Tag Archives: YA

Guest Post – Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy by L J MacWhirter

 


Today I am super happy to have a fab post from L J MacWhirter to celebrate the release of her Elizabethan fantasy Black Snow Falling.

Black Snow Falling was released on the 1st August 2018 published by Scotland Street Press and is a story of hope overcoming evil.

I was super intrigued by the premise of this book and wanted to know why Liz chose an Elizabethan fantasy to write….


About The Book

In 1592, a girl with spirit is a threat. Ruth has secrets. An old book of heresy belonging to her long-absent father. A dream that haunts her. And love that she and Silas hide from the world.

Black Snow Falling is an Elizabethan fantasy for young adults and up by L.J. MacWhirter. It’s about a spirited and privileged girl, Ruth, who has so much to lose as monstrous sexism traps her. When she is robbed of all she holds true, her friends slide into terrible danger. Hope is as faint as a moonbow. Dare Ruth trust the shadowy one who could destroy them all?

This is a story about hope overcoming evil, written with satisfying moral complexity. It draws on the author’s fascination with the inner workings of minds and mechanical machines. It’s about staying fixed or spinning out.

As a child, her engineer father introduced her to science and the vast machines of the industrial revolution. On a trip to Florence many years later, she saw a mechanical Armillary Sphere, made for the Medicis in the 1500s, which embodied the long-held belief that the earth was at the centre of the heavens. Early science, in opposition to this dominant view, was cast as heresy. Together with the misogynist sexism of the time, it became the setting for this thriller. 


Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy?

Thanks to the lovely Chelle of Tales of Yesterday for hosting my guest blog!

So the question Chelle posed was, why did I choose to write an Elizabethan fantasy? The simple but most puzzling answer is that IT chose me. Let me explain in three chunks.

  1. It started with the fantasy idea. And that idea came to find me right here.

Glen Etive. It’s right beside the better-known Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland. I was I was there volunteering for Venture Scotland, a charity that helps young people who’ve had the toughest starts in life.

 As we jumped streams and hiked through the heather, one young man was sharing his plans for the future – he’d love to be a gardener. It struck me that he’d suffered things that most of us may never have to cope with, and yet he still had hope for the future. It was visceral and tangible. As I listened, I found myself wanting nothing more to happen that could snatch his hope away… a chilling What If? struck me.

 What if dreams were actual physical entities that could be snatched away?

 What if there were evil forces at work, stealing these hopes and dreams? They would be dream thieves. In life’s darkest moments, isn’t that how it feels?

 2. The Elizabethan part came after the fantasy idea. I grew up in Cheshire, where you can’t escape all the Tudor halls. So I was already well aware of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I’ve always admired this woman for holding on to her throne despite endless marriage proposals and assassination attempts!

I decided to locate my story at the same time as this important queen. In fact, Ruth, my main character, has actually met her (maybe that was an unconscious fantasy of my own!). So many interesting things were taking place in the 16th century that it makes a fantastic context for dreams being stolen. What’s more, less needed to happen for my characters to lose hope.

So, bluntly, it would be easier for readers to relate to Ruth, because what happens to her happens to all of us. Haven’t we all been heartbroken or betrayed? When we let someone else down, it feels awful – what do we do?

  1. I was round at my mum’s, giving her my first signed copy of the book on Publication Day (yay!), and I took this quick pic. Black Snow Falling is resting on this Tudor box that my family bought sometime, somewhere. I’ve always really loved it. It used to hold games in it when we were little, so I was always opening and closing it and thinking about how ancient it was.

Perhaps the story about my Elizabethan Ruth and those evil forces just popped out of here?

Stories are magical, aren’t they?

Black Snow Falling is available now everywhere online and in good bookshops. Please vote for it in the EIBF First Book Award.


About L J MacWhirter

L.J. MacWhirter was born just outside London, grew up in the North of England and today lives in Edinburgh with her husband and family. The stories started as soon as she could write. Black Snow Falling is her debut novel.

L.J. MacWhirter will be speaking about ‘Feisty Fantasy’ with Alice Broadway at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Saturday 11 August at 18.30.

Why not follow L J MacWhirther on twitter – @LizMacwhirter


A huge thank you to Mariarita at Scotland Street Press for asking me to host and to Liz for such a fantastic piece for the blog.

Have you read Black Snow Falling?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – My Top Five Excuses Not To Write by Penny Joelson

 


Today I am over the moon to have the wonder Penny Joelson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her new YA Girl In The Window.

Girl In The Window is due to be released on the 9th August 2018 published by Electric Monkey and is set to be an eye opening compulsive page turner that will have you hooked.

I often wonder how writers motivate themselves as it’s often easy to procrastinate (*cough at myself who instead of writing today scrolled through twitter*) so today Penny shares her top 5 excuses not to write…..


About The Book!

See the world from another unique perspective in the thrilling new novel from the author of I Have No Secrets (a World Book Day title for 2018).

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes . . .

There was a girl in the window opposite – did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all.

There is no girl.


My Top Five Excuses Not To Writ

  1.  I only started using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when I was writing ‘I Have No Secrets’. Now I, like many others, am guilty of spending far too long on these things. It is a wonderful feeling when you look at Twitter and see that someone has commented excitedly about how much they love your book. It is hard not to keep looking for ‘mentions’ or ‘retweets’.

2.  I get lots of lovely emails – especially from schools about visits as well as important emails from my editors, publicity team and my agent. I get many less important emails too – but it is hard not to keep checking in case something interesting comes.

3.  Goodreads, Amazon, Blogs. I was warned against looking at these things too much but again I am drawn to them and sometimes find the pull too tempting.

4.  I am very disorganised. Often the one piece of paper where I wrote some notes or the particular notebook I was using have disappeared under a pile and I just can’t get on with writing until I have found it.

5.  I love my family very much, but they require attention – things like meals (I can’t think why!) often at moments when I am most inspired to write. They also require taking and fetching from swimming lessons, Brownies etc. They even want clean clothes!

You can buy a copy of Girl In The Window here or from your local bookshop!


About Penny Joelson

Penny Joelson’s debut novel, I Have No Secrets, was a World Book Day 2018 title and won the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. Penny has loved reading and writing stories since she was a child and began working with disabled people when she was a teenager, which gave her inspiration for her first novel I Have No Secrets.  Penny teaches creative writing and lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Find Penny on Twitter: @pennyjoelson


A huge thank you to Siobhan at Electric Monkey for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to Penny for such a fab guest post!

Have you read Girl In The Window?  What did you think?  What did you love about it?  What are your excuses not to write or blog?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

 


Today is my stop on this fab blog tour to celebrate the release of Show Stealer by Hayley Barker!

Show Stealer is the sequel to last years Show Stopper and was released on the 2nd August published by the lovelies at Scholastic.

To celebrate I thought I would shine the spotlight on this brilliant books and I also have an awesome giveaway with huge thanks to Scholastic!


About The Books!

A dazzling, high-octane read filled with death-defying acrobatics, circus crowds with an appetite for disaster, and two forbidden teenage lovers trying to escape the shackles of their very different lives. Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

The deadliest show on earth is ready for an encore…

Hoshiko and Ben have been on the run since they burned Silvio Sabatini’s circus down to the ground at the explosive finale of SHOW STOPPER. But Ben’s mother will stop at nothing to track him down and get her revenge: backing him into a corner where he is forced to sacrifice himself to save Hoshiko. The deadliest show on earth has been resurrected and if Ben thought he’d seen into its dark corners as an outsider, the true extent of the horrors that lurk beneath the Big Top are about to be revealed as he becomes the circus’ new star attraction…

You can buy a copy of these books here or from your local bookshop!


About Hayley Barker


Hayley Barker taught secondary school English for nearly eighteen years before becoming an author. She is a huge YA fiction fan and says being published is the most exciting thing to ever happen to her.

She lives in Essex with her husband two sons and a yappy dog.

For more information, please visit Hayley’s website: www.hayleybarker.co.uk


Giveaway!

The lovely people at Scholastic have given me a copy of Show Stealer to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter this vis twitter here

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Emily at Scholastic for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to read and one to giveaway!

Have you read Show Stopper or Show Stealer?  What did you think?  What are your favourite parts?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

 


Today is my stop on the wonderful blog tour celebrating the release of Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt!

Theatrical was released on the 28th June 2018 published by Usborne and is set to warm your heart and remind you of the magic of the theatre.

With this in mind as part of my stop I wanted to share a few of the shows that made me fall in love with the theatre…..


Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume-designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool…and her secret.


This was one of the first ever Theatre performances I went to as an angsty teenager who was heavily into grunge and rock and black eyeliner (still am) ….. and it broke my heart into tiny pieces!  It has stayed with me ever since and even listening to the music causes me to breakdown into tears!  I was lucky enough to see it again a few years ago in London and I didn’t even make it past the 2nd song before having something in my eye.  It’s a remarkable piece of theatre.

Me and the hubby booked to see this whilst we were on our honeymoon in London (we basically booked a show a night for 10 days) and it blew us away.  I will be honest we didn’t know too much about it before we booked but had heard good things and wow were they right!  I will never forget having my breathe taken away from me when hearing Defining Gravity live …amazing!  We have been trying to go back and see it ever since but we haven’t got there yet!  But soon we hope!

Another theatre trip where we didn’t really know what to expect, but the production of this was fantastic!  The music was catchy and there were some super funny and touching moments!  We loved it and wished we had been to see it again!


You can buy a copy of Theatrical here or from your local bookshop!


About Maggie Harcourt

Maggie Harcourt was born and raised in Wales, where she grew up telling stories. She now lives just outside Bath, and was inspired her to write Theatrical whilst attending the Theatre Production Course at the Theatre Royal Bath.

You can follow Maggie on:

Maggiehaha.tumblr.com

Twitter: @maggieharcourt

Instagram: @maggieharcourt


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Stevie at Usborne for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book!

Have you read Theatrical?  What did you think?  What are your favourite #Theatrical moments?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – In Your Light by Annalie Grainger


Today I am over then moon to be part of the blog tour for Annalie Grainger’s new YA book, In Your Light.

In Your Light was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by the fab Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and is set to be a tender and heart breaking read.

Today I am shining the spotlight on this fab book and telling you a little bit more about it and the brilliant Annalie…


From the author of Captive comes a tense, gripping story of secrets, sisterhood and running away

Are you still a sister, if one of you is missing?

Sixteen-year-old Lil’s heart was broken when her sister Mella disappeared. There’s been no trace or sighting of her since she vanished, so when Lil sees a girl lying in the road near her house she thinks for a heart-stopping moment that it’s Mella. The girl is injured and disorientated and Lil has no choice but to take her home. But something’s not right… The girl claims she’s from a peaceful community called The Sisterhood of the Light, but why then does she have strange marks down her arms, and what – or who – is she running from…
 
Could she hold the key to Mella’s disappearance?
 
And what happens if the Sisterhood is unwilling to let its daughters go… 

You can buy a copy of In Your Light here or from your local bookshop!


About Annalie Grainger

Annalie Grainger lives in London, where she works as a children’s books editor. She loves writing and editing because it means she gets to talk about books all day. Her debut, Captive, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2014.

You can find out more about Annalie and her writing on Twitter (@_AJGrainger) or by visiting her website, www.ajgrainger.com


Blog Tour

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

#InYourLight


A huge thank you to Eve at Simon & Schuster for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read In Your Light?  What did you think?  Did it break your heart?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Aunty Vimala’s Rules by Savita Kalhan


Today I am over the moon to have the lovely Savita Kalhan on Tales to celebrate the release of The Girl In The Broken Mirror!

The Girl In The Broken Mirror was released on the 1st May 2018 published by Troika Books and this fab YA is set to break your heart.

Today Savita is sharing a fab extract / guest post from the book with Aunty Vimala’s Rules….


Jay’s creative writing exercise is to write a fairy tale, to end with they lived happily ever after . But the way her life is panning out she s not sure it will ever reach that stage. She and her mother are moving in with distant relatives, and they have super strict rules for girls. Jay is expected to have only Indian friends, if she has any at all. How can she see her school friends, Chloe and Matt? But this is only the beginning of a nightmare for Jay. When her life implodes, how can she hide the shame and how will she find a way to keep going?


Aunty Vimala’s Rules

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today and being part of the amazing fourteen stop blog tour! It’s so exciting to be here – and to have a new book out! I’m thrilled that The Girl in the Broken Mirror is in readers’ hands. It was published by Troika Books on May 1st and I still haven’t stopped smiling.

The Girl in the Broken Mirror is about Jay, who’s fifteen, and a terrible trauma that happens to her. It’s about her journey after the trauma and how she finds help. It’s also about a huge culture clash – Jay has had a liberal upbringing, but suddenly she has to move in with distant relatives who have super-strict ideas of what a girl can do and cannot do. Imagine having to live there for a few years, with little contact with your own family, and where school is the only freedom you are allowed.

That’s what Jay, the main character of The Girl in the Broken Mirror, is faced with!

Jay moves in with her Aunty Vimala at No 42 Primrose Avenue. She has been given the room in the basement, and her mum has been given the room in the attic. She’s also been given a huge set of rules…

Aunty Vimala’s Rules

Girls must be able to cook.

Girls must do all the cleaning and washing.

Girls must dress demurely.

Girls must not talk to boys.

Girls should not go out – no sleepovers, no hanging out with friends, no wasting time.

The rules are out of place in the UK in the 21st Century. They should be out of place everywhere.

Aunty Vimala’s Other Rules

Never wash your hair on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.

Never leave your shoes upside down.

Never taste the food you are cooking with the stirring spoon.

Never shake the pickle jar when you have your period.

Never whistle after six o’clock.

These are just a few of Aunty Vimala’s other rules. They are part religious, part tradition, and part superstition. And all of them are alien to Jay and her upbringing. She struggles to fit in with this new lifestyle, but at the same time she knows that she has to – her and her mum have nowhere else to live.

Thank you so much for inviting me here today.

I hope you all love the book

You can buy a copy of The Girl In The Broken Mirror here or from your local bookshop!


About Savita Kalhan

I was born in my grandparent’s home in a small village in the north of India. The family home has been transformed into an amazing charity hospital, which is pretty cool. I moved with my parents from that small village in India to a small town in Buckinghamshire when I was 11 months old. No, I’ve never got used to the cold or the damp or the rain!

I went to uni in Aberystwyth, where the winters were colder and the seas stormy, and got happily stuck there for a few years before heading to London and life as an impoverished batik artist, before taking the plunge and getting married in Manila. Then I headed off to the desert heat of the Middle East where I lived and taught English for several years, read like a demon, and started writing.

I’ve never stopped writing. I hope I never do.

Now, I’m in North London, with a view of the woods, a stone’s throw from my allotment where I fight a daily battle against the onslaught of an army of slugs and wrestle with plotlines, and the tennis club where I slug a few balls, and my writing shed at the bottom of the garden where I write.

Savita loves to hear from my readers and she is happy to answer any questions about herself or the book!

You can find out more about Savita on her website –  www.savitakalhan.com

Or why not follow Savita on twitter –  @savitakalhan.


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Savita for getting in touch and asking me to host this fab post.

Have you read ?  What did you think?  Was it what you expected?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – I Was Born For This YA Playlist by Alice Oseman


Today I am super excited to have the phenomenal Alice Oseman on Tales to celebrate the release of her new fantastic YA, I Was Born For This.

I Was Born For This was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by Harper Collins Children’s and the reviews that I’ve already seen prove that this is a book not to be missed!

Also check out these beautiful redesigns of Alice’s two previous YA books…..as well as being fantastic they are simply gorgeous!

 So today Alice is sharing another song from her #YAPlaylist for I Was Born This Way and I am sharing a song from my playlist too….


The third novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most talked about YA writers in recent years.

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.

But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something – especially yourself.


YA Playlist

Alice

Heavydirtysoul – Twenty One Pilots

I included a Twenty One Pilots song in my I Was Born for This playlist because they’re one of the closest bands to how I imagine The Ark sound! Also, ‘Heavydirtysoul’ has lyrics that reflect some of Angel’s feelings towards The Ark. “Can you save my heavy dirty soul” is completely how Angel feels towards The Ark – she looks towards them to solve all of her problems by distracting her from thinking about anything in her own life.

Chelle

Buddy Holly by Weezer

Believe it or not it took me a long time to pick just one song to feature on this post.  Like many of us music to me is so symbolic of different moments in time throughout life and represents so many different feelings…. feelings of love, hurt, friendship, breakups, a particular time and maybe a particular memory.  For me that is what the song Buddy Holly by Weezer represents.  In fact it encompasses and reminds me of so many of these feeling and memories that it makes me feel quite emotional listening to it now a days.

I was 14 or 15 when this song came out at the time I was very much into grunge idolising Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl from Nirvana with all of my teenage angst and then this funky fun rock song came along and I was so on board that fandom!   It was one of the first songs I learnt to play on the guitar with my friend Katie and we even plucked up the courage to enter a competition playing and singing along to it.  The two of us up on the stage with our amps, microphones and guitars nervous, but loving life.  Unbelievably we came second place!  This song gave me the confidence to pursue music and singing further whilst I was at school leading me to do things I never would have imagined myself doing including auditioning for the school musical where I got given the lead part.  To this day I don’t know how that even happened.  It is a confidence I have never really had or felt since if I am honest.

Further into my Weezer fandom it would follow me through first loves, breakups, sadness, hurt and times of laughing, smiling and sitting in my room learning the riffs to play along with Weezer on my guitar.  So many memories from one song and one band.  This is was nostalgia feels like.

It’s amazing what music can do and like Angel in I Was Born This Way maybe music did distract me in a way and give me the most wonderful memories some of them good and some of them bad but most of all memories that I want to cling onto forever and that I wouldn’t change for the world!

You can buy a copy of I Was Born For This here or from your local bookshop

You can check out Alice’s full YA Playlist for I Was Born This Way here


About Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She completed a degree in English at Durham University in 2016 and is currently a full-time writer and illustrator. Alice can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job.

Alice’s first book, SOLITAIRE, was published when she was nineteen. Her second, RADIO SILENCE, was released in early 2016.

You can find out more about Alice on her website – www.aliceoseman.com

Or why not follow Alice on twitter – @AliceOseman


Blog Tour

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

#IWasBornForThis

#IWBFT

#YAplaylist


A huge thank you to Nina Douglas for asking me to take part in this fab blog tour and to Alice for sharing the insight into the song from her playlist.

Have you read I Was Born For This?  What did you think?  What would be on your YA Playlist?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Why I Love Edinburgh by Sophie Cameron


Today I am excited to have the brilliant Sophie Cameron on Tales to celebrate the release of Out Of The Blue!

Out Of The Blue was released on the 22nd March 2018 published by the lovelies at Macmillan Children’s Books and is a story that will stick with you long after you have read it.

With the book being set in Edinburgh today Sophie chats about why she loves Edinburgh so much in this fab guest post!


When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn’t. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.

Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron’s Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.


Why I Love Edinburgh

Edinburgh and I have a bit of a yo-yo relationship. I moved there for uni at 18, went to Quebec for a few months, back to Edinburgh, moved to France for a year, back to Edinburgh, Spain for the summer, back to Edinburgh, Germany, Spain, back to Edinburgh… and now I’m in Spain again, where I’ve been for the past year and a half. I have no idea where I’ll be in five years time, but Edinburgh is my favourite city in the world and still feels very much like home.

Here are five of the best things about it, in my opinion:

 1. The architecture. Even after spending so much time there, Edinburgh still amazes me with how beautiful it is. The Old Town especially is full of incredible buildings, and there are lots of interesting details to look out for. It’s not very built up, either, so you get some great panoramas – my favourites are the views from Calton Hill and North Bridge, especially at dusk.

2. Green spaces. Living in other cities made me really appreciate how many green spaces there are in and around Edinburgh. There’s the Meadows, Arthur’s Seat, Inverleith Park, the Botanic Gardens, Leith Links, Princes Street Gardens, Blackford Hill… They’re some of my favourite spots in the city, and quite a few of them are mentioned in Out of the Blue.

3. Walkable. I love walking, mostly because I’m too lazy to do any other exercise. Edinburgh is pretty perfect for walkers: small enough that you can get lots of places on foot, but big enough that it still has tons to see and do. If you’re visiting it’s really worth leaving the centre and taking a walk to Stockbridge, the Dean Village, Morningside or the Shore if you can.

4. The Fringe. A lot of Edinburgh locals hate the Fringe (and it is very frustrating having to wade through crowds of tourists just to get to Tesco) but I love it. It feels like the whole world arrives in Edinburgh for those three weeks, and amongst a lot of not-so-great stuff, you can find some really incredible shows. The chaotic atmosphere fit perfectly with the crazed behaviour of the angel chasers in Out of the Blue, and it made the book really fun to write.

5. Literary city. Time some fun facts: Edinburgh was the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, has the largest monument to a writer (Sir Walter Scott) and the only train station named after a novel (Scott’s Waverley). It also has the amazing Edinburgh International Book Festival, a great writing community and is home to lots of amazing authors. Just writing this has made me want to move back!

You can buy a copy of Out Of The Blue here or from your local bookshop!


About Sophie Cameron

I grew up in the Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland. I spent around ten years in Edinburgh, did a few stints in Canada, Germany and France, and am now living in Barcelona.

My all-time favourite books include Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Naive. Super by Erlend Loe, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, How to be Both by Ali Smith, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, and More Than This by Patrick Ness.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually studying foreign languages or watching inordinate amounts of TV. Other stuff I like includes: cats, tea, Duolingo, cats, Eurovision, Céline Dion, taiyaki, postcards, Catalan pop music, sudoku, empanadas, cheese.

I’m currently working on my second book, which will be published by Macmillan Children’s Books in 2019.

You can find out more about Sophie on her website – www.sophie-cameron.com

You can also follow Sophie on twitter – @toomanysophies


A huge thank you to Sophie for a brilliant guest post and to Macmillan Children’s Books and Nina Douglas for asking me to host!

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

Happy Reading!

Tales Q&A with Brigid Kemmerer


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

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

So sit back and enjoy …..


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What themes do you feel run throughout this book?

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

What is your favourite thing about being a writer today?

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

Can you recommend us some other YA authors?

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

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

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

Now for some flash questions!

Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate?

Coffee!

Dark, White or Milk Chocolate?

Dark!

Water or Wine?

Wine!

Typing or Hand-Writing?

Typing!

E-mails or Letters?

Emails!

Growing Up Today or Growing Up When You Did?

Growing up when I did.

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

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

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

Or why not add it to your Goodreads lists here


About Brigid Kemmerer 

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

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

Or why not follow her on twitter – @Brigid Kemmerer


Blog Tour

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


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

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

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Five Best Bits Of Being A Debut Author – And The Five Worst by Rowena House


I am absolutely over the moon to have the brilliant Rowena House on the blog today to celebrate the release of her debut novel The Goose Road and the fact that Rowena is our debut of the month for our April #BritishBooksChallenge18!

The Goose Road was released on the 5th April published by the wonderful Walker Books and is a brilliant historical fiction read that will take you on the most wonderful journey.

So today Rowena talks to us about being a debut author in the fab guest post…the best bits and the worst….


France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.


The Five Best Bits Of Being A Debut Author – And The Five Worst

Best bits

 You did it!

 At last all that effort is rewarded. The doubt is gone, that gnawing fear: will I ever make the grade? Hell, yes. I’ve got a book out there! It gets a bit knackering, punching your fist in the air, but basically that’s the feeling.

Clever, creative publishing people believe in your creation

Discussing the inspirations for The Goose Road on social media recently brought home forcefully something I’d rather forgotten amid the nitty-gritty of copy edits, proof reading, building a website etc.

Angelique’s story is my take on a largely ignored side of life at a truly terrible time. I’m talking about how serious life can become for young people, and how sad, funny, strange and cruel.

I’ve had the privilege of spending years thinking about these things, and wondering how a peasant girl might, conceivably, have found the strength to deal with everything the First World War threw at her.

Now clever, creative people in the publishing industry are backing my imagination with their money & expertise – which is fantastic.

You’ve met – and continue to meet – amazing people

If there are lonely, tortured writers in garrets out there, I suspect they’re mostly trying to get some alone-time from all their writing mates, and tortured about how much time they spend on Twitter.

Because one of the very best bits about becoming a debut author is taking part in the wonderful world of writing communities online and in real life.

I’ve met an ocean liner’s worth of fascinating people over the past eleven years (which is how long it’s taken me to get here) many of whom I hope will remain friends for life.

 You’ve served your apprentice. Lack of confidence now is self-inflicted

This one is probably personal as I tend to be over-confident as a person, which might be a mask for deep-seated fears and phobias. But, hey, I’ve got a book out. My neuroses can damn well get back in their cave.

Seriously, though, there is so much first-class, detailed, free advice available to writers that whatever your worry, help is invariably on hand.

Even if you don’t own a library of writing advice guides, there’s always support online. Try Emma Darwin’s impeccable blog, This Itch of Writing. Each time I’ve run into a problem, this site has offered me a considered, practical, do-able solution.

The next book will be better – and cheaper to produce

Confession: I’ve spent in excess of £10,000 on training, research and travel in my quest to get published. I like learning, I loved taking an MA in creative writing (my biggest expense) and I find the buzz of writing festivals energizing.

Also, I wanted to research The Goose Road thoroughly, which meant four research trips to France. Which I could afford. Just.

From now on, it’s me and the laptop and writing in my spare time while earning enough to fill in that £10k hole in my pension savings, and supporting my son through university.

That’s going to be tough. As a freelancer, I could dedicate my time to whatever I wished. But I’ve learnt so much that I know I can do it again – and better.

 Worst bits

 Time

 Getting published takes forever. Your need the patience of heaven’s entire communion of saints to survive this process with any sense of equilibrium – which I don’t have. Frankly, the waiting drives me nuts.

 Grand Old Duke of York syndrome

Getting a debut novel published is an achievement, a pinnacle moment. For the last eleven years I’ve been marching up to the top of this hill…

So yeah, it’s downhill now for the foreseeable future. And that’s because of…

The money

I’m a breadwinner – and writing, famously, don’t earn you no bread.

As a member of the National Union of Journalists since 1983, I’m shocked at the level of pay for writers in the UK. The Society of Authors calculates that currently the average income from a single work of fiction is £6,000.

Naturally, I don’t yet know how well or badly my debut novel will sell, so the following figures are for illustration only – as I keep trying to reassure myself.

The Goose Road took me the full-time equivalent of approximately 15 months to write: three months research, six months for the first draft, three months for a structural edit, and another three for post-contract copy edits etc. and unpaid promotional work. Given a five-day week, that average income of £6k would work out at £20 a day.

Which is about the same as illegal migrants earn picking tomatoes in southern Italy. Seriously. There was an article in The Guardian a couple of months back about illegal migrant tomato pickers in southern Italy. I did the maths.

The opportunity cost

Every moment I spend writing, I’m not doing something else. Like being with my family, walking the dog, earning a living, or campaigning to save African elephants or British badgers. I’ve made my choice. I won’t ever get that time back again…

So how do I know if it was worth it?

A debut is by definition a new thing. Untried and untested. Potentially weak, short-lived. Forgettable. How will I ever be able to judge if it was worth all the time, effort and resources it took to birth it?

The early reviews have been kind, for which I’m hugely grateful, but we live in a capitalist age; publishing is a business. So success – and with it the chances that Book Two will also make it into the shops – depends on sales as well.

Yet every experienced author I’ve ever come across tells debuts not to worry about sales: that way lies madness, they say. Get on with your next book, they say. It’s the only thing in your power.

So maybe this is the worst bit about being a debut author: that you’re still on the same road you’ve been travelling for years. There are new horizons, yes. But no guarantees whatsoever.

You can buy a copy of The Goose Road here or from your local book shop!


About Rowena House

ROWENA HOUSE spent years as a foreign correspondent in France, Africa and then again in Europe before turning to fiction. She visited the WW1 battlefields of the Western Front repeatedly to research her prize-winning First World War short story, The Marshalling of Angelique’s Geese (WAR GIRLS, 2014) and again for her debut novel, THE GOOSE ROAD (Walker 2018). Her fascination with the Great War, the trenches, and the appalling artillery battles of the Somme and Verdun began at school when studying the war poets, Wilfred Owen in particular. As an adult, she experienced war first-hand as a Reuter’s reporter in Ethiopia, and saw its terrible impact on civilians. Now settled in the English countryside with her husband and son, Rowena holds a Master’s degree in rural economics and another in creative writing, and mentors fiction writers alongside her journalism and storytelling.

You can find out more about Rowena on her website – www.rowenahouse.com

Or why not follow Rowena on Twitter – @HouseRowena


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Walker I have 5 copies of The Goose Road to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

I am hosting this giveaway through my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 20/04/2018

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Rowena House for such a fab guest post and to Jo Hardacre for asking me to host and sending me a copy of the book!

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

Happy Reading!

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