Why did you want to write Seven Days?
I think the idea of writing a book about bullying has always been in the back of my mind, but it was only after working in a large secondary school and speaking to students about some of their experiences, that the idea began to develop. I liked the idea of having two view-points, of showing that sometimes there are two victims.
So which character from the book do you think is closest to you?
There are parts of both girls in me. I have had stages of being a Kez and stages of being a Jess. I associate closely with Jess’s awkwardness and loyalty, but I also love Kez’s fire and energy. Both girls have insecurities that make me want to hug them hard.
Bullying is a tough subject; it’s something that can leave scars for a long time. If you could, what would you want to ask your readers?
I’d ask my readers to speak if they possibly can. By this I mean sharing their experiences of bullying or speaking up if they see another being harmed. Bullying is a weapon and it harms. Very often it continues far longer than it should because people are too afraid to speak out against it.
If a reader can see themselves in the bully, if they can see they might have harmed someone – I’d ask them to speak, too. They may also need support.
How did you celebrate your book deal?
Ha ha! I was in shock for ages. I think I sat down with a cup of tea and a silly grin on my face, re-reading the emails and pinching myself. A few days later, I went out for a meal with my husband and celebrated properly.
Best thing about being a writer?
Having readers saying my stories moved and inspired them. Writing in my dressing gown, with un-brushed hair.
And the worst?
The self-doubt. It’s an evil beast.
What do you think are the differences between UK and US YA?
I honestly don’t pay too much notice to the differences, because everything changes and evolves at such speed. I think the gap between UK and US is closing. What’s great about UKYA is that it is growing at an incredible rate and producing some fantastic international authors. I think this is an exciting time to be a fan of YA.
Changing the subject, apart from writing what do you love doing?
Reading (any surprise there?). I love music of all types. I love long walks. Playing silly games with my kids and going to the pub with my friends and family.
I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
OMG! Seriously I could talk about anything?!
Please let’s never leave this Earth in apathy. Keep fighting for the things you believe in. Use you vote. Use your voice – shout against those that are hurting or harming others, never turn your back. And read. Read lots – knowledge is power, it always will be.
So what happens now?
My second novel is due for publication in Feb 2016 and focuses on a damaging and controlling relationship between a girl and boy.
I plan to write book 3 and also go out and work with as many schools as i can. I also plan to do some local theatre workshops with a good and talented friend of mine.
This is an exciting year. I’m looking forward to the ride!
What word describes you best?
Compassionate describes me I think
Tea or coffee?
Tea no question
What magic power would you like?
The gift to heal
Last film you saw at the cinema?
When no one is watching do you dance?
Yes – all the time
You’re at the airport with a free pass to get on any plane – where would you go?
A Greek island, like Kefalonia.
Do you have a favourite book?
It changes but currently The Book Thief
What’s the perfect cure to a bad day?
Hugs, tea and a good book
Have you ever re-arranged bookshop displays?
Of course. Who doesn’t?
And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
Maybe I’m a bit of a hippy, but I wish we’d ask each other ‘are you ok? Do you need anything?’ a little more often.
This bold, compelling and topical story about bullying is told from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. You won’t be able put it down until you’ve reached the conclusion. Jess’s life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her – it’s turning school from a safe place into a nightmare. Kez has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess – or so she thinks. A hard-hitting and even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today.