Tag Archives: Lisa Williamson

Guest Post – All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

I am over the moon to be part of the fab blog tour for All About Mia by Lisa Williamson!

Lisa’s debut, The Art Of Being Normal,was one of my favourite reads of 2015 and I have been waiting for another book from Lisa ever since!

All About Mia was released on the 2nd February 2017 published by DFB and I’ve heard nothing but praise for it already!  I simply can’t wait to read it!

So when I was asked what I would like to feature as part of the blog tour I thought it would be good to find out EXACTLY all about Mia….literally…..

So come and find out All About Mia….

One family, three sisters. GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. And MIA, the mess in the middle. Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

All About Mia

No prizes for guessing what my new novel, All About Mia might be about! But who is Mia? And why is it all about her? Here’s everything you need to know!

Name: Mia Campbell-Richardson

Age: Sixteen

Family: Mum (Nikki), Dad (Jason), older sister (Grace, 19), younger sister (Audrey, 13)

Relationship with family: Erratic

Best friends: Stella Fielding, Mikey Twist, Kimmie Chu

Relationship status: Single

Relationship history: Ten months with Jordan Cooke

Favourite films: Clueless, Mary Poppins, Pitch Perfect, The Princess Bride, Mermaids, Step Up








Favourite TV: Pretty Little Liars, Friday Night Lights, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The 100, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Favourite food: Pizza, Dad’s jerk chicken, cheesy wotsits, chocolate hobnobs, McDonalds (no gherkins!), Haribo

Music: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lorde, Rihanna, Drake, Little Mix

Signature style: short shorts, tight dresses, big hair, bright lips, ‘It’s All About Mia’ t-shirt

Best subject at school: Religious Studies

Worst subject at school: English

Personality: extroverted, impulsive, confident, daring, sexy, funny, energetic, chaotic

Talents/skills: Great negotiator, confident leader, creative thinker, justice seeker

Greatest flaw: Impulsiveness

Best quality: Bravery

Habits: Binge drinker, occasional smoker, sugar addict

Celebrity crushes: Zayn Malik, Michael B Jordan, Ryan Guzman

Role models: Lorde, Amandla Stenberg

Anthem: Shake It Off, Taylor Swift

Hogwarts House: Slytherin

You can buy a copy of All About Mia here

About Lisa Williamson

I was born in Nottingham in 1980. This year I turn 36, which will mean I’ve been an adult for over half my life. I’m suitably terrified. I think I like to write for young adults because I still feel like I am one. 

I was a weird kid. Chronically shy, I spent a lot of time drawing and hiding under tables. Then for some strange and unexpected reason, I decided I wanted to be an actor. I eventually got over my shyness and aged nineteen, moved to London to study Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Here I met some of my very best mates and spent three bizarre but happy years singing show tunes and rolling around in fake blood, blagging a degree in the process. After graduation, I adopted the stage name of Lisa Cassidy (Lisa Williamson was already taken by Dawn from Hollyoaks…) and did all sorts of daft acting jobs, from appearing in panto with Basil Brush, to playing a Witch in Macbeth: The Musical. These days I act in lots of TV commericals, usually playing the role of ‘dishevelled mum’. 

I’ve always loved books and stories and as a child I enjoyed making up stories in my head (usually rip-offs of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton). In my late twenties, I found myself craving an additional creative outlet (I was temping in an office at the time) and started to write a novel about an out of work actor. Although no one wanted to publish it, I was excited to discover I could actually write something with a beginning, middle and end. Completing it freed me up to write something new and not necessarily based on my own personal experience.

Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the world-famous Tavistock Centre in North London. GIDS is the NHS service for under-eighteens struggling with their gender identity. The young people who used the service inspired me to write a story from the point of view of a transgender teenager. This eventually became The Art of Being Normal. 

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

Or why not follow Lisa on Twitter – @lisa_letters

Blog Tour

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

A huge thank you to the lovely Lisa Williamson for such a fab post and going along with my idea in the first place .

Also a huge thank you to Nina Douglas and DFB for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

You can find a review of The Art Of Being Normal here

Or a Q&A with a character from The Art Of Being Normal here

Have you read All About Mia?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued by Mia?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A with Lisa Williamson


Tomorrow, 7th January 2016, marks the paperback book birthday of the stunning The Art Of Being Normal by the lovely Lisa Williamson!

Happy Paperback Book Birthday Lisa!

It’s been just over a year since this brilliant book was released in hardback by David Fickling Books and a year since I read it and it captured my heart.

It was featured on my 15 Best Books Read In 2015 post here.

Wow!  This was my first read of 2015 and what a way it was to start 2015.  Right from the offset, page one, this book gave me goose bumps!  Straight away I knew it was going to be something special.  Such an important, stunning beautifully written debut.  I loved every single page, every single feeling and every single message.  Most importantly this book, for me asked the question What Is Normal?  And my own answer to this is everyone is normal in their own unique ways and we should stand proud.

You can find my full review here

Today I am so over the moon to have the awesome Lisa Williamson on Tales!

When thinking about what post I would like to feature I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters in this book especially David so I thought it would be fitting to do a Q&A with that very character!

Luckily Lisa thought it was a fab idea….so here it is…

Hi David!  Welcome to Tale Of Yesterday!  I am so happy to have you here!

Firstly a little about your story…


Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long …

So David.  Thanks for being here today and agreeing to this Q&A.  How are you?

Good, thank you. 

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name’s David William Piper. I’m fourteen and I’m in year ten at Eden Park School.  

You live with your Mum, Dad and Sister?  What is it like?

It’s okay, I suppose. We have quite a nice house. Not fancy or anything, but nice. 

Do you get on well with your sister Livvy?

Okay. She kind of ignores me. I think I show her up. I don’t know why, or maybe I do. We used to get on really well, like she’d follow me round the house begging me to play with her. Now all she does it roll her eyes at me and act like I’m the most embarrassing person on earth. 

Who are your friends at school?

Essie and Felix. They’re the best. We just get each other, you know? Like when I’m with them, I don’t ever feel like I have to act a certain way or pretend to be cool. We’ve been best friends in forever, since nursery school. They’re a couple, which is mostly cool but every so often a bit weird. Luckily they’re not too big on PDAs so I don’t feel like too much of a gooseberry. 

Do you enjoy school?

Not exactly. That’s more to do with the people than anything. There are some proper idiots in my year. I can’t wait to leave after year eleven. Essie, Felix and I are all going to apply to a sixth form college. Two years to go…

What’s your favourite class at school?

Textiles. I’m a disaster on the sewing machine though. I’m more into the design side of things. That’s what I’d like to be when I’m older, I think, a fashion designer, or maybe a stylist, something to do with clothes anyway. 

Where do you like to hang out?

Essie’s place. Essie’s Mum is really cool and kind of leaves us to it. Also, there’s always loads of diet cherry coke in her fridge and Monster Munch and KitKats and stuff in the cupboard. 

I hear there a new boy at school, Leo –  where did he come from?  I hear he’s helping you with your maths equations?

Yeah. He’s really cool actually and good at explaining stuff. He transferred to our school from Cloverdale at the beginning of the term. Have you heard of Cloverdale? It’s over other side of town. It’s meant to be really rough and the school is in the papers all the time because it’s so low in the league tables and former pupils keep trying to set fire to it. 

For those who haven’t met Leo could you describe him?

He’s sort of quiet, but not in a shy way, more like in a guarded way. He’s pretty serious so when he does laugh it’s like the best sound in the world. Does that sound weird? I didn’t mean it to, I just like it when he’s happy, I don’t quite know why. Essie reckons I fancy him but I don’t. I just find him interesting (Essie doesn’t think there’s a difference but there totally is). He’s grumpy but not in a mean way I don’t think, I just get the feeling he’s got a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. I wish he’d tell my about it but he kind of shuts down when I ask him anything deep. 

How is Leo settling into school?

Okay, I think. He’s kind of keeping himself to himself. Like he eats lunch on his own quite a bit and then disappears outside. I don’t know where he goes. I kind of wish I did. Sometimes I wish I could just crawl inside his brain. 

Do you think you and Leo will become friends?

I hope so. It’s weird, because on paper we just shouldn’t be. I mean, if you’d told me a few weeks ago I’d be hanging out with someone from Cloverdale, I would never have believed you. I suppose that’s the nice thing about him being here, it’s kind of made me think differently about stuff.

I feel we need to get to know you a little better – can you tell us 5 things we don’t know about David Piper?

I’m left-handed. 

I was born six weeks premature and spent the first week of my life in an incubator.

I once stole an eyeliner from Boots. I felt so guilty, the next time I went in I put a fiver in the charity box on the counter to try and make up for it. 

I can tie a cherry stem in a knot using just my tongue.

I’ve never kissed anyone.

Quickfire Questions!

Favourite Ice Cream?

Chocolate. Always chocolate. 

Favourite Colour?


Favourite song to sing at Karaoke?

I’m a horrible singer but if I had a gun pointed to my head I’d do Shake It Off by Taylor Swift!

Favourite book or author?

Everyday by David Levithan

Favourite saying or quote?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” (Oscar Wilde)

What do you think the future has in store for David Piper?

Wow, I don’t know. The future scares me a bit. Actually, a lot. I want to be happy, I suppose. That sounds well cheesy doesn’t it? I want to travel, definitely. I’ve only been to France, Spain and Florida so far. I want to be brave and push myself. I don’t mean bungee jumping or anything like that; I just don’t want to feel so scared of things. I’d like to go to university, to study fashion, maybe in London. I love London! 

If you could give one piece of advise to anyone reading this interview what would it be?

You want me to give some advice? Really? Um, I don’t know. The problem is, a lot of the advice I’d give someone else, is advice I should probably be accepting myself. That’s the thing about advice though, isn’t it? It’s easy to give out but really hard to put into practice yourself. Hmmmm, I guess I’d have to say, be true to yourself. It’s something I’m working on anyway…

Thank you so much for answering all my questions David. 


You can by The Art Of Being Normal here or why not visit your local independent bookshop for a copy 🙂

A huge huge thank you to Lisa for agreeing to a Q&A with a difference

About Lisa Williamson


I was born in Nottingham in 1980. I spent most of my childhood drawing, daydreaming and making up stories in my head (but never getting round to writing them down). As a teenager I was bitten by the acting bug and at 19 moved to London to study drama at university.

Following graduation, I adopted the stage name of Lisa Cassidy and spent several happy and chaotic years occasionally getting paid to pretend to be other people. Between acting roles I worked as an office temp and started making up stories all over again, only this time I had a go at writing them down. One of these jobs was at The Gender Identity Development Service – a specialist NHS service for young people struggling with their gender identity. The patient stories I heard inspired me to write The Art of Being Normal.

I live near Hampstead Heath with my boyfriend Matt, where I’m lucky enough to split my time between writing and acting. In my spare time I read a lot of books, continue to daydream and eat way too much ice cream.

Find out more about Lisa on her website – www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com

Or you can follow Lisa on twitter using @lisa_letters

You can by The Art Of Being Normal here or why not visit your local independent bookshop for a copy 🙂

Another huge huge thank you to Lisa for agreeing to a Q&A with a difference!

Have you read The Art Of Being Normal?  What did you think?  Has this Q&A or my review intrigued you?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Review – The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson


Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long …

Publisher – David Fickling Books

Date Published – 1st January 2015

Pages – 353 pages

Format – Hardback

Category – UK YA

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful Lovereading4kids and the publisher David Fickling Books in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you both for sending me this book to read and review.  My review will also be submitted to Lovereading4kids.

** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**

Wow!  This is my first read of 2015 and all I can say is what a way to start 2015!  I finished this book today and wanted to write my book review straight away as I have that much love for this book.  Such an important, stunning beautifully written debut by Lisa Williamson and a great addition to UKYA. I really hope that my review does this book the justice it fully deserves and that I am able to get across just how special this book is.

**Please note – Because David uses male pronouns in his internal dialogue I have also done this in my review **

Right from the offset, page one, this book gave me goose bumps!  Straight away I new it was going to be something special.

The Art Of Being Normal tells the story of David Piper, who has always felt like the outsider and has always known that he is a transgender girl.  He has picked a name, has a collection of female clothes, a scrap book and many letters he has tried to write to his parents to let them know his feelings and wishes.  His best friends Essie and Felix are the only ones that know about David’s feelings and support him completely with Essie even giving David some old dresses she no longer wanted.  Leo Denton is the new boy in school, transferred from Cloverdale to Eden Park who’s motto is “Fairness and Initiative”, he wants to lay low and get through the rest of school year without making friends.  What he doesn’t bank on is catching the attention of the lovely Alicia, with Disney princess long eyelashes. and fighting the school bully Harry landing him in detention for weeks where he forms a friendship with David over maths equations and a dog named Phillip.

The story is told from alternate flowing perspectives with different font / styles of text to reflect David and Leo’s point of view which for me, as a reader, was perfect.  Both voices come across importantly and distinctively making both characters fully enjoyable and individual.  I also loved the fact that David loves Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream – ohhhh my favourite of all the ice creams – EVER!

Lisa Williamson really gets the emotions and feelings of the characters across beautifully and sensitively including obstacles that are thrown in their way.  The relationship that David has with his body is evident at the beginning of the story with a weekly examination session in front of the mirror where David writes measurements down each week to determine how his body is changing and becoming more masculine, when he knows he is a girl.  There’s a great passage of David’s thoughts when he sees a buggy with twin babies in where the baby girl is dressed in pink and the baby boy dressed in blue.  This is an assumption we make from birth and the passage really makes you think.

As well as the relationship between David and Leo I adored the relationship between David, Essie and Felix who call themselves The Non-Conformists.  They are so supportive and encouraging of David and his decisions or when things get too much and the relationship is natural and everything I, as a reader, would love in a best friend.

As the story develops further the relationship that is built between David and Leo is touching and endearing with the old empty swimming baths scene beautifully written and bringing tears to my eyes as well as some comedic light hearted scenes which involve bingo, alcohol and a memorable Karaoke scene.  Lisa Williamson has previously discussed the Karaoke scene in a previous Tales Of Yesterday post about does music influence characters or stories in UKYA which you can find here.  I have to say in answer to Lisa’s question on this post the lyrics she created really did work so well in the book.

I also loved how the book explored the rocky relationship Leo has with his Mother and in contrast the close relationship he has with his sisters.  On the other side of the coin we have David who is close to his parents, but scared they will disown him once he reveals the truth and a rocky relationship with his younger photogenic sister Livvy.  It was, for me, a welcome addition to the storyline which continued and was explored throughout the book.

The last quarter of the book did something very strange to me which involved my stomach flipping over and over and eyes becoming misty eyed with tears of joy and of thinking how this book could really help or be a support to transgender boys, girls, men and women as well as parents, teachers, carers, brothers, sisters and friends who are trying to support or maybe understand.  Or maybe to someone who is feeling confused about their gender with no where to turn.  With the recent tragic news about transgender teen Leelah Alcorn’s suicide it made me think whether, if more books like this had been available to her or the people around her, she might have felt less alone in the world.

There is a passage in the book where one character asks another what they love about a play they are watching and the answer to the question really sums up my feelings.

“The humour I guess.  And the love story, the way everything is a big muddle, but it all comes together at the last minute.  And the way you sort of know that that’s going to happen the whole way through, but when it happens you’re still really happy about it, even though you knew its was coming”

A perfect stunning, important read.  I loved every single page, every single feeling, every single message.  Transgender, gay, lesbian, straight, black, white, fat or thin no one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself and should all be accepted.  Most importantly this book, for me, is asking the question What Is Normal?  And my own answer to this is everyone is normal in their own unique ways and we should stand proud.  Maybe different is the norm?  We all need to shout this from the rooftops and spread the word and make different the norm!

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!


You can find out more about debut author Lisa Williamson on her website – www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com or follow her on twitter – @lisa_letters

You can buy a copy of The Art Of Being Normal here

For more fab reviews of this book please check out the brilliant Lovereading4kids reviews of this book here.

Check out my Q&A with Lisa Williamson here

Have you read The Art Of Being Normal?  Are you planning to read?  Were you unsure and this review has persuaded you to go and buy this book?  Has this book helped you in any way?  I would love to hear from you – please feel free to use the reply button at the top of the review to post a comment or why not follow and tweet me on twitter on @chelleytoy – I would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading


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