Tell me what inspired you to write your The Fandom?
The inspiration behind The Fandom was from an original idea by Angela McCann, who was runner up in The Big Idea competition. She had the idea of transporting a group of teenagers into their favourite story. Then I was inspired by my love of all things dystopian, so The Hunger Games, Divergent and Delirium to name a few. I was also inspired by that obsessive, geeky part of myself, immersing myself in my love of fandoms like Harry Potter and Hunger Games. It was so much fun nourishing my inner nerd.

How hard was it to get your first book published?
I got an agent fairly quickly, I think after a few submissions. But I lost her when she moved careers to become an editor (sob!) Then I entered Chicken House’s competition for unpublished authors, and soon after was offered the contract to write Fandom by Chicken House and The Big Idea. So I was extremely lucky, I know it’s often a much longer journey to publication. Although talking to other authors has made me appreciate just how varied people’s journeys to publication are. There’s no right way and there’s no fixed amount of time. Just keep trying!

How many publishers turned you down?
Technically none, cos my former agent left before she could take it to any publishers. But I know it would have been rejected by loads had I not stumbled into my first contract the way I did!

Do you try and read the online reviews you get on say waterstones website?
I’m a bit conflicted about reading online reviews to be honest. At first, I was determined to read them all, good and bad, because I genuinely wanted to know what people thought, and I wanted to learn from the negative reviews. But honestly, people say such varied things, it’s hard to pick out any common threads to inform my future work, so reading negative reviews felt a bit like punishing myself for no good reason. So I tend to just read the positive reviews now. I know that probably sounds a bit feeble, but it’s working for me.

Would you ever consider writing for adults or younger children?
Yes, absolutely. I’d be outside my comfort zone a little, cos I tend to read YA so I’m more familiar with the genre. But I’ve always fancied writing a crime thriller. I love plotting, and I’m a total Slytherin, so I think this would suit my serpent heart well!

What did you do before becoming a writer?
I’m a Clinical Psychologist. It’s a wonderful job and I love what I do. I can’t imagine ever giving it up. I hope to continue doing both for as long as people need to talk, and people want to read my books.

Which author inspires you?
So many! But if I were to pick one, I would say Stephen King. He’s just so inventive and dark.

Which genres do you read yourself?
Young Adult, sci-fi and fantasy. My tripod of book happiness! I grew up reading Asimov, Orwell, Tolkien and alike. YA wasn’t a particularly established genre when I was a teen, so I’m making up for lost time now. Ideally, I love books which sit in more than one of my three favourite genres, like The Hunger Games. This is probably why I loved writing Fandom so much, because it’s YA, sci-fi and fantasy!

What is your biggest motivator?

My children. I’m a single Mum and I love that I can show my children that single parent’s can achieve their dreams and work hard.  My daughter’s so proud of the fact I’m an author, she tells all her friends and teachers. And my little boy loves the shiny thorns on the front cover of Fandom (he’s only three bless him, he doesn’t really understand yet, but he will!). These things make me so happy.

What will always distract you?
Other books! Shall I return to my mangled first draft, or shall I steal away for a few hours with someone else’s polished gem? It’s a tough call!

How much say do you have in your book covers?
I had some say in my UK cover, but to be honest, I was happy to leave it up to the artist. Helen Crawford-White is so talented, I knew I was in safe hands. I haven’t had any input into them foreign covers, but I love seeing all the different interpretations of the same book, they’re all so different.

As a child were you a great reader?
Yes, prolific. My parents used to joke that they’d lost me to a book again.

Which book shop is your favourite?
I love Waterstones in Newcastle, mainly because I’ve gone there since a kid, and I’ve always dreamt of having a book on display there. It has so many memories for me; I even remember buying my A-level revision books from there twenty years ago (shhhh!) I haven’t been to the Waterstones in Durham yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

What can you not resist buying?

Do you have any rituals on your writing days?
Not really. I drink way too much coffee and try to leave the house even if it’s just a quick pop to the shops. I go a bit stir crazy otherwise.

How many books in your own to be read pile?
Oh my word, I’m embarrassed to say there’s about twenty. And some amazing books I’m desperate to read, like The hate you Give and It only happens in the movies. My next read is The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury. I absolutely adored the first two books in the series, so I’m really excited (and kind of sad) to finish the trilogy. I definitely suffer from the typical book-lover’s affliction of accruing books faster than I can read them. That piles only going to get bigger!

What is your current read?
I’m currently between reads, which is a bit dull, sorry. I tend to try and stay off the books when I’ve got a deadline as it stops me writing (see above answer to the question: what will always distract you?) Oh, actually, I’m lying! I’m reading The Owls of Blossom wood with my daughter. It’s a wonderful, magical adventure, where three girls transform into owls. And I’m also reading The bogie bear by David Walliams with my son. This is such a funny, clever book, and the illustrations are just wonderful.

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