Thursday, 1 October 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt Autumn 2015!

The YA Scavenger Hunt and my giveaway have now closed! Out of 131 possible entries, tells me the winner is entry number 116. Congratulations to Sandi Turla! A signed copy of THE FEARLESS will be on its way to you very soon.

Hi! Welcome to this stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt. You’re currently hunting on TEAM GREEN!


Directions: Somewhere in this post, I’ve highlighted my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on Team Green, then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 4, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
To find out more about the hunt, see links to all the participating authors and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
There's some exclusive bonus content from me hiding somewhere on the interwebs! Somewhere on this leg of the hunt is a deleted scene from THE FEARLESS. When you find it, come back over here and enter the BONUS giveaway listed below. But first, here’s some bonus content from the fab author I'm hosting – Beth Revis!

Beth Revis is the NY Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series. The complete trilogy is now available in more than 20 languages. Beth is also the author of The Body Electric and several short stories. A native of North Carolina, Beth is currently working on a new novel for teens, tentatively scheduled for 2016.

* * * * *

Thanks so much for hosting me, Emma! Today I'm talking about The Body Electric, a stand alone sci fi novel that's near to my heart. This story is about Jack and Ella, two people in the futuristic society of  of New Venice. Eagle-eyed readers will see a few allusions to Godspeed and Amy and Elder from my first trilogy, Across the Universe, but here are a few fun facts!

1. A big part of my inspiration came from Philip K. Dick novels, most notably Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Total Recall. I named my main character Ella Shepherd as a nod to Dick's Electric Sheep novel.

2. The story is set on the island nation of Malta, a real island in the Mediterranean (the "boot" of Italy is kicking it). But the main city is a made-up place called "New Venice." I named it that because the city uses solar glass, an idea I'd come up with years ago while watching a glass-blowing demonstration in Venice.

3. The main boy character is named Jack, and Ella's mother is named Rose. I came up with these named after watching an episode of Doctor Who (the "Are you my mummy?" episode) which features Jack and Rose...but a lot of people think it's an allusion to Titanic!

4. One of the scientists whose name is on a placard in the labs Ella goes to is named "Martin"--the same last name as Amy's father in Across the Universe.

5. Ella's godmother is name Jadis White. This is from my favorite book, The Chronicles of Narnia because the actress who plays her in the latest movie, Tilda Swinton, had exactly the right look for that character in my book. I rarely pick actual people as models for my characters (the only other exception is Molly Quinn, who is the model I used for Amy).

Thanks for reading a few of the little clues and allusions I added to my book. I hope you check it out--and make sure to stop by my blog in the hunt for an extra giveaway!

* * * * *

Read the book that Publisher's Weekly called ""addictive"" and that kept USA Today guessing until the very end. By the NY Times bestselling author of Across the Universe!
You can have the perfect past...for a price. In this exciting sci fi thriller, one girl uncovers the truth in a world where you can't trust your own memories.
The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift--the ability to enter people's dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother--to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things--images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience--and influence--the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love--even though Ella's never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing...
Someone's altered her memory.
Ella's gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella's head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
This YA SF action and adventure book is suitable for all readers teens and up who love mysteries, thrillers, and futuristic novels. DON'T MISS THIS EXCITING YA SCI FI THRILLER!

* * * * *


To win a SIGNED hardback copy of THE FEARLESS, find my hidden content somewhere on this hunt. Then come back and comment with the answer to the following question:
How many flights of stairs does Cass go down to get to her mother?
For an extra point, follow me on social media or like my Facebook page. Please tell me where you followed me (and your username on that platform) in your comment so that I can count it!
Here are the links to my twitter, facebook and instagram!
 * * * * *
And before you go, here are 3 writing-related facts about me:
My writing assistant is a crazy greyhound called G-Dog.
I wrote my first novel when I was 13, in maths lessons with my notebook hidden under my work.
My favourite writing outfit is pyjamas and thermal socks. It's all about the comfort…

Ready to move on to the next stop on the hunt? Then make your way over to CJ REDWINE!
Good luck!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Exciting Thing

Some of you may have noticed that this blog has been a little bit quiet this year. Some of you may also know that eleven months ago, my agent and I parted company. The two are connected; it's been an incredibly tough eleven months, and many times, I wondered whether I'd made the right call – I'd been with Carolyn for 7 years, and she'd helped get my writing career off the ground, so making the decision to leave her was not an easy one (I should add that it was all perfectly amicable, and we're still speaking to one another!).

Since then, I've been doing the only thing I could to try and silence the little voice in my head telling me I should have stayed, that I'd never find another agent who believed in my writing again, that I might as well go and get a proper job because my career as an author was over – writing a new book. I don't want to give too many details about it as I don't have a publisher for it yet (no, that's not the Exciting Thing – sorry!), but I can say it's a little different to ACID and THE FEARLESS… in a good way, I hope!

A couple of months ago, I started sending that book out to agents. It got quite a lot of interest, and some very nice rejections with helpful feedback… but no yeses. Then, eleven days ago, I got a reply from an agent I'd send the book to just forty-eight hours before. That was quick, the little voice in my head said, not sounding quite as doubtful this time. What if… 

No, I told it. I'm sure it's not. I opened the email with a sinking heart, convinced it was going to be yet another 'We liked this but we didn't love it, sorry.'

As you might have guessed by now, it wasn't. It was an offer of representation! So I can now share the very exciting news (to me, anyway!) that I have signed with Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency!

Of course, this isn't the end of the uncertainty. Getting published is hard, and there's every chance that my new book won't find a home (although I've got everything crossed that it does, because I've had SO much fun writing it and I'd love to be able to share it with the world!). And that's fine - I'm thrilled to have had two books published; it's more than I even dared imagine I would achieve, and I'm proud I managed it.

But dammit, I love telling stories. I want to carry on. And having a good agent on your side as you navigate the choppy waters of writing and publishing can make all the difference. Ella is a great agent – she represents stellar authors such as David Owen (who you can see at the UKYA Extravaganza on 10th October!), Vanessa Curtis and Sharon Gosling, and her passion for what she does was obvious right from that first email that landed in my inbox eleven days ago. I'm thrilled to be working with her, and to be part of the DKW family. Hooray!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Patron of Reading - Year 2!

Back in 2014, Titus Salt School in Shipley, Yorkshire, asked me to be their Patron of Reading for 2014-15. The school, which has a fantastic library run by the equally fantastic Chrissie Hunter, puts a strong emphasis on reading and literacy across all departments, and I knew as soon as I set foot through the door that I was going to enjoy working with them very much indeed.

It was a busy year. I undertook several visits, including this one where I helped some students film podcasts about current GCSE questions. In February I helped launch a literacy project where a group of students wrote stories based on the school's core values (more on that in a moment!) and on World Book Day I spent two days at the school and became Empress Pass of Poetopia (which meant I got to order lots of Year 7s around - sometimes I really love my job!). You can read more about those two visits here.

Then, in May, I accompanied the Literacy project group –  21 Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students along with teachers Mr Breen, Mrs Wilson, Miss Milnes – to Malham for a weekend, where the students would be making films out of the stories created during my visit in February.

On the Saturday, everyone was up early. My group went to Janet’s Foss first, to film some scenes for a story about two sisters who become separated and must find each other again, battling against insurmountable odds. The path to the waterfall can get quite busy with walkers, but we got there early and had the place almost to ourselves. Once the group had all the scenes they needed in the bag, we returned to the Bunk Barn to get ready for the next filming session up at Malham Cove, which required some preparation - face paints, a wizard's cape and a blue wig! It was a brilliant weekend and the students created some outstanding work. Again, a real I-love-my-job moment!

My final visit for the school year gave me another chance to dress up, this time as the Storyteller from Grimmtasia, helping Year 7 create fairy tales worlds and characters.

I also put together a half-termly newsletter called PassWords where I talked about books and writing, shared news on literacy and reading-related projects the school was running, and featured other authors and students' own writing.

And now, I get to do it all again, as Titus Salt have asked me to be their Patron of Reading for a second year. Hooray! I'm really looking forward to it, and can't wait to find out what projects I'll be taking part in this time. Here's to the brilliant staff and students at Titus Salt, and another great year of reading!

Monday, 14 September 2015

We're Doing it Again!

Hi lovely blog readers! Long time no see - but I'm back with some exciting news. The UKYA Extravaganza is happening again, and there's also going to be a UKMG Extravaganza for younger readers. I'll be taking part in the YA event, and I'm sneaking into the MG event to hang out with all the cool authors there (and eat cake), because why not? Here are the details:

Tickets are on sale for both events now, so get 'em quick before they disappear. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Giveaway Winner Announcement!

My giveaway for 5 signed copies of the Fearless has now ended. Here are the winners!

1) bn_100
2) @livvie_v
3) @trainman1405
4) @sarabird26
5) @TammyVanScoy1

Congratulations to all of you. Your books will be on their way to you very soon!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

An Open Letter to Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party

Dear Natalie Bennett,

Your party, which state in their Culture, Media and Sports policy that "Culture is essential to human fulfilment. As a human need, it enhances the economy both directly and indirectly: where people are more fulfilled they are likely to contribute more to their work and to society. In a ‘Green’ society people of all ages and backgrounds would have access to participate in and enjoy all types of arts and cultural activities" and have condemned government cuts to arts funding, have released this policy:

I am flabbergasted. Honestly, I don't know what to think. Except that maybe – just maybe – you and your party haven't actually considered what this policy would actually mean for creative people.

As it stands, copyright begins as soon as a piece of work (in whatever form) is created. With the exception of publishing layouts and broadcasts, copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author/creator and 70 years after their death.

This is a good thing. A very good thing.


Firstly, there's the financial consideration. I don't make a living solely from my writing – I may never be able to; authors' earnings from their writing alone are considerably down, as shown in this article by the BBC. But it does make me some money. If you take away people's right to own their work after 14 years, you also take away their right to earn money from it. Please don't underestimate my words when I say this could, quite literally, ruin them.

But there's also the issue of creative control. If, in 14 years, my work were to become public domain, anyone could do anything they like with it. And you know what? That's not on. I work hard to write my books. I've made a lot of sacrifices – this has not been an easy path to choose. So the thought that someone could take my work and change it – perhaps use it for something I don't condone – all within my lifetime – makes me feel a bit sick.

And now, let's discuss the next policy – legalising peer-to-peer sharing when it's not done as a business.

No. No.

This is pirating. It already happens, on a massive and frightening scale – very often not done as a business – and it strips creatives of thousands of pounds of income that they have a right to. In a world where creative work is increasingly undervalued, this really does feel like the final nail in the coffin.

'But creative work is fun!' people might say. 'It's not a necessity.' Except… those clothes they're wearing? Designed by a creative. That phone they use? Designed by a creative. The vehicles they travel in, the houses they live in…? I could go on. As your party said themselves, creativity underpins our entire culture. It is not a luxury. And I don't think anyone working in the creative industries should have to give away their work for free unless they choose to, which is a very different thing indeed.

So please, Natalie Bennett, reconsider this insane policy. Creatives – and future generations of creatives – deserve much better than this.

Yours sincerely,

A concerned author.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Happy US Book Birthday to THE FEARLESS! + Giveaway

Today, THE FEARLESS is published in the US by Delacorte Press in a beautiful hardcover. I couldn't be more thrilled with how it looks, and I really hope that US readers love it as much as I do.

There's already been some great reviews coming in. The School Library Journal called it 'A fast and fun read… Action packed' and Publisher's Weekly said 'Pass (ACID) creates a vivid post-apocalyptic world, subverting several familiar zombie tropes.'

Also, I'm going to be taking part in a fantastic blog tour, arranged by my fab publicist at Random House. There's interviews, guest posts and giveaways galore, and it starts on Monday 20th May. Here's the full lineup:

All this is worth celebrating, methinks. So I'm giving away 5 signed copies of the book right here on the blog - all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

Please note - the giveaway is US-only and ends on Tuesday 12th May at 12am Eastern Time.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

OK, there aren't any chickens up for grabs. But for one lucky person there are over 30 amazing prizes about to land on your front doormat. CONGRATULATIONS to Sophie, who's won the UKYA Easter Egg hunt! I will be getting your copy of The Fearless and an unabridged audiobook of ACID in the post to you this week.

And if you entered the egg hunt but didn't win, all is not lost. In exactly one week's time, The Fearless will be published in the US (in hardcover!), so I will be running more giveaways to celebrate. Watch this space!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

UKYA Easter Egg Hunt!

Welcome to the UKYA Easter Egg Hunt! I'm really excited (or should that be egg-cited?) to be taking part in this brilliant promotion of all things UKYA.

One very lucky winner will win a HUGE grand prize of signed books and swag by over thirty YA authors who write and live in the UK. I will be giving away a signed copy of The Fearless AND a signed unabridged audiobook of ACID. What's more, the competition is open internationally!

So, what do you have to do to enter?

Just read this post, count how many UKYA-branded Easter eggs you see in it, then follow the link at the end to the next blog. Keep going until you get back to the blog where you started, adding up how many eggs you’ve seen along the way.

Once you've finished, email your answer to

The winner of the grand prize will be chosen at random from all correct entries, and contacted by email.

The competition closes at noon (UK time) on Sunday, 5th April.

Ready to find some more eggs? Hop on over to the next blog:

Good luck!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Award! #UKYAExtravaganza! Patron of Reading Stuff! Etc!


Oh dear, I'm not doing too well with this blog, am I? *Blows away cobwebs* *flicks feather duster around* Lucky it's not a Tamagotchi or it'd look a bit like this…

Anyway. Happy 2015 plus three months, everyone! What have you been up to? What have I been up to? Lots of things. So much has happened, in fact, that I think I'm going need to use subheadings. Here goes…

An Award for ACID
Very excitingly, the audiobook of ACID has been named as one of YALSA's (the Young Adult Library Services of America) 2015 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. This is brilliant news, and testament to the amazing team who brought the book to life. In the words of YALSA: "Unique ACID reports and recordings read by [Nicholas Guy] Smith and [Fiona] Hardingham's excellent pace combine with her authentic teen voice to highlight this exciting story." Hooray!

The UKYA Extravaganza
Back in October, I did a panel and Q&A session with Kerry Drewery and Zoe Marriot at Waterstones Lincoln. Afterwards, Kerry and I said to each other, 'Wouldn't it be great to do this again? Maybe we could get a few more authors – maybe 5 or 6 – and a few more people to come along…'

Little did we know what we were embarking upon. 4 months later, at Birmingham High Street Waterstones, our initial idea had turned into 33 authors and over 100 book bloggers and readers gathering for the UKYA Extravaganza, tickets for which had sold out within 24 hours. To say Kerry and I were stunned is probably an understatement…




The day was incredible and the amount of Twitter-love afterwards almost broke the internet (check out the #UKYAExtravaganza hashtag to see for yourself!).

I think this is my favourite tweet, as it completely sums up what Kerry and I were trying to achieve with the day:

But if you missed it this time round, never fear – we're doing it again! There's going to be another UKYAX in October in Nottingham, date and venue TBC. We're also launching a website and Facebook page very soon, so look out for those, and if you're on Twitter you can follow @UKYAX for the latest updates.

And of course, a huge thank you to all the Waterstones staff for letting us gatecrash, and to everyone who took part and came along to support the event!

Patron of Reading Visits
I've done quite a few school visits this year already, including two to my Patron of Reading school, Titus Salt in Yorkshire. The first, at the beginning of February, was to help launch an exciting literacy project. I worked with students from various years to help them write stories based on the school's core values, Together, Resilient, Ambitious and Caring, using different creative writing exercises as inspiration. The stories will be turned into short animated films during a residential weekend this summer, which I'll be accompanying the students and staff on. I can't wait!

My second visit was last week, over two days to help celebrate World Book Day. On Thursday I raced around the school, gatecrashing lessons to give short readings from THE FEARLESS and play Bananagrams (which I was rubbish at - I blame the fact that I kept getting loads of 'N's and 'X's, and no vowels!).

Then, on Friday, I was crowned Empress Pass of Poetopia. Year 7 had been separated into factions and sent to the Arena (the school hall) where they had to compete to win my favour in order to be given resources which would help them survive. I love being a writer anyway, but when I get to dress up in a cloak and tiara and order people about? Well, I REALLY love it. It was so much fun!

The Fearless
Finally, a quick reminder for my US readers – THE FEARLESS is being published by Delacorte on 14th April! The School Library Journal called it "a fun and fast read that will appeal to lovers of zombie invasions as well as books that feature strong females in dystopian settings." If that sounds like your sort of book, you can preorder it here.

Annnnd I think that's it! Over and out…