Category Archives: Contemporary

Guest Post – Writing Inspirations by Christopher Edge


Today I am over the moon to welcome the fab Christopher Edge to Tales to celebrate the release of The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day.

The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day was released on the 5th April 2018 published by Nosy Crow and is another brilliant MG scientific jam packed adventure from the author of The Many Worlds Of Albie Bright and The Jaime Drake Equation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So today Christopher tells us a little about his writing inspiration in this fab guest post.

So sit back and enjoy …..


How do you know you really exist? It’s Maisie’s birthday and she can’t wait to open her presents. She’s hoping for the things she needs to build her own nuclear reactor. But she wakes to an empty house and outside the front door is nothing but a terrifying, all-consuming blackness. Trapped in an ever-shifting reality, Maisie knows that she will have to use the laws of the universe and the love of her family to survive. And even that might not be enough… A mind-bending mystery for anyone who’s ever asked questions. From the author of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and The Jamie Drake Equation. Cover illustration by Matt Saunders.


Writing Inspirations

Actually, I doubt it was to the day, but it was thirty years ago when I made the fateful decision to bunk off school and go along to a book signing by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean instead.

I was fourteen years old, just starting my GCSEs at a rather bleak comprehensive school in Salford. This was the kind of school where the P.E. teacher forced you to do press-ups in an icy puddle at the start of every lesson, Woodwork and Metalwork were mainly concerned with the production of concealed armaments, and Chemistry lessons a constant battle for control of the gas taps between the kids who wanted to blow up the Science block and those of us who wanted to live. It wasn’t the kind of school where authors popped in to chat about their latest books and reveal the secrets of the writing life.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know about authors; my brain was full to bursting with their names. I was the Incredible Book Eating Boy before Oliver Jeffers had even drawn him, devouring the shelves of my local library. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, John Wyndham, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Cormier, Ursula Le Guin. With every book I took out, a new favourite author could be discovered and I’d then eagerly seek out everything that they had written.

As well as books I loved comics, a passion born from my paper round. As I waited for the newsagent to load up my delivery bag, I flicked through old DC and Marvel comics on a spinner at the back of the shop, the worlds of these four-colour heroes a welcome escape from the slate-grey streets. Then when Saturday came around, I’d spend every penny of my wages on these comic books: Batman, Detective Comics, Daredevil, 2000AD. That newsagent must’ve loved me!

After a while though, I’d finally depleted his stock of comics and had to look further afield for a fresh source. I’d seen an advertisement in the pages of 2000AD for a comic shop called Odyssey 7 in Manchester. So one Saturday morning, leaving the paper shop with my wages in my pocket for a change, I jumped on the bus into town to search out this shop. Trudging down Oxford Road, I turned into the shopping precinct at Manchester University and entered an Aladdin’s Cave.

Odyssey 7 didn’t just have a single spinner filled with comics; it had boxes of them running down the central aisle of the shop. Flicking through them, I could see comics about every superhero I had ever heard of and dozens more that I hadn’t. Along the walls were posters, magazines, and on a section of shelves filled with large, glossy books, something called graphic novels. That’s where I discovered Violent Cases by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

I can’t remember what initially drew me to this book. Maybe it was the illicit promise of the title that appealed to my teenage mind. But when I picked it up and started to flick through the pages, I was entranced. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It was like nothing I had ever read before. In black-and-white and without a superhero in sight, it was a story about childhood told in the most remarkable way. This wasn’t a comic book, this was something else. Leaving behind the handful of Batman comics I’d already picked up, I took the book to the counter and bought my first graphic novel.

Over the next week I must have read Violent Cases more than a dozen times, each time finding some new detail to obsess over. For those who haven’t yet read it, I won’t give away too much, but something in this story sang to me. Its depiction of the narrator’s memories of his childhood: a fuzzy and confusing world, where adults lied and the threat of violence was never far from the surface, fascinated and troubled me at the same time.

The next Saturday I was standing at the counter of Odyssey 7 again, and, using the same logic that had served me so well in the library, asked if they had any more books by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The man at the counter pointed me in the direction of a couple of new comic books, Black Orchid and the first issue of something called The Sandman, and then he told me something that changed my life.

“They’re coming in to do a signing next week.”

I looked up at the poster in the shop window. Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean would be signing copies of Violent Cases, the book that had blown my mind, next Friday afternoon. It was incredible – here was a chance to meet a real live author and a fantastic artist too. There was only one problem. The only way I’d be able to get to the signing in time would be to bunk off school at lunchtime. I think the time of the signing was 2pm, enough time I reasoned to get the bus into town, get my new favourite author to sign my books (I’d now bought the first issues of both Black Orchid and The Sandman as well) and still get home before my mum got back from work. That way I could pretend that I’d been in school all day, just like normal.

That was the plan. When Friday arrived, I sneaked out of school as the lunchtime bell rang and caught the bus into town. But arriving at Odyssey 7 just before two in the afternoon, I discovered my plan’s first flaw. Outside the store a queue snaked across the shopping precinct and out onto Oxford Road. (Remember, this was a signing for his very first book – Lord knows what kind of monstrous wyrm a Neil Gaiman signing queue looks like nowadays!) Joining the back of the queue I slowly started to worry. With the speed the queue was moving at, there was no way I’d get back home in time to pretend I’d been in school all day. If I stayed put, I was going to be in trouble. Big trouble.

Standing around me in the queue were trench-coated university students, their comic books and graphic novels tucked under their arms. I was still wearing my school uniform, my copy of Violent CasesBlack Orchid and The Sandman shoved in the depths of my school bag. This was the only chance I’d ever have to meet the extraordinary people who had created these stories. I stayed in the line

Eventually, sometime after four I think, I made it inside the shop, the remnants of the queue now snaking around the central aisle and back up to the counter where two guys were seated, patiently signing each book that was thrust in front of them. They didn’t look much older than students themselves, but the face of one of them was strangely familiar. From my bag, I dug out my copy of Violent Cases and turned to the first page. There, staring out at me in black and white was the same face. This was Neil Gaiman.

It’s funny, I’m trying to remember now what happened next, but my memories are turning out to be as fragmentary as those of the narrator of Violent Cases. I don’t really remember getting to the front of the queue, can’t recall what I said when I handed over my books to Neil and Dave to be signed. But when I finally stepped out of the comic shop and started walking back to the bus station and the inevitable mountain of trouble I was in, I remember thinking one thing: I wanted to be a writer.

You can buy a copy of The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day here or from your local bookshop


About Christopher Edge

Christopher Edge is an award-winning children’s author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

His novel The Many Worlds of Albie Bright won several children’s book awards including the Brilliant Book Award and was also nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, as was his novel The Jamie Drake Equation, which was also selected by The Times as one of the best children’s books of 2017. His latest novel The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day was chosen by The Times as their Children’s Book of the Week and has been described as ‘out-of-this-world, edge-of-your-seat AMAZING!’ by Lauren St John.

His other books include the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Twelve Minutes to Midnight trilogy of historical mysteries, and he is also the author of How to Write Your Best Story Ever! and How To Be A Young #Writer, inspirational guides to creative writing for children and teenagers.

You can find out more about Christopher – christopheredge.co.uk

Or why not follow Chris on Twitter – @edgechristopher


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Christopher for a brilliant guest post and to Antonia and Nosy Crow for asking me to host, be part of the blog tour and of course for sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A with Brigid Kemmerer


Today I am over the moon to be part of the brilliant #BloomsburySpringTour celebrating some of their fab Spring releases!

And today I have a Q&A with the amazing Brigid Kemmerer to celebrate the release of More Than We Can Tell which was published on the 6th March 2018 and is a brilliant YA Contemporary.

So sit back and enjoy …..


Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.


Hi Brigid.  Thank you so much for joining me on Tales Of Yesterday today!  Lets get started!

First of all, can you tell us three things you love about this book?

After introducing Rev in Letters to the Lost, I knew immediately I wanted to tell his story. Rev has a really dark past, but he’s not a rough, gritty teenager. He’s kind and gentle and thoughtful, and that was different from most of the male protagonists I’ve written. I was eager to explore his story. I’d also never written a “gamer girl,” so it was a lot of fun to research Emma’s passions (though it was kind of depressing to read about all the harassment that girls who are into gaming go through). Finally, I loved being able to show parents being good, kind, supportive parents, because so often they’re a real problem in YA. Rev’s parents are two of my favorite supporting characters I’ve ever written.

If you can choose, who is your favourite character in this book and why?

Oh wow, this is a tough question! Probably Rev. I just loved him from the moment he first appeared on the screen.

How important do you think it is that teenagers read your book?

This is a really tough question! My goal is never to “teach a lesson” in any of my books. I just want to tell a good story and let people explore my characters’ challenges safely. I’d rather a teenager read about Emma’s harassment (so they don’t have to go through it alone) or see how Rev moves past his history of abuse (by learning to trust the adults around him). But that’s not limited to just my book. It’s really more about it being important that teenagers read any books at all, so they can safely explore a range of different experiences without ever having to leave their favourite armchair.

What themes do you feel run throughout this book?

Forgiveness, keeping secrets, consent and how it can change throughout a relationship, the importance of communication.

What is your favourite thing about being a writer today?

I love being able to talk to readers! When I was a teenager I could never talk to my favourite authors. Now I can respond to anyone on Twitter or Instagram or email.

Can you recommend us some other YA authors?

Oh my goodness. There are SO MANY! Emery Lord, Jeff Zentner, Dawn Ius, Diana Peterfreund, Beth Revis, Jennifer Armentrout, Sarah Maas … am I running out of space?

What book(s) did you wish you had while you were growing up?

I had so many books when I was growing up that I don’t feel like I was ever lacking in anything. I feel like we all bring our current experiences with us to whatever we’re reading, so it’s hard to make that kind of call. That said, I do wish I had access to Alex Flinn’s contemporary YA novels when I was a teen.

Now for some flash questions!

Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate?

Coffee!

Dark, White or Milk Chocolate?

Dark!

Water or Wine?

Wine!

Typing or Hand-Writing?

Typing!

E-mails or Letters?

Emails!

Growing Up Today or Growing Up When You Did?

Growing up when I did.

And lastly, What are your future writing plans? If you have any!

I just finished up A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which is my 2019 fantasy about a dark and brooding prince who snatches a girl from our world to help him break a curse. I’m also working on Call It What You Want, my 2019 contemporary YA, about a boy who’s gone from the most popular boy in school to a social pariah after his father was caught stealing from most of the people in town—but then the boy finds $20 in the cafeteria and makes a decision to start stealing from the rich kids (formerly his best friends) to help the people his dad ripped off.

You can buy a copy of More Than We Can Tell here or from your local bookshop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads lists here


About Brigid Kemmerer 

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Letters to the Lost and the YALSA nominated Elementals series and the paranormal mystery Thicker Than Water. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, with several stops in between. Brigid is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and children.

You can find out more about Brigid on her website – www.brigidkemmerer.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @Brigid Kemmerer


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Brigid for a brilliant Q&A and to Bloomsbury and Faye Rogers for having me as part of the tour and sending me a copy of the book!

Have you read any of More Than We Can Tell?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A with Lisa Heathfield and Me!


Today is my stop on the fab #YAShot2018 Blog Tour and I have been paired with the wonderful Lisa Heathfield!

YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. We believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all – YA Shot brings UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country.

So for our stop I wanted you all to get to know a little bit more about Lisa and in turn Lisa thought it would be fun for people to know me a little better too….


‘Trust Us’ the Kindreds tell Pearl and so she does.

A thrilling story of life in a cult.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed.  A darkness from which she must escape, before it’s too late.

A chilling and heartbreaking coming-of-age story of life within a cult, Seed was shortlisted for the Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize in 2016. 

Stand By Me meets We Were Liars – a heartbreaking and stunning breakout novel for teenagers from the award-nominated author of Seed.

June’s life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. Not even her father knows about it. She’s trapped like a butterfly in a jar.

But then she meets Blister, a boy in the woods. And in him, June recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. But freedom comes at a price . . . 

Paper Butterflies is an unforgettable read, perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal, Sarah Crossan’s Moonrise, Jandy Nelson, Jennifer Niven and Louise O’Neill.

The stunning new novel from award-shortlisted Lisa Heathfield, author of Seed and Paper Butterflies. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, Lisa Williamson, Sarah Crossan and Sara Barnard.

Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.

Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?

Flight of a Starling is a heartbreaking read with an important message.

You can buy any of Lisa’s books here or from your local bookshop!


Hi Lisa!  I’m so happy to have you here on Tales again!  You are one of my absolute favourite authors so it’s an absolute honour.

So here’s how this will work….

We each ask each other a question.  Any question.  About anything at all.  And we both have to answer!

Here we go!

What is your favourite smell?

Lisa – Our boys’ hair. From when they were babies to now, it’s the best smell ever.

Chelle – For me its a toss up between talc powder (that fresh baby smell) and Lush Snow Fairy shower gel!  I have to buy it every Christmas!

Name a favourite memory from  your childhood.

Lisa – Lying on my belly in the grass reading a book.

Chelle – Oh I have lots of childhood memories!  When I think of my childhood I think of wandering off with my brother in the woods for hours in a place we used to spend a lot of time when we were kids and him scaring me and my sister about ghosts that haunted the woods.  As I got older a favourite childhood memory is devouring a Point Horror every weekend and trying to collect them all (I still am!)

Where is your favourite place?

Lisa – Either in the Brighton sea in winter, or in the middle of nowhere on the Isle of Mull in Scotland.

Chelle – Kind of related to my above answer, but one of my fave places is a little place called Arley near Bewdley.  I spent a lot of time there when I was younger and when I visit there now it just makes me relax.  It’s so peaceful and full of so many memories.

Name the last thing that made you smile.

Lisa – hugging my boys this morning.

Chelle – Same for me too…..hugging my son!  So much love in one hug!

What is your favourite song?

Lisa – Any and every Gospel song.

Chelle – Mine is so different!  I have so many it hard to pick just one!  If I had to chose I would say Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana!  So much of my teenage years revolved around this song!  From blasting it out on my stereo to trying to learn it on guitar!  I love it!  Even to this day when it comes on my Spotify playlist I have to turn the volume up!

Chelle – In complete contrast my favourite ever line from a song is “I’ll never let your head, hit the bed, without my hand behind it” from Your Body Is A Wonderland by John Mayer.  Yes it’s cheesy and embarrassing but that one line is just pure love and romance to me!

What is you favourite book?

Lisa – I’ve three: The Folk Of The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton, The Book Thief – Markus Zusak and As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner

Chelle – As we were only meant to pick one Lisa and you picked three 🙂 …. I am cheating and picking two!  Watership Down by Richard Addams and One Day by David Nicholls.  Both very different books but both so brilliant!  I love them!

Name your favourite word.

Lisa – It changes, but at the moment it’s ‘fold’

Chelle – I’m not sure I have a favourite word!  What does that even mean?!  Should I have a favourite word?  Hmmmmmmm…..I am going to say “love” just to go along with my cheesy theme above!

What is your favourite line from a book?

Lisa – ‘My mother is a fish.’ – From As I Lay Dying.

Chelle – This changes quite a lot for me as sometimes I read a sentence in a book and get swept away completely by just that one line and I think wow.  But I do have a favourite line that left me quite breathless if that’s even possible when I read it……  “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once” from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  Pure perfection in a sentence.

Name a book you want to read, but haven’t yet!

Lisa – I’ve wanted to read Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, for years and years. A friend bought me a beautiful copy of it after we went to visit the Bronte’s house in Haworth, but for some reason I keep saving it…

Chelle – Good call with Wuthering Heights as I have never read it either!  Even though I keep saying I will!  I have so many books and so little time, but I think for me it’s To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Why have I never read this?!

Name a book that you would give as a present

Lisa – It changes, but at the moment it’s Moonrise, by Sarah Crossan. I’ve also given a fair few people The Book Thief. And Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses.

Chelle – Mine changes too and without sounding too cheesy I would give your books, Lisa, as presents as they are all wonderful!  I would also include All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and One Day as those books have my heart!

Where is your favourite place to read?

Lisa – if it could be absolutely anywhere, it’d have to be in a field with really long grass and me and a book sunk into the middle of it where no one can see.

Chelle – I love to read sitting on the hill at my favourite place mentioned above.  Other than that snuggling up in bed for a good read is perfect!

And your favourite place to write?

Lisa – I write every day at my kitchen table and that’s a nice place to be.

Chelle – I normally just write at my desk in my little office at home, but I attended a writing outdoors workshop at YALC a few years ago and it’s honestly so inspiring to sit and listen to all the sounds around you whilst you are writing!

Name a book that you wish you had written

Lisa – The Hunger Games – not just because it’s brilliant, but because I would love to spend months in that world with those characters.

Chelle – One Day by David Nicholls.  What a book!  Or basically any book that makes you feel such emotion that you cry just thinking about it!  I would love to write something that people have that much of an emotional connection to.

Or It by Stephen King! 🙂

You can buy any of Lisa’s books here or from your local bookshop!


About Lisa Heathfield

Before becoming a mum to her three sons, Lisa Heathfield was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read.

Award-winning author Lisa Heathfield launched her writing career with SEED in 2015. Published by Egmont it is a stunning YA debut about a life in cult. PAPER BUTTERFLIES is her beautiful and heart-breaking second novel. FLIGHT OF A STARLING, her third novel is equally heart-breaking and contains an important message.

Lisa lives in Brighton with her family.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter – @LisaHeathfield


Previously On Tales….

You can find previous Lisa Heathfield related posts on Tales by clicking on the below links!

Tales Review – Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Tales Q&A with Lisa Heathfield

Cover Reveal – Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

Tales Review – Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Electric Monkey myself and YA Shot 2 sets of Lisa’s books to giveaway to two lucky winners!

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 04/04/2018

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

Make sure you follow the rest of the fab YA Shot 2018 Blog Tour!


A huge thank you to Lisa for such a fab post and for asking me to join in and to Electric Monkey for the giveaway.  Also a huge thank you to YA Shot for having me and for pairing me with Lisa.

Have you read any of Lisa’s books?  Are you intrigued? Are you going to YA Shot?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – How Sunflowers In February Came To Be by Phyllida Shrimpton


Today I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have the lovely Phyllida Shrimpton here on the blog with a fantastic guest post all about the amazing Sunflowers In February!

Sunflowers In February was released on the 8th February 2018 published by Hot Key and everything about it looks absolutely stunning and perfect!

As Phyllida Shrimpton is our #BritishBooksChallenge18 debut of the month I also have a brilliant giveaway!

So sit back and find a little bit more about Sunflowers In February…..


Lily has died in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily’s really not at all sure she wants to ‘move on’ . . . This funny, heartbreaking novel is perfect if you loved John Green or The Lovely Bones.

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road.

She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.

But what is she supposed do now?

Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family – her parents and her twin brother – start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .

A moving, startlingly funny and yet achingly sad debut novel from a stunning new talent.


How Sunflowers In February Came To Be

Two things happened thirty eight years ago when I was fifteen years old.

One, my English teacher told me I would write a book. Two, I woke one morning knowing instantly that the vivid dream I’d just had would form the plot for said book.

Why did I wait thirty eight years to write it and get it published? It’s easy…severe procrastination served with a dollop of no confidence! In the words of Joan Konner, “Procrastination always gives you something to look forward to.” Hence I lived by that very motto, telling myself, ‘yeah one day I’m going to write a book!’ followed immediately by ‘but what if that book is rubbish?’

So what happened to force me into ditching the negatives? Basically, The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver happened. I suddenly realised that other authors were treading dangerously close to my I’m dead but I’m still here idea and if I didn’t get a move on I’d have to ask the sleep Gods to give me another dream to work with.

Although containing a few hot topics such as bullying, drugs and gender, Sunflowers in February focuses mainly on life, death and mindfulness. I have often wondered, what would any of us do if, faced with death, we could live one more day but at the expense of someone we love? Would we take that day, but want another after that? Would we do all those things we always think we’ve got time to do? Would we then have the courage to give it up and face the unknown?

 “I wish I had the chance to die knowing I have really lived”

The whole book is really an extension of that one line, uttered by my protagonist Lily, who is watching her own funeral. It is a letter to my fifteen year old self, and one which I wanted to pass on to my own teenage daughter and any young readers who may find themselves reading Sunflowers in February.

You can buy a copy of Sunflowers In February here or from your local bookshop


About Phyllida Shrimpton

Disastrous cook, chaotic parent, disorganised wife, terrible giggler, and survivor of writing a book from underneath a 60kg Newfoundland lap-dog.

You can follow Phyllida on twitter – @shrimpyshrimpy1


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Hot Key I have 3 copies of Sunflowers In February to giveaway to 3 lucky winners!

You can enter this giveaway by my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 28th February 2018

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Phyllida for a brilliant guest post that has made feel so inspired and to Imogen and Tina at Hot Key for embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge18 debut of the month and giving me some fab books to giveaway!

Have you read Sunflowers In February?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Characterisation by Ella Harper


I am over the moon to have the wonderful Ella Harper on Tales today to celebrate the release of If I Fall her new adult contemporary romance.

If I Fall is published in ebook by the lovely people at Canelo and is an unputdownable and emotional novel about love, loss and friendship.

So today Ella shares a fab guest post about Characterisation…..


I’m really sorry for what I’m about to do…

It’s fifteen years since graduation, and Connie, Jonas, JJ and Layla have managed to remain close despite the odds. They’ve supported each other, but are some things too big for friendship?

Connie is desperate to maintain the veneer of perfect family life.

Jonas is feeling the pressure at work.

Layla’s career is unravelling thanks to her ill mother

JJ’s past is catching up with him.

When they stumble and fall, who will be there to catch them?

A truly powerful and unforgettable story of love, friendship, and real life, If I Fall is perfect for readers of Alice Peterson, Amanda Prowse and Lianne Moriarty.


Praise for Ella Harper:

‘You won’t be able to stop reading’ Heat Magazine

‘Such a beautifully heart-breaking novel, written with such poise, strength and power.’ The Writing Garnet

I couldn’t put it down. I went without sleep to finish this book… If I Fall would definitely make my 2018 must-read list‘ Writerly Ways

Highly recommended, but be prepared for tears!’ Stardust Book Reviews

‘This book was heartbreaking but beautiful…Such a joy to read, while holding back tears’ Til Then Smile Often

‘Only very rarely does a book come along that captures me and engages me as much as this one did… But don’t despair, the ending was uplifting and filled with promise’ Bookish Bits

‘I finished the book with a whopping big lump in my throat but with joy in my heart’ JaffaReads

‘Wonderful, heart-breaking and poignant… The story touched me to the core with its deeply moving plot, beautiful characters and a unique, inspiring and insightful plot’ Read Day and Night

‘A great book to curl up with’ Daily Mail

‘I had tears in my eyes’ Bookworms and Shutterbugs

‘A beautiful emotional story… I shed quite a few tears while reading this book. It’s a marvellous must-read’ With Love for Books

‘I have a feeling this book will stay with me for a long time’ Lilac Mills

‘Warm, perceptive and razor sharp. It’s everything you want from a novel’ Veronica Henry


Characterisation

Back in the day, when I was first writing (as myself, Sasha Wagstaff), I used to have detailed notes about all of my characters. And when I say ‘detailed’, I really mean that. I would devote pages and pages to my characters – where my character shopped, what perfume they wore, their fashion sense, their food preferences.

Now, I spend just as much time working out who my characters are, but I keep neat, concise notes – roughly half a page long – which I check and add to as I’m working through the novel. I think the difference these days, is that I am more in tune with my characters once I’ve invented them. The one thing I spend a great deal of time deciding upon is the names of my characters. I use a really good baby naming book and I enjoy finding the right names for my cast. I was able to use far more flamboyant and unusual names in my earlier novels as they were escapist and set in glamorous locations, but for my Ella Harper novels, I use more relatable, normal names. But they still have to be absolutely right! Occasionally I start writing the novel using a certain name and decide halfway through that it isn’t sitting right for whatever reason and have to dig my baby naming book out again.

But apart from the name issue, I do find that my characters form themselves in more mind more readily now and I don’t feel the need for such detailed notes. I am aware mentally of each character’s personable style and behaviour and they feel very real to me from the off-set. If anything changes about them as I’m writing, I jot it down, but by and large, I flesh them out at the beginning and get their back story laid out. I remember when I was writing ‘The Years of Loving You’, I struggled with writing the present day and my very lovely editor suggested that I didn’t write in chronological order for once, but wrote the entire past and back story first. It was a revelation as I am a very ordered person and that seemed bizarre to me – but it worked! Once I had written the past, the present became obvious and clear to me and I knew who my characters were and how they would act in the present day. The beauty of a fabulous editor!

But I think the most important part of characterisation is making sure that each character is real and relatable to the reader. That their actions and thoughts are authentic. This is more important than the perfume or aftershave they might wear, although that may get a brief mention. Each character should be true to themselves and act in a way that seems fitting with the personality and history described. I miss my characters when I finish a novel – and I mean that, genuinely. I get very involved in their lives and they are real to me. And then I start all over again with a new novel…

You can buy a copy of If I Fall here


About Ella Harper

Ella Harper learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Ella started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer.

You can follow Ella on twitter – @Ella__Harper


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Ella Harper for such a fab guest post and to Ellie at Canelo for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read If I Fall?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Unpredictability Of Being Human Playlist by Linni Ingemundsen

 


I’ve heard so many great things about The Unpredictability Of Being Human that I am super happy to be featuring Linni Ingemundsen on Tales today with a brilliant guest post!

The Unpredictability Of Being Human was released on the 1st January 2018 published by the lovelies at Usborne and is a brilliant YA Contemporary.

Today Linni has stopped by to share The Unpredictability Of Being Human Playlist…..so turn the music upload and enjoy….


If 14-year-old Malin was God for a day, she wouldn’t change much. Dad would still yell; her brother Sigve would still get in trouble, and Mom would still think wine is good for the heart. She’d still be friends with Hanna, even if they met shoplifting. Because stuff’s okay, mostly. And if He could fix the world, wouldn’t God have done it already?


The Unpredictability Of Being Human Playlist

The Unpredictability of Being Human introduces its reader to a small town community in Norway filled with pain, humour and a whole lot of nothingness. Fourteen year old Malin describes the ups and downs of life and the struggles of being a teenager and fitting in. At the same time she watches family drama play out and buried secrets unfold.

I often listen to music when I write and below I’ve put together a playlist connected to the book. Side A are songs that I listened to when writing it while side B are songs that in one way or another remind me of the story.

Side A

Savoir Adore – Mountains

I came across this song while checking out the “Discover Weekly” feature on Spotify and it has been on my “writing” playlist ever since.

Jesse Ruben –  This Is Why I Need You

I sometimes find it hard to focus on writing if I know the lyrics of a song too well. This is one of the songs I have listened to on repeat so many times that I can no longer write to it.

Allman Brown Ft. Liz Lawrence– Sons and Daughters

The vocals comes together so beautifully and so effortless. The perfect writing song in many ways.

Snowmine –  Tidal Wave

This popped up randomly when listening to the radio on Spotify and I was so into the writing that I didn’t really catch the song properly. Later I found myself playing the chorus over and over in my head and it took me ages to find it again.

Needtobreathe –  Happiness

About homesick hearts and other things. No matter where I am, I’m always missing somewhere or someone. And I wouldn’t want to live any other way.

Side B

Walk Off the Earth –  Little Boxes

Haasund is a small town where you’ll do best if you blend in. This  song captures the feeling of living in a small town where individuality is not always welcomed.

Joshua Radin –  We Are Okay

At some point Malin realizes that sometimes feeling okay is enough. I mean it is better than bad after all. And sometimes that’s all we can ask for.

Firekid – Boomerang

In the book several friendships are gained and lost. This song is about losing someone and hoping they will come back like a boomerang. That doesn’t sound like life to me, but I guess one can always hope.

The Lumineers –  Ophelia

The love letter in this song pretty much sums up the letter Malin wrote but never sent which was “Dear Ruben, I like you.” I guess sometimes that is all you need to say.

Ane Brun Ft Madrugada –  Lift Me

Magnus thinks it is okay that he might not be able to find newest music for his record player. This is the song I imagine him  playing after coming across the vinyl Duets in a thrift store.

You can buy a copy of The Unpredictability Of Being Human here or from your local bookshop!


About Linni Ingemundsen

Linni Ingemundsen is from Norway and currently works in Malta. She does not know how to draw but is somehow also a freelance cartoonist. Linni has lived in three different countries and will never be done exploring the world. Still, what truly inspires her writing is her background growing up in a village on the southwestern coast of Norway. Linni began writing her debut novel while on the Oxford Brookes MA in Creative Writing.

You can follow Linni on twitter – @Llngemundsen


A huge thank you to Linni for such a fab guest post and to Nina Douglas and Usborne for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read The Unpredictability Of Being Human?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson


Today I am shining the spotlight on the fab new book from Lisa Thompson, The Light Jar.

The Light Jar was released on the 4th January 2018 published by Scholastic and tells the story of Nate and is a story of fear and hope, loneliness and friendship which is sure to have you turning those pages.

#lightjar

So sit back and enjoy a glimpse at this wonderful book and a little giveaway….


Nate and his mother are running away, hiding out in a tumbledown cottage in the middle of a forest. When Mum heads off for provisions, and then doesn’t return, Nate is left alone and afraid, with the dark closing in all around him. But comfort can come from the most unexpected of places – a mysterious girl trying to solve the clues of a treasure hunt and the reappearance of an old friend from his past.

Will Nate find the bravery needed to face the troubles of his present and ultimately illuminate the future?

A story of fear and hope, loneliness and friendship – full of heart, engaging characters and propulsive, page-turning mystery

#lightjar

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local book shop!


About Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson worked as a Radio Broadcast Assistant first at the BBC and then for an independent production company making plays and comedy programmes. During this time she got to make tea for lots of famous people. Lisa grew up in Essex and now lives in Suffolk with her family. Her debut, The Goldfish Boy, was a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month pick in January 2017 and is the bestselling debut of the year as of July 2017.

You can find out more about Lisa on her website – www.lisathompsonauthor.com

Or why not follow Lisa on Twitter –  @lthompsonwrites


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 1 x copy of The Light Jar to giveaway to one lucky winner!

To enter head over to my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 17/01/2018

Good Luck!


Previously on Tales….

Click on the below links for previous posts with Lisa Thompson on Tales Of Yesterday!

Spotlight – The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge big thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for asking me to be part of the blog tour, for organising and for being so super wonderful!

Have you read The Light Jar?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.


So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Guet Post – The Perfect Christmas Book by Katey Lovell


Today I finally have one of my most favourite humans ever on the blog –  the amazing and super wonderful Katey Lovell to celebrate the release of her new Christmassy romantic comedy, Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown!

Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in paperback on the 30th November published by Harper Impluse and is set to get you in the Christmas mood!

“Warm and romantic, every page is sprinkled with Christmas magic”  Cressida McLaughlin, author of The Canal Boat Café

So as it’s nearly Christmas and we are looking for the perfect Christmas read to snuggle up by the fire with I asked Katey exactly how to write the perfect Christmas book…..


This Christmas she’ll give her heart to someone special…

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O’Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she’s determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he’s hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara’s Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe’s broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe’s love for Christmas and forever…?


The Perfect Christmas Book

When the wonderful Chelley invited me to guest on her blog I was thrilled – she’s such a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry, known and loved by everyone.  However, when I asked what she wanted me to talk about and her reply was ‘how to write the perfect Christmas novel’ I could feel the imposter syndrome creeping in.  I’m very proud of my festive release Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown, but perfect?  There’s a lot of weight in that word, but I am going to share how I wrote this book, step by step.

Have a ton of ideas, reject most of them, hone the good one

As I was reaching the end of drafting my second novel, The Café in Fir Tree Park, my editor Charlotte Ledger and I were in discussions about what to do next.  I was really keen to write a festive novel and tentatively suggested my ideas.  Our favourite was based around an office secret santa, but Charlotte felt the office setting had the potential to be too dry.  I wanted charity to be a big theme in this book and after dismissing the idea of setting the book in a foodbank (although there is a scene at a foodbank in the novel) ran with it centring around a fictional Manchester youth club.

Make notes on anything and everything Christmassy

Throughout October 2016 I carried my notebook everywhere and made a ridiculous amount of notes.  I asked friends what their favourite aspects of Christmas were, queried Twitter and Facebook on what they thought were ‘musts’ for a festive read (tinsel, mulled wine and Santa, apparently) and thought about how my characters were going to develop over the course of the novel.  I also came up with a title at this point, which was eventually tweaked only slightly (when the male protagonist’s name changed).

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November and encourages writers to draft 50,000 words in 30 days.  I still had 20,000 words left to write to complete The Café in Fir Tree Park but, knowing that it would be easier to write a Christmas novel in winter, I surrounded myself with mince pies and decided to also write the first half of the Christmas book.  By the end of the month I had ‘won NaNo’ and had the first 30,000 words of what would become Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown.

Finish the book!

This stage took a while.  I had a much-needed month away from writing over Christmas and struggled to get back into the routine of writing afterwards, especially after the tree came down and Christmas was over for the majority of people.  Thankfully I’m friends with other writers who were in the same predicament and so our fictional Christmases continued in parallel.  I finally finished the first draft in May 2017.

Edit, edit, and edit some more

Personally, I always find structural edits (big changes to plot, the order events take place in, adding in subplots or additional characters) difficult.  One change often starts off a chain and it felt at times as though the novel I’d worked so hard to build was falling like one of those tracks of dominos where you touch one and the whole lot fall down.  However, I had the experience of knowing I could edit a book because I’d done it before (twice!) and knuckled down to get stuck into polishing my Christmas book.

Next came the line edits, where as well as working on editors suggestions I was keen to inject even more festive sparkle into the book.  I wanted it to be 100% Christmassy!  This is where I developed a lot of the outdoor scenes such as the one at the skating rink and at the Christmas market, to ensure I was encapsulating the magic of the traditions of Christmas in my words.

Finally, in August 2017, it was time for the proofread – the end was in sight!  I must admit that by now I was all Christmassed out – I challenge even the most avid Christmas fanatic to feel in the mood for listening to Shakin’ Stevens in temperatures nearing 30 degrees.

Let it go

As Elsa so wisely said in the Disney hit ‘Frozen’, there comes a time where you just have to let it go.  For authors, that time is publication day, when ownership is no longer yours and your publishers, but your readers.

When Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in October I was nervous – would people like the idea enough to buy it?  Thankfully, people have and I’ve been fortunate that bloggers, authors and readers have shared their kind words about the book online.

So that’s my experience of writing a Christmas book – it was jolly hard work, but worth every tinsel-filled moment.  If what you’re dreaming of this Christmas is writing a festive novel I’d encourage you to go for it, and sprinkle glitter on every single page.

You can buy a copy of Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown here or from your local bookshop


About Katey Lovell

Katey Lovell is the author of three commercial women’s fiction novels published by Harper Collins’ imprint HarperImpulse. Her novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community. She has also penned a series of coffee-break romances (also published by HarperImpulse) and a hot romance for Tirgearr’s City Nights series.

Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Sheffield with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she’ll most likely be found watching musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.

You can follow Katey on twitter – @Katey5678


A huge thank you to Katey for such a fab guest post and for sharing so much about her writing process.

Have you read Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown?  What did you think?  Do you read Christmas reads in the lead up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

 

Guest Post – I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA by Anne Cassidy


Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.

I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here

No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.

Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….


The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA

I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.

For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.

During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.

This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.

Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.

Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)

You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop


About Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

You can find out more about Anne on her website – www.annecassidy.com

Or follow Anne on Twitter: @annecassidy6


A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas  for asking me to host!

Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

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