Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Rosie Black Chronicles: Dark Star by Lara Morgan

First there was Genesis, then Equinox, and now there is the dramatic conclusion to The Rosie Black Chronicles, Dark StarLara Morgan grabbed me right from the start of Genesis and I’ve been dying to find out how Rosie’s story will end.  Will she be able to bring down Helios and save her world?

To protect Pip and fulfil her deal with Sulawayo, Rosie Black has joined Helios. But trouble is brewing within the ranks of the powerful organisation a rebellion is rising. Who is part of the rebellion? Who is trying to take full control of Helios? How does the mysterious Dark Star fit into these plans? The stakes are high for Rosie. The survival of Pip and the world as she knows it depends on her. Can Rosie find the truth and save those she loves before it is too late?

Dark Star is an action-packed, tense, sci-fi thriller and the perfect end to this fantastic trilogy.  Our favourite characters return to help Rosie bring down Helios, and Lara also introduces us to some new characters who have their part to play.  There are plenty of twists and turns in the story as, like Rosie, you’re never sure who to trust (is that person part of the rebellion or is it all an act?).  From the moment you enter the Enclave with Rosie you’re on edge, and as Rosie discovers more information about Helios and her situation gets more desperate you start to turn the pages faster.

One of the things I like the most about the series is that the romance between the characters doesn’t get in the way of the story.  There has always been a thing between Pip and Rosie, and in Equinox (the last book) a relationship developed between Dalton and Rosie, but their relationships don’t take over the story (like many YA series).  In the world that they live in there isn’t really time to stop and stare longingly into each others’ eyes, but their relationships still affect their decisions.  The bonds between them mean that they are willing to sacrifice their own safety (and their life) to help each other escape.  You just hope that they will all make it through and be able to have their romantic moments after they’ve saved the world.

I also love the technology that Lara has created in her future world.  There are medical patches that heal wounds, AI taxi cabs, pulse guns, a portal to transport people onto other planets, and many other fantastic inventions.  A lot of her technology is more advanced versions of what we have today so it’s not hard to imagine a world like Rosie’s.

Lara ended the story perfectly, tying up the loose ends, but also leaving it open so that you can wonder about what might happen next.  If you haven’t read The Rosie Black Chronicles get them from your library or bookshop now.

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Walker Books Australia I have a set of The Rosie Black Chronicles, signed by Lara Morgan, to give away.  You can enter here.

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Win a signed set of The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  Dark Star, the dramatic conclusion to The Rosie Black Chronicles has just been released in Australia and NZ (you can read my review here).

To celebrate the release of Dark Star Walker Books have given me a signed set of The Rosie Black Chronicles to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is leave a comment telling me Who is your favourite butt-kicking book character? Competition closes Wednesday 28 November (Australia and NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Christine.

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NZ Book Cover War – Heat 2

The winner of Heat 2 of my NZ Book Cover War is Glenn Wood’s The Brain Sucker with 74 votes.  The ACB with Honora Lee was 2nd with 43 votes, Maddy West and the Tongue Taker was 3rd with 38 votes, and The Queen and the Nobody Boy was 4th with 25 votes.  Thanks to everyone who voted for their favourite.  The winner of the signed copy of Darren Shan’s Zom-B is Cath.

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Wings & Co: Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

I’ve been a huge fan of Sally Gardner ever since I first read I, Coriander.  Sally is one of those brilliant authors whose stories are always original and you never know quite what to expect when you start reading them.  She’s also incredibly versatile, as she writes for all ages, from preschoolers, to middle grade, and right up to teens and beyond.  Her latest book, Operation Bunny, is the first in a new series for younger readers, called Wings & Co.

Emily Vole makes headline news in the first weeks of her life, when she is found in an abandoned hatbox in Stansted Airport. Then, only a few years later, her neighbour Mrs String dies leaving Emily a mysterious inheritance: an old shop, a small bunch of golden keys and a cat called Fidget. It’s the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime as the old Fairy Detective Agency comes back to life. It is up to Emily to reopen the shop, and recall the fairies to duty. Together they must embark on their first mystery and do battle with their great fairy-snatching enemy, Harpella.

Operation Bunny is a magical story, filled with a cast of wonderful characters, plenty of mystery, and a sprinkling of humour.  It’s the sort of book that you sit down to read a few chapters and end up gobbling up the whole book because you’re enchanted by Sally’s storytelling and David Roberts hilarious illustrations.

I fell in love with the characters straight away and I wanted to be friends with Miss String and Fidget the talking cat.  Emily is a Cinderella-type character because she gets locked away and made to do all the housework for her horrible adopted parents.  Not only are they horrible, they’re also quite stupid.  Emily’s adopted mother lets a strange lady into their house who turns her triplets into zombies, and Emily’s adopted father is a slimy wee man who’s hiding a secret and always calls his wife ‘Smoochikins.’ However, Emily is much smarter and braver than these horrible people give her credit for, and with the help of her rather unusual neighbours she escapes and starts her new life as a detective.  Fidget is my favourite character because he is always happy to help and he has the best lines (which usually involve fish of some sort), like ‘Search my sardine tin, I don’t know,’ and ‘Twiddle my whiskers and call me tuna.’  I love the way that Fidget calls Emily ‘my little ducks’ too.  Even though she doesn’t have parents that love her, she has a giant talking cat that is looking out for her always.    There are lots of other interesting characters in the story, including a mischievous bunch of keys, zombie babies, a fairy policeman, a shop with legs, a magic lamp that talks, and lots and lots of bunnies.

David Roberts illustrations are wonderful as always and help set the tone of the story.  They’re both hilarious and a little dark, and they bring Sally’s characters alive.  I especially like the personalities that David has given each of the rabbits and the suave, charming look that he’s given Fidget.

Operation Bunny is perfect for reading aloud (to 7 years and up) or find yourself a comfy spot and disappear into this magical story. I’m so pleased that we have more adventures with Emily, Fidget and the Fairy Detective Agency, Wings & Co. to look forward to.  I can’t wait to read the next book, The Three Pickled Herrings (coming in February 2013).

5 out of 5 stars

 

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Goldilocks by Allan and Jessica Ahlberg

Everyone knows what happened when Goldilocks met the three bears. But when she encounters a whopping thirty-three bears, a strange-talking Blim, or even three little pigs on her search for porridge, the stories end a bit differently. Lift the flaps and pull the tabs to join Goldilocks in a hilarious series of adventures, as award-winning storyteller Allan Ahlberg and his daughter, Jessica, put their own stamp on a timeless tale.

I grew up with Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s books and I still love them today.  This book looks absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to get a copy.  Goldilocks by Allan and Jessica Ahlberg is available in NZ bookshops now.

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Love YA sci-fi? Grab The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is a fantastic young adult science fiction series, written by Australian author Lara Morgan.  The series is published by Walker Books Australia, who also publish some other exciting science fiction/futuristic books for children and teens, including Brian Falkner’s The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, and Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. 

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  If you like futuristic stories like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Across the Universe, and Legend then The Rosie Black Chronicles is the perfect series for you.

Last week I received a top-secret package from Helios, the secret organisation from The Rosie Black Chronicles with a flash drive containing information about Rosie Black.  I was told to spread the information, so below you will find links to chapter samplers from each of the three books in the series, character profiles, book trailers and an interview with Lara Morgan.  Feel free to print these off and share with readers far and wide.  Next week I’ll have a special giveaway of a complete set of The Rosie Black Chronicles signed by Lara Morgan, so watch out for this.

Rosie Black Book 1: Genesis Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 2: Equinox Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 3: Dark Star Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Character Profiles

Q&A with Lara Morgan

Rosie Black Mini Poster

For more about Lara Morgan and The Rosie Black Chronicles visit www.rosieblack.com

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This is Not a Drill Blog Tour – Interview with Beck McDowell

Today on My Best Friends Are Books I have Beck McDowell, author of the fantastic new book, This is Not a Drill, joining me on her blog tour to celebrate the release of her book.  The story revolves around a hostage situation in a school in America, with a father who has recently returned from the war in Afghanistan.  It’s a very powerful story and you can read my review here on the blog.  I got the chance to ask Beck a few questions about the story and her characters.

  • Why did you decide to tell the story from Jake and Emery’s point of view?

At first I wanted the alternating viewpoints because part of the conflict was the recent break-up of the two main characters, and I wanted readers to hear both sides of that story. Also, I knew that they’d each bring a different perspective to the problem and a different take on possible solutions.

  • Mrs Campbell stays very calm and does her best to keep things normal for her students.  Is the character of Mrs Campbell based on a teacher you know?

Mrs. Campbell is based on MANY teachers I’ve known. It’s rather amazing – given the lack of resources, the huge overload of work, and the gigantic (and growing) class sizes teachers face that they’re able to stay calm and tune in to students’ needs in every situation that arises. But I’ve seen hundreds of them in my career step up in difficult circumstance and put kids first day after day.

  • You were a middle and high school teacher for many years.  In all your years as a teacher, what was the most important lesson that your students taught you?

Wow! What a good question – and a hard one! I can’t narrow it down to one lesson, but I can give you a few: not to underestimate anyone, that there’s hardly ever one right answer, that secrets can cause big problems when they’re locked inside, that brave teens are quietly dealing with huge life issues most people don’t know about, that many students just need someone to talk things over with, that things will get better if you just hang on through the tough times, and that the best way of healing yourself is reaching out to others. A lot of these lessons are incorporated into THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Honestly, I get really emotional when I think about how much my students meant to me through the years. They enriched my life beyond my ability to describe.

  • Mr Stutts is a soldier recently back from Iraq.  Did you talk to soldiers about their experiences before you wrote the story?

Absolutely. Through the years I talked with many students who were home from military duty. And then several were kind enough to give me more detail about military life and to answer my questions while writing the book.

  • Emery tells Jake ‘I know he’s become a monster…but he’s also a wounded soldier, and I can’t forget that.’ Was it difficult to to get the right mix of monster and wounded soldier in the character of Mr Stutts?

SO difficult!  He’s in the middle of this truly horrific act – holding a first grade classroom hostage – and yet he’s suffering real psychological wounds from a war he fought for his country. And if you get right down to it, he’s as scared as the kids are – scared of losing his wife, his child, his career, his reputation – he’s losing everything. So I think it’s okay for the reader to condemn his actions but have sympathy for him as a person.

  • The events of the story are emotionally draining for both the characters and the reader.  Did you find it quite emotionally draining to write?

Yes, especially – of course – the ending. But sometimes a story is too important to walk away from because you know it will be hard to write. It’s one reason for the funny bits with the first graders – comic relief. I think readers will agree with me that life is a big old mixed up jumble of emotions. Even on the saddest days there can be funny moments, and happy events can be tinged with undercurrents of sadness – maybe for the people we’ve lost who aren’t with us to enjoy them.

  • After our earthquakes, parents and teachers of children in Christchurch are very aware of how trauma affects children.  How did you make sure the effects of trauma on the students in the story were authentic?

First, I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through there. The news stories and pictures were so sad, and the ones with kids always tug at my heart the most. I did a lot of research on stress and grief and on first graders in general, but most of that knowledge comes from personal experience with kids. Since we live in an area prone to tornadoes, I’ve taught students who’ve lost homes, parents, siblings, and everything they own. Many have come to school still in shock the next day after entire neighborhoods were wiped out – as was the case in 1989. The kids in my story were younger than the ones I’ve taught, but I think the fall-out from traumatic events affect us in similar ways, no matter how old we are.

  • Relationships are an important factor in the story, whether it’s between Emery and Jake, Mrs Campbell and her students, or most importantly, Mr Stutts and Patrick.  What advice can you give to aspiring writers about creating realistic relationships in stories?

You really walk a fine line as a writer between giving relationship backstory  and keeping the plot moving forward. There will be readers who feel the backstory of Jake and Emery interrupts the flow of the action, but – to me – the details about their past were necessary to give depth to them and their relationship – and also to give the reader a break from the tension of the story. As you said, it’s very emotional throughout, and I felt those passages gave the reader a chance to slow down and regroup just a little bit. I’ve always been fascinated by the dynamics of relationships of all kinds, so they’ll always be a big part of anything I write. In the end life is all about human connections. The relationships we have with others ultimately trump any worldly accomplishments or professional success we achieve. As I’m sure you’ll agree in the aftermath of the earthquakes there, family and friends are what life’s all about.

Beck McDowell’s new book, This is Not a Drill is out now in Australia and New Zealand from Hardie Grant Egmont.  You can enter to win a copy here on the blog. You can check out the other stops on Beck’s blog tour here:

Thursday, Oct. 25           CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH    http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/

Friday, Oct. 26                A LIFE BOUND BY BOOKS http://alifeboundbybooks.blogspot.com/

Monday, Oct. 29            THE STORY SIREN  http://www.thestorysiren.com/

Tuesday, Oct. 30            YA BLISS  http://www.yabliss.com/

Wednesday, Oct. 31       BUZZ WORDS BOOKS    http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.blogspot.com.au/

Thursday, Nov. 1            YA LOVE BLOG http://yaloveblog.com/

Friday, Nov. 2                 ICEY BOOKS    http://www.iceybooks.com/

Monday, Nov. 5              NERDY BOOK CLUB     http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, Nov. 6             THE NAUGHTY BOOK KITTIES http://naughtybookkitties.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, Nov. 7       THE COMPULSIVE READER http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/

Thursday, Nov. 8          TEACH MENTOR TEXTS   http://www.teachmentortexts.com/

Friday, Nov. 9               CONFESSIONS OF A BOOKAHOLIC http://www.totalbookaholic.com/

Monday, Nov. 12          KATIE’S BOOK BLOG http://www.katiesbookblog.com/

Tuesday, Nov. 13          ALLURING READS http://www.alluringreads.com/

Wednesday, Nov. 14    PAGE TURNERS BLOG http://www.pageturnersblog.com/

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Interview with Gareth P. Jones + giveaway of Constable & Toop

Garth P. Jones is the author of the creepy, gruesome and funny new book, Constable & Toop (you can read my review here).  After finishing Constable & Toop I wanted to find out what else he had written and I discovered that we had his Dragon Detective Agency series and The Thornthwaite Inheritance sitting on our library shelves.  I love his writing style and I now want to go and read all of his other books.  Gareth very kindly answered my questions about his writing and his fantastic new book.

  • What inspired you to write Constable and Toop?
I was sitting in a coffee shop in Honor Oak (which is not far from my flat). The coffee shop is opposite an undertakers called Constable & Toop. At the time I was trying to come up with a new idea. I wrote down the name of the undertakers, which I found especially evocative. By the time I had finished my coffee the bare bones of the idea were down on paper.
  • Are any of the ghosts in Constable and Toop based on real ghosts?
As a non-believer, I am amused by the idea of real ghosts, but yes – some are. The Man in Grey is the best example. A tour guide by the name of David Kendell-Kerby (also an actor and writer himself) told me about several ghosts who haunt Drury Lane (apparently the most haunted theatre in the world). I liked the story of the Man in Grey best. The stuff about him being bricked up in the wall and possibly killed for discovering accounting irregularities is all ‘true’ although his name was unknown so I borrowed David’s. The part about him whispering to lines to actors is ‘true’ as well – a kind of spiritual teleprompter.
  • In your story there are different types of ghosts, including Enforcers, Prowlers and Rogues. What sort of ghost would you be?
Well, I have certainly worked for large organisations like the Bureau where you can hide the fact you’re not doing much behind all the processes and procedures so maybe I would be a clerk – although a far less conscientious one than Lapsewood .

  • The story is set in Victorian England and you really feel immersed in the period as you read. While researching and writing your story what was the most interesting thing that you learnt about this period?
I think mostly I was struck by how similar it was. I was interested in the South-East London suburbs where I live and where most of the action is based and, although there has been a lot of development, it’s not that different in terms of how connected to London you feel. One of the formative moments in writing was standing at the top of the hill between Honor Oak and Peckham Rye and looking down at London and I realised that the view probably wouldn’t have been dramatically different – give or take a few buildings here and there. There were lots of moments while wandering around London when I felt very connected with the city’s history.

  • One of the things I like the most about Constable and Toop is the mix of the creepy and gruesome with the lighter moments and witty banter between your characters. Was this how you originally planned the story or did you set out to write a more traditional ghost story?
I had a very tight deadline with this book and how no real time to stop and consider what I was doing. Happily the story flowed very quickly from my pen. Gruesome and creepy were necessities of the story and I always intended it to be funny. My editor had told me that she didn’t think my previous book (The Considine Curse) was very funny so I was determined to make sure this one was.
  • What exciting stories can we look forward to from you?

Hm, I’m not sure I’m ready to tell anyone yet. It looks like it will have a Victorian setting again though – at least in part. And It will probably have elements of supernatural and humour – but not ghosts again. I’ll save ghosts for when I do a sequel to Constable & Toop… if I ever do that is.

Win a copy of Constable & Toop!

I have 2 copies of Constable & Toop to give away.  To get in the draw just enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Wednesday 21 November (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition is now closed.

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Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I love creepy stories of all kinds.  Ghosts, werewolves, zombies, vampires, and other creatures that live in the dark are often featured in the books I love.  I’ve been reading many of the first titles from Hot Key Books (a brilliant new publisher based in the UK) and when I read about Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones I had to get my hands on it.  A ghost story set in Victorian London, featuring a boy who could communicate with ghosts, sounded absolutely fantastic!  Constable & Toop was even better than it sounded.

Sam Toop lives in a funeral parlour, blessed (or cursed) with an unusual gift. While his father buries the dead, Sam is haunted by their constant demands for attention. Trouble is afoot on the ‘other side’ – there is a horrible disease that is mysteriously imprisoning ghosts into empty houses in the world of the living. And Sam is caught in the middle – will he be able to bring himself to help?

Constable & Toop is a creepy, gruesome story, with plenty of mystery, and a good dose of wit and humour.  Gareth can have you cringing one moment and laughing the next, which is why I liked the book so much.  He has given us a glimpse inside the ghost world and it’s not what you would expect.  It’s the ghost world and the witty banter between his characters that provide the comic relief of the story.  There is also plenty of throat slitting and stabbing for those who like their ghost stories gruesome.  The story is set in Victorian London and from the first page you are immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the period.

There are several different threads of the story, following different characters, which Gareth weaves together perfectly.  Gareth shows us the lives of the living and the dead, and the ‘Talkers’ allow them to communicate with each other.  Characters whose lives seem quite separate from each other in the beginning become increasingly intertwined as the story progresses.

The thing I liked the most about Constable and Toop was the way that Gareth portrayed the ghost world.  It’s very bureaucratic, with each ghost having a role, like Enforcer or Prowler, and there are lots of rules and regulations that ghosts must follow.  If they don’t do as they are told they’re labelled Rogues and are hunted down.  There is an incredible amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out to do anything, and you must have a license in order to be a Poltergeist.  In order to go to the physical world and find out what your unfinished business is (so that you can step through the Unseen Door and cross over) you have to apply for a research license.  Lapsewood is my favourite character because he’s a very likeable guy, who just wants to get away from all the paperwork and get some adventure out in the real world (while impressing the girl of his dreams).  He has some of the best lines and has some incredibly strange conversations with his superiors, who can never seem to get his name right.

If you want a ghost story with a difference grab a copy of Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones.  I would recommend it for fans of Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series, Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s Apprentice series, or Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends series.

5 out of 5 stars

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Interview with Annabel Pitcher

Annabel Pitcher is one of my favourite authors.  Her first two books, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and Ketchup Clouds are absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.  Annabel very kindly answered some of my burning questions about Ketchup Clouds and her writing style.

  • What was your inspiration for Ketchup Clouds?

The plot took a long time to figure out. The only thing I knew from the very beginning was that I wanted to write about a girl, Zoe, who kills someone and completely gets away with it. I imagined a dramatic scene occurring at sunset, which is where I got the title, Ketchup Clouds (i.e. red clouds). Apart from that, I had no idea what the story would involve. Slowly, over a few months of planning, thinking and generally just daydreaming and calling it work, I decided to make it a love story.  However, I desperately didn’t want it to be one of those cheesy high school tales, so I tried to think of an unusual way to tell Zoe’s story, a quirky way to explore the well-worn theme of first love. I experimented with all sorts but eventually came to realise that the best way to tell Zoe’s tale was through a series of anonymous letters. Zoe has this terrible secret that she can’t reveal to anyone she knows, so it makes sense for her to try and confess to a stranger. That’s when the whole book really took off and became something exciting! I could just imagine this distraught, teenage girl, wracked with guilt, tiptoeing out in the middle of the night after a bad dream to hide away in the garden shed and write a secret letter. The question was, to whom? I thought of celebrities, The Pope, even Santa Claus (!) but nothing felt quite right. Then one night when I was driving home from my parents’ house, I suddenly remembered that I’d written to an inmate on Death Row in America when I was a teenager. I’d got involved in a ‘pen pal’ scheme through Amnesty International, and the strange thing about writing to someone you’ve never met, someone who has done something wrong, is that you become far more open about your own life and flaws than you would to a friend. Because you’ll never meet them, you can tell them anything. That’s when I knew that Zoe had to write to a criminal on Death Row. So, in answer to your question, there was no real direct inspiration for the novel. I worked hard to come up with an unusual story, but once I had the pieces in place, it was relatively easy to write.

  • I love the way that you portray the parents in your stories.  They aren’t always the best parents but deep down they love their children.  Why do parents play such an important role in your stories?
I think it’s because I like to write coming-of-age stories. Though Zoe in ‘Ketchup Clouds’ is a lot older than Jamie in ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’, they are both coming-of-age tales: both characters grow up in the novels, they both learn something, and they both mature. Inevitably, when talking about a child or teenager growing up, you have to explore their relationship with their parents and how this changes. One of the things most people come to understand as they get older is that their parents aren’t perfect. Depending on the situation, this is either a positive or negative moment of awakening, but it happens to most of us at some point in our childhood or teens, so it seems a natural thing to focus on that in a YA book.
  • Ketchup Clouds is a story driven by relationships.  How do you create realistic relationships between your characters?
The honest answer is, I do a huge amount of talking out loud! The neighbours probably think I’m crazy! Getting dialogue right is so important if you are to construct a realistic relationship, so I write a bit then act it out to see if it sounds authentic. If anything jars, I delete it straight away. I listen very closely to the way that people talk. Conversations are full of false starts, pauses, repetition, hesitation and so forth, so I try hard to capture that in my dialogue. I think it also helps that I am fascinated by people. I study humans – the way we interact, our psychology, why we do the things we do and how we screw up – and I use all of my research in my books to try and construct three dimensional characters who are neither good nor bad, but somewhere in between. Then it’s just a matter of putting a few characters together and trying to guess what they would say to each other!
  • Both Ketchup Clouds and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece are told in first person.  Is this a style that you prefer or did it just seem right for the stories you were writing?
I do prefer it, both as a reader and a writer. I love the intimacy – the ability to get inside a character’s head so completely. As a reader, I was drawn to novels with a strong narrative voice (How I Live Now, Broken Soup, The Catcher in the Rye, Perks of Being A Wallflower) so, when I set out to write my own book, I wanted to try it in the first person. It is so much fun trying to capture a character’s unique voice. You have to really listen to them inside your head, hear their dialect, and then try to work out how to represent that on paper so it seems as if they’re really talking. Should they pause here?  Stop completely there?  Elaborate that point further? I love making those decisions! Saying that, I do think I need a break from writing in the first person. In ‘Ketchup Clouds’, I was keen to make Zoe sound totally different from Jamie in ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’, but I don’t know if I come up with a third completely contrasting narrative voice just yet. I need a break – so I’ve started writing my third novel in the third person. It’s going okay so far and it’s a nice change.
Ketchup Clouds is released in NZ today so grab a copy from your library or bookshop.  You can also enter my competition to win a copy of Ketchup Clouds.

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