Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hey folks, hope you're enjoying the festive season. I am mostly enjoying it by being ILL. Urgh. Still, it means I'm getting a lot of reading done, which is good, since you lot have added heaps of books to be TBR pile with your awesome recommendations. 

I picked a winner at random (full disclosure: my pup picked the winner at random) and I'm delighted to announce that TRISHA LEIGH wins a copy of IMAGINARY GIRLS. WOOT!

Here's what she had to say about her favourite YA book of 2011:

Mine is DARK INSIDE by Jeyn Roberts. It's a story that takes places during the apocalypse and it truly terrifying. The reasons it stands out for me are, first, the 5 POVs, one of which is philosophical and sad and scary all at once. The second reason is that even though the book did scare me, it also had something to say about human nature, and about the things in our very real (read:not paranormal) world that SHOULD scare the bejesus out if every single day. I don't know what I was expecting when I opened this book, but safe to say it blew my mind out the back of my skull and left me thinking about it for day's. First book in a while that, if there had been a sequel available, I would have run right out and bought it.

I will definitely be getting my hands on this one - sounds exactly my cup of tea. Also? Five POVs? Impressive. So, Trisha, please get in touch with your address so I can send you Nova Ren Suma's bloomin' amazing book.

So what are you reading at the moment? I'm reading THE WOMAN IN WHITE, by Wilkie Collins. It is masterful.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


My book comes out today. My SECOND book. I can no longer call myself a debut author. Sad times. But the silver lining is that my book comes out today!

I'm kind of proud of this one. Writing it was not easy, but it turned out pretty much exactly like I wanted it to. I do hope you like it.

To celebrate the occasion, I'm giving away a copy of my favourite YA book of the year. It's this little beauty...

To be in with a chance of winning the unbelievably awesome IMAGINARY GIRLS, just leave a comment telling me your favourite YA book of the year, and tell me WHY it's your favourite. I'll pick a winner at midday on the 27th. The contest is open worldwide.

I'm muchly looking forward to picking up some recommendations to add to my somewhat intimidating TBR pile.

I suppose I'd best get on with the celebrating then. This morning it involves drinking tea and taking Griffpup for a walk. Exciting times, yes?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two days to go... and a contest winner in a pear tree

It's Tuesday. TORN comes out on Thursday. Clearly watching panda videos on YouTube is a valuable use of my time.

So we have a winner in the guilty secret contest. There were a lot of awesome entries. Quite frankly, you lot have shocked me. I'd never have guessed my 'lovely' blog readers were such a shady lot. The winning entry jumped out at my straight away, mostly because I immediately thought That's something I would SO do. Also, the addition of a smiley face at the end of the confession made me laugh. Smiley faces negate evil deeds, don't you know?

Here's the winning entry in all its glory:

It's Christmas themed as well, we lie to our respective families every year & tell them my husband is on call for the hotel he manages & we can't go to Christmas dinner with either of our huge families in a stuffy restaurant. Then we stay in our pj's & have beef Wellington for dinner then go for a walk. Aaah. Even better, his boss is in on it & covers for us every year :-)

Congratulations to Sarah Writes! Please get in touch with your address so I can send you a signed copy of TORN. Enjoy that beef wellington, and don't let the bitter taste of guilt taint your enjoyment in ANY way.

Now, back to those panda videos.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


One week. Eek. Also, that means Christmas is crazy soon, and I am nowhere near ready. (And if I hear one more person who says they finished all their Christmas shopping in September I may punch something).

So in honour of my little book coming out next week, I thought I'd host a little contest. The first contest anywhere in the world in which you can win a shiny finished copy of TORN. It's a proper book! With the exact right words in it!

1. Contest is open internationally.
2. Contest closes midday Monday, UK time.
3. If you spead the word, you won't necessarily be more likely to win, but the karma alone will make it TOTES worth it.

To enter, just answer the following question in the comments below...


*See what I did there? TORN is all about guilt and secrets and guilty secrets and secret guilt... CLEVER.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


So there's this book coming out in TWO FREAKIN' WEEKS and I've heard all kinds of good things about it, including (but not limited to) the fact that it has PAGES and WORDS and a cute guitar-wielding boy and a black cocker spaniel and a very mean girl. Whaddya reckon? I think I would probably buy it, if I were you. If you don't fancy reading it, you could always use it as a frisbee or to shield your new hairstyle from an unexpected shower of rain. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MONDAYS ARE RED blog tour... The Guilt Edition

I'm thrilled to bits to be hosting a stop on Nicola Morgan's blog tour. If you don't know Nicola, I can assure you that she is a) lovely (not in the least bit crabbit) and b) an incredible writer. MONDAYS ARE RED was Nicola’s debut YA novel, published in 2002. Nicola is now delighted to be producing the ebook herself, with a new cover and extra material, including creative writing by school pupils inspired by the book. For details about how to buy (price around £1.99 until the end of January), have a look here. Also, you can go follow Nicola on Twitter here.

About the book
When Luke wakes from a coma, his world has altered. Synaesthesia confuses his senses and a sinister creature called Dreeg inhabits his mind. Dreeg offers him limitless power – even the power to fly – and the temptations are huge, but the price is high. Who will pay? His mysteriously perfect girlfriend, with hair as long as the sound of honey? His detested sister, Laura, with the wasps in her hair? When Laura goes missing, Luke realizes the terrible truth about himself and his power. His decision is a matter of life and death, and he will have to run faster than fire. 

Hello, Cat and thank you for letting me invade your blog today! You’ve asked me to talk about the theme of guilt in MONDAYS ARE RED. Yes, it’s a major theme. But then I thought about my other books and realised that guilt is a pretty major theme in most of them! Yikes. I’d better keep the psychoanalysts away… Oh, and to be clear: I’m talking about the emotion of guilt, not the factual aspect of whether an accused person is guilty of the crime. It’s the emotion that’s far more interesting. 

In Mondays are Red, Luke’s feeling of guilt comes from the way he abuses the absolute power he develops after a coma, led into temptation by a devil-like creature in his mind. Once he discovers the nasty side of himself that he didn’t know existed, it rocks him. In WASTED, my latest novel, Jack’s guilt is surely undeserved. He has twice caused the death of his mother, but through pure bad luck, albeit that the deaths would not have occurred if he hadn’t been there. Subconsciously, he is altered by this guilt. In BRUTAL EYES, the novel I’m currently writing, Joe is guilty, in every sense – he’s killed a man. And he knows that he can only live with himself – or live at all – if he atones. 

Why does guilt work so well in fiction? I think guilt is one of the most awful feelings. I assure you I haven’t done anything major to be ashamed of, but I have an imagination! I’d rather be victim than guilty party. Unless we’re perfect – and I’m far from it - we’ve all felt a bit ashamed, so we can imagine what huge shame must feel like. It would keep you awake at night, gnaw away at you, damage your self-esteem. So, there we’ve got an emotional pull for a novel – something that affects the main character and also makes us empathise with them. We’ve also got motivation for the character to do something stupid – because guilt can drive people to cover up, and that can have bad consequences. Or it can drive them to atone. So guilt can be a motivator for bad or good, and it’s such a powerful emotion that it can lead to extreme actions. Useful in a novel! 

In Mondays are Red, Luke says, “However much of it was my fault, it didn’t matter any more because I had made it right in the end.” Joe in Brutal Eyes learns something different about guilt: you have to do more than pay for it; you have to let it change you. Luke and Joe discover that you can move on from anything. Luke says, “Grandpa told me that we have space in our brains to store some radioactive waste quite safely. Eventually it loses all its poison. You grow away from it, start again.”
It certainly provides great scope for novels. I’m sure everyone can think of novels with guilt as their core, but my favourite example is ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan. And TORN is about guilt, isn’t it? Which reminds me, must go and buy it… 

Thank you for having me! I’d love to hear other readers or writers thoughts about guilt. (In fiction, I mean – no confessions please!)

Thanks for a fascinating post, Nicola! Guilt is one of my very favourite things to write about and to read about. So, lovely readers, what do you think about guilt? Any favourite guilt-ridden books you'd like to recommend?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One month to go

ONE MONTH TO GO TILL THE PUBLICATION OF TORN?! How the heck did that happen? Blimey. If you feel like pre-ordering a copy, you can do so here.

Guess what? I've given up on NaNoWriMo! I hit 34,000 words ahead of schedule, realized my story was very nearly finished and was not going to reach 50,000 and decided there were several other, more important things that I should really be spending the last few days of November doing. There's a possible-not-definite-very-exciting project on the horizon that has got me all kinds of distracted.

Writing 34,000 words in 18 days has taught me some things:

1. I could write a whole novel really quickly if I really, really wanted to.
2. I could not write a good novel really quickly no matter how much I really, really wanted to.
3. It's fun writing something just for myself. Creative freedom FTW.
4. Eating cornflakes for nearly every meal gets old after approximately 18 days.
5. Lots of writing = disgustingly messy house.

So what have you learned this month? Any startling revelations?

Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo ToMoRrow

Eek. Erk. Gah. Remind me why I'm doing this? And remind me why I had to go and get all inspired this weekend, which resulted in me coming up with a brand new and definitely crazy idea?

The new idea involves girls and boys and Halloween and *coughs* stuff that I'll probably never be able to tell you about. This project is purely for fun. I don't think I'll let anyone read it... ever. I am crazy excited about writing something just for me. Hopefully this will give me the freedom to truly embrace the NaNoWriMo spirit, since I'm still slogging away at the WIP with the impending deadline.

I've never tried writing two things at once before. Have you? I hope I don't end up getting confused. That would be,,, not good.

Here's a song for you. Is it a clue about my NaNo project or is it a red herring? WHO CAN SAY?

Happy NaNoing to all you crazy people out there. As for the rest of you, good luck getting through the month without wanting to do violence to us annoying NaNoers.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Well I've only gone and signed up for NaNoWriMo, haven't I? How the heck did that happen? 50,000 words to write in the month of November? Easy peasy. Um... yeah.

I blame Twitter. People were talking about NaNo. I felt left out. I joined in. Simple. Trouble is, I have a pesky deadline looming. So I can't just start a shiny new project on November 1st and sack off the WIP (much as I'd like to... shhh... don't tell anyone). So here's the plan:

1. Write some words on the WIP every day. Try not to rush it and make it rubbish.
2. Write some words on SOMETHING ELSE every day. Rush it and try not to care if it's rubbish.
3. End up with 50,000 words by the end of November. The word count will be WIP words and SOMETHING ELSE words combined.

(N.B. SOMETHING ELSE will probably not be YA... Oooh!)

Now, NaNo experts among you will know that this is what's known as 'cheating'. Lucky for me, in NaNo world, 'cheating' is more commonly known as 'rebelling'. Yup, I will be a NaNo rebel (along with a few of my Twitter friends who introduced me to the concept). There's even a forum for us rebels... and that makes it official, like.

Somehow I've already managed to convince two friends to join me in this madness. Any chance I can convince you too? Or are you already signed up? Or would your rather lop off your left arm, nibble off all the flesh and then use the bones to bash yourself over the head?

NaNo? YesNo? Or HellNo?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My very first literary festival...

... recounted using pictures of dubious quality. (Except none of the pics are of the actual literary bit. Sorry.)

 A sign

 Pre-festival breakfast... nom nom nom

 A walk on windy, rainy Ilkley Moor (N.B. I was *not* dressed appropriately for this.)

 A waterfall on windy, rainy Ilkley Moor

 Wet leaves are slippy... who knew?!

 A creepy path (N.B. It looked way creepier in real life, honest.)

 Putting my feet up before the literary endeavours begin

Post-workshop reward: room service! Courgette risotto with crispy onions... and X Factor on the telly

In between the walking and the lounging and the eating, there were two workshops in Otley on Sunday and a workshop at Roundhay School in Leeds on Monday. I also met the very lovely David Logan (fellow Quercus author) and Martyn Bedford (author of FLIP, which looks... er... flippin' excellent).

My abiding memory of Ilkley? Bloody hilarious conversations with taxi drivers, which can not be recounted here. Rest assured they will be making an appearance in my writing one day.

What have YOU been up to, my lovely friends?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jako v pavučině!

Hey lovelies. My very first foreign edition will be published on Monday! ENTANGLED is going Czech! And here's the cover...

I *think* this translates as 'Like the web', but please feel free to correct me. So tell me... what do you think? Personally, I reckon my name has never looked cooler. Huge thanks to NAVA, my Czech publisher, and Caroline Hill-Trevor, Rights Ninja, for making this happen!

(I would have posted this on Monday, but I will be busy terrorizing visiting a school in Leeds. Please send me good luck vibes for that.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Confession time

OK, here's the thing. I'm a writer, right? But for the past few months I've been a writer who doesn't, y'know, write. 

I think this little fella was partly to blame for this sad state of affairs...

But it's not exactly fair to blame a cute little pupster for me being crap. Because that's exactly what I've been: CRAP. The real reason is... I just haven't wanted to write. I got 50,000 words into the WIP and realized I had no earthly clue what should happen next. Instead of sitting down with a notepad and working it out, I decided to ignore the problem. Surprise, surprise, this wasn't the best solution. 

Every time I even thought about opening the word document I would feel vaguely sick and massively uneasy. I would rather do ANYTHING than write - anything at all. But the thing is, when I don't write, I feel horrible. I mean, really, really horrible. I feel guilty and useless and pointless and blah. I was honestly starting to wonder if I'd ever finish this book. The deadline isn't getting any further away, and I already know this book's going to need some major rewrites (something I've never done before... eek). So everything was looking a bit rubbish, really. Apart from the puppy. Thank God for the puppy.

But then... but then... Something happened. I'm not sure what, exactly. But I started writing again this weekend. I still have no idea where the story is going, but now I really want to find out. And that ain't going to happen unless I write the bloomin' thing. 

Thankfully, a few factors suddenly came together to make me want to write again...

There's this song...

And this one...

There's also a playlist that one of my very favourite people created for me (thanks, Fras!). And the encouragement and help kindly provided by another awesome friend (thank you, Lauren!). And not forgetting the sensible advice from the lovely Zoë Marriott and my favourite email buddy, Lara. All these things went into the pot and helped me serve up a big ol' bowl of writing stew this weekend. And I'm still going. I do hope I haven't jinxed it by telling you lot.

So I'd better get back to it, eh?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


That's German, in case you didn't know. It means (sort of) Forget-you-not. Pretty nifty title, eh?

And here's the cover.

The words in grey (which have come out way too faint here) are all lines from the book, and the letters of the title will be cut out and you'll see through to a purple flap behind. And 'roman' means 'novel'. My lovely German publisher, Lübbe, is going for a crossover audience with this cover and I FREAKING LOVE IT. I love the white, I love the purple, I love that my words are on there... and look how big my name is?! Eek.

Way back before I had a book deal, before I'd even finished the book, I used to daydream about what the cover would be like. And this is pretty damn close. I can't wait to see it in real life.

So what do you guys think? Pretty different from the UK version, yes?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not cool

So here's a link to a Publishers Weekly article by two YA writers who were offered representation... on the condition that they turned a gay character straight. Not cool, right? 

Having worked in the publishing industry for a few years I feel I can quite confidently say that this kind of thing happens ALL the time. The agent in question may well have nothing against gay characters in a book, but they may think that editors will have a problem with it, and the editors may think that Sales & Marketing will have a problem with it, and Sales & Marketing may think that bookshop buyers will have a problem with it, and bookshop buyers may think that customers will have a problem with it. You see the issue here? Everyone trying to second guess everyone else. The status quo is maintained.

Here's my plea: ENOUGH WITH THE SECOND GUESSING. Give people a chance to make up their own minds. Simple.

I have a great deal of respect for the two authors in question for refusing to 'straighten' their gay character. I reckon a lot of writers would feel they HAD to, in order to sign with an agent.

So what about you? What would be your deal-breaker? What would you do if you were asked to change the sex/race/sexuality of a character in your manuscript?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things I have done

Been a busy bee the past couple of weeks. Here are some things I've done:

1. Went to a Neil Gaiman event at the Edinbugh Book Festival. He was about as awesome as you'd expect.

2. Cooked burgers for the very first time in my life. Served them up with crispy bacon, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and salsa. Again, about as awesome as you'd expect.

3. Attended the launch party for Gillian Philip's BLOODSTONE. Lovely lady, great party, perfect venue - the wonderful Edinburgh Bookshop. You should go there and buy some books.

4. Took Griffin to his first puppy class. There were a lot of CRAZY puppies there. Griffin was obviously the best one. Not biased at all, no siree.

5. Attended the fabulous Teen Titles party and got to talk to lots of cool people - including some teenagers I met at my very first school event back in February.

I think that's about it. I'm sure I've done some other things too - like working - but these were the highlights.

What have YOU been up to? Glad summer's nearly over?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to work

Remember the lovely Scattered Laura, who won the very first ARC of TORN? Well, she's gone and written a review, which you can read it here if you so desire. I recommend you do... Not because it's a review of my book, but because Laura is hilarious!

Yesterday I was back at my desk for the first time post-pup. It's been impossible to work with the little bundle of trouble distracting me, but now I am officially BACK ON IT. Now, how does this writing malarkey work again? Maybe a cup of tea will help. And a biscuit. And maybe I should catch up on my blog reading first...

Gratuitous pup pic

Monday, August 15, 2011


My dad's just read TORN. His verdict: better than ENTANGLED. So that's good. He phoned me one day while he was reading it and said, 'There's a cocker spaniel!' I'm ashamed to say that this was news to me. I hadn't looked at the text for well over six months and my memory is... ahem... poor.

It turns out I wrote a cocker spaniel into TORN way before I ever even considered getting a dog, let alone a cocker spaniel. SPOOKY, HUH?

The strange thing is, this isn't the first time this kind of thing's happened. When I was writing ENTANGLED, I randomly decided to give Grace a love of running. There was no real reason for it. I think I was probably just looking for something for her to do that wasn't moping around her bedroom. So I wrote a running scene. Now I'd never really run in my life, apart from the odd sprint for the bus and the obligatory cross-country hideousness at school (wearing nothing but a T-shirt and brown gym knickers... um... WTF?!). I imagined what it might feel like to run if you didn't hate running - if you loved it, in fact. Turns out it wasn't all that hard to imagine.

THEN I STARTED RUNNING! OK, this was maybe two or three years after I wrote that first running scene, but still! And the weird thing was, the feeling was exactly like I imagined it to be. 

This has got me thinking... what's next? What am I writing into the current WIP (UNDONE) that will eventually come true? I'm tempted to write a character who wins the lottery. Reckon that'll work?

So how about you? Have you ever written something that's come true? Or written about something you'd never experienced before, only to find out your imagination was pretty spot-on?

Monday, August 1, 2011


Well, I think it's safe to say these have been the best entries EVER. You lot are truly awesome (and some of you are truly disturbed... you know who you are!). I loved the mentions of puppies and children - you certainly know how to tug at my heartstrings. Also, cheese! You know me so well!

Anyhoo, I had such a hard job picking a winner. So much so that I decided to choose a winner AND a runner-up...

The runner-up, with a last-minute entry that tickled my fancy, is... EMMA! She said:

*To the tune of The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be*

When I wake up, yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the one who wakes up with your book
When I go out, yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the one who goes out with your book

When I get drunk, yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the one who gets drunk reading TORN
When I haver, yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the one who's havering 'bout TORN

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the one that walked 1000 miles
To read your new book, TORN!!!

And if that hasn't swayed you, then maybe I could throw in an air freshner for your kitchen :D

Brilliant! I love The Proclaimers! Also, in case you're wondering, the air freshener bit is in reference to something I said on Twitter about Griffin pooing in the kitchen... honest. Emma wins a copy of ENTANGLED (or another book if she's already read it) from The Book Depository. Congrats, Emma!

And the winner is... drumroll and all that malarkey... SCATTERED_LAURA! Her answer:

How far would I go? I'd go FAR! Seriously far!

In fact, I would go all the way over there! *Points to a spot which is rather faraway* Honest I would. Now that might not seem like much, but you have to understand that I am lazy and I very much enjoy sitting down at my computer. The distant dot on my horizon (cough... I might have pointed at a tree about 500 meters away...) at least SEEMS very far away.

A journey of that distance would be no easy task. I would have to:

Get up
Turn off my computer
Try and get my hair to look less... "special"
Find a pair of shoes which actually match
Ponder whether I can emerge in public in PJs with an unsightly zit on my chin...
Decide that I can NOT emerge in public in PJs with an unsightly zit on my chin
Put on real clothes
Find cement which might cover unsightly zit
Have a little bit of a sit down... all this hard work will have made me sleepy.
Leave house.
Walk across the park, dodging the teenagers who like pointy things.
Reach the distant point.
Then...the journey home would begin.

See? You see how far I'm willing to go for your book!? Frodo's got noting on me! Surely such a quest deserves a reward?!

This made me laugh A LOT. Especially the Frodo reference and "special" hair. Genius!

That was a fun contest. Thanks so much to everyone who entered... I reckon I'll have to have another one sooner rather than later.

Before I go, here's an unnecessary pic of Griffin looking... um... green:

Friday, July 29, 2011


Don't worry, it's not actually torn. I can vouch for its 100% intactness. Fnar fnar.

So who wants to get their grubby mitts on this little beauty? The lucky winner will be the first person in the whole wide world to read TORN! (Well, the first person in the whole wide world apart from me, my agent, my editor and some friends... but still!)

To be in with a chance of winning, please leave a comment below answering the following question:

How far would YOU go to win this book?*

I'll pick a winner on Monday morning. That gives you the whole weekend to come up with a wild and wonderful answer. This contest is open internationally, and you don't have to be a follower to enter.


*Thanks to the lovely @mattlibrarian for the contest idea!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pupdate part deux

I'm afraid I really don't have anything to talk about that's not pup-related. Griffin is taking up all my time. Well, Griffin and the occasional episode of Supernatural. And maybe an episode or two of Fringe.

So... Griffin news! He's made a friend! A gorgeous labrador named Amber, belonging to the lovely Nicola Morgan. The meeting went swimmingly apart from a slight Griffin-squishing incident. I think you can tell from the first pic here that it was love at first sight for Griffin. Not sure Amber was quite so enamoured.

In other news, I really should be checking the page proofs for TORN... but I have a puppy! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ANY WORK?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


See what I did there? PUPDATE!

I have no coherent thoughts. My brain is pup-addled. Here are some pics of the Griffmeister. He charms everyone he meets and saves all his naughtiness just for me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some thoughts

1. Have you read AMERICAN GODS, by Neil Gaiman? You probably have. According to Twitter I seem to be the very last person in the known universe to read it. And if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? It's bloody brilliant. I read the 'author's preferred text', which is something like 12,000 words longer than the original book. I'd be very interested in comparing the two versions and may well do so one day. Unless one of you has read both and can save me the time?

2. I somehow got involved in a Facebook conversation about fanciable cartoon characters. Any favourites you want to tell me about? You tell me yours and maybe, just maybe, I'll tell you mine.

3. I've ventured into the world of Google+. Am liking it muchly so far. There's something very satisfying about putting people in circles. I hope the arrival of Google+ will force Facebook to buck up its ideas, especially regarding privacy.

4. This song is rocking my socks off right now. Bwani Junction are going to be BIG.

5. Last, but by no means least... This little fella is arriving tomorrow:

That's all from me. What's going on with YOU?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So what's TORN all about?

Thank you for your lovely comments about the cover!  I seem to have lost the ability to comment on my own blog though, so that's a bit rubbish.

Anyway, I think I posted a little blurby bit aaaaages ago, but they weren't the official wurdz or anything. Here's what's going on the back of the book (probably):

Four girls. One dead body. A whole lot of guilt.

Alice King isn’t expecting the holiday of a lifetime when she sets off with her classmates on a trip to the Scottish wilderness, but she’s not exactly prepared for an experience beyond her darkest nightmares…

Alice and her best friend Cass are stuck in a cabin with Polly, the social outcast, and Rae, the moody emo-girl. Then there’s Tara – queen of mean. Powerful, beautiful and cruel, she likes nothing better than putting people down.

Cass decides it’s time to teach Tara a lesson she’ll never forget. And so begins a series of events that will change the lives of these girls forever...

A compelling story of guilty secrets, troubled friendship and burgeoning love.

Ooh! I want it read it! Oh wait...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cover reveal: TORN

Here it is! Here it is! Here it is!

There might be some tiny tweaks still to be made, but this is pretty much it...

What do you think? Thoughts on a postcard, please. Or maybe just put your thoughts in the comments. Yes, that would probably be more efficient.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My writing space

I'm over at Absolute Vanilla today with a few other lovely writers. If you want to find out where we write, I suggest you head over here.

In other news, I should be able to share the cover of TORN with you all VERY soon. Oooh!

Now, there's tennis to be watched and strawberries to be eaten. Laters, alligators.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A new addition to the family

I'd like to introduce a soon-to-be resident of the Jam Factory.

His name is Griffin and... awwwwwwww I got distracted by the cuteness. Sorry.

I'll be bringing him home in a few weeks and let's just say I'M A LITTLE BIT EXCITED! *does excited puppy dance*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Look! Feel? Cook meal? Brooke Shields?

BOOK DEAL! I've got a new book deal. More books, written by me! (Note to self: this means you actually have to, y'know, write more books. Eek.)

I'm very (VERY!) happy to announce a new two-book deal with Quercus Publishing. I'm hugely excited about getting to make more books with the Quercus gang - they pretty much rock my socks off.

Big thanks to my agent, Marvellous Victoria, for doing all that clever agenty deal-making stuff. And big thanks to Quercus (especially my wonderful editor, Roisin) for wanting me to write more books. And big fat HUGE thanks to those of you who've bought ENTANGLED or blogged about it or tweeted about it or mentioned it to your friends, because if you hadn't... *shudders*

Anyhoo, the first book is currently called UNDONE. I'll tell you more about it soon, I promise. But here are some of the featured elements to keep you going till then: a girl called Jem; REVENGE; the best character I've ever written (*crosses fingers*); a series of letters; someone called Fernando. (N.B. Some of these elements may not make it into the finished book, although the first three are pretty sure bets.)

Here's an unnecessary picture of Taylor Kitsch in celebration of this momentous occasion...

In summation: YAY!

In other news, I'll be taking a little break away from the blog, for personal reasons. It might be one week, it might be two. But have no fear, I shall return! Thanks for sticking around. Your patience is muchly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nova Ren Suma plays Chocolate or Cheese?

Let me tell you about this book I read a few months ago. A book that blew my tiny mind. It crept and crawled its way inside me in a way I've never experienced before. It made my throat hurt and my skin itch, and believe it or not, these are good things. The book in question was IMAGINARY GIRLS, written by my dear friend, Nova Ren Suma. (I heartily recommend Nova's middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR. But do read IMAGINARY GIRLS first because it's all new and shiny.)

IMAGINARY GIRLS is Nova's debut YA novel and it's achingly beautiful. You must read it. And luckily for you, it's published one week from today! And oh my isn't the cover the most beautiful thing you've ever seen with your eyes?!

Here's the trailer...

And here's the description from the official IMAGINARY GIRLS website...

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

To celebrate One-Week-Till-Book-Birthday I had to get Nova on here. And, of course, instead of asking her lots of clever questions about her incredible book, I asked her to play Chocolate or Cheese? The rules are simple: you must choose between two options. The option you do not choose is off limits for the rest of your life, so you have to think very carefully before answering. It's a serious game for serious people. *cough*

Reading or writing?
Writing. (I'm on deadline... I have to say that, in case my agent or my editor sees this.)

Reading or listening to music?
Reading. A good book can be its own kind of music.

Facebook or Twitter?
Sadly, I say Twitter. It's an addiction. I wish I'd never had my first taste.

Mountains or ocean?
I grew up in the mountains, and I do think I am more myself there than anywhere else, but I also spent my childhood and teenage years feeling absolutely trapped in the middle of nowhere and begging to get the hell out. The ocean makes it seem like there's somewhere else to go... even if it's off in the far, unseen distance. So I'd pick ocean.

Korean food or Mexican food?
Korean! The first time I ever ate kimchi, my mother-in-law had to wash each piece off in water before I could swallow it, but I've gotten a bit better with spiciness. One of my favorite meals is dolsot bibimbap with tofu. That's the bibimbap served in the hot stone pot. I like when it comes out of the kitchen sizzling.

Muffins for hands or squirrels for feet?
WTF, Cat! I can visualize this all too well and it's a bit traumatizing. Obviously squirrels for feet. I can't type a novel with two muffins.

You know what I'm going to say. IMAGINARY GIRLS. I started it before DANI NOIR, and picked it up again after, and, besides, I put my heart and soul and all my hopes and dreams and nightmares into it. It's pretty much the most true thing I've ever written.

And the most important question of all... Chocolate or cheese?
I hope you still like me after I answer this question, since I know how important cheese is to you. Chocolate. Forever and always chocolate.

Oh dear. Never mind. Is it too late to take back those things I said about your book? Sigh. I suppose I still like you... sort of. Mostly because you like Korean food as much as I do.

Anyway, people, go buy this book. You won't be disappointed.

You can follow Nova on Twitter here and check out her website here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Remember the time...

... I wrote 30,000 words in two weeks?


Things I have learned from writing 30,000 words in two weeks:

1. I am in awe of writers who do this sort of thing as a matter of routine.
2. It makes for some particularly freaky dreams and odd sleeping patterns.
3. Having a writing hangover is almost as bad as having a real hangover, but you feel extra sorry for yourself because you were writing, dammit!
4. I can't read books written in the first person while I'm writing a first-person book. (N.B. This has never been a problem when writing at my normal sloth-like speed.)
5. My slightly (!) obsessive personality comes out to play in a big way. If you are not my novel, I have no time for you right now. Harsh, I know.
6. This book is going to need a whole lot of editing. Seems like my usual pace allows ideas to percolate, while this pace... er... does not.
7.  Movie and TV soundtracks are the perfect writing accompaniment.
8. I can stay off Twitter for an hour at a time. Easily.
9. Writing can be fun. (I'd somehow forgotten this one.)
10. I'm not sure if I can carry on at this pace, much as I'd like to.

So... what have you learned this week?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday already? How did THAT happen?!

This week has been intense. I've been writing. Properly writing in a way I haven't done for a very long time. I don't want to go on about it too much in case I jinx it. Let's just say it's going well so far.

Something nice happened this week: ENTANGLED was reviewed in Books for Keeps. BfK is pretty much the most important children's book magazine we've got over on this side of the pond so I was particularly chuffed that my little book got a mention. If you want to check out the full review, have a look here. Here's the last little bit though... the bit that's helped me get through this week's writing:

Grace is a psychologically convincing troubled teenager and her strange predicament is in itself the stuff of dreams. Cat Clarke handles her multi-layered story with skill and introduces a bold twist at the end but Reader, you must read it yourself... A most accomplished and daring debut novel.

How nice is that?! Thanks, Books for Keeps!

In other news... well, you'll just have to watch this space for other news. *adopts secret smile*

Here's Taylor Kitsch to wish you all a happy weekend...

Happy weekend, y'all? Don't I look mighty fine in eye-liner?!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In which I have a revelation

This is the story of how I realized that one of my very favourite things was ruining my life. OK, that's being kind of dramatic, but it's really not far from the truth. It all started when Iwatched this video by the ever awesome Charlieissocoollike.

So maybe you watched this video and thought, 'Yeah, duh! EVERYONE knows that.' I watched this video and realized that Twitter is evil. Or at least, seriously bad for me. My addiction (and I do think it's an addiction) had become so extreme that I was checking Twitter after every sentence I wrote. This is clearly not a very efficient way of achieving your (measly) word count target of 1000 words a day.

I started the new book on Tuesday and I wrote 1000 words. This took me all day, what with all the Twitter/FB/email/other random internet stuff.

Same deal on Wednesday and Thursday. I wrote some words, but I was flailing. It felt like I'd started the story in the wrong place, I had no idea who the characters were... it. was. all. disjointed. and. a. bit. crap.

Then I watched Charlie and KAPOW! I realized I could shut down Twitter. A miraculous discovery, don't you think? So that's exactly what I did. For a whole hour yesterday morning. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of twitchy at first. (And when I say 'kind of', I mean 'VERY'.) But I persevered and wrote some words. Then I wrote some more. And before I knew it, an hour had passed and I'd written just over 1000 words. Yes, my entire day's word count in a single hour and the story had started to flooooooooow. So I went back on Twitter for half an hour. It was still there. I hadn't missed anything. The world hadn't ended. I went dark for another hour, which resulted in another 1000 words. Two days' work in two hours. Man, I felt like a right muppet. I was all 'So THIS is how writers manage get their work done! Why didn't anyone tell me?!'

That's how I used to write, pre-Twitter. AND MY GOODNESS IT FELT GOOD. I've done the same thing this morning - another 1k down. I might go for another hour soon. It's hopefully the start of a new regime for me. Even if I don't do it every day, at least I know it's possible. And that's enough.

So, thanks Charlie! And thanks to the brilliant Kaz Mahoney, who's hosting the Spring into Summer writing challenge over on her blog. I'm woefully behind on the word count for the challenge, since I started nine days late. But it doesn't matter. It's nice to hang out with people who are trying to churn out the words, just like me.

Writing can be a lonely business, which is probably why lots of us love Twitter so much. We get to hang out with our colleagues with the added bonus of not having to change out of your jammies if you don't want to. But I need to find some balance in my life if I'm going to make a career of this writing malarkey, and this week I feel one step closer to doing exactly that.

If you feel like joining me in the whole 'switching off Twitter to get stuff done' thing, the hashtag is #goingdark. Come... join me on the dark side. You know you want to.

This post was brought to you by The School of the Bleeding Obvious. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday randomness

1. I'm done with TORN... for now. YAAAAAAAAY! I changed a character name, pruned many pointless sentences and swapped some words around. It took approximately FOREVER.

2. This picture of Ethan Embry sort of reminds me of my favourite character in TORN. The hair's not quite right and the eyes are the wrong colour, but apart from that...

3. I'm starting  a new book today. Oh yes indeedy. Please note: I had no intention of starting a new book when I woke up this morning, but these things happen.

4. I have found this song to be strangely inspiring. Don't ask why.

5. My awesome publisher Quercus was named Publisher of the Year last night at the Bookseller Industry Awards. Well played, Quercus.

6. Did I mention I'm starting a new book TODAY?! Holy moly.

What are you up to on this random Tuesday?