Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I was tagged by the lovely Liz de Jagger and Sara Grant in this fascinating meme of books to come. Do go on over to their blogs to read about their amazing books!

Here goes....

What is the working title of your book?

Dead Jealous

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was in the middle of a project that could loosely be described as urban fantasy and had gotten stuck. The structure just wasn’t working and I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. I started to worry. Would I never be any good at plotting? Was I doomed to the seventh circle of plotting hell for EVER?! Then, like every Joseph Campbell inspired hero, I realised that no help was coming. If I was going to get out of this alive, I was going to have to save myself! ARGH!!! I’d read all the writing grimoires and secrets of plotting texts I could lay my hands on… I drew my sword and thought… hmmm… maybe I should try writing the kind of books I read ALL THE TIME!

*Blinding flash of illumination*

I love murder mysteries. Like other people, I grew up on Agatha Christie so I blame her for starting the addiction. But by the time I was a teenager I was reading LOTS of crime and thriller books. There wasn’t much by way of YA when I was a lass. I am very VERY old. (If someone would like to refute this, then PLEASE DO!)

And so I began thinking about what kind of sleuth I’d like to write. Then one day I was on the bus between Leamington and Warwick, just by the water purification station, and Poppy St John sat down next to me. (Not literally, but work with me here…) I knew who she was, the way she dressed, the way she talked, and how she was feeling. All in about 3 seconds. This doesn’t normally happen to me. I grew out of imaginary friends a long time ago - honest. 

I needed a fun setting and I thought what better place than a Pagan Festival to make my lovely (atheist to rival Richard Dawkins) teenage sleuth squirm.

What genre does your book fall under?

Hmmmm… I guess teen sleuth with a hint of a ghost story and more than a smidgen of kissing. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I love playing this game! My current choices can be found HERE

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Jealousy can be murder.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My wonderful agent is Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg and Dead Jealous will be published by Orchard Books on the 4th July 2013 and can be pre-ordred from Amazon HERE

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first half I wrote over a few months. I worked on something else for a while. Then I wrote the second half in a week's holiday from work. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Difficult!! Maybe Sophie McKenzie? In the adult section… maybe Phil Rickman or S.J. Bolton???

Who or What inspired you to write this book?


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she's also Death...

Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair (yes, she has had a name change!) believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn't been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise - too late - that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.

There’s death, lies and a wicker man with a very large appendage. Oh, and don’t forget the boys…!

Now we're supposed to tag some other folks.. but most people have been multiple tagged... ooh er! So I'm going to tag:

Julienne Durber whose wonderful Springpunk I can't wait to see on the shelves.

Liesel Schwarz whose forthcoming book has one of the most beautiful covers I've seen recently.

Pat Walsh whose next book I can't wait to hear about!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Richard Ashcroft and me...

You remember him - the guy from The Verve? Well not only did I go to the same sixth form college as him (several years later, I hasten to add...) but his step-dad, a guy called Doug Ashcroft, was my high school English teacher. I loved Dougie. He was one of those inspirational teachers who broke all the rules but still managed to stuff you so full of courage and imagination that it really didn't matter that your GCSE coursework was done in a bit of a rush at the end of the year because, well, you'd been busy with other things. And set books? Ha! What were they? 

He was a bit like this guy...

(No books were hurt in the production of this film.. honest, guv!)

Dougie taught us to think for ourselves. To argue and debate. He taught us that not all great literature was written by dead men and women, but that we ourselves were capable of creating beauty. He might not have taught us to spell or the rules of grammar but he inspired us. He drummed into us that the world was big place and that in our imaginations we are all free.

Mr Ashcroft left school rather suddenly because of change in family circumstance and I have always regretted that our relationship ended mid-conversation (quite literally!) But in the strangest of ways, my old high school English teacher is still inspiring me even now. In interviews, Richard Ashcroft has said what a big influence his step-dad had on his life and music, and it was The Verve's song Sonnet that I played on repeat when I was writing Dead Jealous. In fact the song is mentioned in the text twice! (Yeah, I know. you're not supposed to do that. But what can you do? It was all Dougie's fault, he taught me no respect for the rules...)

Anyway, hurray for fabulous teachers who break all the rules! And here's a little something for your listening pleasure...