Saturday 30 June 2012

Fortnight Of Guests 2012: Diana Hendry

Diana HendryToday I'm interviewing the amazing Diana Hendry, who's written so many books it's untrue!  Her latest book, The Seeing, comes out next month - it's amazing, so keep a look out for it!  And for my review! :D  Now, onto the interview...

Q&A With Diana Hendry

Hi Diana!   It’s a pleasure to have you here today!
Hello Megan!

Could you tell us a little about yourself and your books?
I’ve been writing stories since I was about 12, but I didn’t get published for a long time.  Now I’ve published more than 40 books for children, three collections of poetry and a number of short stories.  I’ve worked as a typist, a journalist, a teacher and a creative writing tutor.  I’ve a son and a daughter and three grandchildren. I live in Edinburgh.

The quote on the blurb of my proof of your upcoming book is:
“I've told you.  Philip can see.  He can see inside people.  He can see the swastikas on their hearts.”
It just instantly got my attention and made me desperate about the rest if the book.  Can you sum up The Seeing in one sentence?
No. Why would I?

What gave you the idea for The Seeing?
As a child I used to have nightmares about there being one Nazi left behind.  He lived  (I imagined) in the air-raid shelter on the sandhills opposite my house.

The SeeingHow much research did you have to do for The Seeing?
The Seeing took a long time to write - many drafts.  So although I did quite a lot of research it was spread over several years.

What's the best bit about being an author for you?
Being excited about a new poem or story.

Have any authors really inspired you?
Yes, a great many.  Seamus Heaney and the Israeli novelist, Amos Oz.

What’s the latest book you read that really ‘Wowed’ you?
A short story by Mark Haddon called ‘The Gun’.  It’s in the recent issue of Granta.

I know you write lots of different genres, but which is your favourite to read and write? 
Poetry every time!

If you could go into any fictional world, where would you go?
I don’t think I want to go into a fictional world.  The delight of a fictional world in a book is that you can get out!

If you could have your dream dinner party with five fictional characters, who would you have? 
I’d rather have real people - writers perhaps.  Seamus Heaney, Amos Oz (see above) Penelope Lively, Paul Durcan and Ali Smith.

What's next for you?
I don’t know!  I’m playing about with ideas - hoping one will grab me and I’ll feel excited by it.

Hope you enjoy The Seeing.

all best wishes,


Thank you so much for the interview, Diana!  I hope everyone loves The Seeing as much as I did!
Everyone, if you liked this post, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests


Diana Hendry grew up by the sea and has worked as a journalist, English teacher and tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol. Her poetry has won a number of awards including first prize in the 1996 Housman Society Competition. From 1997-1998 she was Writer in Residence at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary. She lives in Edinburgh.
She has published more than thirty books for children, including Harvey Angell which won a Whitbread Award in 1991 and You Can't Kiss It Better, set in Edinburgh (2003). She also writes adult short stories, a number of which have been published in anthologies and read on Radio 4. Her collections of poetry for adults, Making Blue (1995) and Borderers (2001) are published by Peterloo, and Twelve Lilts: Psalms & Responses (2003) by Mariscat Press. With Tow Pow, in a series of poetic ‘challenges’ she has published Sparks! (2005, also Mariscat Press). A third full collection, Late love : and other whodunnits, was published in 2008. She has also published a collection of poems for children, No Homework Tomorrow (Glowworm, 2003)

Friday 29 June 2012

Fortnight of Guests: Lauren Oliver

Delirium is one of my very favourite series ever, so it's a huge pleasure to say that Lauren Oliver is here with an interview for us!  

In Pandemonium, there was a double time-line - the 'Then' and 'Now' chapters (I loved that SO much, by-the-way!). Are you going to write the same in Requiem? Or are we going to have it from other POVs - like the short Hanna story...?
Unlike the first two books, It's told from two different POVs. Who they are is my secret for now!

I'm being really cheeky now, but can you give us the teensiest hint about what's to come in Requiem?
I'll I'm going to say is that you'll see some characters that we haven't seen since Delirium

Lena is also the most incredible lead girl ever, one I loved seeing grow - and just loved full stop! When you started writing, did you know where Lena was going, how she was going to grow?
Not to the exact detail, but I knew that I wanted her to grow stronger, and to find love of course!

I adore Lena and all your characters - but who's your favourite?
I don't know that I can pick one!

You know when you read a book and it does all the right things with your emotions - makes you feel everything the main character does? Your Delirium series do that for me! How, in a loveless world, did you pack so much emotion in?!
Well I think part of what I was trying to show in the book is that no matter how much oppressive forces try to control what people think and feel, those natural emotions are going to surface. Love is such a powerful thing, I don't think it could ever completely be stifled. 

If you lived in a dystopian world like Delirium, would you be like Lena, fighting all the way, or do you think you'd be Hanna, choosing to stay with her family and home and certain, secure future?
I hope I'd be like Lena, but I think it's impossible to tell until you're actually faced with a situation like that. I am pretty feisty though, so hopefully that quality would survive. 

The big news on the block (for me) is that both Before I Fall and Delirium could be made into films! Do you have any more info on that?!
Not really, except that I'm very excited!

If you were in charge of the films, do you have any ideas about actors to play the main characters?
I'm so bad at that question! I have a weird desire to see Taylor Swift play Lindsey though...

You've written a contemp YA, two (almost three) dystopia YA-s and one MG fantasy book. What's next for you?
My next book to get published is another Middle Grade book called "The Spindlers". It's very exciting, and I'm really looking forward to it coming out. 

If you could jump into any fantasy world ever created, which would you choose?
Um, Harry Potter. For sure!

Why do you think dystopia is so huge at the moment, what with Delirium, Hunger Games, etc.?
I don't know why it's so huge at this particular moment, but I think people always have a desire to see the worst of the future as a way of exploring how to fix the present. Sometimes you have to see the worst possible outcome of something in order to find the good and hope in people. 

Have any authors or books really influenced you as a writer?
Yes, The Harry Potter Books, Roald Dhal, Jane Austen, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez... just to name a few!

And you must get asked this every interview you have, but as an aspiring author I simply have to ask! Do you have any advise for aspiring authors such as me?
I always give the same advice, but it's the best advice I know! Write Write Write! Every single day make sure you get something down on paper. 

Last question, promise! ;) What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
I hope that they can be inspired to be strong, and to make the choice that's right for them as an individual, but not to judge other people's choices.

---!/OliverBooks   @OliverBooks

Thank you so much for taking part, Lauren!  It's been a huge pleasure interviewing you!  

Everyone, if you liked this post, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests


Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader. 
She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel. 
She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Fortnight of Guests 2012: Celia Rees (Plus GIVEAWAY!)

Photo of CeliaWe have one of my favourite historical writers with us today: the amazing Celia Rees!  She's here to tell us about her favourite historical writers!  AND!  Bloomsbury have agreed to give us a signed copy of Celia's latest book This Is Not Forgiveness to giveaway!!  If you live in the UK or Ireland, enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter thingy and tell us your fave historical author/novel! :D  Now, I'll hand over to the wonderful Celia...

My Favourite Historical Novels (And Writers)

I am a writer, but also a reader. For me, the two things go together. When people ask me for advice about how to become a writer, my advice is to read. Read all the time, as much as you can. Read writers you admire, the best writing in your chosen genre. Learn from them.

I’ve always loved history and, as a child, I read historical fiction because it allowed me to be part of the story. I devoured books on the Tudors when I was studying for ‘A’ Level because it was a quick way into the period and rather less boring than the average textbook. I never thought, back then, that I would actually be writing historical fiction. When I started writing in this genre, it seemed natural to read other writers. I still do, and I go to the best of the best.

Two writers stand out for me. Both of them women. Sarah Waters and Hilary Mantel. Apart from their gender, they have certain other traits in common. They are both supremely clever. The kind of writers who leave you thinking: ‘How does she do that?’, ‘I couldn’t do that.’ So they give you something to aim at. They are also very brave. Their books are innovative and daring, in structure, subject matter and style. They take risks constantly and resist the temptation to look down. You know that their books are meticulously and deeply researched but you feel it, sense it, rather than wading through detail page after page. They do not let the research take over, it never jars, never clogs up the story. That is where the cleverness lies. The research allows total immersion; it is as though you are living in that time, that period. They make the time come alive.

Tipping The VelvetI first came across Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet in an airport bookshop, looking for something to read. It was only a short flight but even that would be unbearable without a book. I loved it immediately: the finely realised sense of period, the sly humour, the sense that you were looking into a secret world, hidden from the mainstream, and she wrote like a dream. I’ve read all her subsequent novels and have found a great deal to admire, each time a different thing. The intricate structuring of Fingersmith; the sudden switches in Affinity, as if the rug is being pulled from under you; the complex, clever and controversial narrative form that The Night Watch takes and the mixing of genre in The Little Stranger. Each book is set in a different period, but she manages to realise the time absolutely, from the dreadful poverty of reeking Victorian rookeries to the grey exhaustion of Post War Britain. In these days of relentless self publicity, Sarah Waters is a rarity: a modest, unassuming, self deprecating author, absolutely sure of her own ability.

Beyond Black
Unlike Sarah Waters, Hilary Mantel does not write in one specific genre (I guess we have that much in common). I have admired her writing for long time, her Orange Prize winning Beyond Black, is a particular favourite of mine. Her fame has increased with her Booker Prize winner, Wolf Hall. I once stood next to her when we were both checking into the same hotel for the Ilkley Festival, I guess that wouldn’t happen anymore. I read her A Place of Greater Safety when I was writing Sovay and had to admire her awesome skill at filleting the bewildering complexity of the French Revolution and making it not just understandable, but as exciting and terrifying as the events must have been, without ever betraying their complexity.

She has a talent for taking on the major players. In A Place of Greater Safety, Danton, Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins carry the story; Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are all characters in Wolf Hall and her new novel, Bringing up the Bodies. That takes great writerly confidence and not a small amount of courage. In her last two novels, Hilary Mantel has brought new life to the tired, trammelled ground of Tudor history and has imbued one of the time’s most reviled figures, Thomas Cromwell, with real humanity. Her books are a gift to any ‘A’ Level student. I wish they’d been around when I was studying the period!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

---!/CeliaRees   @CeliaRees

Thank you so much Celia!  And to Bloomsbury for the giveaway!   Everyone, I LOVED This Is Not Forgiveness and can't recommend it enough!  Good luck in the giveaway!!
Everyone, if you liked this post, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests


Celia Rees (born 1949) is an English author of children's literature, including some horror and fantasy books.

She was born in 1949 in Solihull, West Midlands but now lives in Leamington Spa with her husband and teenage daughter. Rees attended University of Warwick and earned a degree in History of Politics. After university, she taught English in Coventry secondary schools for seventeen years, during which time she began to write.

During her time in teaching she asked several of her pupils why they wouldn't read the books they were given and what they wanted to read about. The pupils said that they wanted books with action, horror, danger, magic and pirates.
All of these are main themes in Rees' books.

Fortnight of Guests 2012: Dave Cousins

Today we have the amazing Dave Cousins, author of 15 Days Without a Head, with us today!  I loved 15 Days Without a Head (check out my review: here) and hope you all love the post just as much as I do!

The Book Addicted Boy!

Hello, my name’s Dave and I’m book addict!

There’s something about books as objects – the smell of them, the way they look lined up on a shelf. I carry one with me where ever I go, which is why many of mine are creased and battered, their pages crinkled from being read while walking home in the rain. For me that just adds to the appeal though, it gives each copy a history that can take me back to a moment in time.

Without books, I suspect my life would be full of holes. As a child there would have been nothing to dispel the disappointment of being sent to bed early. Growing up, they provided companionship and guidance through some of the more difficult periods of my life, not to mention an escape from family holidays as a reluctant teenager! Books have changed my opinions, widened my view of the world, and made me laugh and cry along the way.

So … I thought I’d share a few of my favourites – in autobiographical order!

Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain
I was generally quite well behaved at school, but this book got me into trouble. I have vivid memories of being sent to stand in the corner of Burman Road Infants for fighting with another boy, over whose turn it was to read this. What made this book worth fighting over I’m not sure. Maybe it was the mixture of fear and excitement at the idea of sneaking out after dark to climb Spook Hill? There’s something about the deep blue and grey illustrations and the warm yellow glow of the bears’ lamp as they creep through the woods. We all loved the way you had to read the final part of the story really fast in reverse and would compete to see who could memorize the bears’ journey in the correct order.

Explorers on the Moon & Destination Moon by Hergé
Born a few months before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, I was obsessed with the idea of being an astronaut as a child and read these books until they fell apart. I spent months dressed as Tintin, dragging a toy Scottie dog around on a string and addressing my grandad as Captain Haddock!

The Three Investigators in The Secret of Terror Castle by Robert ArthurAnother book that I loved so much I wanted to live it. My friend Richard and I became The Two Investigators and spent hours in the park looking for mysteries. The closest we came was helping a woman retrieve her lost dog. She seemed pleased and accepted our ‘business card’ promising to contact us if she ever needed anything investigating.

The Machine-Gunners by Robert Westall
My favourite book of all time! Though on this occasion, I didn’t want to be Chas McGill the hero of the story, but the writer, Robert Westall. The majority of Westall’s work was published in the seventies and eighties, but his books are still as good today as ever. Great writing and storytelling is timeless, and Robert Westall was a master of the craft.

Thunder and Lightnings by Jan Mark
I read this when I had just started a new school in a new town. Being able to share some of my experience and anxieties with the main character in the book, made those first few weeks a little easier. It was the first time I realised that stories could provide companionship and sometimes help us through difficult times in our lives. This book made me want to write and continues to influence the kind of stories I try to tell.

Waving at Trains by Roger McGough.
By the time I started at secondary school, I had started writing – songs and comics mainly. Then I discovered poetry, first Wilfred Owen and then Roger McGough. I’m often in awe of poets and songwriters who can capture the essence of a moment in a few words. I love the sound of McGough’s poems, the rhythm of the lines and the way he plays with language. He can be laugh-out-loud funny and brutally dark in the same verse, and always makes me think.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
No list of books would be complete without mention of Calvin and Hobbes – they were a big part of my own kids’ relationship with books. It’s an over-used term, but Bill Watterson is actually a genius. Calvin and Hobbes is as near to perfection as it is possible to get. Funny, wise and heart-felt, Watterson’s strips are beautifully drawn stories featuring two of the best characters ever created. Reading a few pages of Calvin and Hobbes never fails to inspire, enlighten and put a smile on my face.

Creepers by Keith Gray
I originally borrowed Creepers from the library and attempted to photocopy it, because I didn’t want to give the book back. I thought it was the perfect story: simple, clever, surprising and cool. I realised this was how I wanted to write. I’ve read all of Keith Gray’s books and they’re all brilliant. To have his endorsement on the cover of my debut novel makes me grin every time I see it.

And now I spend my days writing my own books – to say it’s a dream come true would be an understatement! Glancing across my desk as I type this, I realize I should mention my collection of thesauruses and word books. I’m not ashamed to admit that I find great pleasure in leafing through the pages to find an elusive synonym or to check the correct usage. Some of you may feel that I should maybe get out more. You’re probably right, but I’m happy. After all, not every addiction is bad.


Fifteen Days Without a Head
15 Days Without a Head by Dave Cousins, is out now in paperback, published by Oxford University Press.!/DaveCousins9000   @DaveCousins9000

I couldn't agree more!  I think a book addiction is the best kind and not one that needs detoxing! ;)  
I hope you all liked this as much as I did!  And if you did, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests


Dave Cousins completed his first novel in the back of a van, while touring with his band (who were almost famous!)
He went on to be a winner of the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2010 and his debut novel for teens, 15 Days Without a Head, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2012. 
Originally from Birmingham, Dave now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and family, in a house full of books and records, and writes in a corner of the attic with an anarchic ginger cat for company.

Monday 25 June 2012

Fortnight of Guests 2012: Phil Earle

We have Phil Earle, the author of one of my fave 2012 Contemps, Saving Daisy, here today!  (You can see my review of Saving Daisy: here!)  He has an awesome post lined up for us, one I love!   So without further ado, here is his ace post... :D

Kings of Teen

A fanfare is heard each year, for a fantastic book prize called ‘The Queen of Teen’, a chance to celebrate the best writing for teenagers.
It’s an award with great kudos, the ceremony is lavish, and it’s an accolade many authors want to win, yet this year marks a sea change for the award, as for the first time, a man (shock!) has infiltrated the ranks of the brilliant Cathy Cassidy, Cathy Hopkins and Sarah Webb. James Dawson’s inclusion has created a lot of comment, particularly on blogs across the country, and good on him I say.
The whole thing got me thinking though, about how competitive a prize for male YA writers would be, when there are so many inspirational authors out there, many of whom inspired me to open my laptop and get typing.
Here’s what my dream shortlist would look like:

    Ostrich Boys (Definitions)
  1.  Keith Gray.
A couple of years ago, “Ostrich Boys’ graced just about every shortlist out there, and little wonder. An incredible road-trip about friendship and loss, it confirmed for me everything that’s great about the author.I fell in love with Keith’s writing when working as a bookseller: ‘Warehouse’ was quite unlike anything else I’d read before, as it was so packed full of truth. ‘Malarkey’ and ‘The Fearful’ merely confirmed what I already knew: that more teens would be reading if they knew about Keith and how bloody good he is.
  1.  Kevin Brooks.
‘Martyn Pig’ was a game-changer for me. A book that broke all the rules, that took you into the darkest of places and never once flinched.
The books that followed never backed down either, ‘Lucas’, ‘Road of the Dead’, ‘Killing God’, ‘Naked’: all of them uncompromising, but always entertaining.
Kevin can do high concept too. ‘iBoy’ is genius. A kid gets hit in the head with an iphone and absorbs all of its powers. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that?

  1. David Almond
I wish more than anything that I could write like David. His novels are never long, rarely over 250 pages each, yet he says more than I ever could in a dozen books. ‘Skellig’ and ‘The Fire Eaters’ both destroyed me, whilst ‘The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean’ proved that he can enthral adults just as well as teens. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, drop everything and go. He’s as mesmerising in the flesh as he is on the page.

  1.  Melvin Burgess
‘Junk’, ‘Doing it’, ‘Bloodtide’ and now ‘Kill all Enemies’ – a legacy any writer would be proud of. People often accuse Melvin of being controversial for the sake of it, but to me he means every word he says. There’s real fire and passion in the stories he tells, and that’s why I always return when his new book comes out.

    Swim the Fly (Swim the Fly, #1)
  1. Don Calame
‘Swim the Fly’ and ‘Beat the Band’ are lewd, crude and hilarious, yet there’s more than just a feeling of ‘American Pie’ to Don’s books. What I love about them is that they are HUGE of heart. The biggest compliment I can pay them is that I wish they’d been around when I was a teen. I would have thought they were the business.

Finally, what I love most about YA at the moment, is the sheer number of writers who deliver brilliant debuts, and I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning a couple of them, namely Dave Cousins and John Lucas. With ’15 Days Without a Head’ and ‘Turf’, they have announced themselves as the new generation of YA.
 They are not afraid to write from the heart, or talk about subjects others would shy away from.
That’s what makes them special, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next…


Thank you SO much for taking part, Phil!  I've seen some books I'll have to read!!  :D
Everyone, if you liked this post, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests


Phil was born in Hull in 1974, and he studied English and Drama at Hull University. He worked for a year as a carer in a children’s home, then after training as a drama therapist, he worked in a therapeutic community in London, which cared for multiply abused adolescents. Then, changing tack completely, he chose a marginally more sedate life as a children’s bookseller. It was here that he developed an obsession for kid’s literature, in particular, young adult fiction.
After three years at Ottakar’s, he became a sales rep, and then a key account manager for Transworld/Random House, and is now sales director at Simon and Schuster Children’s Books.
Phil lives in South East London with his wife and three young children.

Sunday 24 June 2012

In My Mailbox (#54)

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a perfect way to see who's reading and review what. Awesome! 

I seem to forget doing IMM every week...  So I've got, like, three weeks worth of books here... I'm suprised I didn't buy more books...  Yay to my self control!! ;)
Anyways, this is what I got... 

For Review:

Summer's Dream (The Chocolate Box Girls, Book Three) by Cathy Cassidy (Goodreads | Amazon)
I love this series and can't wait to read this!! 
Nest of Serpents (Wereworld, Book Four) by Curtis Jobling (Goodreads | Amazon)
Evil Is Rising...
Yay!  This is one of my fave action-fantasy books: can't wait to read it!
Alice in the Spotlight (The Secrets Club, Book One) by Chris Higgins (Goodreads | Amazon)
I've already read this: it's so fun and really brilliant!  My review should be up soon-ish! ;)
The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, Book Two) by Richelle Mead (Goodreads | Amazon)
Love And Loyalty Run Deeper Than Blood...
I read this the minute it landed on my doorstep.  It was AMAZING!!  
The Night Sky In My Head by Sarah Hammond (Goodreads | Amazon)
This sounds awesome - can't wait to read it!
Taken By Storm (Raised By Wolves, Book Three) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Goodreads | Amazon)
Love this series!  :D
Blood Moon (Drake Chronicles, Book Five) Alyxandra Harvey (Goodreads | Amazon)
What Happens All You Love, Becomes All You Hate?
This is one of my favourite series of the moment: can't wait to read it!!
Rapture (Fallen, Book Four) by Lauren Kate (Goodreads | Amazon)
Love this series too!  Yay!  Pretty cover!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Goodreads | Amazon)
Gotta love dragon books!  
Cassie's Crush by Fiona Foden (Amazon)
The Diary Of A Girl
Who More Than Likes A Boy...
This looks like loads of fun and very Georgia-Nicolson/Louise Rennison-ey.  Yay!
City of Swords (Stravaganza, Book Six) by Mary Hoffman (Goodreads | Amazon)
Enter A World Of Treachery And Danger
This series looks amazing, so I can't wait to get stuck it!
Velvet by Mary Hooper (Goodreads | Amazon)
I love Mary's historicals, so I can't wait to read this!


City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, Book Five) by Cassandra Clare (Goodreads | Amazon)
This.  Is.  AMAZING!!  God, I love this series... I NEED the next book.  Already!
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, Book One) by Julie Kagawa (Goodreads | Amazon)
I love Kagawa's Iron Fey and can't wait to read this!!

Fated (The Soul Seekers, Book One) by Alyson Noel (Goodreads | Amazon)
This looks amazing and I'm very much looking forward to reading it!
Adorkable by Sarra Manning (Goodreads | Amazon)
Love, Hate
This is amazing: I've started it and it's incredible!  I love it already!!

Anways, that's my mailbox.  :)

Hope you're all having a great week and enjoying Fortnight of Guests!!

Fortnight of Guests 2012: Cat Clarke

It's a huge pleasure to have the amazing Cat Clarke here today for an interview.  I love her books and so it was awesome to be able to interview her!!  Anyway, enough about me, here's the interview... :D

Q&A With Cat Clarke

Hi Cat!  Could you please tell us a little about yourself and your incredible books?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog! A bit about me: I mostly write about teenagers being vile to each other. My first two books, Torn and Entangled, were published in 2011, and my next book, Undone, is due to be published in February next year. I like cheese, sharks and wearing beanie hats.

Your debut novel, Entangled, came out in 2011 - how did you come up with the idea for the book?
I came up with the basic premise in an English Language A Level exam a looooooong time ago. The idea stayed with me for years but I was too lazy to actually get on and write it. The idea changed beyond recognition over the years, but that’s where it all began.

I cried many times while reading Entangled, and loved every second of it.  So I must ask: How, how, how do you make your writing so raw and emotional? 
Thank you! Making people cry is one of my very favourite things... sorry if that’s a bit weird. As for how I do it, I’m not entirely sure! I find the emotional stuff quite exhausting to write, to be honest. It’s definitely worth it in the end though.

Your newest book Torn came out early 2012 - what inspired you to write it?
Torn came about from an overheard conversation at work one day. I thought I heard the words ‘bus crash’, which got me thinking about something tragic happening on a school trip. A few days later that idea had evolved into something else entirely – without a bus crash!

Do you have set writing habits?  Do you need music, tea...?
Always tea. ALWAYS. And there *has* to be music. Sometimes I listen to the same song on repeat for days and days. As long as the mood of the track is right, I won’t get sick of it. I don’t really write at a set time or on set days – I just try to get on with it whenever I can. It’s a constant battle against the evil forces of procrastination!

When you start writing, do you have a specific plan or do you just go where the characters take you?
I didn’t plan Entangled or Torn. I was very lucky that I didn’t take any wrong turns, because that’s the danger when you’re flying by the seat of your pants. I’m currently planning a new book though – which is a new experience for me. I’m not sure which method will win out in the end.

Other than writing and reading, what else do you like doing?  
I like hanging out with my pets (two cats, one dog), cooking (today’s task is to master flatbread), going to gigs and watching DVD box sets.

You work in publishing - did that make the process to being published any easier or more difficult?  
It wasn’t necessarily easier or harder, but I think it meant I knew what to expect. I knew how the system worked, so I knew the timescales (publishing is S-L-O-W) and I knew that rejection was to be expected. It also meant that I had friends and colleagues I could talk to about it, which was definitely a good thing!

Random Question Time!
Did you ever have an imaginary friend as a child?  
Nope. This makes me feel sad.

The Giver (The Giver, #1)
If you read them, which dystopian novel do you find scariest?
The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Lois Lowry was writing dystopian before it was called dystopian. A terrifying book with an utterly brilliant ending. READ IT!

If you could live in any fantasy world ever created, where would you go?
I think I’d fit in very well in the Shire (Lord of the Rings). I could definitely get onboard with the whole ‘second breakfast’ idea. Hobbits are awesome.

Back To Sane Questions!
What is your favourite book of all time and why?  
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Perfect setting, perfect characterization, perfect EVERYTHING.

Have any authors really influenced you?
Christopher Pike and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Are you working on anything else right now?  If you are, could you please give us a teaser!
I’m in the middle of edits for Undone. It’s about revenge. The main character is called Jem, which happens to be the name of one of my cats (and a character in To Kill a Mockingbird!). The book that I’m planning right now is about a house party. Sorry for being cagey!

---!/cat_clarke  @cat_clarke

Thank you so much for taking part, Cat!  It's been great having you!  And I can't wait for Undone!!

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Cat was born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, which has given her an accent that tends to confuse people. 
Cat has written non-fiction books about exciting things like cowboys, sharks and pirates, and now writes YA novels. She lives in Edinburgh with a couple of cats, Jem and Scout, who spend their days plotting to spit up furballs at the most inconvenient times. She likes cheese A LOT, especially baked camembert.