UKYA Extravaganza; Sophia Bennett!

Posted on 27 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

UKYA logo new

Hi Guys!
Today I am a part of the UKYA Extravaganza tour and I have for you a great interview with the lovely and talented, Sophia Bennett!


1. Do you have a favourite book that you’ve written?

It always changes! Right now it’s the one I’ve just finished writing, called Love Song, about a girl who gets caught up – against her will – with a rock band. The tagline is ‘A girl, a band, a love story. Things will get broken.’ I think that just about covers it. I’m fond of all my books in different ways though, and proud of them too. They address things like the dark side of the modelling industry, child slavery, refugees and cyberbullying, as well as my fun passions, like fashion, art and music. I love it when readers learn things from them, and get engaged, as well as just having a good read.

2. I love how character-driven and how powerful your characters are. Do you always start with a character or do you get plot sorted first?

Thank you, Faye! Usually I get the plot sorted first, because that’s what comes to me, but I’m increasingly convinced that’s the wrong way round. It takes me months if not years to find the characters and make them as strong and powerful as they are. But the best times are when a character takes over and does something that she wasn’t supposed to do in the plot. Such as when Crow, in Beads, storms out of a design meeting because her principles are at stake, or Jenny simply refuses to pose for the cover of Vogue, even though I really need her to! That’s when they really come alive and writing their story is just a question of keeping up with them.

3. What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished Love Story, the band one, and we’re doing some filming for the launch next spring, which I’m excited about. Now I’m thinking about two detective series that I’d love to do. One is Middle Grade and the other is YA/Adult crossover. Both seem fun and have some great characters (thank goodness!), so it’s a question of which one I get inspired to write first. I’m also going to be teaching a writing children’s fiction course at City University, London, so there’s a lot going on.

4. When it comes to writing, how much research do you do?

A lot, but not too much. I adore research and I found, when I started out, that I’d become a bit of an expert on something and my novel would start to sound like a textbook. I couldn’t bear to leave any details out. So now I try and get the characters and the plots right first, and then I do the research I need to flesh them out. I love interviewing people and finding out extraordinary details – such as that rich people from Middle Eastern cultures tend to line their superyacht bedrooms in leather, rather than wood, because there aren’t a lot of trees in the desert. Some scenes are borne out of interviews I’ve done, such as the endless go-sees Ted Trout goes to in The Look. But I use the internet a lot too, of course. Couldn’t live without it. YouTube is brilliant.

5. Where and when do you get the bulk of your writing completed?

I write more than I care to admit in bed! Especially when it’s freezing outside. But I like local cafes, because of the background noise, and libraries, because I deliberately don’t learn their wifi code, so I can’t be distracted by the internet. However, now that I’ve finally cleaned my shed up and installed a scented candle, I write there most of the time, and love it. You can see pictures of it on my website. It’s quite new, and much-admired. I think it should meet Candy Gourlay’s shed, because they’re quite similar, and I think they’d get on.

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Quick-Fire Round

ebook or hardcopy?

Paper! I love my Kindle, but I can’t flick back to an earlier bit of the novel as quickly as I can in a book, or lend a book I love, or admire the cover as easily.

YA or Adult?

Depends. For example, I’ve just finished Persuasion for the umpteenth time. I’d say it was both.

Vampires or Werewolves?

Werewolves. Big Maggie Steifvater fan.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Tricky. Vanilla. I’ve recently started making my own smoothies and it’s a fab addition.

Harry Potter or Twilight?

Harry, no question. Next!

Four or Peeta?

Peeta. Lovely boy. And knows how to bake a decent cake.

Series or Single?

Series all the way – as a writer. Though as a reader, I tend to prefer single books these days. Having said that, my 9 year-old is just finishing the How To Train Your Dragon series and it’s magnificent. In book 8, it goes up to a whole new level. If you started it and left off, go back and finish it. It’s epic, amazing, and I would say essential.


ou can catch the rest of the UKYA Extravaganza Tour! Find out where the next stop is on this handy graphic:

ukyax tour banner


And don’t forget… this is the UKYA Extravaganza event!

UKYAX October Poster FINAL


What did you think of this interview?

faye1

Posted on 27 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment


UKMG Extravaganza Tour: Paula Harrison!

Posted on 26 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

ukmg extravaganze

Hi All!
Today I have the lovely Paula Harrison on the blog talking about her top ten places to find inspiration.


Top Ten Places to Find Inspiration

By Paula Harrison

Hello! I’m very excited to be doing a guest post as part of the lead up to the UKMG extravaganza. My name’s Paula Harrison and my book RED MOON RISING was published in April.

RED MOON RISING is the story of Laney who lives in a village where everything seems ordinary until she discovers that the place is full of Fair Eyes (faeries – but they’re human sized not tiny!) who live in different tribes – Mist, Greytail, Thorn, Kestrel and Blaze. These tribes have power over water, wind, plants, animals or fire. Laney discovers her own power and the dangers that come with it. The second book in the series, DARK TREE SHINING, is out on 1st October.

When you’re writing it’s a really good idea to get out and about to encourage your thoughts to flow. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stuck on something only to find the answer pop into my head after leaving the house. So here are my top ten places to find inspiration:

By the sea

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I always feel creative by the sea. There’s something about the constant movement of the ocean and the ever-changing view it provides with clouds moving and birds flying. Unfortunately I live nowhere the sea so I have to travel quite a long way for this kind of inspiration.

A friend’s house with cake

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There’s nothing like a good chat with a friend to restore your mental energy. The cake is an essential part of this whole process!

Somewhere a little strange…

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…like shopping centre with full sized cow statues in the middle! Weird stuff lets your brain make new and unexpected connections.

Anywhere with an adrenaline buzz

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OK so I’m a monster truck spectator rather than driver. But I find the adrenaline of watching and the fun of it all leaves me fresh for new ideas.

The top of the world

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This is a ‘clears your head’ kind of thing. Take a notebook with you!

Next to a river

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OK so I’m quite big on nature as you may have gathered. Water is soothing, especially in a river as still as this one.

In a bookshop!

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Of course I had to put a bookshop in here. When I go inside I can hear all those stories whispering to me. A tiara is optional.

Visit a castle

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The thought of all the things those old stones have seen over the years is very inspiring. Plus they this one has a tea shop with scones.

Somewhere where you can bond with animals.

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Perhaps this marks me out as a children’s writer but I love watching animals and studying their personalities.

Go down to the woods

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There’s a place of folklore embedded into our brains – a place of witches, talking trees and superstition. This place has nothing to do with logic or reason. It’s bred into us from centuries of storytelling. For most people in the northern hemisphere, the wood is the epitome of this place. Beware when you step into a wood because you might not be the same when you come out again.

This wood is the inspiration for DARK TREE SHINING.


You can catch the rest of the UKMG Extravaganza Tour! Find out where the next stop is on this handy graphic:

UKMGX October Blog Tour Banner JPEG


And don’t forget… this is the UKMG Extravaganza event!

ukmg event


Where do YOU find inspiration?

faye1

Posted on 26 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment


Blogger Spotlight Announcement: The Book-Addict 101!

Posted on 10 September, 2015 by Faye - No Comments

ZaraSpotlight

blogger spotlight!

Zara! (The Book-Addict 101!)

Every month I choose a new Blogger to spotlight on my blog. This blogger is usually someone who I have come to know through blogging, someone who I admire and whose blog should be getting a lot more traffic! Being a part of this means that the blogger gets their website “stickied” to the top of my blog *points to left-hand corner*, they get an interview and a few other things here and there throughout the month! It’s a way for me to share my love of them to you, and for you to find a new and amazing blog!

Got that? Good.

So, this month’s Blogger Spotlight is Zara from The Book-Addict 101!

Why is Zara Chosen?
I first meant the lovely Zara at the Scholastic Blogger Brunch. It was her first event and it was great to chat to her and get to know her. We then followed each other on twitter and have spoken every now and again since and I love getting to know her more as the time passes. She’s very friendly, kind and lovely and it’s always great to talk to her, either about books or other things. She’s also very understanding as she was supposed to be my blogger spotlight last month!

On top of her kind and wonderful personality, Zara is also a fantastic blogger and she also vlogs on her booktube channel too. Her reviews are always insightful and always make me want to read the book too. She also has interesting non-review posts as well to keep the blog and youtube lively and intriguing. I love stalking her posts all the time!

To see what I mean, go follow her now!

faye1

Posted on 10 September, 2015 by Faye - No Comments


Review: Qwerkity Jumbo Storage Bag*

Posted on 3 September, 2015 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I am here to tell you all about a great bag that I received for review. This bag is great for storage, it comes in a variety of designs and is very lightweight too.
Many thanks to Receptional for sending me this bag to review.


Qwerkity Jumbo Storage Bag

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The Qwerkity Jumbo Storage Bag arrived folded up in a small package but opened up into a large storage bag that I found very helpful for storing my spare bedding.

Before my bedding was stored in an old bin bag which was ripping and would probably soon need to be replaced. But when I saw the size of this Jumbo Storage Bag, I knew that it would be the perfect container for my duvet cover.

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So I immediately transferred the duvet over. At first I was concerned that it wouldn’t fit but I was very happy to find that it did – and have since discovered it also fit two pillows as well, meaning it was perfect for taking on holiday with me this Summer as I needed a complete bedding set!

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The bag itself is light and easy to carry around with strong handles, it fits neatly in my cupboard and it has a really lovely design. As you can see I went with the floral pattern but there’s a few designs to choose from! I would definitely purchase this item and would definitely recommend it if you need a good bag to store large items or lots of little items. It’s got a zip to keep it airtight so you’re belongings should also be safe from mould issues too, which is always a bonus!

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Add to all of that, that the bag is also easy to transport and you’ll see why I absolutely love it!

five stars

*This product was received for review. I was not compensated nor required to provide a positive review. All thoughts are honest and my own*

faye1

Posted on 3 September, 2015 by Faye - No Comments


Camping: A Horror Story

Posted on 2 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment

Hey All!
Before I begin, I wanted to send out a public apology to Claire McFall. If you know me, you’ll know that I LOVE Claire and her books. And for her blog tour I was super excited to be a part of it and then got my wires all crossed and ended up not posting. This is the post that SHOULD have gone up at the release of the book. It is amazing and I am still so sorry that it didn’t go up. Hope she can forgive me!

Okay… so as you can tell from the gist, I have a guest post for you today by Claire McFall to celebrate her most recent release, Black Cairn Point (which is amazing btw and a review will be up on here soon!)


Camping: A Horror Story

Black Cairn Point is a horror story: five friends go camping. The end. (Not really.)

Seriously: for me, that constitutes a horror story. I hate camping. Hate it. I don’t understand the appeal. First of all, tents are uncomfortable. You can’t stand up properly, they are freezing at night and roasting as soon as the sun comes up. You can’t help but track dirt in and then it gets all over your stuff. If it’s raining, half the time they leak.

What’s to like?

In actual fact, Black Cairn Point is based on a camping trip that I took with my then boyfriend (now husband). I wouldn’t have agreed, but he’s quite an outdoorsy person and at that point I was still trying to impress him. (Note: now that we are married, we no longer go camping). We went down to Ardwell Bay in Dumfries and Galloway, the beach that became Black Cairn Point. Darren’s Volvo? Yeah, that was my boyfriend’s car. We already knew about the dodgy alternator because the stupid thing had died the week before in the middle of Great Western Road (pretty much the busiest road in the West End of Glasgow) and the kind RAC man explained to us what was wrong, before whacking the engine with a hammer and giving us a jump. So when the radio died on the M77…

Anyway, just like Heather and her friends, we pulled off the motorway. Just like Dougie, Martin and Darren, my wonderful boyfriend – why did I marry him? – sent me in to the industrial unit to beg for help. And just like Emma and Heather, I came back with a dungaree-clad eighteen year old girl with a jump battery in the boot of her battered Ford Fiesta.

Now, at this point I did say to my other half, “What if the car dies down there?”

His answer? “It won’t.”

Right. For some stupid reason, I got back in the car with him (I was really trying to impress him it seems) and we carried on our merry way. The beach is just as I described it in the novel. Beautiful. Rugged. Empty. The ruins are right there at the top of the hill, and the cove is just along the cliff path. Guess which other detail I didn’t make up? The rotting fish. There is was, just sitting on the wall that separated the car park area from the beach. It was rank. Personally, I took this as another sign that camping was a bad idea, but we were there by then and, to be honest, the car had worked so hard to get us down from Glasgow, I had my doubts as to whether it would have gotten us home at that point anyway.

Camping it was, then.

Luckily, said boyfriend was pretty dandy with setting up the tent and my assistance wasn’t really required. Which was good, as I was busy working out the “bathroom” situation. You see, we planned to stay for four nights. And the beach was… isolated. So there would be no nipping in to a civilised pub to do the business, because there simply wasn’t one. Lovely. I found two rocks that made a semi private little cubby between them and declared it the pee-pee (and, urgh, “other”) spot.

From this trip on, I have refused to holiday anywhere that a toilet isn’t included. Even if it’s only a wooden hut with a plank over a hole. Why? Well, if squatting in the sand isn’t awful enough, I had the hideous experience of being hunkered down, ready to pee… when a dog walker meandered into view, Labrador happily splashing in the waves. Now I wasn’t expecting a soul given that we’d already been there for 48 hours and our peace hadn’t been disturbed in all that time. What did I do? Well, what do you do? I stayed put, scarcely dared breath, and the man wandered on, none the wiser. Phew.

All right, I confess, lounging on the beach in the Scottish sunshine was nice. We barbecued, wandered the coast, played in rock pools like children. At night we had a campfire, roasted marshmallows and shared a bottle of Jack Daniels. Those bits were enjoyable… but they just weren’t enough to overshadow the lack of toilet facilities and the hideous grossness I felt after four days without a shower. I even went into the NORTH SEA to clean up.

Note number two: the North Sea is not clean and it will not make you clean.

Note number three: the North Sea is friggin’ FREEZING even in the middle of summer.

There is also the fact that the sun rises at, oh about 4am in Scotland in the summer. Without my black out curtains, that meant that I woke up at 4am. Every day. I have a 6 month old baby and I don’t even get up at 4am. When the time we got back from our four night “holiday”, I had to sleep for three days!

When I look back at my trip to Black Cairn Point, I smile over the nostalgia of our first “romantic” holiday, and I ooh and aah over the beautiful sunset and campfire pictures that I took. And I shudder at the memory of my first experience of roughing it.

It turns out I’m not really a roughing it kind of girl. Now we holiday in hotels. Nice ones.

And I write horror stories about camping.


The Book

Black Cairn Point Two survivors, one terrible truth.

Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she’s desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.

One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn’t, how will she prove her sanity, and her innocence?

A chilling and atmospheric thriller from unflinching and award-winning writer Claire McFall.

Goodreads. Amazon UK. Black Cairn Point.


What do you think about camping?

faye1

Posted on 2 September, 2015 by Faye - 1 Comment