Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lia's out!

It's not due to be published until August 4th, but Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery has taken me by surprise by bursting prematurely out of the warehouse and into the shops. It's in lots of Waterstone's branches and in stock at Amazon.
It's a very odd feeling...I'm not ready for this yet! Stand by for some Lia-related posts over the next few weeks.  If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you think (err...unless you think harsh and horrible things, in which case keep them to yourself!)
The Awfully Big Blog Adventure is a group blog which I contribute to, and this weekend it's running the world's first online literary festival -  details here. No tickets, no travelling, just lots of great authors talking about their books and book related stuff, plus competitions and give-aways and all sorts...And you don't have to miss a thing because it's all there forever.
My contribution will be online at 2.30pm this afternoon. (I'll add a link when it's posted)  Fiona Dunbar and I decided to do something jointly about our new books -  Fiona's is called Divine Freaks and it's the first in her new Kitty Slade series about a girl who can see ghosts and who solves mysteries, sometimes with the help of the ghosts and sometimes despite them.  I love Kitty, she's feisty, down-to-earth and brave - and I can't wait to read the rest in the series.
Fiona and I decided that we wanted to try and make a vlog for the online festival -  for the first time ever. We enlisted some teen readers and hijacked a house. Our plan was to just chat generally about the books...we weren't quite sure how the filming would work...we didn't write a script...
It should have been a disaster. But luckily our friend Candy Gourlay, author of the fabulous Tall Story, came along and took command of the filming and directing. So it's thanks to Candy that we produced something reasonably coherent and  - we hope -  entertaining.
Candy and I were two of the short-listed authors up for the Branford Boase award this week. It's an incredibly prestigious shortlist to be on, honouring debut authors writing for young people and the editors who gave them their chance. Neither Candy nor I won -  congratulations to Jason Wallace and Charlie Sheppard who won for Out of Shadows, an extraordinary book about Zimbabwe in the 1980s,  which has rightly been recognised already as winner of the Costa Children's Book of the Year, and (judging by the piles I saw on sale at the airport in Amsterdam) has already made the leap to become a crossover title which adults can enjoy just as much as younger readers. The powerful narrative and moral questions raised in Jason's book stay with you long after you've finished it.
Candy's blogged about the award ceremony  here - which saves me the job!  After the ceremony I went out to dinner with my fantastic editors from Frances Lincoln, Maurice Lyon and Emily Sharratt, and also Nicky Potter, the FL publicist; and J P Buxton, also short-listed for his book I am the Blade , an exciting retelling of the Arthurian legend, his family and editor Beverley Birch.  Jamie Buxton and I got to make the speeches about our editors that we would have made if we'd won. Mine was slightly less sensible than it would have been earlier, thanks to some lovely New Zealand sauvignon blanc, but the gist of it was clear...Maurice is a magical editor who deserves to win every award going, and I can't thank him enough for saying yes to When I Was Joe.


  1. Everything just gets more and more exciting, Keren. I shall order my copy of Lia!

  2. Very exciting news - I can't wait to read it. Very interesting about the Zimbabwe book - we had a girl at school who's family fled Zimbabwe when she was 14. Typical of an uprooted teenager, she vowed to return when she grew up - of course she didn't.

  3. Well - I'd better clear a space on my book shelf sooner than I thought. Mazeltov Keren for the book coming out and hitting the bookshops running!

  4. LOVED Lia and will look forward to buying a copy also. Laugh-out loud funny, well observed, intriguing and thought-provoking. I think this one's going to zoom off the shelves.

  5. Just finished Lia, it was brill :D We met at the LBOY dinner and you encouraged me to start up my own blog, which although I was very apprehensive, I managed to do! Thank you for all your encouragement. I'm now at

  6. Hi Georgia, so glad you enjoyed Lia..woo, you set up a blog! Rushing over to take a look!

  7. I just finished reading Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery. I really enjoyed it, both the plot and characters were brilliant.