaky copies of Entangled that escaped into the wild a bit early. Notice how it's snuggling up to Harlan Coben for warmth. Bless.

So it's seven days until the official publication date. 

2010 has been the worst year of my life, by some considerable distance. 2011 can't possibly be any worse. After all, I've been eagerly awaiting 2011 since getting the book deal in November 2009. And now it's almost here. The year I've been waiting for. And yet nothing is how I imagined it to be. Instead of bouncing off the walls with excitement, I'm sort of melancholic and wistful. But there's seven days to go and a lot can change in seven days. I shall endeavour to Get Excited.

Any tips?

I hope 2010 has been kind to you, and I hope 2011 is even kinder. See you on the other side!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ENTANGLED in the wild

It has come to my attention that ENTANGLED has been released into the wild. This is extremely dangerous for all of us. The location of the first few sightings is a certain retailer named WHSmith. You have been warned.

Here's my advice: The safest thing for you to do is head down to your local branch, pick a copy off the shelf (carefully), and take it to the counter. Give the nice chap or lady some money and take the book home (STILL carefully). Maybe try reading it. Or giving it to an unsuspecting friend. But whatever you do, don't just ignore it. That could be lethal.

It is a well-known fact that the only way to protect ourselves from this menace is to get it out of the shops NOW! Please help. If we all work together, I think we can beat this thing. Good luck, brave soldiers.

If anyone would like to send me a pic of ENTANGLED in the wild, I'd be ever so grateful. (Warning: flash photography can cause these pesky books to attack.)

Thank you for listening.

Oh, and do have a happy Christmas, if you celebrate it. You are all wonderful.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I can't believe I've only just discovered the wondrous Charlie McDonnell (thanks to John Green for the intro). This song is pretty much the coolest thing ever, and Charlie happens to look like one of my characters, which makes me love him even more. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog tour continued...

Morning, folks. Today I'm over at Once Upon a Bookcase talking to the lovely Jo. Stop by, have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

Here's a little thingummyjig so you can see where I'll be and when.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I forgot to mention...

I have a finished copy of ENTANGLED. I can't believe I forgot to tell you! My excuse is that a lot of real-life stuff has been going on recently (all depressing and/or too dull to tell you about). So, here it is...

Pretty cool, huh? I can report that the book is pleasingly chunky and it has pages and everything. There wasn't as much squeeing as I would have thought, primarily due to the aforementioned dull/depressing stuff. Still, getting a finished a copy is another important landmark on the journey towards publication. Three and a bit weeks until 6th January. How did that happen?!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview with Anthony McGowan

Today I'm privileged to be interviewing all-round writing superstar Anthony McGowan who will be leading the WRITING FOR CHILDREN course at the Faber Academy starting in January. The course sounds utterly brilliant - you can check out the details here.

Tell us a little bit about the WRITING FOR CHILDREN course and your involvement with it.

Like many authors, I grew up in love with the Faber name and heritage. I’ve been teaching creative writing at various institutions for a few years now, as well as writing children’s books, which obviously meant I was picked up on the Faber Academy RADAR. They approached me, and I leapt at the chance. The course is aimed at anyone from total beginners, to someone who’s finished or almost finished a children’s book. We’ll be covering the whole range of writing for children and young adults, except for picture books. I suppose the course is a distillation of all that I’ve learned in my years as a children’s writer (and reader). There’ll be plenty of workshopping and exercises, and we have some amazing special guests – Anne Fine, Michael Rosen and Meg Rosoff.

Do you think there are unique challenges in writing for children and young adults?

The basics of good writing are the same for adults and children – it generally boils down to great characters and a compelling plot. The main challenge in for writing for children is to get into the mind of a child, without losing your adult sensibility. And you generally have to work harder to keep children reading, given how many other things there are for them to do. This puts a little more emphasis on plot and action, as well as humour, as ways of keeping your grip on the young readers.

What are some of the common mistakes people make when writing for children?

Not thinking about the audience. The belief that ‘fine’ writing is somehow enough. Spending a page describing the sunset. A failure to appreciate the beauty of a good fart gag.

You write for different age groups. Which is your favourite? Go on, you can tell us. We’re VERY good at keeping secrets.

I love writing for teenagers. It’s where my heart really is. And my head. It’s such a dramatic and intense time in our lives, the possibilities for stories are endless.

What are your feelings about first person versus third person? (Careful here, you’re talking to a first person kind of girl.)

Most of my books are first person narratives. It comes most easily to me, and seems the most natural way of telling a story.

What are your top three YA books of all time?

Red Shift by Alan Garner, The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff and The Lord of the Rings by, well, you know who.

Have you ever walked up to someone in a bookshop and said, ‘I wrote that!’?

Yep, just once, with my first Y/A book, Hellbent. Couldn’t resist it! I still can’t go into a bookshop without turning my books so the cover faces out (I suspect we all do that …).

Please tell us your famous crossbow story, Twitter style (140 characters or fewer).

2 boys hunt rats with a crossbow in a filthy beck. An abandoned gypsy dog. A stray shot. A merciful boot crunches. The bones lie restless.

Best Twitter story EVER. Now, 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?

I could actually live without either. Crisps, however …

Your answer has blown my mind. A life without chocolate OR cheese...?! I think I need to go and lie down for a minute. Thanks for stopping by, Tony!
Tony McGowan will be teaching Writing For Children at The Faber Academy, starting on January 25th 2011. For more information or to book, please visit, or call Ian Ellard on 0207 927 3827.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fall Out Boy, Maya Angelou and aubergines

The blog tour continues. Today I'm over at The Mile-long Bookshelf, talking to Amber about... you've guessed it... Fall Out Boy, Maya Angelou and aubergines.

In other news, I have discovered that fried gnocchi is like normal gnocchi but ten times better.

Also, today I may well be starting a brand-new top sekrit project. I'm not quite sure what this project actually IS yet, but gimme a couple of hours with my Moleskine and my favourite pen and I should have a clearer idea.

So what do you do when you're in need of inspiration? Do you sit down with a notebook and order your brain to come up with something good? Or do you go for a walk? Listen to some music? Eat some cheese?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A very lovely weekend indeed

In which I:
1. finished GOING BOVINE. You should read this book. Soon.
2. cooked spaghetti and meatballs.
3. tried oysters for the very first time. (Not in the least bit slimey or chewy... who'd have thunk it?! A revelation!)
4. attended a chocolate tasting AND a sparkling wine tasting.
5. ate hog roast (and came up with a stonkingly good idea for a bar/restaurant).
6. drank cocktails.
7. laughed a lot.
8. pushed a car through the snow.
9. traipsed on a gorgeous, snow-encrusted beach.
10. did no work whatsoever (also a revelation!).

Today the nose is firmly back to the grindstone. Currently inputting edits to the mansucript, which would be a speedier task if I hadn't left myself so many things to think about. But I am finding it strangely satisfying getting rid of unnecessary sentences -of which there are many.

What did you get up to? Anything fun?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The ENTANGLED blog tour. Woo and hoo!

The ENTANGLED blog tour kicks off today, over at The Mountains of Instead. Do pop over and check out the interview about The Lighthouse Children's Literary Consultancy.

All very exciting!