Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a writer/editor/literary consultant living in Edinburgh. I like cheese a lot.
How did you come up with the idea for Entangled?
I got the spark of the idea in an English Language A-level exam in which I had to write the opening pages of a novel. (Why can’t all exams be like that?!) I didn’t start writing ENTANGLED until many years later, and by that time the idea had morphed into something almost unrecognizable.
What research did you have to do for Entangled, if any?
Not much at all. I think it would be all too easy for me to get wrapped up in a comfy blanket of research and never actually write anything. I checked one or two facts, but that’s about it.
There are quite a few serious issues covered in Entangled. Is it important to you to cover such important subjects in your writing? If so, why?
The issues that crop up in ENTANGLED are there purely because of the story. I didn’t plan ahead (oh, how I envy writers who plan ahead!). I think the most important thing in any novel I write is the story, but if I can explore some serious issues along the way, then all the better. It probably helps that the stories I want to tell aren’t exactly light and fluffy - I like things dark!
How was your route to publication?
Surprisingly painless! I can say this now, but at the time I was angsty and stressed out and probably very boring to be around. I got an agent a few months after finishing the first draft, and got my publishing deal with Quercus a couple of months after that. There was A LOT of obsessive email-checking involved.
How does it feel to know your book will soon be in the hands of readers?
Pretty damn scary. And exciting too. There really should be a word for that. Scexciting? Exscary? Hmm... perhaps not. The idea of someone actually going in to a bookshop and picking up a copy of my book? That’s just about enough to make my head explode.
Has having a career in publishing affected your own publication experience? Did you find things less or more exciting for knowing the ins and outs?
Knowing the ins and outs has meant having access to a little too much information at times - sometimes ignorance can be bliss! It has, however, given me access to lots of good advice. People in publishing are some of the nicest folk you can meet – always happy to help out, even if they work for supposed ‘rival’ companies.
As for whether it’s been more or less exciting, I’m not sure! Maybe equally exciting, just different. I reckon getting published is pretty blimmin’ exciting whatever the circumstances.
Tell us about how you write; do you write in a particular place? Do you have any music playing? Do you have any must-haves with you while writing?
I write sporadically, but I’m trying to be more disciplined now that I’ve got a deadline looming. I tend to write sitting on the sofa, usually with a cat on either side of me. I’ve recently moved to Edinburgh, so I’m on the lookout for some good writing cafes.
I need to have music while I write. Silence is my enemy! I’ve created playlists for each book, and can listen to them over and over again without getting bored. I often use headphones, which seems to immerse me in the music even more. I also need water, frequent cups of tea, and maybe a biscuit or two.
What was most surprising to you during the writing process? And the publication process, if anything?
The most surprising thing about the writing process that I was actually capable of finishing a novel. It’s a bit of a joke in my family that I take up new hobbies, get super-enthusiastic about them, only to get bored and move on after a couple of months.
The publication process hasn’t surprised me yet, but there’s still time! I suppose I’m lucky in that I know basically what to expect. If I hadn’t worked in publishing, I might have been surprised by how S-L-O-W the route to publication can seem. Lots of people I speak to seem to think that your book should be published about three months after you sign the contract. If only!
What are you working on now? Can you give us a teaser?
I’m working on my second book. The working title is BURIED, and it’s about the mysterious death of the most popular girl in school. She dies on one of those outdoorsy activity holidays that I was lucky enough to avoid at school. The main character is called Alice, and there’s a rather lovely boy called Jack, who happens to be the dead girl’s brother. That’s all I can reveal at the moment! Just got to finish writing it now!
Anything else you would like to add?
*racks tiny brain* Nope. Thanks so much for asking such awesome questions, Jo!
Thank you, Cat, for answering them! Be sure to check out Cat's website and her blog.
Entangled is released 6th January 2011. Read my review here.
Courtesy of Quercus, two lucky readers will win signed copies of Entangled!
- Enter by filling in the form below.
- One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted.
- Open to UK residents only.
- Two winners.
- Contest closes 22nd December.
- Winners will be picked via Randomizer.org and announced on 23rd December.
- Winners' contact info will be passed on to my contact at Quercus, who will send out the prizes.