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…

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

My Second Patron of Reading Visit

Last Friday saw me catching stumbling onto a train at the unearthly hour of 7am, clutching a coffee in one hand and a bag full of notebooks, postcards and various other bits and bobs in the other. I was heading up to Shipley in West Yorkshire to visit Titus Salt School. I'm lucky enough to be Titus Salt's current Patron of Reading and this was my second official visit to the school in that capacity.

By the time I arrived at 9am, I was much more awake, thank goodness, and ready for a busy day talking to Titus Salt's Year 7s about how I became a writer and got published. The students were fantastic, and asked some great questions. The students were also given copies of the latest edition of PassWords, my Patron of Reading newsletter, which I write every half term.

In this half term's edition there was a special mention for the winners of Titus Salt's Summer Reading Challenge, and some fantastic writing by the students themselves, including a poem and the first instalment of a horror story called The Bloody Boathouse.

After a busy lunch break signing postcards and talking to a group of budding writers, I helped some Year 11s film a series of podcasts about how to answer the English GCSE exam questions. The exam has changed a lot since I sat my GCSEs, and it was really interesting to find out what students need to do these days to achieve a high mark.

I also chose a book Christmas tree, one of several made by library staff to raise money for charities chosen by Titus Salt's Post-16 students. In exchange for a small donation, I took home this beautiful tree made from pages of a graphic novel. It now has pride of place on my desk.

It was a wonderful day – I'm really proud to be involved with a school which is so passionate about books, reading and words. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next few months will bring!

If you're a school who would like to link up with an author and make them your Patron of Reading, you can find out who's available on the Patron of Reading Website here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Giveaway Winners!

I have consulted and it tells me the winners of the signed copies of THE FEARLESS are…

@_Sandra_R_ and Laura Mary! Hooray!

Congratulations to both of you. Please email me at so I can arrange to send them to you.

Signed prettiness!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The #FearlessHalloweenGiveaway is now closed!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I'll be announcing the winners on Monday, so watch this space.

In the meantime, dear blog readers, please could you send some good thoughts to G-Dog? He's pulled a muscle in his back and is feeling a little sorry for himself. He's a lot more mobile today, though, so hopefully it won't be long before he's back to his usual silly self!

Also biscuits. Biscuits would be good.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Blog Lives! And a FEARLESS Giveaway


A while ago, I announced I was moving this blog to Tumblr. I really like the format and the immediacy of that platform, but having dipped my toe in the water, so to speak… I've realised it's not for me. I don't have time to keep up with it – like Twitter and Facebook, you have to post and interact there regularly for it to be worthwhile. So I've decided that, just in time for Halloween, I'm bringing this blog back from the dead! [insert spooky ghost noises here] And I've given it a bit of a facelift, too - what do you think?

What have I been up to while this blog has been in stasis? Well, several exciting things have happened. I'm still sworn to secrecy about two of those things, but I'll share when I can. What I can tell you is that THE FEARLESS has been nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal - my second nomination in two years. To say I'm thrilled is an understatement.

I'm also working on some new book ideas, but again, they're top secret at the moment. I'm fairly superstitious about my new ideas, and always think if I talk about them too much it will jinx them, so I'm keeping quiet for now. Sorry!

In between writing and the day job, I've been doing plenty of workshops and events - this week, I ran a teen writing workshop at Wirksworth Library, and also took part in a panel discussion and author Q&A at Lincoln High Street Waterstones with Kerry Drewery and Zoe Marriott. Despite suffering from a horrible cold, I had the BEST time. Fellow authors Kendra Leighton and Rebecca Mascull came along to cheer us on and it was so lovely to meet and chat to everyone. One girl told me that THE FEARLESS made her cry all the way through, and another that ACID is the book that's made her want to write dystopian. Sometimes, when I'm struggling through my first (or second, or third, or tenth…) draft, wondering if anyone will ever want to read the words I'm trying to get onto the page, writing can feel like a lonely and frustrating business. To hear such passionate responses from readers really makes me feel like it's all worth it!

A big thank you to Giles, Kirsty and all the staff at Waterstones Lincoln for looking after us so well. BTW, they have limited amounts of signed stock AND swag from all three of us, so if you're in the area, hurry down and grab some before it sells out!

Finally, to celebrate the blog revival and Halloween, I'm giving away two signed copies of THE FEARLESS. It's dark and gruesome and simply perfect for this time of year, so if you want to win a copy, leave me a comment below and/or follow me on Twitter and tweet about this post with the hashtag #FearlessHalloweenGiveaway. The giveaway is international and entries close on Friday 14th November.

Happy Halloween!