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Author Interview: Tracy Darnton

The Rules by Tracey Darnton

Hey All!

Today is my stop on the The Rules blog tour and I am here today with an interview with Tracy Darnton for you all.

*I was gifted a copy of the book from the Publisher for the tour*

Title: The Rules
Author: Tracy Darnton
Publisher: Little Tiger Group
Published: 9th July 2020
Format: Paperback
Source:: Publisher
Add It: Waterstones. Goodreads.
Summary: A gripping thriller from WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE-SHORTLISTED Tracy Darnton, author of THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES. Amber s an expert when it comes to staying hidden she s been trained her whole life for it. But what happens when the person you re hiding from taught you everything you know? When a letter from her dad arrives, Amber knows she s got to move and fast. He s managed to find her and she knows he ll stop at nothing to draw her back into the extreme survivalist way of life he believes in. All of a sudden the Rules she s spent so long trying to escape are the ones keeping her safe. But for how long? Perfect for fans of Karen McManus, E. Lockhart and A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I love the very beginning when you don’t know where this book is going to go, and the very end when you can bring all the threads together in a satisfying conclusion. Writing the middle is really hard and I always have an awful moment (or month!) when I think I’ll never be able to finish it. The best bit of the whole process is chatting to readers and signing their books. I’m longing to get back to that.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I have a massive soft spot for Josh in The Rules because he’s a kid who’s been dealt a tough hand in life but somehow manages to stay positive and cope with everything. I had a picture of his green Parka jacket in my notebook which gave me a sense of him often retreating into his hood. He’s fiercely loyal to Amber even when she treats him badly. If he’d had the right opportunities, his life would be very different. He’s got so much to offer. I’m very pleased that readers are starting to say how much they like him too. 

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
In the days when I could write in a café, I’d choose a flat white. Now I’m at home, it’s redbush tea in a bookshop mug. Not just one, but many, many mugs of tea because I enjoy the procrastination of hanging out in the kitchen instead of writing.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Sitting in my chair for hours on end and eating too many biscuits. But as for my writing, I use the word ‘just’ way too much and do a seek and destroy (or find and replace) when I’m editing. I’m also guilty of having too much smiling going on. He smiled. She smiled etc. All that smiling has to go on edit.

How did you research your book?
A lifetime of camping holidays came in handy, and a recent walking holiday in Northumberland helped with the setting. I did research online into prepping and bunkers and I borrowed loads of non-fiction from my sons on survival and how to rebuild the world after an apocalypse. It made me realise that I am useless at most practical things and no one would give me space in a bunker!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A pantser who wishes to be more of a planner to make life easier. But I think I’m a lost cause. In reality, I’d get bored if I knew exactly how everything was going to pan out when I started writing. I like my characters to take me to unexpected places.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I read novels set mostly in the contemporary world, but when I was little I wanted to live in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I was especially attracted to the chocolate river. I was bitterly disappointed when I went to the Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Hobart and *spoiler alert* it was NOTHING LIKE IT. 

I’m a big Star Trek fan so Federation space is a possibility but as I get horribly travel sick I’ll have to say no to that one. I guess I’m left with popping into Jane Austen’s Regency world as I live in Bath and I’d like a quick dance and a gin at the Assembly Rooms. But I’d only want a week there and then I’d be itching to get back to my real life. 

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Not very YA, but I choose Paddington. Well-meant chaos and infinite kindness are excellent qualities in a friend and I feel like I’ve known him since I was little. I don’t like marmalade so he can keep his sticky sandwiches all to himself. Given the way 2020 is panning out, I think we all need a friend like Paddington. Oh, and Paddington 2 is one of the best movies ever made.

About the Author

Tracy Darnton is the author of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-shortlisted THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES. Having previously worked as a solicitor, Tracy graduated with Distinction from the Bath Spa MA Writing for Young People in 2016. She won the Stripes YA Short Story Prize, run in partnership with The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize. Tracy lives in Bath with her husband and two sons.

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