Tell me what inspired you to write about your latest book?

Liz & Kate: We were thinking about fairy tales, and how they could be inverted. So we came up with the idea of a male sleeping beauty. And then we decided to set the ‘fairy tale’ bit of the story in the past, so we picked Anglo-Saxon England; Kate had recently started reading about the Saxons. We didn’t want to go with generic medieval.


Do you try and read the online reviews you get on say Waterstones website?

Kate: So far, I’m mostly avoiding looking at reviews. It’s just too stressful, especially for someone as naturally pessimistic as me.

Liz: I can’t help myself, but I’m getting better at ignoring anything negative. Luckily most of our reviews so far have been great!

Is there anything you wouldn’t write about?

Kate: People dying slowly of horrible diseases. I’ve seen too many family members die of cancer to want to fictionalise it.

Liz: Same. Or anything really awful happening to children.

How hard do you find it to keep within an age category?

Kate: So far, not that hard. But I think divisions based on age are a bit arbitrary anyway. It’s not like YA is only read by young adults, or that young adults only read YA.

Liz: I think the important thing is to write what you want to write, at least for the first draft, and figure out the exact nature of the beast once you’ve got that initial idea fully down on paper.

What did you do before becoming a writer?

Liz: I worked in advertising for a while – it seemed like a good way to do some writing and get paid for it. After a bit I changed course and became a lawyer (and wrote legal stuff instead) and then I had children. And that turned out to be harder work than anything else I’d done!

Kate: I’ve always written in my spare time, but after studying history at university I trained as an accountant (it seemed like a good idea at the time!). I worked in London for a big accountancy firm until I stopped to look after my children. Since then I’ve been a mum and a homemaker (and still am) and I’ve done voluntary work.

Which author inspires you?

Kate: I find J K Rowling inspirational, because she seems like such an amazing human being as well as a great writer. And I’m in awe of Tolkein because of the sheer magnitude of what he created. For a similar reason, I love Neil Gaiman – he just has such an amazing imagination!

Liz: I’m a huge Terry Pratchett fan. His books are just so funny and life-affirming. And I love J K Rowling too.

Which genres do you read yourself?

Liz: Mostly fantasy and YA, with a good sprinkling of science fiction.

Kate: All sorts! YA, children’s books, classics, ‘cosy’ crime, romance, sci-fi, fantasy. I also read non-fiction, especially history. For The Witch’s Kiss I read a lot of books on Anglo-Saxon England so that’s now one of my favourite historical periods.

What is your biggest motivator?

Kate: Fear. No, I’m joking. Mostly. Actually my biggest motivator is Liz. If we weren’t writing together I would never have finished a novel in the first place.

Liz: Well, we have so many great ideas for books. I guess time is the motivator: I want to get them all written before we run out of it.

What will always distract you?

Liz: My children. Sigh.

Kate: Twitter. I’m totally addicted. I have to turn it off if I’m to get a good chunk of writing done.

How much say do you have in your book covers?

Kate and Liz: This is only our first book, so we don’t have a lot of experience! HarperCollins gave the brief for our cover to Lisa at Black Sheep Design and she came up with the wonderful thorns and heart design. Both versions they sent us for approval were gorgeous – far more beautiful than anything we had thought of.

As a child were you a great reader?

Liz: A steady reader, I would say, rather than a super fast one. But I always had a book on the go.

Kate: Definitely. I learnt to read early and it was always my favourite hobby and the best escape from some unpleasant times at school. I used to get into trouble for reading when I was supposed to be doing other stuff, like revising or cleaning my room. Or playing with my sister.

Which book shop is your favourite?

Kate: P & G Wells in Winchester is what I would call a perfect traditional bookshop – lots of wooden shelves, slightly higgledy-piggledy and with great displays. It even has a traditional book bindery on site!

Liz: I love the Regency Bookshop in Surbiton. It’s a small shop but they pack a huge amount in, the staff are super helpful and knowledgeable, and if they don’t have a book they will get it for you the next day.

What can you not resist buying?

Liz: Make-up, especially lipstick and nail varnish. I think I’m a bit addicted. I even buy multiple copies of the same magazine because they have different coloured free lipsticks attached to them.

Kate: Musical instruments. Currently I have (and play, to various degrees of terrible) a piano, a harp, a flute, a cello and a drum-kit. And not enough space.

Do you have any rituals on your writing days?

Kate: Not really. I just try to write whenever and wherever I can. Sitting in bed with a cappuccino and my laptop on my knees is pretty good…

Liz: My house is kind of chaotic, so just clearing some space for my laptop is the main ritual!

How many books in your own to be read pile?

Liz: I’ve actually lost count. There’s a huge pile by my bed and another virtual pile on my Kindle. My TBR list is officially out of control.

Kate: Five. I can’t cope with a bigger TBR pile than that.

What is your current read?

Kate: 1606: William Shakespeare and The Year of Lear by James Shapiro; Lady Susan by Jane Austen (really recommend the film version, Love & Friendship, by the way!) and The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman.

Liz: Way behind the curve on this, but I’m currently tearing my way through A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J Maas.

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