Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post – Inspiration by Emma Craigie


Today is my stop on the fab #YAShot2018 Blog Tour and I have been paired with the wonderful Emma Craigie! 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 to get to know Emma and her books a little more and to find out a little about her inspiration….


The cutter came last night. I recognized her: her black clothes, her narrow face and the yellow whites of her eyes. 15-year-old Zahra has lived in England most of her life, but she is haunted by memories of her early childhood: the warm sun and loud gunfire, playing with her older sister in the time before “the visitors” came. It is hard to make sense of everything that happened, and it feels impossible to talk about, but when three eerily familiar women arrive unexpectedly for tea Zahra realises that the dangers of the past could still destroy her. What Was Never Said is the powerful story of a girl navigating the demands of two very different and conflicting worlds; a tale of surviving loss and overcoming fears.

Helga’s childhood as the eldest of five children in Germany’s First Family has been a gilded one, accompanying her parents to parties and rallies, moving between the city and their idyllic country estate. But the war has changed everything. And now, as defeat closes in on the Germans, Helga must move into a bunker in the heart of Berlin with her family and key members of the crumbling Nazi leadership – to be with their beloved Hitler. There is chocolate cake for tea every day with Uncle Leader, but Helga cannot help noticing that all is not well among the grown-ups. As each day passes, her underground world becomes increasingly tense and strange. There are tears and shouting behind slammed doors, and when even the soldiers who have been guarding them take their leave, Helga is faced with a terrible truth. Perhaps her perfect childhood has not been all that it seemed…


Inspiration

What Was Never Said is the story of a teenage girl who has to confront a painful past in order to protect herself and her younger sister.   Zahra and her family have come to England to escape war, but there are secrets in the family, and as her parents’ plans become clear, Zahra realises her new life is no longer safe.

The idea for What Was Never Said came into my head on a Saturday morning in July in 2012.  I was sitting in a huge auditorium in Bristol University when a skinny boy stepped across the stage in front of a long row of adults – health and legal experts from across the world – and came to the front holding a hand mic.  The hall fell silent as he began to speak:

You don’t understand how weird it is to be standing here as a MAN, yes, not a boy, a man, from my community, talking about Female Genital Mutilation.  Believe me, Somali men never talk about womens bits, even amongst themselves.

The audience laughed uncomfortably.   I squirmed inwardly.  I had met this boy a couple of times. His name was Mukhtar Hassan, he was 14 years old and a member of Integrate Bristol –http://integrateuk.org/ –  a group which facilitates campaigns by young people.  Integrate had organised this conference,  the first ever international conference about Female Genital Mutilation, and my immediate feeling was that they had got it wrong.  Muhktar’s words were embarrassingly slangy.  “Bits” made me cringe –  not a word, I felt, which should be spoken in such a formal setting.   I held my breath, hoping things would get better.

I had met Muhktar, his older sister Muna, and the other young members of Integrate when I was doing research for a novel about a group of young friends from different religious backgrounds.    Like many young people in East Bristol they came from a Muslim Somali background – a community where FGM is still often practised.   I was really interested in the boldness and clarity of their campaign.   I didn’t know much about FGM but I soon learnt from them.  FGM is defined as non-medical surgery on the female genitalia. There are a number of different types, all of which cause tremendous pain, bring a risk of infertility and death, and deprive women of sexual enjoyment.   FGM has been carried out in some parts of the world for thousands of years, and is estimated that there are over 200 million women and girls alive today who have undergone some form of it.  It  The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 3 million girls at risk of FGM every year.   These young people were – are – determined to end it and had brought together international experts to determine how that could be done.

Muhktar continued on the failure of Somali men to talk about ‘women’s bits”:

… perhaps thats the problem.  Too many people have been quiet for too long.  But the point is IF FGM is to stop, and it HAS to stop, then everybody, regardless of gender or race, has to take a stand.  I stand here as a brother, a cousin, a son, and a future father… hopefully.  I also stand here as a friend and a human being.

I breathed out. The audience applauded loudly.  Muhktar had not got it wrong.  He had got it completely right.  He had made us uncomfortable and challenged us to overcome that discomfort.   Up to this point, I thought, like many people, that FGM was a bad thing, but that it was not my problem.   Muhktar changed my perspective.   If a 14 year old boy could stand up in front of hundreds of people and talk about “women’s bits” , I could stand up too.   Suddenly the centre of my novel shifted.   I had found the story which I needed to tell.

Chocolate Cake with Hitler is a novel which tells the true story of the children of the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

Chocolate Cake With Hitler also started with a sudden realisation.    I had long known that at the end of World War 2 Hitler hid in an underground bunker.  I remember picturing it when I was a child, imagining Hitler lying flat in some kind of coffin shaped rabbit hole, hiding from his advancing enemies.   It must have been shortly afterwards that I heard of the fact that Eva Braun, his wife, was with him, as I can remember trying to squeeze her into this imagined bunker.   But it was much later,  long after I understood that the bunker was a concrete network of rooms, full of soldiers and secretaries, and cooks and nurses and doctors, that I learnt that there were six children down in the bunker with him.  And when I realised this, I couldn’t believe it was so little known that there had, at that point, never been a book about them.

There were five girls and one boy, aged between 4 and 12.  The children of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda.   10 days before Germany surrendered, they had decided to show their loyalty to the Fuhrer by joining him underground in Berlin.  They knew the defeat of Germany was inevitable – but that was not what they told the children.   They pretended that they were joining their leader so that they would be with him for the imminent victory celebrations.

I started reading every account I could find of Hitler’s bunker.  The children rarely got a mention.  The person who gave them most attention in her account of her days in the bunker was one of Hitler’s secretaries, Traudl Junge.   There was a particular paragraph in her memoir, Until the Final Hour, that haunted me, and was the inspiration for telling the story of the Goebbels children from the perspective of 12 year old Helga.

Junge wrote that during their time in the bunker the children were on the whole “happy and cheerful…”  They spent their time playing in the bunker corridors and once a day drank hot chocolate and ate chocolate cake with Hitler, often singing German folk songs to him.  Junge tells us, “They knew nothing of the fate awaiting them, and the adults did all they could to keep them unaware of it… Only the oldest, Helga, sometimes had a sad knowing expression in her big, brown eyes… Sometimes I think with horror that in her heart the child saw through the pretence of the grown-ups.”

I was the oldest of five children, and I remember being 12.  It was an odd age – my younger brothers and sisters suddenly seemed very childish, but my parents and their friends were no more interesting to me.  I could hardly bear to imagine a world in which the parents were planning to kill you, and none of your siblings had any idea.   But then I couldn’t bear not to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of Emma’s books here or from your local book shop!

Chocolate Cake With Hitler was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie medal and the Financial Times / Authors Club First Novel Award.

What Was Never Said was also nominated for the CILIP Carnegie medal and is a White Raven Book.  http://www.childrenslibrary.org/servlet/WhiteRavens 


About Emma Craigie

Emma Craigie is a writer and teacher.  She lives in Somerset.

Her most recent novel, What Was Never Said, was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016 and selected for the White Ravens Catalogue .

You can find out more about Emma on her website – www.emmacraigie.co.uk

Or why not follow Emma on twitter – @craigieemma


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Short Books myself and YA Shot have a copy of each book to giveaway to one lucky winner!


 

 

 

 

 

 

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 10/03/2018

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Emma for such a fab post which has made me super intrigued to go and grab these books and to Short Books for the giveaway.  Also a huge thank you to YA Shot for having me and for pairing me with Emma.

Have you read any of Emma’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 – Top 5 Mythical / Legendary Creatures by Sinéad O’Hart


Today I am thrilled to have the wonder Sinéad O’Hart on the blog to celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Eye Of The North.

The Eye Of The North was released today, 8th February 2018, published by the lovelies at Stripes – Happy Book Birthday Sinéad!

Basically if you like brilliant MG adventures then this book is perfect for you!

So today Sinéad is chatting about her Top 5 Mythical / Legendary Creatures in this fab guest post….


Emmeline Widget has never left Widget Manor – and that’s the way she likes it. But when her scientist parents mysteriously disappear, she finds herself being packed off on a ship to France, heading for a safe house in Paris. Onboard she is befriended by an urchin stowaway called Thing. But before she can reach her destination she is kidnapped by the sinister Dr Siegfried Bauer.

Dr Bauer is bound for the ice fields of Greenland to summon a legendary monster from the deep. And he isn’t the only one determined to unleash the creature. The Northwitch has laid claim to the beast, too.

Can Emmeline and Thing stop their fiendish plans and save the world?

A dazzling fantasy adventure, perfect for fans of ROOFTOPPERS, THE UNCOMMONERS and A

SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

Top 5 Mythical / Legendary Creatures

Growing up in Ireland, I was raised on stories of the Fair Folk, or the Sídhe – the fairies who lived under the oddly-shaped hills you sometimes see in the middle of fields. Farmers avoid them; they’re never built on; cows are not allowed to graze on them. This is all because of the power of the Fair Folk who, despite their name, are not fair at all! Some say that when the Milesians drove the old gods out of Ireland, the Fair Folk were the few who got left behind. But who knows the truth?

I also love Norse mythology, and one of my favourite mythical creatures from that tradition is Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse belonging to Odin, the leader of the Norse gods. Odin was also called the All-Father, among lots of other names. I always thought it would be amazing to have a horse with eight legs – surely he’d be able to run twice as quickly as an ordinary horse! The Æsirsmounts in The Eye of the North, horses who are able to run on the surface of the ice (and do lots of other marvellous things, besides) are based on the idea of Sleipnir, Odin’s magical horse, though none of them (that I know of) have eight legs…

Dragons have long been one of my favourite mythical creatures. I love Smaug, the dragon in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit – but the first dragon I ever ‘met’ was Falkor, the luck dragon, from Michael Ende’s book The Never-Ending Story. It was made into a fabulous film when I was a little girl, and I loved watching him in that. I love the power and majesty of dragons in the Western tradition, and I particularly enjoy the fact that they’re seen as symbols of good luck and joy in the Eastern tradition.

I love giants. I don’t know why: perhaps it’s because I’m short and I wish I wasn’t! In the medieval texts I studied at university, there was a story about a giant who is kind and loving and compassionate towards animals, despite being huge and terrifying to look at. His outside doesn’t match his inside, and it was a lesson not to judge people by how they look. In Norse mythology, giants are skilled builders. And, of course, there’s Hagrid! Who doesn’t love him?

One of my favourite books of all time has a unicorn called Findhorn in it, and another film I loved when I was a small girl is also about unicorns. It was based on a book, too: Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. There’s something wonderful and awe-inspiring about unicorns; they’re so beautiful, yet they have the potential to be deadly. They’re the wildest creature I can think of!

You can buy a copy of The Eye Of The North here or from your local bookshop!


About Sinéad O’Hart

Sinéad O’Hart was raised in a small house full of books in the south-east of Ireland. She has a degree in Medieval English and has had many careers (including butcher, bookseller and university lecturer) before finally following her dream of becoming a children’s author. She now lives in County Meath, near Dublin, with her husband, their daughter, and an ever-expanding book collection.

You can find out more about Sinéad on her website –  sjohart.wordpress.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @SJOHart


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Sinéad for such a fab guest post and to Beth at Stripes for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read The Eye Of The North?  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 – My Writing Process by S.D. Robertson


Today I am over the moon to have the brilliant S.D Robertson on the blog with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of his new uplifting adult fiction book, Stand By Me,

Stand By Me was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Avon Books and is set to be a beautiful heart-breaking tale that you won’t want to put down.

Today S.D Robertson is sharing an insight into his writing process in this fab guest post….


They’ll always have each other…won’t they?

Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.

Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.

With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…

A heartwarming story perfect for fans of Keith Stewart and Jojo Moyes, that will leave you with a tear in your eye but hope in your heart.


My Writing Process

One of the things I’ve been asked about most frequently since becoming a published author is my writing process.

This is something that seems to fascinate a lot of people, but particularly keen readers and would-be novelists.

I can understand why, as in creating a work of fiction you are essentially making something out of nothing, which sounds a bit like magic.

There is an element of that, to be honest, especially in those moments of inspiration that appear out of nowhere and slap you around the face, often when you’re least expecting them.

I imagine most authors have experienced these at some point. I certainly have and, at their best, they’ve literally sent shivers of excitement down my spine about the thrilling, fresh new direction I can suddenly see for my work in progress.

Who knows where these flashes of ingenuity come from? It’s great when they appear, though. It’s right up there with seeing the product of your imagination on a shelf in a bookstore and hearing from a reader who loves your work.

Now I wish I could tell you that whole books are written like that, in a frenzied flood of dazzling prose and unique ideas that leap fully formed out of your fingers.

Sadly, that isn’t my experience so far in the years I’ve been writing novels. For every eureka moment I’ve enjoyed, there have in contrast been many hours of hard work, frustration and perseverance.

And that in a nutshell is my experience of the writing process: lots of blood, sweat and tears with the odd joyous moment of punching the air.

Starting a novel is easy. Lots of people have done that. Finishing it is hard, which is why I always have the greatest respect for anyone who’s got all the way to the end, whether it goes on to be published, self-published or (hopefully not) just to gather dust on a shelf somewhere.

So how, as an unpublished would-be novelist, do you make sure you cross the finish line? Here are my five top tips:

  • Start with some kind of plan. It doesn’t need to be that detailed, but try to have at least a start, middle and end in mind.

 

  • Keep character profiles to refer back to, adding to them as you go along.

 

  • Write as often as you can, preferably daily.

 

  • Always look forward. Avoid the temptation to read back what you’ve already written, unless absolutely necessary, until you’ve reached the end.

 

  • Don’t overthink the writing process or you’ll never end up actually writing. I find it’s best to get on with it and watch things unfold around you. It won’t always be easy. In fact it will often feel like hard work, but if you keep at it you’ll hopefully encounter a few moments of genuine inspiration along the way. If not, at least you’ll have a finished manuscript to polish. And let’s be honest, without that, your chances of becoming an author are zero.

You can buy a copy of Stand By Me by S.D. Robertson here or from your local bookshop!


About S.D.Robertson

Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist.

An English graduate from the University of Manchester, he’s also worked as a holiday rep, door-to-door salesman, train cleaner, kitchen porter and mobile phone network engineer.

Over the years Stuart has spent time in France, Holland and Australia, but home these days is back in the UK. He lives in a village near Manchester with his wife and daughter. There’s also his cat, Bernard, who likes to distract him from writing – usually by breaking things.

His third novel, Stand By Me (Avon, £7.99), is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship. It is published on 11 January 2018.

You can find out more about S.D Robertson on his website – www.sdrobertsonauthor.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @SDRauthor 

Or Facebook here


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to S.D. Robertson for such a fab guest post and to Sabah at Avon Books for organising and asking me to host!

Have you read Stand By Me?  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 – Letting My Nostalgic Spirit Run Free by Martin Stewart


Today I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have the amazing Martin Stewart here on the blog with a fantastic guest post all about the amazing The Sacrifice Box!

The Sacrifice Box was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Penguin and I can confirm that it is just pure brilliance!

As Martin Stewart is our #BritishBooksChallenge18  author of the month I also have a brilliant giveaway!

So sit back an enjoy a little about The Sacrifice Box and it’s amazing nostalgia…..


An atmospheric, chilling page turner from rising star Martin Stewart, reminiscent of Stand by Me and Stranger Things.

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events take place. Someone broke the rules, and now everyone has to pay.

But how much are they willing to sacrifice?


Letting My Nostalgic Spirit Run Free

Having begun its life many years ago as nothing more than a feeling I wanted to capture, it’s beyond thrilling to see The Sacrifice Box out in the world. This is a story of friendship, of togetherness; of the power our fears wield in the dark corners of our souls ― and of the importance of a good mixtape. This is a world of high-tops and Choppers, of Walkmans (Walkmen?) and big hair.

This is the small-town world of Hill Ford, 1986.

The setting fits my character, because I’ve always been prone to nostalgia. Crippling nostalgia, really. I only replaced my childhood Christmas stocking a couple of years ago because it disintegrated (I’m thirty-five years old). I have a custom-built cupboard in my living room for my childhood games consoles: Megadrive, SNES, Playstation (just Playstation, mind ― this is before they were given numbers). Most of my Desert Island Discs would be hewn from the rock of my teenage memories: Oasis, The Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Radiohead… (as I write, prompted by this reverie, I’ve just put The Lightning Seeds on Spotify).

I am very much chained to my past.

The Sacrifice Box was, first, a title. Its growth from that point was driven by the image of young people finding an ancient box, filling it with (seemingly) innocuous stuff and discovering that, whatever they give it, the box wants more.

 But there was a problem ― this was a MG story. Ten-year-olds might make a friendship sacrifice of this nature, but not fifteen-year-olds. So the story had to change shape, and it did so with a pleasingly gothic twist: the group would make their sacrifices in the past, lose touch ― and years later, those seemingly innocuous offerings would come back to hunt them. A sacrifice made during a brief, intense, forgotten summer friendship felt just right ― and that’s where my (crippling) nostalgia came in.

Because what I had now was a story that felt a little like The Breakfast Club reuniting to fight the Gremlins, and I found that the tropes of classic 80s stories fit the story I had in mind: intense friendship, kid-centric horror, an unlikely small-town gang facing a threat their parents know nothing about…

I set the story in 1986, and I was able to let my nostalgic spirit run free.

I found it a lot of fun. Nostalgia is driven by comfort, after all ―we remember how free we once were, how unburdened by the concerns of high school and uni and work. The clothes are funny, the haircuts funnier, and the summers never-ending. Our past is known and, therefore, safe.

But danger lurks in our pasts, too, because everything is sharpest when we’re young: arguments, infatuations, self-regard, fear, laughter ― stories. Young lives are lived on a keen edge.

So, who better to write for than young readers?

I hope that you, young readers, love these characters ― Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb and Mack. I hope you love the adventure, as the box tightens its grip. I hope you’re afraid to read the book on the train, for fear of snorting with laughter. I hope you’re afraid to read it in bed at night, for fear of a tap on your window…

There’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice?

You can buy a copy of The Sacrifice Box here or from your local bookshop!

Or listen to The Sacrifice Box Spotify Playlist here


About Martin Stewart

Before I was a writer, I was a caddie, barman, recycling technician, wine advisor, university lecturer, and English teacher. My time in the classroom inspired me to turn my pen towards writing for younger readers, and now I love visiting schools to help students develop their own writing, and to encourage them to pursue their creative ambitions. As a writer, I’m interested in the stories that take place in the shadows, and exploring the tension between laughter and fear. I love the work of John Steinbeck and Philip Pullman. More than anything else, I love to edit, because that’s where the real writing gets done. You can read about how I became a writer here. As a human being, I’m interested in spending time with my partner and daughter, running on the beach with the dog, trying to make the perfect Old Fashioned, cooking with eggs, re-watching my favourite films as often as possible, and listening to podcasts whenever I can.

You can find out more about Martin on his website – www.martinstewartwriter.com

Or follow Martin on Twitter – @martinjstewart


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Penguin I have 5 copies of The Sacrifice Box to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

You can enter this giveaway by my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 4th February 2018

Good Luck!


Previously On Tales…..

Click on the below links for previous post with Martin Stewart here on Tales Of Yesterday!

Tales Post – An Alternative “Easter Egg”


A huge thank you to Martin for a brilliant guest post that has made want to go and revisit everything 80’s and to Simon at Penguin for embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge18 author of the month and giving me some fab books to giveaway!

Have you read The Sacrifice Box  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  What are your nostalgic memories?  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!

Guest Post – Becoming a Writer and How I Write by Frida Nilsson


Today is my stop on The Ice Sea Pirates blog tour and I am totally thrilled!

The Ice Sea Pirates was released on the 1st January published by Gecko Press and is an  “adventure of icy seas and cold-blooded pirates, wolves, mermaids and the bravery of one girl determined to save her sister”.

Today I have the author herself with a fab guest post all about writing….


The cold bites and the sea lashes in this page-turning adventure on the ice seas. No one but ten-year-old Siri dares to face treacherous sailors, hungry wolves and the arctic winter to save her younger sister from the dreaded Captain Whitehead and his ice sea pirates. 


THE ICE SEA PIRATES been nominated for five Swedish awards (including the August Prize) and has won three of them. Now the novel is finally available in English, with beautiful cover and illustrations by Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize shortlisted illustrator and author, David Barrow of Have You Seen Elephant?

With a strong girl hero, dramatic landscape and compelling episodic adventure, it’s the perfect read for fans of Rooftoppers and The Girl of Ink & Stars and is set to become a modern children’s classic in the UK.


Becoming a Writer and How I Write

When I was about twenty, I really wanted to become an actress. I applied at acting schools without success, so just for the chance to be film stars, my friend and I wrote our own script for a short film. My boyfriend back then was a media student and was given the job of cameraman. We ended up winning a local film competition. In the jury were two TV and radio producers, who asked me if I wanted to write and produce children’s radio for them. I said yes! But after this it actually took some years before I really started to enjoy writing and realised that I wanted to be an author. My first book was published in 2004.

THE ICE SEA PIRATES I spent hours and hours at the big library in Stockholm, and online, to get it all right. When THE ICE SEA PIRATES was made into a drama by Swedish radio, they put in a sea lion, but I insisted they had to take it out because there are no sea lions in the northern hemisphere. They thought it wasn’t important because my world was made up, with mermaids and bogle birds. But the mermaids and the bogle birds weren’t random; I took a lot of care creating this world. The mermaids, for instance, are a mix between walrus and human, and the bogle birds I found on a website about prehistoric animals (Walrooster). These bogle birds had toothed beaks and ate stones so they would become heavy enough to reach the bottom of the sea to find food.

I plan my work very well. The most important question you must ask yourself when you start writing is: What do I want to say? After that I come up with the characters, the beginning and the end. Then I can start writing and the time-consuming part is to find the road between beginning and end.

THE ICE SEA PIRATES by Frida Nilsson out now in paperback (£6.99, Gecko Press)

You can buy a copy of The Ice Sea Pirates here


About Frida Nilsson

Frida Nilsson is a leading Swedish author who has been an August Prize nominee three-times and won the Astrid Lindgren Prize in 2014. In 2017, she was selected as one of Europe’s best emerging writers for young people through the Hay Festival’s Aarhus 39. Her books have been translated throughout Europe and nominated for the prestigious Youth Literature Prize in Germany and several literary awards in France.

Nilsson’s writing is characterised by humour and sincerity. She writes about the big questions in life—friendship, death and love—and has been compared to Roald Dahl and
Astrid Lindgren.

About Gecko Press

Gecko Press, an independent publisher based in Wellington, New Zealand selects the best children’s books from around the world, by internationally award-winning authors and illustrators. Gecko Press books are sold in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and North America.


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Frida for such a fab guest post and to Laura at Gecko for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read The Ice Sea Pirates?  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 – Why Florence? by T A Williams


Today I have the fab T A Williams on Tales as part of the blog tour for his new adult romance, Dreaming Of Florence.

Dreaming Of Florence was released on the 8th January published by Canelo and is the feel good read of the winter.

Today T.A. (Trevor) Williams tells us why he chose to set his latest book, Dreaming of Florence, in that wonderful Italian city in this fab guest post!


Fresh pasta, red wine, fine art… and love? Find enchantment this year in the magical city of Florence

When Debbie Waterson’s bicycle crashes into handsome doctor Pierluigi, she wonders if her luck has changed. Determinedly single after ending a long relationship, at last, a man worth bumping into!

Inspired to visit Florence, she soon runs headlong into that old foe: reality. But is Pierluigi the man of her dreams? Then there’s her booze obsessed boss, his forbidding secretary and her noisy inconsiderate neighbours. But could her luck be about to change? Will she find love after all?

Warm-hearted and unputdownable, Dreaming of Florence is the perfect escape for readers of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver


Why Florence?

They say you should write about what you know, so that’s what I’ve done. I know Florence really well and I love the place. I worked there for almost four years, living in a very historic, but very Spartan, eleventh century convent in the hills outside the city. The area is enchanting, the city stunning, and I’ve always wanted to write about the place.

Dreaming of Florence comes on the heels of Dreaming of Venice, and is going to be followed in the spring by Dreaming of St-Tropez – nobody can accuse me of writing about drab, boring places! They are also gorgeous places to visit on those all-important research trips. Although the titles are similar, these are all standalone books. The characters are all different, but the reader will find a few recurring themes in all of them. There’s always romance, there’s always a Labrador, and there’s always a happy ending. I like happy endings and feel, with the way the world is at the moment, we could all do with a bit of Happy Ever After.

The charm of Florence is its history and its architecture, as well as its geographical location – squeezed between the rugged Appenine mountains and the rolling hills of the Chianti region. But, as well as the place, I just love the people. Florentines are a law unto themselves – and always have been. They don’t suffer fools gladly and they don’t mince their words if they’re unhappy. But, in spite of this, they are wonderfully hospitable and generous, and I count my Tuscan friends among my dearest, closest friends.

The other wonderful thing about Florence is the food. I always try to describe the food and drink of the places I write about, and I found myself salivating as I remembered some of the wonderful meals I had when I lived over there. Florence maybe isn’t the best place in the world to be a vegetarian – the iconic bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak) is a huge slab of tasty steak about the size of a telephone directory  – and I mean one of the old telephone directories that strongmen did their best to tear in half with their bare hands. But there’s more to it than meat. There’s the bread for example. It may sound crazy, but Florentine bread is just terrific. It’s white bread, it comes in big round loaves that you slice, and it is completely unsalted. The first time you taste it, you may well think it strange – boring even – but I promise you it grows on you.

Then there’s the wine. Who hasn’t heard of Chianti? Nowadays it’s hard to find the old straw-covered flasks, but the taste is still the same. It’s a light red wine that you can still buy direct from the producers at farms tucked away in the hills. We used to buy our wine in 50 litre demi-johns (a huge glass ball encased inside a wicker basket) and then bottle it up ourselves. Please believe me when I tell you neither I nor my wife are alcoholics, but we used to get through a good deal of the stuff and I still miss it.

I hope I’ve been able to give the reader a true representation of this magical city in my latest book. If I inspired you to visit Venice after reading Dreaming of Venice, I really hope Dreaming of Florence will have you all hurrying off to book flights to Florence. Trust me – it’s worth it.

You can buy a copy of Dreaming Of Florence here


About T A Williams

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

You can find out more about T A Williams on his website – www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @TAWilliamsbooks

Or on Facebook here


Previously On Tales….

Click on the below links for previous post with T A Williams on Tales Of Yesterday!

The Research Behind Chasing Shadows

Five Interesting Things About Dreaming Of Venice

Spotlight – To Provence, With Love


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to T A Williams for a fab guest post and to Ellie at Canelo for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dreaming Of Florence?  Are you intrigued?  Do you love a good romance novel?  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 – Top 10 Memorable Sibling Relationships by Jo Simmons


Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for the hilarious I Swapped My Brother On The Internet by Jo Simmons!

I Swapped My Brother On The Internet was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by Nathan Reed.

Today Jo Simmons shares her top 10 sibling relationships in this fab guest post!



‘I can get a new brother? On the internet?’ Jonny muttered. ‘Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!’

Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another – but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with SiblingSwap.com! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny’s obnoxious older brother.

But finding the perfect brother isn’t easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What’s coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn’t looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?


Top 10 Memorable Sibling Relationships by Jo Simmons

Siblings not getting along is a staple of fiction, but anyone part of a large family recognises that sibling relationships can be way more complex and nuanced than simple loathing. Rivalry one minute, intense love and camaraderie the next, or just simple bafflement that such different people can be produced by the same two parents – sibling relationships can provoke extreme, even confusing feelings. I’ve picked 10 books that reveal the bond in its most memorable guises.

His Bloody Project – Graeme McRae

A tricksy, grizzly book that features Roddy Macrae, a 17-year-old boy from a remote crofting community in Scotland, accused of murdering three people. The account he writes of his life while awaiting trial in prison describes his incredibly close relationship with his sister Jetta. At primary school, their teacher commented that Roddy would climb into Jetta’s apron pocket if he could. Jetta frequently answers for Roddy, with surprising accuracy, and Roddy happily takes beatings from the school bullies to deflect teasing away from her. It doesn’t end well for either of them, but then being this spookily connected to your sibling often ends in tears. Just look at Liam and Noel Gallagher…

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing – Eimear McBride

This dark, complex and experimental novel features an anonymous female author who, between dodgy sexual encounters and domestic misery, addresses her disabled brother – the “you” of the book. His brain was damaged when a tumour was removed in infancy, but the author’s love for him is a pure, clean feeling in a very grimy world of guilt, abuse and sadness. She imagines a weird underground life for them together: “In burrows rabbits safe from rain… You and only me.” The brother’s failing health becomes unbearably sad, and drives the author to be both her best and worst self.

Howards End – EM Forster

Forster’s story centres on Margaret Schlegel who, as oldest sibling, is spring boarded into the role of mother for her sister Helen and brother Tibby when they are orphaned. The wealthy siblings grow up in a comfortable household in London at the start of the 20th century and lead an intellectual and bohemian life, going to concerts, hosting political lunches, marching about London arm in arm and “ribbing” each other gently. That’s until Helen goes on a mission to help poor Leonard Bast, leading him inadvertently down a path to disaster, while Margaret seemingly betrays her principles to marry the capitalist Mr Wilcox. We watch as the two sisters negotiate their failings and compromises.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

When little sister Prim is selected to take part in the Hunger Games, her big sis Katniss stands in for her. This isn’t like your sister offering to do your paper round for you on Saturday morning because you want a lie in. This is Katniss pretty much offering to die for her sister in the lethal games. Only she doesn’t. Spoilers! Which is great for Katniss, but maybe even better for Prim, as that would have been one heck of a sibling guilt trip.

The Battle of the Villa Fiorita – Rumer Godden

When Fanny Clavering falls in love with a film director and escapes to Italy with him, two of her three children, Caddie and Hugh, pluckily decide to travel to her bolthole, the Villa Fiorita, to fetch her home. At first, the siblings are united by their naïve quest to return their mother both to her senses, and to her passionless English country life. Once in Italy, though, the eponymous battle begins and the kids are pulled apart as they face up to the complexities of adult love. A great coming of age novel, set in the early 1960s, with two vividly drawn siblings at its heart – innocent, loving Caddie and moody pubescent Hugh.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

There are five Bennett sisters spilling across the pages of Pride and Prejudice. While Elizabeth coming to know and love Mr Darcy is the main event, the relationships between the very different sisters also play out. Lydia and Kitty are daft and flighty, Mary is dull, and Jane is beautifully even tempered. It’s the bond between Jane and Elizabeth, based on mutual respect, love and support, that’s most appealing and admirable, and they pair go on to marry best friends (Jane bags Darcy’s mate Mr Bingley), to cement this.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Cathy and Heathcliff are held up as exemplars of passionate love, but in fact, this volcanic pair were raised as siblings when Cathy’s father adopts Heathcliff as a son. They have an intense, but not a sexual relationship. Cathy famously explains to housekeeper Nelly that “I am Heathcliff. He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” So she haunts him from the grave once she has starved herself to death, and he sets about destroying the two families he believes ruined his life. Ouch!

The Tale of Tom Kitten – Beatrix Potter

I grew up on Beatrix Potter – this is my favourite. A really simple story with gorgeously illustrated Tom at its heart. Tabitha Twitchit dresses up Tom and his sisters Moppet and Mittens for her fancy-pants tea party but they get mucky in the garden and Tom pops his buttons before the guests have even arrived. All the kittens get sent to bed as punishment but still manage to wreck the posh do by clattering about upstairs. I love the whiff of anarchy and that whole, ‘you can’t keep the kids down’ message here. It’s sibling exuberance versus the adult world of manners and social convention. The kids win!

Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare

Shakespeare has slapstick fun with twins in The Comedy of Errors, but this unique sibling relationship is most touchingly explored in Twelfth Night. Identical twins Viola and Sebastian are separated when a storm wrecks their ship, and Viola then disguises herself as a man. There’s lots of mistaken identity fun, gender-bending and people falling in love with each other, but the final scene when the twins are reunited is wonderfully moving.

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

There are numerous spooky siblings in gothic and horror fiction – let’s agree not to mention the sisters in The Shining. This classic late Victorian chiller tells of a governess hired to look after a young boy and girl in a country house. Unfortunately for all concerned, the little darlings Miles and Flora may well be acting under the influence of the ghosts of some recently deceased former employees. A promising posting soon turns into the job from hell.

You can buy a copy of I Swapped My Brother On The Internet here or from your local bookshop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here


About Jo Simmons

Jo Simmons began her working life as a journalist. Her first fiction series for children, Pip Street, was inspired by her own kids’ love of funny fiction, and two Super Loud Sambooks followed. In addition to children’s fiction, she co-wrote a humorous parenting book, Can I Give Them Back Now?: The Aargh To Zzzzzz Of Parenting, published by Square Peg. Jo lives in Brighton with her husband, two boys and a scruffy formerly Romanian street dog. I Swapped My Brother on the Internet is her first book for Bloomsbury.

You can follow Jo on twitter – @Joanna_simmons

About Nathan Reed

Nathan Reed has been a professional illustrator since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2000. He has illustrated Christopher Edge’s How to Write Your Best Story Ever and the Elen Caldecott’s Marsh Road Mysteries Series. His most recent picture book is Samson the Mighty Flea by Angela McAllister. He was shortlisted for the Serco Prize for Illustration in 2014. When he’s not illustrating he can be found with his two boys and a football on Peckham Rye Common.

You can find out more about Nathan on his website – www.nathanreedillustration.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @nathanreed_illo


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Jo for such a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read I Swapped My Brother On The Internet?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  Do you have any favourite sibling relationships?  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!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...