is the author of
(called Possessed in the USA, to be released February 2010)
and its sequel
FIRE & RAYNE
HERE IS THE INTERVIEW:
I hope I write honestly. By which I mean I draw realistic characters who change and develop according to their experience – who learn things. That’s certainly not unique but it’s maybe not that common in YA fiction and I hope it’s one of my strengths.
It’s wonderful to earn a living in the book world, I loved it. And editing helped me develop a sense of the ‘shape’ of a book, and understand the need for consistency – it’s helped my writing.
I’m going to risk being a cheese merchant here and say my husband Jeff! He is consistently encouraging, he’s my first editor and best critic. And we talk all the time and his ideas feed into mine …
With massive difficulty. Like book covers, they have to be immediate and commercial – and I’m not good at that. Sometimes my publishers choose them for me!
Organic. I start with some ideas – usually disconnected things that have collided - and let them ‘compost’ for a while. I have a basic idea of the plot. Then I get the characters right – not just hanging about waiting to be told what to do but existing in their own right and dictating the action. Then I roll my sleeves up and get stuck in. Writing a book has been described as a voyage of discovery and I think that’s right. You discover and uncover things as you go along.
Ah, not actually entries – but I re-read my teenage diaries when I was writing the Diving In trilogy, and I used some of the events, and reminded myself of the feelings. Also I wanted to make sure I got that authentic teen voice right. Everything is so raw and intense and passionate when you’re a teenager.
Which of your books have you most enjoyed writing?
Ask any writer that and I think 99% of them would say their most recent. I loved writing the two Rayne books. I was completely caught up in that dark world, I felt I was burrowing down into ancient mysteries …sometimes it felt like my subconscious was writing. For example, at the start of Possessed I describe a pagan-looking fireplace in the Old Stone Hall in some detail, not really knowing why I do that, and then later it turns out to be of vital importance … it was thrilling to have that kind of spooky thing happen as I wrote.
I started with quite realistic books, often relationship-based. The Holiday books have been popular in the USA. Then I moved into the Gothic genre with Leaving Poppy and the Rayne books. And they’re all my favourites, honestly …I couldn’t write a book I didn’t get immersed in.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m finishing off a book I’ve written for adults. Then I’m hoping to get a contract to write a dystopian YA book called Witch Crag, about two girls and a boy whose only hope of escaping a repressive regime is to get taken in by the women whom everyone believes are real and dangerous witches ….
Are any of your other books going to be published internationally?
Apart from the USA, I haven’t got outside Europe yet - though I do quite well in Australia. My best sales are in the Netherlands!