Tag Archives: UKYA Extravaganza

Tales Post – UKYACX – UKYA & Children’s Extravaganza 2017 Announcement


I am super excited to have been asked by the lovely Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery to reveal the date and location of the next UKYACX for 2017!

For those of you who don’t know about the UKYACX it is a brilliant event that started in February 2015 aiming to bring authors and readers together around the country.

Here a little bit more about it from the UKYACX website…..


It all started in October 2014 with a ‘what if…?’

We – Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass – had just taken part in a panel event which Kerry had arranged at Waterstones Lincoln. Afterwards, we said to each other, ‘What if we did this again, with a few more authors, and invited a few more people?’

And from there it just grew… and grew.

On 28th February 2015, the first ever UKYA Extravaganza took place at Waterstones Birmingham High Street  with 33 authors taking part, and over 100 bloggers and readers attending. Tickets sold out in 24 hours! Read more about it at Where it all began.

Then, in October 2015, we did it again, holding a UKYA Extravaganza and a UKMG Extravaganza in Nottingham, featuring over 60 authors between the two events. You can see photos and find out more about the authors here.

In September 2016 we decided to combine the two events and renamed them the UKYA and Children’s Extravaganza. UKYACX took place in Newcastle and featured a whopping 42 authors from across the UK. Head over to the UKYACX 2016 page to read all about it!

We’re now planning UKYACX 2017!



I attended both the Birmingham UKYACX and the Nottingham one and they were both full of books, love and cake and most of all fun!

Find my write up of the Birmingham event here


So now onto the BIG announcement!

The next UKYAXC will be at……..

Waterstones Bristol Galleries



Saturday 21st October 2017!

See you there!



Tales Q&A with Kerr Thomson


I am super excited to be a part of the UKYACX Extravaganza Blog Tour again and today I have been paired up with the brilliant Kerr Thomson winner of the Times Children’s Fiction Prize 2014!

This time around the UKYACX Extravaganza is taking place in Newcastle on the 17th September 2016 and is featuring all of these amazing authors and illustrators!


Today I have been lucky enough to have put some questions to Kerr and he was kind enough to answer them all…..


Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she’s even there; while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn’t said a word in years. But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right.

You can read an extract from the book here

Hi Kerr.  It’s so wonderful to have you here today!

Can you tell us a little about your debut that was released last year, The Sound of Whales?

The Sound of Whales is an adventure story set on the Scottish island of Nin. Fraser and Dunny are island brothers, the younger one Dunny doesn’t speak. On to their island comes Hayley, an American girl who at first despises everything to do with the place, especially Fraser. Together they discover dead bodies and castaways in caves and whales and the special gift that only Dunny possesses.

You won the Times Children’s Fiction Prize 2014?  How was that?

That was amazing! I entered with no expectation of winning and it was the first place I ever sent The Sound of Whales. There is no large pile of rejection letters from agents and publishers and I am very aware of how lucky I am. That is the wonder of the competition – unknown writers like myself are given the most fantastic opportunity to be published. And it can happen to anyone!

Can you tell us a little about the main characters in The Sound of Whales, Fraser, Hayley & Dunny?

Fraser is an island boy looking for adventure and not realising he is living it every day.  Dunny is his younger brother who is autistic and mysterious and remarkable in many ways. Hayley is an American girl dragged by her mom to the island and determined to hate every minute of the experience. None of them can resist the adventures that come their way and the friendships that develop.

How important was the setting to you?  Why did you choose the setting of a Wild Scottish Island?

The island is almost a character in itself. Certainly the landscape plays a very important role in the story. There is something inherently dramatic and enigmatic about that place where the ocean meets the shore. And of course, the best and worst thing about an island is, you can’t get off!

What was your favourite scene to write?

The second last chapter began life as the last chapter and I always had that scene in my head. It is an ending of sorts though I don’t want to spoil it for anyone yet to read the book (You know who you are!). Writing it, having brought the story all the way there, was such a satisfying feeling. It ended as I had hoped it would end. That may seem a strange thing to say as its writer, but sometimes the words take on a life of their own and head in a different direction from anticipated and so I was glad the story finished as I hoped it would!

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in The Sound of Whales or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

They do say every author writes themselves into their first book so I suppose there is a wee bit of me in every character….although maybe not the orcas – don’t have that killer instinct!


As for using my own experiences in the story, well I’ve never swam with whales or sailed a boat or discovered a dead body but I have been frightened and I have been excited and I have been lonely and I have been angry and I have been brave and I have been flabbergasted and I have experienced all these important feelings that the young people in the book experience. So I guess that counts.

If you could cast your characters from The Sound of Whales in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

If I told you that then readers would have that image in their head and I would rather people created their own visual image of the characters as they read. So no mention of Ewan McGregor and Idris Elba…ah, darn!

What would you like your reader to take from The Sound of Whales?

I would like young people to believe in the possibility of adventure. I fear that no-one goes exploring anymore. Young people of today have this fantastic resource to enrich their lives which is sadly completely neglected. It’s called ‘outside’!

What do you think makes a good story?

It’s a simple formula – believable characters doing exciting things in an interesting place. Works every time.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Kerr Thomson?

No-one who answers this question ever gives random facts. They carefully craft five pieces of highly exaggerated if not downright fanciful snippets that make the person seem incredibly interesting, slightly mysterious but also modest and charming! I’m dull. I’ll pass.

Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

Well Ben would take me for a boat trip to find whales and then we would have to fight our way through a storm to get back to harbour so that sounds like a day to remember.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

Reading is the thing that inspired me to write. Every writer of books starts off as a reader of books. The earliest books that I loved were the Hardy Boys and Willard Price’s Adventure books. American kids foiling spy rings and wrestling crocodiles and flying biplanes. I doubt the books have aged well but at the time I devoured them and craved adventures of my own. Eventually I started writing the adventures instead of just imagining them.


Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Every time I read a good book I wish I had written it. Wizards, vampires, survival in dystopian worlds…..every sub-genre that arises you say to yourself, why didn’t I think of that?!

What are you currently reading?

Strangely I am reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. My eight year old son, Samuel, has just discovered the joys of Hogwarts and now wants intricate conversations about the minutiae of wizardry. I can’t remember any of it so I am starting again.


What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

It is not a new book. A reviewer likened The Sound of Whales to something written by Eva Ibbotson and I hadn’t read any of her books so I thought I would. I really enjoyed Journey to the River Sea.


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I have never tried it but I am not sure how a collaboration would work. I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to writing.

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

I sketch out a rough plan of a story but all pretty vague and then I just start writing. I usually have a detailed ending worked out, the ending is the most important bit of a book, but I don’t like to be too fixed in the story. New ideas will inevitably come as the plot develops.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I really don’t. I sit in front of my laptop and press the keys. I would love to have a Dahlesque shed but I just sit in the dining room with the door shut. I do get some of my best ideas when I am out running.

Recently I asked some lovely authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters.  Did music have any influence the story of The Sound of Whales?

I like to have a movie soundtrack or smooth classics on Classic FM playing in the background but not too intrusive. Mood music I suppose. How much influence it has on my writing is probably minimal.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2016 or 2017 I saw you’re writing your second novel The Rise of Wolves?  Can you tell us a little about it?

The Rise of Wolves is set on the same island of Nin but a different group of young people having an adventure of their own. No whales this time but there are wolves. Wolves on a Scottish island? Unlikely, I hear you cry. Ah, but now you’re intrigued!

Also in 2017 the American version of The Sound of Whales is published. Change of title, however. I believe it is now going to be called Washed Ashore. It’s a little strange to have a different title but apparently it is not unusual. I am not going to be precious about it.

And finally…are you excited about the UKYACX Extravaganza?

Anything that is an Extravaganza must be exciting! It will be so cool to hang out with all these authors and meet all the readers and book lovers who attend. Slightly intimidating as well. I keep thinking I am going to be found out!


You can buy a copy of The Sound Of Whales here

About Kerr Thomson


Kerr Thomson is a teacher of geography at Cathkin High School in Glasgow, and is the father of a six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.

After studying geography at universities in Glasgow and Arkansas he worked at various jobs in various places including hospitals, sports centres and country parks, but eventually could resist no longer and entered the teaching profession, which is something of a family business. He has taught in several schools in Manchester and the west of Scotland.

He enjoys cycling and runs an occasional half-marathon. In every place and at every time he has always written stories.

You can follow Kerr on twitter – @kerrthomson

Blog Tour

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

And don’t forget to buy tickets for this fab event!


You can find out more about the UKYACX Extravaganza in Newcastle on the website here

Or follow them on twitter using @UKYACX

Or find out what we got up to at the Birmingham UKYA Extravaganza here

UKYACX Logo with Newcastle Details

A huge thank you to Kerr for being fab and answering all of my questions!

Also a huge thank you to Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass for organising the UKYACX Extravaganza and having me on the blog tour!

See you there!


Guest Post – Whatever Happened To Kirky Ciccone? by Kirkland Ciccone


I am super excited to be a part of the UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour again and today I have been paired up with the awesome Kirkland Ciccone!

This time around the UKYA Extravaganza is taking place in Newcastle on the 17th September 2016 and is featuring all of these amazing authors!


416fQqPPBHL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_Aliens. Abductions. Genuine designer bags. This darkly comic Young Adult mystery has them all. Teenager Porter Minter arrives in Castlecrankie in a car that has no door handles. In the boot is a suitcase. In the suitcase is a boy. In the boy is the future and the past. The Armpit of the Universe wasn t Porter s destination of choice, and he s shocked by what he finds there. Teenagers are disappearing. JFK is skulking in the schoolyard. Crop circles are appearing. Perhaps Porter and his scheming parents aren t the town s only new arrivals. Armed only with a genuine designer bag and his razor-sharp wit, Porter sets out to confront evil…and look fabulous.

51Ic579vRmL._SY346_When a group of teenage misfits create a daydream kingdom to escape their humdrum lives, they set in motion a chain of events that leads to lunacy and murder. A reporter plots revenge in a grubby cafe. A crazy teenager is being pressured to slay a monster. Dragons wait at the edge of time, while a unicorn waits by the bingo.  And why is the bus always in the wrong lane? These events are all linked to the mysterious ruler of Enkadar. She is The Endless Empress. And she is forever.

514LEQF7gaLWinner: Catalyst Book Award 2014. The residents of The Cottage care unit are in mourning for the loss of the dazzling and outwardly faultless Seth Kevorkian. After the funeral the truth unfolds. For Seth was no ordinary teenager. He was a disciple of an ethereal power. And his fixation with conjuring The Infinite drove him to terrible acts. It might even have driven someone to kill him.

So when I was paired with Kirkland I knew I was in for a treat!

We wanted to do something a little different…..

So Kirkland wrote a mini story…..

Featuring yours truly and of course Kirkland!

Does anyone remember the film What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Whatever-Happened-to-Baby-JaneWell the story is based on this!

Picture the scene….

Chelley and Kirland live in a crumbling Waterstones – a former superstar blogger Chelley Toy (Kirkland’s words not mine) and cult YA author Kirky Ciccone – and we fight constantly!

Whatever Happened To Kirky Ciccone?

It’s the best movie you’ve never seen!

Whatever Happened To Kirky Ciccone?

AN EXCLUSIVE TALE BY KIRKLAND CICCONE FOR UKYACX which takes place on September 17th at Newcastle Central Library.

What Ever Happened to Kirky Ciccone? is a 2058 British psychological thriller film produced and directed by Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery, starring Kirkland Ciccone and Chelley Toy, about a blogger forced to live in an old abandoned branch of Waterstones with an aging cult author. He is insane. She is not.

  Taken from Wikipedia


In the old Juvenile section of Waterstones in Argyle Street (before the Great Bake Off Wars decimated most of the nation) ex-blogger Chelley Toy looks around wistfully at the decaying shelves crammed full of dusty books. In front of her is an old iPad, which she can’t work properly because she prefers to have keys under her fingertips and not a cracked old screen.

KIRKY, dressed as a deranged old French Art student even though he can’t speak French and is terrible at art, runs up the staircase, shoving a bust of The Gruffalo aside with a shrieking melodramatic scream. He is as ubiquitous as an Ed Sheeran song at a wedding…or an Elton John song at a funeral.

KIRKY: What are you doing? Tell me!

CHELLEY: I’m writing another post for my new blog. I think it’s a good one this time!

KIRKY: You better not give me a bad review you rotten bitch!

CHELLEY: I would never give you a bad review, Kirky.

CHELLEY is a liar. While placating KIRKY, her fingertips brush against the DELETE button on the screen, swiftly erasing the bad review she’d wrote about KIRKY’S new book. She smiles and opens a packet of Maryland chocolate chip cookies.

CHELLEY: Do you want a cookie?

KIRKY: You’ve poisoned them haven’t you? You want me to suffer! Oh I can’t bear it anymore. Where are the Juno Dawson books? Let me burn them so that I may feel better about myself!

CHELLEY gasps in horror.

CHELLEY: No…please…not the Juno Dawson books! I still haven’t recovered from the time you flushed my David Tennant photo album down the pan!

CHELLEY’s hand reaches down past the iPad towards the baseball bat she has stashed away for emergency head-cracking. KIRKY burned her favourite PHILIP PULLMAN books last week after she offered him her last Rolo.

KIRKY: So you’re writing a new blog post?

CHELLEY: I’ve written loads of them! It’s just a pity there aren’t anyone left in the world to read them. I’ll never forgive Mary Berry for the war.

KIRKY: I once tried to bake a cake in the microwave…

KIRKY suddenly pauses, realises what CHELLEY just said, then smiles.

KIRKY: I’ll read your new blog posts.

CHELLEY: Really? Oh I’d love that. Here you are!

CHELLEY hands over her old iPad to KIRKY. He reads it quickly, then he raises an eyebrow so high it almost touches the back of his bum.

KIRKY: This is a bad review of my new book!

CHELLEY: Damn! I pressed Standby instead of Delete!

KIRKY smashes the iPad over CHELLEY’s head. She staggers across the room, spinning like a Dalek at the dodgems.

CHELLEY: I’ll fix you!

CHELLEY kicks her favourite reading chair with enough force to send it shooting across the bookshop. It connects with KIRKY who screams like a deranged French Art student who has just been told that he failed his French Art exams. KIRKY jumps up and pushes a shelf so hard it topples over, pinning CHELLEY to the floor. She isn’t too upset as the shelf had a lot of Point Horror books on it.

CHELLEY: Kirky…there’s something I need to tell you.

KIRKY: I love a good gossip session!

CHELLEY: No…this is important…a secret…

KIRKY leads forward and listens as CHELLEY whispers a secret in his ear.

CHELLEY: I caused the Great Bake Off War. It was me all along. Not poor Mary Berry.

KIRKY covers his mouth with both hands, stifling a scream of horror. This has changed everything.

KIRKY: You mean all this time we could have been friends?

CHELLEY: No. I’m a blogger. I can’t be friends with authors. Impartiality, y’know?

For a moment it seems like KIRKY might bash CHELLEY with a copy of his favourite book ever: COLLEEN NOLAN’S BEAUTY SECRETS. But he values it too much because it helps him find the inner beauty that only COLLEEN NOLAN possesses. Instead he lifts something else and offers it to CHELLEY as a gesture of peace.

KIRKY: Would you like a chocolate chip cookie?

416fQqPPBHL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy Kirkland’s books here

About Kirkland Ciccone

Kirkland Ciccone in red and greenWINNER OF THE CATALYST BOOK AWARD 2014 – Conjuring The Infinite

Kirkland Ciccone writes and performs quirky one man shows for any theatre or venue lucky enough to have him. It wasn’t always this way though. He left school bored and restless, plotting to become a journalist until the time came for him to make a choice – performing arts or writing stories about jumble sales. Fact, in Kirkland’s case, is always weirder than fiction. He has written for cool music ‘zines such as This Is Fake DIY, Rock Louder, Neu Magazine, and Subba Cultcha. His previous shows include In Bed with Kirkland Ciccone, The Dead Don’t Sue, A Secret History, Kirkland Ciccone Plays Pop and others.

Conjuring The Infinite is his first novel.

His second novel is Endless Empress, or to give it the full title, Endless Empress: A Mass Murderer’s Guide To Dictatorship In The Fictional Nation Of Enkadar. An over the top YA book deserves an over the top title!

His latest novel of quirky YA fiction is North of Porter, a tale about a boy who takes on the world armed only with his sharp wit…and expensive designer handbag!

Kirkland lives in Falkirk with his dog Lord Fanny.

For news on upcoming novels, events and general juvenilia:


Blog Tour

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

And don’t forget to buy tickets for this fab event!


You can find out more about the UKYACX Extravaganza in Newcastle on the website here

Or follow them on twitter using @UKYACX

Or find out what we got up to at the Birmingham UKYA Extravaganza here

UKYACX Logo with Newcastle Details

A huge thank you to Kirkland for being fab and for a brilliant post and for sending me a copy of his awesome books!

Also a huge thank you to Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass for organising the UKYACX Extravaganza and having me on the blog tour!

See you there!


Tales Q&A with Mike Revell


I am super excited to be a part of the UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour again and today I have been paired up with the wonderful Mike Revell!

This time around the UKYA Extravaganza is taking place in Nottingham on the 10th October 2015 and is featuring all of these amazing authors!


So I got to put some questions to Mike all about his debut Stonebird and writing!

**Warning this Q&A may feature mentions of Taylor Swift….I think Mike is a fan**


When ten-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his dementia-suffering grandma, he’s thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart. Liam doesn’t remember what his grandma was like before she became ill. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He wants to fix it, but he can’t. Walking his dog one day, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways. The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam’s stories. And stories can be dangerous things…Seeking revenge against the bullies at his new school, Liam tells a story about the gargoyle attacking them. When one of them ends up in hospital, a regretful Liam vows never to go near the gargoyle again. But his grandma’s illness is getting worse, his mum isn’t coping, and his sister is skipping school…What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam’s family?

Hi Mike!

Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I am so happy and honoured to have you here today!

Can you tell us a little about Stonebird?


Stonebird is about a boy struggling to deal with his grandma’s dementia – until he finds a mysterious gargoyle that changes his life in impossible ways. Everything’s falling apart for Liam; his mum is drinking a lot, his sister is skipping school, and he doesn’t remember what his grandma was like before the disease stole all her memories. But the gargoyle? It’s alive, and Liam soon discovers that it can protect more than just old buildings…

 Can you tell us a little about the main character Liam?

 Liam is in a strange place at the start of the book. He’s just moved house, so he’s miles away from his friends, and he’s finding it difficult starting at his new school. On top of that, he feels guilty for not remembering his grandma like everyone else does. But when he finds his grandma’s old diary, it rekindles his love of storytelling – a magical, dangerous thing, because it’s through these stories that he can control the gargoyle.

 How important are names to you? Did you pick any of the characters names in Stonebird for a reason?

 I love when authors drop hints and clues about a character through a carefully selected, perfectly chosen name. One of my favourite things about Harry Potter is that you can write entire essays just on the meaning of names! But for Stonebird, I wanted to ground it in reality as much as possible, so there’s nothing too clever about the name choices – it’s really just that they all felt right for the characters I had in my head at the time. The only one that took a while to find was Mrs Culpepper, Liam’s teacher. I wanted her name to be memorable and slightly unusual, with a hint of magic.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

 There’s a scene involving Liam’s grandma towards the end of the book that was great fun to write, but I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll go for one early on in the book where we see the gargoyle for the first time. It’s my favourite one to read out loud too – I always start school visits with that chapter!

 Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Stonebird or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

 I think there’s a bit of me in all the characters in the book, although the amount varies from character to character. But a lot of the story is based on real life. Mrs Culpepper gets the students telling stories by passing around a marble egg to inspire them, and that’s stolen straight from real life – I had a brilliant teacher in Year Five who did just that. But Liam’s grandma is the character most influenced by real life. My gran had severe dementia for years, and my own experiences of that inspired a lot of Stonebird.

 Did you use any resources to imagine the gargoyle and how he would look?

 The main resource was the old Gargoyles cartoon they used to show when I was at school. In that, these huge gargoyles were brought from Scotland to New York and they cracked apart and burst into life on skyscrapers under the glow of the moon. That show has stuck with me, because it’s such a powerful image, and I knew I wanted my gargoyle to be massive, like Goliath. Other than that, it was a case of studying animals and seeing what it was about their prowl or their glare that made them so striking.


 If you could cast your characters from Stonebird in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

 That’s tough! Maggie Smith is one of my favourite actresses, and I think she’d do a great job of playing Liam’s grandma. As for Liam himself – maybe someone like Asa Butterfield. And if someone was going to bring the gargoyle to life, I couldn’t imagine a better voice than Benedict Cumberbatch or Andy Serkis.

Smith, Maggie

Press Conference for Ender's Gameandy-serkis-uk-premiere-the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-01







What would you like your reader to take from Stonebird?

 I just hope that they remember it; that it lingers in their mind when they finish reading. I hope it helps them to deal with dementia or any other issue that is hard to talk about that they may have going on in their own life.

 What do you think makes a good story?

 Ooh, interesting question. Everyone will answer this differently, but for me, a good story has to grab you from the very first page and burn its way into you from the last.

If a story doesn’t grip me from the beginning, I probably won’t read it. And if I get to the end, I want to remember it. The space between the first page and the last should be filled with interesting, living, breathing characters brought to life by the most important factor of all – a great voice.

 We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Mike Revell?

  1. My earliest memory is watching an old Superman movie, and from about the age of three onwards my greatest desire was to grow up to be a superhero.
  2. I’m secretly a massive fan of Taylor Swift.
  3. One day I’d love to try pizza with ice cream on top, because the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles ate it, and they know their pizza.
  4. The little finger of my right hand looks like a witch’s walking stick because of an old American football injury.
  5. I live right next to a castle, inside ancient city walls, which makes it pretty easy to find inspiration for stories!

 Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

 It would totally have to be Liam’s grandma. In my experience, elderly people are full of the best kinds of stories, and I think we should treasure every nugget of wisdom.

 Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

 I was a very, very reluctant reader when I was a kid. In fact, I pretty much hated books until I was 11, when I read Harry Potter. Reading those books changed my life, because if I never found them I would probably never have become a reader, and without being a reader you can’t be a writer. J. K. Rowling opened the door to other inspirational authors, like Neil Gaiman and David Almond, and their fingerprints are definitely all over my own writing.


 Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

 Totally! I wish I wrote The Graveyard Book, which is about as perfect as a book can be, in my opinion. And I think the How to Train Your Dragon books are brilliant. I’d totally take a time machine back to steal the Mr Gum idea from Andy Stanton – they’re fantastic books.










 What are you currently reading?

 I’ve just started reading The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. I love the way she writes; her books are like sitting beside a crackling fire when it’s raining outside.


 What is your favourite book of 2015 so far?

 Such a tough question… I’ll have to go with The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone, because it was packed with the best kind of magic and written in such a beautiful way.


 Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

 Oh, totally. The obvious ones are J. K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman, so I’ll get those out of the way now. It would be a joy to work with Chris Riddell or Sarah McIntyre. If I could wave a magic wand and work with David Almond, that would be pretty special too.

 When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

 It starts in my notebook – a line, or an image, a brief snippet of an idea. As it bumps into other ideas, I scribble around it, building it out, testing things. Then when it catches fire I splurge out all my thoughts into a document on my computer. I don’t like to plan in too much detail, because then I lose interest. I like finding out what happens as I write. I try to figure out the main character and their world and the problem they’re facing, and then I dive in, exploring as I go. When I’ve written my way in a bit, it feels more real, and that’s when I plan in a bit more detail – setting out scenes on cards so I can move them about and see the shape of the story. This helps to give me more of a clear direction as I work my way through the rest of the idea.

 Do you have any strange writing habits?

 Nothing too strange… I like to get 1,000 words written a day when a project’s in full swing, and I break that down into two blocks. Around 500 words before lunch, and around 500 later in the day. I normally write better at night, so sometimes I stay up late to finish the word count.

 Recently I asked some lovely authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters.  Did music have any influence the story of Stonebird?

 Music is so powerful, I love listening to it when I write. Normally this is instrumental stuff – movie soundtracks, that kind of thing. Naturally a bit of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” is a great song to wake up to, but when I sit down to work, I love James Horner’s music. Hans Zimmer too. I can play their soundtracks and close my eyes and the story builds around me. It was especially useful listening to this kind of thing while writing the graveyard scenes in Stonebird.

 Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2015 or 2016?

 The rest of this year is all about school visits, which is one of the best things about being an author. Then next year, my second book is coming out. I’ve just got back from Edinburgh Book Festival, which was one of my favourite experiences ever, and I can’t wait to go to more festivals in 2016.

 And finally…are you excited about the UKYA Extravaganza?

 Very much! I was so happy to be invited, and I can’t wait to meet everyone, both authors and readers. It’s such a good idea for an event, and I haven’t been to Nottingham for years. The magic of stories in the home of Robin Hood – what more could you want?


About Mike Revell


Mike Revell used to be one of those kids who didn’t like reading. He was more inclined to run home and play video games than dive into a book.

Then Harry Potter came along. The series didn’t just make him a reader, it made him want to be an author too; he wanted to give to people the same feelings of wonder and enjoyment that J.K. Rowling gave to him as a young boy.

Stonebird is Mike’s first novel and is influenced by the real experiences of seeing his grandmother suffer from dementia, as well as his love of myths.

To find out more about Mike visit is website here

You can follow Mike on twitter using @RevellWriting

You can buy Stonebird here or from your local bookshop!

Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of the blog tour below or why not check out my UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour post here detailing all posts on the tour and authors attending the event!

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You can find out more about the UKYA Extravaganza in Nottingham on the website here

Or follow them on twitter using @UKYAX

Or find out what we got up to at the Birmingham UKYA Extravaganza here

You can find out more about the Birmingham UKYA Extravaganza authors and the blog tour that took place here

Or why not catch up on the Nottingham UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour posts and authors here

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A huge thank you to Mike for being fab and answering all of my questions !

Also a huge thank you to Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass for organising the UKYA Extravaganza and having me on the blog tour!

See you there!




Tales Post – UKYA Extravaganza Nottingham Blog Tour

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To celebrate the second UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA which is being held at Waterstones Nottingham on the 10th October 2015 there is a great big blog tour celebrating the 30 super-duper authors that are attending the event!


Again the wonderful Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery have organised the UKYA Extravaganza and I am so excited to be attending this fab event!  It is set to be such a fun day and with such a brilliant set of UKYA authors attending the event I’m sure it will be a huge success!

In the meantime I thought I would share a bit about each author with links to their twitter and websites and links to their UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA blog tour posts that are being hosted by 29 fab bloggers!

 What a huge blog tour!

 Follow the #UKYAextravaganza on twitter – @UKYAX or check out the website www.ukyax.com

The last UKYA Extravaganza was held in Birmingham and was so much fun!  You can find out what we got up to here!

There was also a previous blog tour to celebrate the Birmingham event also – here

So here goes…. *takes big breath*

Want to know more about the upcoming UKMG Extravaganza and it’s authors – click here

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Paula Rawsthorne


Paula’s talent for writing was first noticed when she won the BBC Get Writing competition and her story was read by Bill Nighy on Radio 4.  The opening chapters of her teen thriller, The Truth About Celia Frost, led to her becoming a winner of Undiscovered Voices 2010.  She was subsequently signed up by Usborne who published The Truth About Celia Frost in 2011.  To date Celia Frost has been nominated for 11 literary awards.  It was selected as the winner of the Leeds Book Award (2012), Sefton Super Reads Award (2012), and the Nottingham Brilliant Book Award (2013).  Her second novel, Blood Tracks, was published on 1st June 2013. It has been shortlisted for several literary awards, winning ‘The Rib Valley Book Award 2014’.

Paula is proud to be a writer in residence for the national literacy charity ‘First Story’.  She is also regularly invited into secondary schools around the UK to do author talks and workshops.

Paula was born and brought up in Liverpool and now lives in Nottingham with her husband and three children.

You can find out more about Paula on her website here

Sue Ransom


I was born in Kent and enjoyed writing stories at school. I was more interested in science though, and gave up studying English at sixteen. I ended up doing Chemistry at university, but my love of reading never went away. The next time I wrote any fiction was decades later, when I decided to write a book for my daughter’s twelfth birthday, and since then I’ve discovered a passion for storytelling.  Luckily, other people seem to like my stories too, so I’m getting to produce more of them.  I live in Surrey with my family and a very lovely chocolate Labrador.

The award winning and best-selling Small Blue Thing trilogy has been translated into German and Polish and is sold in many different countries all around the world.  I’m particularly proud that readers have also twice voted me onto the shortlist for the prestigious Queen of Teen award with some of my author heroes (John Green, anyone?). The parties are also legendary!  My new book, The Beneath, is due out in March 2015, and I’m currently busy with my next project.

I love visiting schools and libraries to talk to people about how you can find the time to write, and how I got published.

Visit Sue’s website – here

Check out Sue’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post where Sue talks about Regrets and Dreams over on  liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup run by Jax Blunt ( @liveotherwise ) – here

Lydia Syson


Lydia Syson has worked with words and stories all her life, in her early career as a radio producer for the BBC World Service, and now as an author of critically acclaimed YA fiction which ‘brings history to life’. A World Between Us (Hot Key Books, 2012), a story of politics and passion set during the Spanish Civil War, was Highly Commended by the judges of the Branford Boase Award, and longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and the UKLA Book Award (2014).  Her second novel,That Burning Summer (Hot Key Books, 2013), chosen by The Independent as a Children’s Book of the Year, is set on Romney Marsh in Kent during the Battle of Britain.  If you want to know what happened in Paris after the events of Les Mis, look no further than Liberty’s Fire, a Telegraph ‘Best YA Novel of 2015’, which tells the unbelievable story of the 1871 Paris Commune. Lydia is also the author of a PhD (2003) about explorers, poets and Timbuktu and Doctor of Love (2008), the biography of James Graham, an 18th century medical entrepreneur who designed an electrical, magnetic Celestial Bed for conceiving perfect babies. She is currently a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Visit Lydia’s website – here

Check out Lydia’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post which was featured here on Tales!

Which Lydia Syson Character Are You?

Lydia also wrote about the UKYA Extravaganza here

Zoe Marriott

4427675_origI was born and raised in Lincolnshire, where the wild North Sea meets the gentle green-gold curves of the Wold, and I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer since I finished reading my first book; ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. I think I was about eight, but I’ve never changed my mind in all the years since then.

I got my first publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but had to wait until I was twenty-four to see my debut novel – The Swan Kingdom – published. It went on to be shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and the Lincolnshire Young People’s Book Award, and become a USBBY Outstanding International Book, among other honours.

Since then I’ve written many other books and have been lucky enough to win or be nominated for many other awards, including the Great Britain Sasakawa Prize and a second place in the Lancashire Book of the Year Awards. I have also recieved grants from the Royal Literary Fund and the Arts Council England.

I currently live in a little house in a town by the sea, with my two rescued cats, one called Hero after a Shakespearian character and one Echo after a nymph from a Greek myth. I also have a springer/cocker spaniel called Finbar (otherwise known as The Devil Hound). 

My favourite colour is green. My favourite food is Chinese dim sum. My favourite songs are ‘I Will Follow You Into the Dark’ by Death Cab for Cutie and ‘Spem in Alium’ by Thomas Tallis.

Visit Zoe’s website here

Check out Zoe’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post where lovely Carly ( @carlybennett ) from writingfromthetub.co.uk chats to Zoe – here

R J Morgan


R. J. Morgan was born in sunny Cardiff and has wanted to be a writer since she found out Roald Dahl grew up in Llandaff and ate a Mars Bar every day. Knowing they had so much in common, off she skipped to London with her manuscript and eleven short years later she made it to the dizzy heights of having a nervous breakdown in Euston station.

After gaining an ill-advised degree, Morgan gained a highly coveted job in advertising. Just like Don Draper, she moved into a garage in Wimbledon with slugs, rising damp, and a band of foxes that belted across the roof in the dead of night. Morgan didn’t really understand what was going on in work and left it a bit late to ask, so she started spending quality time with friends (especially season 4), travelling to exotic cake shops, and taking long walks on the internet.

Morgan decided it would be fun to be hated by one’s own government, so she became a teacher. Morgan used writing to cope with training in a school affectionately known as ‘hell’s toilet.’ She now works in a fantastic school and lives in the wonderfully triangular Crystal Palace with more foxes and fewer slugs.

Check out R J Morgan’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post where the wonderful Christina Banach ( @ChristinaBanach ) from christinabanach.com chats to R J Morgan – here

Alex Campbell


Alex Campbell announced she was going to be a writer at eight years old. But no one took much notice. After a nomadic education daydreaming in back rows across Luton, Chester, London, Sheffield and Middlesbrough – and one English degree later – Alex moved into the world of PR and copywriting. Here she worked on getting other people noticed instead.

Now, living near Bath with one husband, two children and an armful of untold stories, Alex’s eight-year-old self’s ambition has finally been realised with the publication of her debut novel, LAND. When she’s not gazing dreamily out of windows, Alex can usually be found, notebook at the ready, in dark art-house cinemas, propping up coffee bars, or worse.

Check out Alex’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post where Alex talks about why she likes to write about big issues in her novels over on  pewterwolf.blogspot.co.uk run by bloggers blogger Andrew ( @PewterWolf13 ) – here

Liz De Jager

51kxz9bh_400x400I have probably been a writer for as long as I can remember.  I think I may have killed a forest using up all the notebooks I could get my grubby little paws on, including my sister’s workbooks for school.  I wrote in everything.  And on everything, including our walls in our house in South Africa. Even if it just was my name.  Yes, I was obsessed even back then, aged five.

I finished my first ever novel for ages 9+ and had a great time writing it.  But in retrospect I realise I was so in love with it, I put too much stuff in it, and it needs stripping down and rebuilding.  That will be for another day, I think.

I’m repped by Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group.   I’m the author of The Blackhart Legacy trilogy.  The first two books in the series – Banished / Vowed – is out now in both ebook format and paperback and can be bought from all good bookshops on the high street and online.

Check out Liz’s website here

Check out Liz’s fab Q&A over on serendipityreviews.co.uk run by the lovely Viv ( @Serendipity_Viv ) – here

David Owen


David Owen achieved a first class honours in BA Creative Writing and an MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester, where he went on to teach on the BA Creative Writing course for three years. He is also an awards-shortlisted games journalist, with a particular interest in the applications for video games outside of entertainment, and he has written about games being used to treat depression, dyslexia and autism. David has been published as a poet in journals including Agenda and Seam. Panther is his first novel.

Check out David’s website here

Find out all about how David felt being published for the first time over on Sofia’s ( @SofiaSTRF ) blog thereadingfangirl.wordpress.comhere

You can check out my review of Panther here


A Q&A with David Owen here

Lauren James

g9xo81MmHello! I’m Lauren. I’m 23, and I recently graduated from the University of Nottingham with a masters in Chemistry and Physics.

I’m a YA author, and my first novel The Next Together is published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia (and soon in the USA, Turkey, Germany and Brazil!).

I have too many feelings about fictional characters, science and dogs. Things I like: intelligent women, Dylan O’Brien, and things with plants on them. My favourite chemical is acetone, my favourite monarch is Queen Elizabeth I, and my favourite drinking game is a Jane Austen one. I’m a ravenclaw.

You can find out more about Lauren on her website here

Check out Lauren’s video interview over on the lovely Lisa over at @City_Of_Ya channel below!

Sheena Wilkinson


Sheena Wilkinson has been described as ‘one of our foremost writers for young people’ (The Irish Times). Since the publication of the multi-award-winning Taking Flight in 2010, she has published several novels for young adults, as well as one middle grade novel. Grounded, her second YA, won the CBI Book of the Year in 2013. Until now, her novels have all been contemporary, but she has had many short stories published set in the early twentieth century, the most recent being ‘Each Slow Dusk’ in Walker’s The Great War anthology (2014). Name Upon Name (Little Island) is her first historical novel, set in Belfast 1916. It follows this spring’s YA novel, Still Falling. Sheena is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, and lives in County Down.

Check out Sheena’s UKYA EXTRAVAGANZA post where she chats to blogger Naomi ( @Frizbot ) over on TheWritesOfWoman.wordpress.com in a fab Q&A here

Lucy Coats


Lucy Coats writes for children of all ages. Her first picture book was published in 1991, and in 2004 she was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Prize for ‘Atticus the Storyteller’s 100 Greek Myths’. Lucy read her first book of Greek myths at the age of seven, and has been hooked on stories of all kinds ever since.

Lucy’s latest picture book, ‘Captain Beastlie’s Pirate Party’, has just been published by Nosy Crow. Coming for 2015 are: ‘Beasts of Olympus’ an exciting myth-based series for 7-9’s from Piccadilly Press (UK) and Grosset and Dunlap (Penguin) USA; ‘Cleo’ a gripping YA novel about the young Cleopatra from Orchard Books; and ‘The Little Green Drum’, an Early Reader from Orion.

Lucy lives in rural Northamptonshire and writes looking out over green fields full of sheep. She has a deskdog called Hero who generally lies between her screen and keyboard and is very good at encouraging Lucy when the writing is going slowly.

Lucy also teaches regular Masterclasses on How to Write for Children at The Guardian (see events) and writes for Publishing Talk and Mslexia magazine.

Find out more about Lucy on her website here

Check out a fab Q&A with Lucy by the awesome Darran ( @ShinraAlpha ) over on shinraalpha.com here

Lee Weatherly


L. A. Weatherly is the author of the bestselling Angel series, as well as almost 50 other books for children and teenagers. She’s originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and lives in Hampshire, England with her husband. Her books have been translated into over 10 different languages.

You can find out more about Lee Weatherly on her website here

Check out a fab Q&A about writing with Lee Weatherly over on pentopaperblog.com run by the lovely Dani ( @Pentopaperblog ) here

Sangu Mandanna


Sangu Mandanna was four years old when she was chased by an elephant and wrote her first story about it and decided that this was what she wanted to do with her life. Seventeen years later, she read Frankenstein. It sent her into a writing frenzy that became THE LOST GIRL, a novel about death and love and the tie that binds the two together. Sangu now lives in Norwich, England with her husband and two young sons.

You can find out more about Sangu on her website here

Check out chouett.com run by the lovely Virginie ( @ChouettBlog ) with a fab Q&A with Sangu here

Lisa Williamson


Lisa Williamson was born in Nottingham in 1980. She spent most of her childhood drawing, daydreaming and making up stories in my head (but never getting round to writing them down). At 19 she moved to London to study drama at university. Following graduation, she 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 she worked as an office temp and started making up stories all over again, only this time she 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 she heard inspired her to write The Art of Being Normal.

You can find out more about Lisa on here website here

Check out Lisa’s fab guest post over on the nottinghamwritersstudio.co.uk  ( @NWStudio ) here

Check out my review of The Art Of Being Normal here


A Q&A with Lisa Williamson here

Sophia Bennett


Sophia Bennett won the Times/Chicken House Fiction competition in 2009 with her first novel, Threads, set in London’s fashion world. The two sequels in the series were published in 2010 and 2011 and Threads has since been published in over a dozen languages. Sophia has also written two contemporary YA titles, The Look and You Don’t Know Me, and an adventure story for girls, called The Castle. She lives and writes in London, and you can find her on Facebook, and at sophiabennett.com and threadsthebook.com.

Check out Sophia’s fab Q&A with the lovely Faye ( @daydreamin_star ) over on daydreamersthoughts.co.uk here

Rachel McIntyre


Rachel is from West Yorkshire and now lives in Cheshire. She has worked in the USA as well as Spain, where she taught English and wrote travel guides and features. Rachel’s passions are modern literary fiction and live music – she’s a fanatical gig and festival goer. She writes contemporary YA fiction with a highly original voice.

 Rachel’s debut, Me and Mr J, about a girl who falls in love with her teacher, is published by Egmont.

Check out this Q&A with Rachel over on snugglingonthesofa.com run by the lovely Debbie ( @Snugglingonsofa ) – here

Find out what happened at the Electric Monkey blogger day where I met Rachel here

Ben Davis


I was born twenty-eight years ago.  I was a baby at the time.

Between then and now, I’ve done loads of stuff – learned to use the big boy toilet by myself, got married and wrote a book.

Incidentally, all of those things happened in the last three years.

Before The Private Blog of Joe Cowley, I wrote jokes and sketches for radio.  Remember that Numberwang one?  Really funny wasn’t it?  Yeah, I had nothing to do with that.

These dats I live in Tamworth with my wife and my dog.  Sometime I put him in funny costumes.  I am an awful human being.


You can find out more about Ben Davis on his website here

Check out an hilarious Q&A with Ben by Sophie ( @SophieRTB ) over on reviewedthebook.co.ukhere

Helen Grant


Helen was born in London in 1964. She showed an early leaning towards the arts, having been told off for writing stories under the desk in maths lessons at school.

Helen went on to read Classics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, and then worked in marketing for ten years to fund her love of travelling. Her two most memorable travelling days were the one spent exploring Damascus in Syria and the day she went to the Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur to see the romantic blockbuster Beta.

In 2001, she and her family moved to Bad Münstereifel in Germany. It was exploring the legends of this beautiful old town that inspired her to write her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, which is set there.

Helen now lives in Scotland with her husband, her two children and her two cats.

You can find out more about Helen on her website here

Check out Helen’s fab Q&A over on dark-readers.com ( @DarkReaders )run by the lovely Casey ( @CaseyAnnBooks ) and Stephen ( @MyBookishLife ) –here

Mike Revell


Mike Revell used to be one of those kids who didn’t like reading. He was more inclined to run home and play video games than dive into a book.

Then Harry Potter came along. The series didn’t just make him a reader, it made him want to be an author too; he wanted to give to people the same feelings of wonder and enjoyment that J.K. Rowling gave to him as a young boy.

Stonebird is Mike’s first novel and is influenced by the real experiences of seeing his grandmother suffer from dementia, as well as his love of myths.

To find out more about Mike visit is website here

Check out the Q&A I carried out with Mike on Tales here

Emma Pass

Emma & The Hound

Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember; she reckons it’s the most fun you can have without attracting attention from the authorities. She wrote her first novel, aged 13, in maths lessons with her notebook hidden under her work. After school, she went to art college, but soon realized she wasn’t cut out to be a painter and decided to stick with writing.

By day, Emma works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands.

Emma is also one of the organisers for UKYA Extravaganza and UKMG Extravaganza!

You can find out more about Emma on her website here

Read a letter to Emma’s past self over on Teresa-stenson.BlogSpot.com run by @TeresaStensonhere

Martyn Bedford


I grew up in Croydon and worked in a bank for a year. But this is true of so many writers it has become a cliché. So let me tell you about some of the other stuff.

My dad, Peter, was a sheet-metal worker; my mum, Marjorie, a wages clerk. I have no brothers or sisters. We never had a foreign holiday till I was 17. They took me to Belgium for a week, to prove I hadn’t been missing anything. I loved them both. They’re dead, now, but I still love them.

I went to a big comprehensive school and enjoyed my time there so much I wrote my first adult novel about a disturbed man who takes revenge on his former teachers. Made a mess of my A-levels (too much snooker, too little effort) and had to do a re-sit to get into journalism college.

Learned my lesson, though – I spent much of the journalism course drinking, playing pool or going on protest marches. “Home” was a caravan in a field with two mates from the course. Take my advice, don’t live in a caravan. Even so, it still rates as just about the best year of my life.

For the next 15 years I worked as a news reporter, football correspondent, features writer and sub-editor on newspapers all over England (and one in Wales).

Between jobs I went backpacking in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. I taught English in Hong Kong, despite speaking no Cantonese and being unqualified to teach English (or anything else), and returned from India with dysentery, hepatitis and pneumonia, having lost a quarter of my body weight. Happy days.

All this time, through my 20s and early 30s, I wrote fiction – short stories, a couple of abandoned novels – did creative writing classes, joined a writers’ group … until it dawned on me that I wanted to be a writer more than anything. So, I quit my job and enrolled on the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. That was where I began Acts of Revision.

I’ve been writing novels ever since – first for adults, now for teenagers – and when I’m not doing that, I teach creative writing (even though I still have no teaching qualifications.) Best of all, though, I have a wife, Damaris, and two daughters, Josie and Polly. And I don’t live in Croydon anymore.

Find out more about Martyn on his website here

Check out a fab Q&A post with Martyn over on mikaylasbookshelf.BlogSpot.co.uk run by the lovely Mikayla ( @mkaylagray ) – here

Kerry Drewery


YA Author of A Brighter Fear (shorlisted for the Leeds Book Award) and A Dream of Lights (nominated for the Carnegie Medal, awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at North East Teen Book Awards, and shortlisted for the Hampshire Independent Book Awards).

Kerry Drewery has always had a passion for writing. She was a finalist in a BBC script-writing competition in 2009 and is currently hugely involved with Bookstart. Kerry lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and children.

The story of A Brighter Fear was created through Kerry’s own fascination with the Iraq war. Kerry’s sensitive approach creates a beautiful, contemporary fairytale that will stay with teen readers for a lifetime.

Emma is also one of the organisers for UKYA Extravaganza and UKMG Extravaganza!

Check out Kerry’s favourite UKYA books over on writer-on-wheels.blogspot.co.uk run by the lovely Chloe ( @writeronwheels_ ) – here

David Massey

61v5N-guwxL__UX250_David Massey’s varied career has taken him from teaching and music journalism to presenting, producing and writing for radio.

As the Romanian revolution was ending, David led a team taking supplies to Bucharest and Timisoara. On the way home he stopped near Checkpoint Charlie to help chip holes in the Berlin Wall. Rather fittingly, David and his wife Debi now run Globehuggers Emergency Supplies – a business specializing in bespoke grab bags and emergency equipment.

In his spare time, David is an accomplished classical guitarist and has spent the last few years tapping away on his keyboard writing books for Young Adults. His debut young adult novel TORN was published on August 2012 in the UK on the Chicken House label. TORN has already been shortlisted for lots of awards and won the Lancs Book of the Year 2013. On July 30th 2013 the amazing hardcover edition was released in the USA.

David’s second book – TAKEN was released on World Book Day – 6th March 2014. He is now busy planning book three…

Check out a profile post about David over on ourbookreviewsonline.BlogSpot.co.uk run by Mary ( @marymayf ) – here

Teri Terry


Teri Terry has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring four degrees, a selection of passports and a silly name along the way.

Moving constantly as a child, teenager and also as an adult has kept Teri on the outside looking in much of her life. It has given her an obsession with characters like Kyla in Slated and Luna in Mind Games, who don’t belong or find themselves in unfamiliar places.

Teri left her job with Buck’s libraries to write full-time and complete her research MA on the depiction of terrorism in recent young adult dystopian literature. She has also at various times and in various countries been a lawyer, an optometrist, a teaching assistant, and a science technician.

Slated has won twelve awards, including the North East Teenage Book Award, the Leeds Book Award, the Angus book award, the Portsmouth Book Award, the Rotherham book award and the Rib Valley Book Award. It was the most voted for YA title in the 2012 international Edinburgh Book Festival Anobii First Book Award.

You can find out more about Teri on her website here

Check out the fab Q&A with Teri over on independentbookreviews.co.ukhere

Nick Cook


Having completed his degree in sculpture back in 1985, rather than face the artist’s traditional garret Nick took the plunge into, what was then, the emerging computer games industry. For more than 21 years Nick worked as a graphic artist and creative director, helping to create over forty published titles, including many chart-topping hits.

Nick has a passion for science and astronomy, often blogging about the latest mind-blowing discoveries made in quantum physics. He once even soloed a light aircraft, an experience he’s tapping into now for Cloud Riders. Not needing any excuse to travel, he recently completed a writing research trip to the volcanic landscape of Iceland for the second book in the Cloud Riders’ trilogy, Breaking Storm.

You can find out more about Nick on his website here

Check out this fab guest post by Nick over on mybookcorner.com.au run by the lovely Emma ( @mybookcorner ) – here

Sarah Benwell


Sarah Benwell lives in the picturesque city of Bath. Which is nice, but she’d much rather be off exploring deserts and jungles elsewhere. Having seen a good chunk of the world, Sarah is a keen advocate for diversity in life and on bookshelves, and she loves nothing more than acquainting herself with both.

Bali Rai


I was born in Leicester in 1971 and grew up in a multicultural, multi-racial community close to the city centre. As a child I dreamt about three things – playing football for Liverpool FC, being Bob Marley and becoming a writer. At the age of eleven I read the book that would inspire me to write. It was The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. Other authors had inspired me to write for fun (Roald Dahl in particular) but it was Sue Townsend who became a true role model. From that point writing became an important hobby and I practiced almost every day. I read countless books, often copying an author’s style in order to find my own.

 Since those early days I have continued to write stories about teenagers and also branched into the younger market with my Soccer Squad series. I am often asked to go abroad to talk about my work and have also appeared on television and radio. In 2010 Rani & Sukh became a set-text for GCSE, something that I never thought would happen. My aim has always been to write the sort of books me and my mates (many of whom didn’t read) would have loved at school. Reading for pleasure is a passion for me and I try to instill that in everyone I talk to. I hope to continue writing for a long as I can.

I am a massive fan of reggae music and Liverpool FC. I also read every day (my favourite genre is crime fiction) although not always fiction. I believe that non-fiction, graphic novels, comics and newspapers etc…are just as valid as forms of reading. I also love to cook, to travel and to watch film.

Check out Bali’s website for more here

Check out this fab conversation with Bali over on misschapterreviews.BlogSpot.co.uk run by Ginny T ( @thecraftyreader ) – here

C J Skuse


C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on her second novel for Mira Ink.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Helen Maslin


Helen Maslin lives in Cheltenham with her husband and two young sons. She has studied English, history and art history, which remain her chief interests. She also runs an art club at her children’s primary school.

Helen’s art club is fun but always very messy. Her favourite things are brightly-coloured hair, Peter Lorre’s voice, the smell of new books, Roy Lichtenstein’s art, niceness and cake.  Darkmere is her debut novel.

Also check out Helen’s fab blog here!

Check out a super fun Q&A between Helen and awesome blogger Sally ( @TheDarkDictator ) over on thedarkdictator.blogspot.co.uk – here

PS – I get a mention #TEAMMASLIN!

Check out my review of Darkmere here


A deleted scene and Darkmere Inspiration here


An extract from Darkmere here

Rhian Ivory


Rhian was born in Swansea but moved to the Brecon Beacons where she went to school until 11. She then moved all the way across the border to Hereford. She returned to Wales to study English Literature at Aberystwyth. She trained as a Drama and English teacher and wrote her first novel during her first few years in teaching.

She got her first publishing deal at 26 and went on to write three more novels for Bloomsbury. She took a break to have three children and during this time taught Creative Writing and also a Children’s Literature course for the Open University. 

The Boy who drew the Future is her fifth novel and she’s recently finished writing her sixth.  

She is a National Trust writer in residence at Sudbury Hall and the Museum of Childhood.  She currently lives in Rutland, the smallest county in the country, with her family and their two very lively spaniels. 

Check out a fab Q&A with Rhian over on teensonmoonlane.co.uk run by the lovely Jim ( @yayeahyeah ) – here

So that’s it!  All 30 wonderful authors that are appearing at #ukyaextravaganza on Saturday 10/10/2015 in Nottingham and all 30 super awesome bloggers who have been part of the tour.  What a fab blog tour and I cannot wait for the event!


Tales Events – UKYA Extravaganza Birmingham


SLIDE On Saturday the 28th February at Waterstones Birmingham High Street a celebration of all things UKYA took place and it was AMAZING!  The event sold out in hours of the tickets being on sale and everyone was excited about the event!

On the 4th floor of the fabulous Waterstones building 33 awesome authors (originally a whooping 35 authors, but due to personal reasons 2 authors could not attend) gradually entered the room!  That’s right!  33 creative minds all unique and diverse in their own way!  All in one room and all organised by the wonderful Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery.  Wow!


What an amazing accomplishment!

What was clear from the offset is that this was a celebration!  We are British and our authors are amazing and awesome and full of diversity so to celebrate Emma and Kerry organised one memorable afternoon that I, as well as everyone who attended I’m sure, will remember for a very long time to come!

To find our more about why and how Emma and Kerry set up the event click here

The afternoon was full of fun, laughter, readings, stories, signings and CAKE!  Yes there was cake!  And lots of it too!  Nom Nom Nom

What more could we ask for?

Well okay… books of course and my my my there were sooooo many books to buy from all of these wonderful, amazing, diverse, authors that I actually heard my bank account cry…or maybe that was just my husband who knew I wouldn’t be able to resist!

I think I can honestly say that most people attending this event, myself included, left with shoulder ache or bags upon bags of books and swag which included bookmarks and postcards also.

I actually broke my husbands precious bag that I “borrowed” as “it would be a sturdy bag for books” I said and just as I got home “snap!” went the bag. “Well at least it didn’t happen whilst I was at the event” I said, cheesy grin on my face whilst my husband mourned his poor bag!  RIP BAG!  Thank you for not breaking on me at the UKYA Extravaganza!  Phew!

The day flowed really well and was kind of informal in a way which was ace.  We were able to mingle with authors, bloggers, friends and family, have our books signed, pictures taken, have a good natter and eat cake!  For me this gave the day a very personal relaxed feel and made it super fun as all the authors were so approachable, fun and easy to talk to.  I got to meet so many new people and authors and also people and authors I already knew and just mingle and eat lots of cake!

There were also reading panels every 20 minutes or so enabling us to sit down and enjoy if we wanted or carry on mingling.  The reading panels were fun as authors were given a few minutes to read a passage from their books or tell a story.  One great story that I sat and listened to was from Alexander Gordon Smith who made the audience howl with laughter with a story about a horrifying game in P.E at school which he told with such comical tone it was hilarious!  It was also fun seeing the authors under pressure with the count down timer counting their minutes down till their time was up.

The end of the day bought us some fab speeches from Emma and Kerry, where they were presented with presents of thanks from the other authors.  I was touched completely by being mentioned in their speech I almost did a Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars and started crying 🙂

It was an absolutely amazing day as you will see below!

When Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery asked me to do a write up of the UKYA Extravaganza following the event I was completely over the moon!  Immediately my mind began racing about things I could possibly do for the write up or feature on the write up and with Emma & Kerry’s approval I started mapping out exciting ideas.  So here’s some of those ideas bought to life!

35 Authors & 35 Bloggers

The full UKYA Extravaganza line up was revealed on #ukyachat which is run by Lucy over at Queen of Contemporary.  Upon hearing about the blog tour from Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass which was the idea of Sofia who runs The Reading Fan Girl I wanted to create a place where people could catch up on the tour, read about the authors, find the authors links and see what the authors actually look like.

The Big Blog Tour post was born!  35 authors and links to websites and the 35 fab bloggers websites and guest posts all in one place including a link to an awesome reading list!

Click here to have a look!

Picture Montage

Check out some pictures from the day mainly taken by my lovely husband, Kevin in a super UKYA Extravaganza Picture Montage!  With Music!

Event Footage

Myself and Kevin also collated some videos throughout the day to share with you all especially if you were unable to attend.  Check it out!

Author Quickfire!

I managed to find some willing victims….I mean authors to sneak into a corner and film them answering some quick fire random questions to help us get to know them a little better!  What I didn’t bank on was that some of the answers would be completely random with hilarious reactions.  Check out the video below!

A huuugggeee thank you to the authors I managed to grab and take part in this!

I hope this gives everyone an insight into the day and how fab it was!

I also caught up with the lovely Rosie from Eat Read Glam and the ever awesome Stephen from Dark Reader Reviews who were kind enough to let me know what they thought of the day on video!

**The video clip comes with a cake warning!**

*Gives round of applause to Rosie and Stephen*

I also posted a question on twitter asking what new authors people had discovered following the UKYA Extravaganza event – here are some of the responses 🙂

For me I discovered Kendra Leighton and Kate Ormand and Bryony Pearce as new to me authors….well basically I will be making sure I own a  book written by every single author from the event asap as they were ALL awesome!









I also asked about what people enjoyed the most about the UKYA Extravaganza – here are some of the responses I had 🙂




















As you can see UKYA, it’s authors and the community are so important and special!  What Emma and Kerry and all of the authors and every one who attended including Waterstones Birmingham who hosted have created a warm, welcoming fun way of sharing our love of books, their authors, each other and has proved that the UKYA community opens it’s arms to everyone, whoever you are and gives us all one big tight squeeze of love!

Well done Emma and Kerry for an extraordinary event – you should be so so proud of yourselves!


Well done and thank you to all the authors who attended, thank you to the lovely staff at Waterstones Birmingham for doing such a fantastic job in hosting and most of all thank you to everyone who attended!  We have all made this a huge success…..and with that in mind I can now reveal I have an awesome exclusive!


There will be another UKYA Extravaganza! *jumps up and down in excitement!!!!*

I will pass you onto Kerry and Emma for the reveal!

Yes that’s right!  Nottingham will be the next host for the UKYA Extravaganza in October 2015 at Waterstones Nottingham with date and time to be confirmed asap!  Wow!  UKYA can only get stronger and bigger from here on in!


For more buzz and love about the UKYA Extravaganza check out the hash tag on twitter –  #UKYAextravaganza on follow the official account – @UKYAX



I also have  quotes from the organisers of UKYA Extravaganza the lovely Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery about the event –

Emma & The Hound“What’s really made organising the UKYA Extravaganza worthwhile for me is all the people saying how much fun it was, and how great it was to be able to chat to authors and discover new books they might not otherwise have known about. It’s so great to have been able to bring authors and readers together like this.”


“I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to the UKYA Extravaganza.  I think what’s stuck in my head the most is the wonderful sense of community and belonging, the friendliness of everyone involved and the huge support and love for all things UKYA from teens, authors, readers, bloggers and grown-ups too”.

 Also there have been some fab blog posts about the event with some super photos and details – here’s the links to some of them 🙂

Author Emma Haughton – here

Blogger Maia Moore – here

Blogger Sofia – The Reading Fan Girl – here

Author David Owen – here

Blogger Sally – The Dark Dictator – here

Blogger Lucy – Queen of Contemporary – here

Blogger Priya Appleby – here

Blogger Georgina Tranter – here

Author Susie Day – here

Olivia Levez – here

Author Bryony Pearce – here

Author Kendra Leighton – here

Author Lou Morgan – here

Blogger Rachel Kennedy – here

Authors Rhian Ivory & Kat Ellis – here

Author Kate Ormand – here

Kat Ellis – here

Enchanted By YA – here

Author Helen Hirons – here

Blogger Lisa Golding – here

Author and UKYA Extravaganza Organiser Emma Pass – here

There has also been write ups in the Guardian!  So well deserved and fab articles!

What’s it like to meet virtual friends in real life? 

UKYA Extravaganza Event Report

I’ve loved putting this post together so thank you to Kerry and Emma for asking me to do so and thank you for this lovely message (and thanking me in your speech) on twitter it really made my day 🙂 xx


Don’t forget to follow @UKYAX on facebook here

And the UKYA Extravaganza now has its very own website – www.ukyax.com!  Check it out for all the latest news!

Did you go to the UKYA Extravaganza?  What was your highlight?  What books did you buy?  What new authors did you discover?  Are you excited for more events?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment or why not tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy ?

Happy reading and eating cake as all this talk of cake as made me hungry! 🙂


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