Today is my stop on the The New Boy blog tour and I am pleased to welcome Paula Rawsthorne on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fantastic answers!
Describe THE NEW BOY in five words.
Black Mirror-esque tale of manipulation.
What was your inspiration for writing THE NEW BOY?
My initial inspiration must remain a secret! However, I love writing thrillers which are, hopefully, entertaining and thought- provoking and, in THE NEW BOY, I wanted to explore influence and manipulation and whether our free will and privacy is under threat in this digital/social media age. I also wanted to look at how perceptions of love can differ.
I knew that I wanted the setting to be a sixth form college and the narrator to be Zoe, a girl who doesn’t follow the crowd. Into this setting comes the wonderful, Jack Cartwright, who is truly beguiling as he turns his attention to Zoe.
Why did you decide to become an author?
I was in my early thirties and on maternity leave from my job when one morning, completely out of the blue, I sat down and wrote a short story. I got such a buzz from it that I decided, there and then, that I wanted to pursue trying to become a published author and, after a lot of hard work, I eventually did. My first break came when I won a national BBC writing competition and my comedy ended up being read by Bill Nighy on BBC Radio 4 – it was a dream come true! After that I was even more determined to keep going with my writing and I haven’t stopped since.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Honestly, it’s too hard to choose just one as I love SO many things about being a writer. So, here’s a select list:
Getting to spend the day with Bill Nighy when I won the BBC writing competition!!
Being a winner of SCBWI-BI Undiscovered Voices.
Getting an agent. Getting a book deal. Seeing my first book, ‘The Truth About Celia Frost’ in bookshops (but the excitement doesn’t wear off with subsequent books).
The honour of receiving Book Awards that have been voted for by teenagers all over the country.
Working with thousands of students doing talks and workshops and being a writer in residence for ‘First Story’.
Getting to meet and work with so many wonderful writers, publishing people, librarians, schools, teenagers and readers.
What do you want readers to take away from THE NEW BOY?
I want them to have been entertained but also, I’d love THE NEW Boy to give them some food for thought.
What’s your current read?
I’ve just read ‘Codename Villanelle’ by Luke Jennings and ‘A Sky Painted Gold’ by Laura Woods (which is gorgeous). About to start reading ‘Little Bird Flies’ by Karen McCombie and Costa Winner ‘The Skylarks’ War’ by Hilary McKay.
About the book
When new boy Jack starts at Zoe’s school, something about him makes her nervous – he’s so perfect, he can hardly be real. But Zoe is soon swept up in how charming, popular and handsome he is. Soon, they’re dating and he’s everything she dreamed he might be – kind, attentive, full of romantic gestures. Eventually, though, the cracks start to show and Zoe wonders whether she was right all along. Is Jack too good to be true?
About the Author
Paula Rawsthorne first found success when she won the BBC National ‘Get Writing’ competition with her prize-winning story read by Bill Nighy on Radio 4. She has also been a winner of SCBWI’s ‘Undiscovered Voices’ and her previous Young Adult novels have both been award- winners. She is passionate about enthusing teenagers to get reading and is a writer-in-residence in a secondary school for the national literacy charity ‘First Story’.