Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Next Big Thing!

"Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost" is OUT NOW!

My friend and fellow writer, John Ward, very kindly tagged me in his blog as part of the exciting "Next Big Thing" scheme, where writers answer questions about their work. Here are my answers….and then I’ll hand you over to some other writers. It's like a great big game of tig, only you don't have to leave your comfy seat : )

What is the working title of your next book?

Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost is the third book in a trilogy for 9-12 year olds and it's quite literally hot off the press! It’s beautiful and has a stunning cover by Lawrence Mann, (see above) the genius and all round nice guy who designed the covers for all three books.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The original idea came from a short story I wrote about bullying called 'In Her Shoes'.  Everything spiralled from there and one day it came to me in a flash that I would write three books, each one focusing on one of the three main characters. I didn’t really know I was capable of writing an action adventure/horror/comedy/issue based novel so it all came as a bit of a surprise! I had absolutely no idea what a challenge it would be.

What genre does your book fall under?

Oops, I already answered that one above! It’s a fast-paced action adventure with soul. That’s because in between the cliffhangers and frights there are some tender moments that deal with issues such as bullying and grief. If I had to choose a genre I would say fantasy adventure.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Nobody famous. I would want to hand select the actors very carefully.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

With the help of a magic book, a shy swat, a psycho rebel and a lanky nerd try to save the world for a third time.

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

All three books are published by Strident Publishing.

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

It’s difficult to say since I made a lot of notes for books two and three as I was writing book one. They kind of all intertwined. If I had to guess, I would say at least two years. It's pretty epic!

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

The Bree books have been described as "Indiana Jones meets Jacqueline Wilson". To be honest I try to avoid reading other children’s books mainly because I don’t want to be influenced by them. I did read a couple of Cathy Cassidy and Jacqueline Wilson books to inspire me when I was tackling Bree’s first romance (she meets a boy in book two and by book three they are boyfriend and girlfriend). I couldn’t really remember my first love (way too long ago!) so I needed a bit of refreshing.
I read Roald Dahl to my son (9) and I love the dark elements in his novels so I guess that might have inspired me to push the boundaries a little more with book 3. I realise that children love scary/dark moments and that writers should not be frightened to use them more.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Six years ago, a personal crisis cracked open something in me that had been buried deep inside. Suddenly the idea of writing felt like the right thing to do. I also wanted a ‘kick ass’ heroine because of the way I was feeling about myself at the time. There’s nothing quite like inventing a strong female protagonist to boost your self-esteem!
Without wishing to sound mushy, my son inspired me. It would be nice to think that at some point all my hard work and tears will make a positive difference to our lives. Also, writing a novel was on my list of things to do before I die. I’m pleased and proud that I managed to write three.

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

There are two worlds in the stories, separated by a thin veil (which weakens in book 3). So in all three books the children start out in their own, recognisable world with school, shops, houses but then when the adventure starts they find themselves thrown into a world of castles, creatures, and terrifying villains. I always liked the idea that it was possible to flit between two very different worlds.
I’ve had some great feedback from adults who seems to love the stories and appreciate the allegory and hidden messages.

Okay, that’s it from me. Now for that game of tig :)

I once spent an entire Saturday with John travelling around Scotland on a book signing tour. He is an absolute gentleman and genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. John has an incredibly powerful way with words, some will make you laugh and some will make you cry. John is one of life’s good guys and I'm so glad to know him.

Pippa's short stories, non-fiction and poetry have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her novel ‘Wider than the Sky’ was one of three finalists in the Dundee International Book Prize and will be published by Freight next year.

The fantastically talented Emma wrote 'Wolfie', the first novel that my son begged me to keep reading. It’s magical and wonderful. Emma is pretty groovy too. Follow her on Twitter: @EmmaBarnesWrite

Gillian is a lovely lady and fellow Strident author who has written the amazing 'Rebel Angels' series and a gazillion other books. She’s pretty amazing so check her out. You won't be sorry you did.

Another amazing lady, Linda writes for all kinds of genres, including picture books for little ones, non-fiction and handbooks for writing. She makes a mean cupcake too. I once wrote a review for Linda’s teenage novel Dead Boy Talking. I don’t often do reviews so that says a lot about how much I loved it. Her new teenage novel Don’t Judge Me is out NOW!

Fiona is an author and journalist. I find reading her books (Mummy said the F Word, The Great Escape, Mum on the Run) like sinking into a deep bubble bath with a box of chocolates in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Sheer bliss.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Greg 4 Hazel, 2gether 4ever.

I’ve got it bad. Really bad. Quite possibly worse than my life threatening crush on George Michael in 1984 when I watched the "Club Tropicana" video a zillion times and cried myself to sleep every night because I couldn’t touch those delicious bouffant streaks. 
It’s inexcusable really, what with me being a middle aged mother but I can’t help it. I am madly in love with Greg Davies. 

There. I said it. 

Suddenly I feel twelve again - perched on the bench at the school disco, waiting for Adrian Fowler to ask me to dance to Hot Chocolate’s “It Started With a Kiss”. I can almost feel the itch of my woollen legwarmers and smell the heady scent of Tweed perfume mingled with pre-teen desperation. But my twelve year old crush on Adrian was a perfectly natural part of growing up whereas my forty year old crush on Greg Davies is bordering on the ridiculous. I've watched all the YouTube clips, re-runs of Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. I've even ordered Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog from Amazon. Next I’ll be working out love percentages and practising writing 'Hazel Davies' in my secret diary.

When you’re a six foot tall woman, finding a man taller than you can be challenging. I rather like to feel feminine, despite not being a girly girl. Memories of walking off the kerb so my head was in line with my first boyfriend are excruciating as is the memory of only knowing how to dance the lead at my best friends wedding because I had so often been cast as a man in school dance lessons.   
I like the thought of being able to rest my head on a man’s chest without having to crouch down. At 6 foot 8 inches tall and with a lovely broad chest Greg seems like just the man to fit the bill. 


But it’s not his glorious stature that I’ve fallen for. He could be 4 foot 11 with a hunchback and a limp and I would still find him insanely attractive. It’s not even his lovely smile or apparently gentle nature (although this helps). It’s quite simply the fact that everything he says makes me laugh like a drain. 

You can keep your Gerard Butlers and Brad Pitts. I don't see what all the fuss is about Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. Who needs six packs and bulging biceps when you can have warmth and wit? Give me a man who can make me laugh till I’m sore and I’ll be the happiest person alive. It would just be a bonus if his thighs were larger than mine.

So Greg this is for you. Not that you’ll ever read this blog post or know anything about me. But isn’t that what harmless crushes are all about, experiencing the pleasure of something without any of the risks that come with the real thing? Oh and by the way, our love percentage is 98% so if you do see this, call me.