Monday, September 15, 2014

Q&A with Kim Hood - author of Finding A Voice

Today I am joined by the author Kim Hood to talk about her debut book Finding a Voice, which I absolutely adored and came out via O'Brien Press on August 11th. You can read my review of it here.

Your book, Finding A Voice, focuses on mental illness, coping with the pressures of life and the idea that people dont always come across as being the way you expect them to be, how did the story come about and was there any major inspiration for the book?

I truly am not sure how the story came about.  I suppose like any story, it came from my experiences in life weaving in and out of my imagination.  Many of those experiences have been through my work supporting and teaching people with challenges such as mental illness and disability, so it was natural for the themes you mention to emerge. 

As this is my first (finished) novel, I was pretty na├»ve about how to go about it.  I didn’t have an outline or any idea where I was going when I started.  Little inspirations kept saving me.  For example, Chris, who happens to have cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk because of it, was inspired by something that happened over twenty years ago.  I was working as a camp counsellor and one of my campers had a disability that made him unable to verbalize.  Unfortunately, the electronic communication board he usually used was in for repairs.  I can’t say too much without giving away the story, but that camper taught me a lot about making assumptions about people, and inspired a major part of the plot of Finding a Voice.  

The mental illness in Finding a Voice was a pretty intense part of the story and it felt shocking, but very real in that I could see that there are probably a lot more children experiencing what Jo was experiencing than I had thought, what kind of research did you do for the book? 

I drew from my experience in supporting people with very complex mental health challenges to write about the crisis Jo’s mum experiences.  It is a really tough place for anyone to be in, to hit a wall that requires hospitalization, and I’ve been there with a few people unfortunately.  I think it is important to point out that not everyone struggling with mental illness has these kinds of crises, but yes, I think there must be many kids experiencing mental illness in their family.  These kids deserve books that let them know they are not alone.  

The book also covers communication and the idea that sometimes things can be missed in translation almost, from Jo misinterpreting what Chris wanted to say to people missing her own very subtle cries for help. How important do you think it is for teens to see this and understand that what people say is a lot different to what they are feeling sometimes? 

I definitely don’t want to ‘teach’ teens anything through this book!  It is something I wish I would have realised a lot earlier in life though.  I remember, as a teen, thinking that everyone else was soooo happy and sure of themselves.  It made it harder to cope with feeling so unsure and unhappy myself.  What I didn’t know, was that the kids I envied were often struggling with their own problems.   Some of these problems were pretty horrendous, and there I was wishing I could be as ‘cool’ as they were.  You often don’t know what people are facing.  It makes for interesting writing; but real life requires a lot more empathy than I think is usually out there.   

I thought that Finding a Voice tackled very adult topics for a young adult book, but did it fantastically well in a way teens will have no issue with. Were you always planning on writing for young adults or was it something that just happened? 

Writing for teens definitely just happened—I was half way through writing this book before it occurred to me that it was probably for teens!  Now, I’m not sure I can imagine writing for anyone else.  It’s such a raw age for a lot of people--full of passion, angst and finding out who you are.  This is all great stuff to write about!

As far as tackling adult topics, I think teens are not given enough credit for what they understand.  Also, they are dealing with these topics in their lives so it doesn’t make sense to try to protect them.  When I was writing this book I wanted to capture how it felt to be almost-fourteen-year-old Jo.  If the perspective is that of someone your own age, hopefully it makes difficult topics accessible and easy to relate to.   

I understand you work with people who need additional care and help in their day to day lives, how much of this found its way into Finding a Voice? 

A lot!  I’ve always struggled with the dichotomy of providing the help someone needs and yet facilitating someone to live the life he or she wants to live.  It’s a fine line and one that everyone supporting someone with a disability needs to be mindful of, especially if that person can’t speak up.  It was fun to see this ‘care’ through Jo’s eyes.  Her anger at the lack of respect for Chris at times is very familiar to me.

Are there any major influencers on your writing, any authors who made you really want to pursue the written word? 

Oh, the dreaded question!  This question is so hard to answer because there were so many authors who influenced me as a child.  From the time I was six, until I went to university, everything inspired me—I read everything, and I wrote every sort of story and poem because of these influences.  I loved fantasy writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, and reality writers like Judy Blume.  I loved Scott O’Dell, S.E. Hinton and Madeleine L’Engle.  There were so many more, but it would take hours to mention all of them.

And then, that inspiration turned to intimidation when I started university.  With my love of books and writing, it was obvious I would study English , but I didn’t do well in my first English Literature courses.  I hated discussing books as allegory and motif and I became intimidated to write anything myself.  How could I ever achieve what all of these great writers had?  I wanted to write STORIES, not think about what it all might mean. 

Twenty years later, I finally got the nerve to ignore all of the ‘literary devises’ I learned about in school and just write stories again.  

Do you have one book you will always run to when you want comforting, and if so what is it? 

When I moved to Ireland, from Canada, one of the things I had to leave behind was my books.  I have dozens of boxes of them still stored in my sister’s shed, but they are just too heavy for me bring over.  I miss looking over my shelves to find the particular book I need for the particular hurt or insecurity I happen to be experiencing.  There isn’t one that covers everything; different books take on different meaning as I (hopefully!) change and grow (yes, even adults keep growing).  Luckily, my partner has some of the books I love—but it isn’t the same as having my first loves around me.

For pure comfort I love A.A. Milne’s Now We are Six.  I also love all of Robert Frost’s poems.  I don’t know a lot of poetry, but I do love the way poetry can exactly capture how I feel sometimes.

If you could have coffee and a chat with any author, alive or dead, who would it be and why? (Obviously I know you have probably met quite a few fellow authors so this could be either someone youve already met and would like to again or someone you havent!)

I actually know almost no authors!  In fact I know one, and she is in Canada.  I’m planning to meet Sheila Buglar (a new crime writer who is from Ireland, but lives in England) for a school event this autumn.  I really hope I can meet more authors, because writing is a very isolating thing to do and it would be nice to have others to talk with about the challenges of writing.  

Three authors I adore are Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver and Meg Rosoff.  I am in awe of their works, but they also seem like women who would be incredibly interesting to talk to about life in general. 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to answer some very interesting questions! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Blogger UKYA Awards - Best Horror, Best Paranormal, Best Adventure



Hey Guys!

Today I am here with VERY exciting news! It is the shortlist of the Book Blogger UKYA

Awards
! This is the time for YOU to vote for your favourite from the list!

Voting is open until September 21st

Voting will also be happening a little differently than the nominations. On this blog you will be voting for: 


Best Horror, Best Sci-fi/Fantasy, Best Paranormal, Best Adventure

And then you will hop along to the next blog to vote for more awards!

There are five different awards to jump to (and five/six bloggers hosting each group, but you only need to visit five blogs!).

This doesn’t have to happen all at once, it gives you the chance to vote in your leisure – but make sure you do so before 21st September


For each of the other categories please visit: 

Best Contemporary, Best Historical, Best Crime/Mystery, and Best LGBT

Big Book Little Book

Fabulous Book Fiend

Feeling Fictional

It Takes A Woman

The YA’s Nightstand

Funniest Book, Most Heartbreaking Book, Best First Sentence, Best Ending

Ya Yeah Yeah

Cicely Loves Books

Challot

Queen of Contemporary

Luna’s Little Library

Best Protagonist, Best Couple, Best Friendship, Best Villain

Snuggling on the Sofa

Much Loved Books

Hush Hush Revealings

The Pewter Wolf

The Little Munchkin Reader

Best Self-Published, Most Social Author (Online), Most Social Author (Offline), Author Whose

Mind You Wish Was Yours


A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

This Fleeting Dream

Bookish Treasures

Escapism From Reality

Book to Basics

Friday, August 29, 2014

Finding a Voice: Friendship is a Two Way Street - Kim Hood

“One, two, three, four. I started counting the steps as soon as my feet left the drive. At first, walking so quickly I could barely keep count, but counting nonetheless. Pouring all of my consciousness into keeping count, blocking any other thought out. Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Opening one finger at a time when I got to the two-syllable numbers to make sure I didn’t lose track of how many steps I had taken.”

Jo is so used to keeping her head down and getting on with life that she doesn’t always see things clearly. Between looking after her mum and avoiding the mean kids at school she tries to keep herself to herself and doesn’t have time to think about what she wants. She has to be the strong one. When avoiding the kids at school proves difficult Jo decides to take on a voluntary aide position, helping Chris with his dinner and getting to classes. She wants to make Chris’ life better and soon finds herself going to dramatic lengths to do so, but soon she realises that friendship is a two-way street and its not just Chris who may need a little help. 

***

Anyone who wants more diversity in YA lit needs to read this. Not only does it handle mental health in a true to life way, it also features a main character with severe disabilities and does so brilliantly. 

The story is definitely not a light hearted one. Jo is not in a good place with her mothers illness dominating her life. Right at the start she tries to have a normal teenage existence and it spirals her mother out of control. Its not a nice place for any child to be but its worse when that child is the only one there. The issues with her mother run throughout the book with her very much taking on the role of the sensible carer and having to look at her mother instead of the other way round. The fact that all the kids know what her mother is like causes problems too with many of them bullying Jo for it and leaving Jo with no one to talk to. This is where Chris comes in and the story really gets going. 

I loved Chris and I understood why Jo wanted to help him. She thought that she was doing what was best for him but this book really emphasises the idea that you seriously have to listen to what other people want to tell you, and not assume things about others. Jo was too quiet and hid her own feelings so didn’t open up to anyone unless she thought i was helping them by doing so. Thats how the relationship between her and Chris forms and its a lovely one. 

A lot of the issues in this book are very, very serious ones. It deals with mental health, physical disabilities and the danger of assuming you are aware of what is best for others when honestly you can’t unless you are them. It is an ‘issues’ book but the beautiful writing and the characters within it are much more than their issues. I loved the way Chris’ personality shone through because Jo let it and I loved Sarah as a character because she reacted in ways I would hope I could. Being a teenage is hard and it does suck, but it sucks more when things out of your control shape the person other people believe you are. 

Finding A Voice was a beautiful book which tackled major issues with characters I grew to love. It was scary and it was sad but there were funny bits and amazing friendships formed so all round it was brilliant. I really enjoyed learning about Jo and her home life and wanted the best for her as soon as I got to know her. She may not be the most relatable main character for many teens but I think they will enjoy reading her story nonetheless. 

Finding a Voice: Friendship is a Two-Way Street will be published on August 11th by O’Brien Press. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

To buy this book or for more info please visit: 

Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Books Allowed (#18)




Welcome to No Books Allowed. This is a new monthly feature hosted by me, used to  discuss things things in life which aren't connected to books. This post can be used to talk about days out, music, TV, video games, films etc for all those book bloggers out there who do occasionally do stuff other than read and go to book events! The feature is usually posted on the last Thursday of the month unless that coincides with a blog tour/other book event.
August 2014 
So August was a tough month. It wasn't as fun as I hoped and it wasn't the summer I wanted, thats for sure. I had a lovely birthday and spent some quality time with friends following on from it, however the following week my grandmother passed away. I'm not going to go into details on here because I'm not sure that a) I want to and b) that my family would be ok with their business being over the internet. I'll miss her but its good to know that she's at peace and that she lived a happy, long life. She was the first member of my family to die which possibly made it even tougher than it would have been but I just keep thinking about how lucky I am to live until 26 and not have a family member (that I knew properly) die until now.

So yeah, a little while was spent in the North East for the arrangements so I got to see my parents and siblings and spend time with members of my family that I don't see a lot. T met my aunty for the first time (he'd met most of the others before but not this particular one) and she embarrassed me in the way only aunties can! And whilst me and T were up there we managed to play a mean game of 'The Last Night on Earth with my awesome friends Stef and Mike. Can't beat a bit of zombie board-gaming!  

An awful lot of time this month has been spent doing stuff I don't normally do. Seeing friends and generally relaxing. I read and relax but this month hasn't involved a lot of that so this has been different types of relaxing. We're steadily making our way through all of Sopranos and I'm enjoying it so much more than I expected. I've also been watching movies a fair bit. Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing (I AM GROOT!) and the passing of Robin Williams resulted in a rematch of Aladdin which I haven't seen since I was a kid... I still love it! Toy Story 2 and Up were also rewatched cos I love those movies and we saw Gravity - it was ok but not incredible. My workmate also loaned me a Michelle Williams movie form 2001 called Me Without You and I really, really enjoyed that - its a friendship movie that follows two girls growing up from 1973 (I think!) to 2001 and the agony they bring each other, totally my kind of movie with a bit of an edge to it too! 

Gaming has been spares the past year if I'm honest but this month T bought me Octodad for my birthday and I have to say its quite possibly the most bizarre, yet brilliant, game I've played. You are an octopus who lives life as a human man and you have to try not to draw attention to the fact that he's an octopus. Its hilarious, but frustrating too! I haven't finished it yet, I really must! 

Finally T got a new job this month and started this week! Yay! Its a fair commute though and because he doesn't drive he doesn't get home until 7 every weekday evening. I'm combatting this by making lush teas that I never usually make because they take too long. Last night was Sausage casserole that was gorgeous but there wasn't a lot of so next time I'll have to bulk up the ingredients and tonight, oh wow, tonight was the best shepherds pie I have ever eaten. It was made with quorn mince and there was so much of it that I'm having it for lunch tomorrow! I actually can't wait! 

So yeah, there were a lot of pros to August and a lot of fun was to be and but a major not so good thing too. Here's too a better September! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don’t Even Think About It - Sarah Mlynowski

“”We were not always freaks. 
Sure, most of us occasionally exhibited freakish behaviour. But that’s not the same thing. 
Olivia Byrne, when she worried about something, picked the skin around her thumbnails until her fingers bled. 
Cooper Miller sang badly. When he walked down the hall, when he studied, when he ate. He wasn’t singing the Top 40 either - he made up the tunes and lyrics about his everyday like. Walking to school. Being late to math.”

Something isn’t right with homeroom 10B. They can hear everyones thoughts; their best friends’, their parents’, their boyfriends’ and girlfriends’ - no one’s thoughts are off limits. Worst of all, they each know that their thoughts can be heard by the other people in their homeroom. What sounds like a nightmare becomes a reality for 10B and they must overcome every obstacle to get through the madness they have entered into. 

***

Ok, Don’t Even Think About It was weird… very weird. It was nothing what I expected but it was pretty darn awesome at the same time. It had really great characters (so much so that I nearly wrote a really great cast then because they did seem like the cast of a TV show!) and a pretty decent story line. It featured friendships, moral dilemmas and questions that not many people would ever have to ask, but make for a great debate! 

The story was interesting but unfortunately not the best I’ve ever read. I wasn’t captivated by it but I enjoyed it, there just wasn't much point to it. The mind-blowing thing happens right at the beginning with the homeroom developing the power to read each others minds, and then things kist carry on with mind reading abilities. Its not that interesting and to be honest nothing much happens. I expected more I’m afraid to say, but as the first in a series I think its setting up for more to come - or at least I hope so. 

What made me carry on reading was my own intrigue as to what I would do in that situation. Imagine being able to hear everything your friends, partner, family, teachers, etc can hear? Its a pretty insane thought yeah? I saw what these kids did with it and in all honesty it was tame and it wasn’t that exciting. The fortune telling was interesting and the whole thing with Cooper and his parents was quite sad and added to the moral questioning of the situation but other than that I was pretty underwhelmed with the abilities and the storyline. 

The characters made up for it and I grew to like a lot of them. I thought its as really interesting that as they developed their skills they allowed themselves to really learn about who they were by what others were saying. MacKenzie learnt to be less of a bitch and Olivia came out of her shell. I liked that Olivia was saved from dating a moron because she could hear his true personality but again, thats about the morals involved with listening in to other peoples thoughts. 

Overall Don’t Even Think About it was a little average for my tastes. It was a short, quick read but felt very much like an introduction with nothing much happening. I enjoyed it enough to carry on with the series though in the hopes that things pick up in Think Twice. For readers new to this author I would serious recommend you start with her previous teen book, Ten Things We Shouldn’t Have Done - or Ten Things We Did (but probably shouldn’t have) in the US - then return for this one! 

Don’t Even Think About It was published on May 1st by Orchard. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

To buy the book or for more info please visit:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Every Day - David Levithan

“I wake up. 
Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body - opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair it long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred of smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context, of the body, that can be hard to grasp.”

Every day A wakes up in a new body. A is neither male nor female, as A doesn’t have a body. A is a being that goes from one person to the next every day. A is always aware, and always makes sure to never become attached, to avoid being noticed and to not interfere. But all that changes when A meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of Justin, who A has woken up in the body of. All of a sudden A has found someone to want to see, every day. 

***

I had been told, time and time again, by other bloggers and authors that this book is the one that I should read… the other David Levithan books are good, but Every Day is where its at… and when I read Two Boys Kissing I shunned that idea because surely, surely, it could not be as good as that. I was wrong, they were right. Every Day was beautiful and moving and so odd that I loved it just as much as Two Boys Kissing, but I think they are on par with one another! 

It is going to be very difficult to write about this book without spoiling anything. Its not a spoiler to say that A meets Rhiannon and falls in love with her because it happens in the first chapter. Its what happened after that which is all spoilery. I really enjoyed the story because it brought up many questions about what is morally right and wrong - and how that affects a person who isn't actually a person as they don't have a physical form. The ending was fantastic and I thought it stopped at such a brilliant point, I think my favourite 'host' body was that second to last one that A was in.

The questions that this book picks up on are just as valid for people who don't switch bodies every day as much as they are for A. A witnesses people doing things that are bad for them the entire time A is in other peoples bodies and tries not to interfere but theres a perfect example within the book where A has to interfere because its the right thing to do… or is it? That chapter and that person A inhabits was the one that will stick with me now that I have finished this book because it really is the one which posed the most questions.

A was just a being so its hard to talk about them in this review… A was neither male nor female but I find myself wanting to type he because in my mind A did sound male, all the way through the book even when A was in female bodies, I still heard his thoughts with a male voice… Its an interesting thing to think about really because I don’t know if thats because the author is male, because A was in love with Rhiannon and my brain subconsciously thinks that A must then be male, or because the author wanted A to come across as male… I have absolutely no idea but to me, I think, A felt more at home in male bodies and I think if A could stick to one body it would be a male one. But thats just my opinion. 

I really did love Every Day. I think its just as brilliant as Two Boys Kissing and hearing David Levithan talk about it at the event I went to with him during the time I was reading the book was incredible because you can tell he loved writing it. I now have another 3 David Levithan books to read and I cannot wait! 

Every Day was published in September 2013 by Electric Monkey. My copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

To buy the book or for more info please visit: 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letterbox Love (#90)



Letterbox Love is a weekly feature that is hosted by Lynsey at Narratively Speaking and is a way for us to share the books that come through our letterbox, galleys and e-books (through our electronic letterbox) and any other bookish goodies that we want to tell you about.



For Review: 


Well, after a long, long wait, the third book in Stephanie Perkins' romance collection is finally here! I loved the first two books, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door so I am excited for this. Thankfully as I team up with Lovereading4kids.co.uk I managed to bag a review copy for this and will be reading it very soon! Thanks LoveReading and Usborne! 
Published: 14th August 


Remember Vivian Versus the Apocalypse?! With the girl who's parents vanish through a hole in the roof and the weird twisted church? That was awesome right?! Well until last week I didn't know when the second one was going to be out, then I got an amazing email from Hot Key Books offering it for review! Woop! I can't wait to find out whats next for Vivian! Thanks Hot Key! 
Published: 4th September


I read some of Benjamin Zephaniah's poetry when I was at school and loved it. So when I found out he has written his first novel for 7 years I thought I would definitely check it out! Thanks again to Hot Key Books for allowing me to find out what Terror Kid is all about! 
Published: 4th September


Historial Fiction - check. Social injustice - check. Pushing the boundaries - Check. I love the sound of this book and everything in it. I read the introduction in the first page which a MiraInk editor has written and its so true that the injustices faced in 1959 and the issues the girls face are still very relevant today and I really, really am looking forward to reading this one even though it won't be a nice read! Thanks MiraInk for this one 
Published: 3rd October 


This is a little younger than Hot Key Books usually publish and I believe is a middle grade book but when I read the blurb and with a title like this one I knew I needed to read it! Its about a girl who is raised by dogs and is running from humans with trusted companions, two boys and a bear. I am intrigued by this one and can't wait to find out more! This also has to have the coolest cover I've seen this year, I love it! Thanks again Hot Key! 
Published: 4th September

Friday, August 22, 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone - Morgan Matson

“The list arrived two weeks after Sloane had been gone two weeks. 
I wasn’t at home to get it because I was at Sloane’s. Where I had gone yet again, hoping against hope to find her there. I had decided, as I’d driven over the her house, my iPod off and my hands gripping the steering wheel, that if she was there, I wouldn’t even need an explanation.”

When Emily’s best friend Sloane disappears without a trace Emily is worried. Sloane and her parents are gone, Sloane isn’t answering emails, texts or phone calls and no one knows anything. Then Emilly is sent a list, she knows its from Sloane, who would give her lists of things to do and see every time she went away, and thinks it might give her clues as to where her best friend has gone. On the list are 13 tasks that Emily, the wallflower, would never in a million years want to complete… but if it means finding out where her best friend has gone she could dance until dawn, kiss a stranger and go skinny-dipping, couldn’t she? 

***

Yet again Morgan Matson hits the nail on the head when it comes to summer time contemporary fiction and I loved every minute. Since You’ve Been Gone is the best coming of age story I have read this year and I hope it will be universally loved. 

The story is brilliant. Right at the start you know that Emily has no one other than Sloane and her family, and right at the beginning you know that the list Sloane leaves will take Emily right out of her comfort zone and help her become the person she should be. I really related to this book because in all honest Emily is 17 and kinda like me at that age. She has her whole world in front of her but she hasn’t even begun to think about what she could do with it and the focus is more on friendship than on romance and sex. I think a lot of the time with older YA you do get so much focus on those kinds of things that the basics like making true friendships that will last a lifetime kinda fall by the wayside. 

There’s a goodreads review which claims this is is a tame read and I kinda agree with that… it is tame but not everyone is throwing their clothes off and getting wasted at every chance they get at 17, especially not the people I know! I used to get drunk and do crazy things at that age but more so at 18 and 19, 17 is a precious time in a persons life because there is still some element of innocence that can be maintained if you wish for it to be and with a shy, reclusive girl like Emily that innocence is obvious. I don’t think the tameness of this book was anything bad at all and in fact I actually liked it because it made it different from a lot of other books out there. 

This is Morgan Matson’s third book and in all honesty I would say its the least rated one from me but I still loved every minute. It doesn’t like up to the chemistry in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour or the emotional roller coaster that is Second Chance Summer but its a brilliant summertime read which I think will give YA contemporary lovers the fix they want and need! 

Since You’ve Been Gone was published on July 3rd by Simon and Schuster. My copy was purchased at my favourite indie bookstore, Storytellers Inc. 

To buy the book or for more info please visit:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

David Levithan at Waterstones Liverpool One

A rather blurry David Levithan at Waterstones Liverpool One 
On August 12th I picked up my good friend Keris and took to the road… it wasn't a very long one, with us just driving down to Liverpool to partake in an evening with David Levithan, but it was good! 

It was a mixture of sunshine and rain on the hour long drive to Liverpool but with good company it went quickly. I only had an idea of how to get to the city centre so I followed my sat nav on my phone which kindly directed me into the Mersey Tunnel and over to Birkenhead… just for those who don’t know, Birkenhead is the wrong side of the estuary if you want to be in Liverpool, and at two miles long is horrendous. We finally got out of the tunnel, parked the car and did a mad dash to the store where the Q&A was in full swing - yes, we were about half an hour late. 


Thankfully we still managed to get to hear David talk about collaborations with other authors and how he does that, his inspiration for Every Day and other things.  

David was hilariously funny and he came across as a lovely guy. He made us laugh when the Waterstones guy asked if there were any collaborations that hadn't worked out for him and he mentioned that Jane Austin was a f*cking b*tch for not getting back to him! Then went on to tell us about trying to write with a partner who was obsessed with England in the 1920s and wanted to write about a vicar who wanted to be with the postmistress and David took it apart and changed it so that the vicar was actually in love with a choir boy! I could just imagine how that went down when his partner saw it!

The inspiration for Every Day came to him on a walk home, or to, work and he just thought 'what if we woke up in a different body every single day.' And the road to publication being a long one, but luckily for him he was working in the industry so found he knew people that could help with it. He did mention that working in the industry doesn't necessarily help you get published though as he was in it for about ten years before he managed it! I was interested to hear that he started writing Boy Meets Boy because he wanted to write the book that he wanted to see on the shelves and he wrote it as a 'short story' for some friends on Valentines Day but it got bigger and bigger and managed to get into the right hands. 

Then there was talk of movies and how lucky David felt knowing that Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist was made into a brilliant movie that kept very close the the story and even told us that theres possibility that a Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List movie was on its way! 


With audience questions David confirmed that he has plans to write a book with an asexual character, and its something he and UKYA author James Dawson talk about a lot. Also he has an idea for a book written entirely in verse following on from the versed short stories in How They Met, and the musical elements in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. David apparently has one book written entirely in verse which is called The Realm Of Possibility but unfortunately that hasn’t been published in the UK - that may not stop me from getting a copy though as I love verse novels! 

From there we went into a looooong signing queue and I managed to have a quick chat with David as he was signing my books, he mentioned that his friends in the US get confused when they see the Electric Monkey proofs as the books have nothing to do with a monkey getting his groove on! We think tried to talk about something different with all the people he signed for which was really sweet of him and I loved meeting him! 

After the signing me and Keris took to the streets of Liverpool and she showed me some very cool places. We ate at a Mexican street food type place called Lucha Libre which was amazing and I will definitely be going there again! Then we went home, managing not to go through the Mersey Tunnel or get lost. All in all it was a fairly awesome night and I hope there are more to come with Waterstones Liverpool One and other places! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fables: Legends in Exile - Bill Willingham

Join the characters you know as you will never recognise them. Their homeland is gone and in Fabletown, New York City, the Fables must keep themselves to themselves. When Rose Red goes missing and her apartment is covered in blood the mundy cops must not be informed. Its up to The Big Bad Wolf to solve the case, along with Rose’s sister Snow White, and keep the Fabletown community from coming apart at the seams. 

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Fables has been on my wish list for a very, very long time. Thankfully a christmas present helped me on the way towards reading them when it turned out to be the first volume. I am utterly useless though because it then took me until August to finally get round to reading it, and damn why didn’t I read it sooner?! 

I’ve always heard good things about this series and I am happy to say I agree with them. It is brilliant and well worth a read. I loved the way it takes characters we know from fables and fairytales, and makes them into real characters. The gritty atmosphere you pick up from the graphic novel obviously comes from the darker side of some of the stories, as we all know the originals were not nice stories like Disney has turned them into. That darkness transfers to the characters too with the mild, meek women coming across as pretty badass and even the men who are seen as ‘heroes’ in the original stories, having some serious flaws. I think my favourite portrayal was Prince Charming and his womanising ways… serious he was there for them all! 

There were a few references I didn’t know because my knowledge of fables and fairytales isn’t actually that vast but Fables didn’t allow for that fact to me off. It is its own take on the characters with a fantastic storyline that kept my attention right to the end. I loved the way it showed the little clues as to what had happened to Rose Red throughout the book and then how it was revealed at the end. Its not often I come across that kind of thing in the books I read so it felt like proper crime scene tv show or movie! 

I struggle to actually review graphic novels because obviously the images are such a big part of the story and I have no technical knowledge of the images used. I know I like them but cant really go into details as to why a lot of the time. The ones in Fables really grabbed me because of their attention to detail though and I loved that the character’s shadows show up more like their true fable rather than how they looks, for example the Big Bad Wolf’s shadow is a wolf even though he is a man in the story.

One thing I wasn’t expecting from Fables: Legends in Exile is the story at the end. The short story ‘A Wolf in the Fold’ by Bill Willingham was amazing and was so special. The writing was incredible and I loved what insight it gives into the character of the Wolf. I think it added so much to the graphic novel, which was already pretty immense in my eyes, and I also liked the mini strips at the back too. All bonus things that I didn’t expect and really enjoyed from this volume. 

I am kinda kicking myself for not reading this sooner but also for actually reading it because now I want the rest of the volumes and I don’t have them… I know whats next on my to buy list at least! 

Fables: Legends in Exile was published by Vertigo in 2012. my copy was given to me as a present. 

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