Greetings one and all
Like so many people, I’ve been terribly moved by the plight of the people in the Philippines who have been devastated by the damage caused by Typhoon Halyan. Over 2500 people have been killed. Over 650,000 people have lost their homes. Many places in the Philippines are without food and water, especially on the more remote islands, and they desperately need foreign aid.
Just as she did after the terrible earthquake in Japan a couple of years ago, YA author and all round good egg, Keris Stainton, has organised an auction to benefit the victims of the typhoon. Lots of bookish types from JoJo Moyes to Meg Rosoff and James Dawson are auctioning signed books, limited edition goodies and first editions. You can also bid to win a critique or help with a submission from authors, agents and publishers. Even a chance to meet some of your favourite authors.
But like I said, there are so many items to bid on. Close to 200, with more to go up on the site, so please take a look and get bidding. You’ll win something special and donate to a very worthy cause.
A while ago Dawn O’Porter asked if I’d like to contribute you to a book she was compiling about boobs with all the proceeds going to breast cancer charities. I said yes, one thousand per cent yes like an X-Factor judge, because like everyone else I know breast cancer isn’t something that happens to other people. It happened to my grandmother. It happened to one of my close friends. I had an agonising week last year waiting for the results of a biopsy on a suspect lump and sitting in a crowded clinic with women who needed or might have needed treatment for breast cancer reminded me yet again why it’s so important to support charities that are doing everything they can to find a cure and support people who are battling the disease.
So, I’m proud as anything to have a short story, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Other, in The Booby Trap and Other Bits and Boobs, which goes on sale today. I’m in some awesome company too. Caitlin Moran, Sarah Millican, Marian Keyes and a whole roster of writers and famous people off of the telly have contributed. It’s out today and not only do you get some top notch writing, but you also donate money to charities that are doing a wonderful job. I think that’s called a win.
Yes! At last! This is the cover for It Felt Like a Kiss It’s out on February 13th and it’s available for pre-order now.
It’s proper coming out, finally. It will also be available as an ebook, will let you know the details when I have them. Hopefully I might have some news about foreign editions, but nothing as yet, though it will be be released as an audiobook too. And I will be posting some sneak previews here, a bit nearer the time.
I have a cover. Yay!
Hope you guys like the outside and that in a few months, you’ll love the inside too.
Live on Sarra x
Tis summer. Exams are over. Or you’re heading off on your holidays. Or just sitting in the garden enjoying that rare beast that is the British summer and slurping down a cool drink (I’m obsessed with elderflower cordial at the moment,) you’ll want something to read. Even more than you usually want something to read.
So, cause I’m helpful, I’ve compiled a list of books I’ve enjoyed recently and books that I’m hoping to fall in love with.
YA/COMING OF AGE
You will fall in love with Eleanor and Park like they are real people. In my head, I kind of think they are. This is one of those books that you read, then think about every day for at least a year, then roughly every week for the rest of your life.
Full disclosure, I’m happy to say that I’ve shared pizza and a cocktail with Julie on a few occasions but before I knew her like that, I knew that she was writing this book. Red Ink is definitely more coming of age than YA. 15 year old Melon’s mother is killed and she has to learn to fend for herself and to discover what is true and what’s not. It’s equally heartbreaking and hopeful and heart-in-your-mouth funny.
I’m always a bit sceptical and curled of tongue when celebrities turn their hand to novel writing. Like, yeah, I guess it is easy when you have a ghostwriter to do it for you. But then along comes Paper Aeroplanes, one hundred per cent written by Dawn herself, and I don’t care that it is written by a celebrity, because it gets all the messy complicated stuff that happens with best friends. It understands what it feels like not to fit in. And there’s one bit that made me clutch my heart and swallow extra hard.
I’m a sucker for a US college novel, apart from when it’s one of those identikit New Adult books that say nothing to me about my life. Happily, Penelope is not about some doe-eyed, klutzy virgin with some family angst and a dark secret who ends up playing hide the sausage with some beefcake-y yet sensitive type called Zach or Kai or some such… Hang on, where was I? Actually, Penelope is about a klutzy virgin but this is more Perks Of Being A Wallflower territory than New Adult. Penelope, newly arrived at Harvard, is shy and ineffectual and struggles with all the things that should make college fun and then she falls in love with Gustav, a Gatsby-esque Argentinian student. Rebecca Harrington is skilled at investing her characters with quirks and traits that make them easily recognisable and I way over-identified with Penelope and her total lack of social skills.
Auntie Mame was the reissued novel all the cool kids raved about last year, but I don’t always get to books right away. When I did get round to it, I LOVED and even GUFFAWED at this tale of a newly orphanned Patrick going to love with his eccentric, bohemian, camp as a row of pink tents Auntie Mame. Every chapter is a comic gem and I have the sequel on its way.
I think I’ve mentioned Life After Life before, but it’s so good, it deserves another mention. Ursula is born on a snowy night in 1910 and promptly dies. Then the book starts again and this time she lives. And repeat. And repeat. Atkinson takes us on a magical journey through the many lives and deaths of Ursula, through Spanish Flu and murderous husbands and the Blitz. It’s an extraordinary novel and one that you want to reread as soon as you’ve read the last page.
Not out until mid-August, you NEED to pre-order this novel which is Pride And Prejudice from the Bennet family’s maid’s point of view, except that doesn’t do this story justice. It’s not just P&P Redux but giving a voice to the silent servants of Longbourn who toiled away so the Bennets could wake up the blazing log fire each morning, or slogged through the mud to Meriton so the Bennet sisters could have new rosettes for their dancing slippers. It’s also very much the story of Sarah, the housemaid, her life and loves and dreams that are always restricted by the rigid rules of life below stairs.
A debut novel about loneliness and identity theft and people’s right to die all told in a compelling and creepy voice. If you search on Facebook, this novel was launched with a clever app that freaked me the hell out!
TO BE READ
So many books, so few hours in the day to get to them all.
Published by Virago (one of my favourite publishers who I dream of being signed to,) starting in 1947 and read by every single one of my friends who have all told me I will love it. Apparently, The Engagements begins with a female copywriter coming up with the famous ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ tagline for a De Beers ad and how those three words resonate for other women.
Just out in paperback, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is a darkly funny book set in Seattle about a whirlwind of a woman who suddenly disappears much to the consternation of her husband and teenage daughter.
1920′s Manhattan, which to me means flappers, gangsters, bathtub gin, speakeasies and all those good things. Rose, a police stenographer, becomes obsessed with her new colleague, the glamorous and mysterious Odalie. And then Rose is accused of murder…
This is the book that has all the Twitter literati frothing at the mouth. I hear that it’s so good, that I might want to give up writing completely!
‘A writer needs 4 things to achieve greatness; desire, disappointment & the sea.’
‘That’s only 3.’
‘You have to do disappointment twice.’
I love a good saga-ish biography, preferably featuring posh types with scandalous lives so this biography of the Churchill family (there were a lot more to them than just old Winston) doesn’t disappoint. Written by Mary S Lovell who wrote the amazing The Mitford Girls so you know you’re in good hands.
I love Hadley Freeman’s pieces for The Guardian and this book does exactly what it promises in all kinds of funny ways as Hadley writes about feminism, sex, being single and everything else in between.
Hemmo, as she’s known on Twitter, is one of the most inspiring women I know. She’s run five marathons and encouraged me to run with some cunning reverse psychology (“Well, maybe you’re just not a runner, Sarra”) which ended up with my own personal best – a ten mile yomp in the pouring rain. I gave up running after I tore a calf muscle in a step aerobics class, but having spent the last year eating all my feelings, this book is making me want to buy a new pair of trainers and embark on a couch to 5k. Hemmo shares her running journey and imbues even the most reluctant runner with a can-do attitude. She is also a world authority on sports bras for ladies with big bosoms.
Hope you find a few things in here that you might want to read. This is SUCH a good year for good books.
To celebrate finally hitting the big 5000 followers on Twitter and to thank you for suffering through my many updates on Miss Betsy I’m posting a deleted scene from Unsticky.
It was written very early on and was inspired by a dinner at Bette’s in Chelsea, New York when it was the scene place to go. As I waited for the loo, I saw the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Or ever will see. She was with a short, paunchy, obnoxious dude in a bad suit who wasn’t fit to kiss the hem of her frock. Unsticky was still in my head but that dinner and that trip to New York where I went to places frequented by investment bankers and their very stunning, very young girlfriends, really coalesced the whole trophy girlfriend/sex and money thing for me.
Vaughn didn’t get reservations at Butter for Saturday night. But Grace took it in her stride because Vaughn had managed to get a table at The Waverly Inn instead. Not just any table, but Graydon Carter’s own booth at the back of a tiny, amber-coloured room the size of her old bedsit. Apparently Graydon was in LA or Timbuktu. Grace didn’t much care because he wasn’t in New York and her arse was currently perched on his personal banquette as she tried to discreetly gawp at the other diners in the conveniently placed mirror so that Graydon always knew what was going on.
“You’re bouncing, Grace,” Vaughn said mildly, but a faint smile lifted up the corners of his mouth because she’d told him five minutes earlier that this was even better than getting promoted or the time he’d bought her a new Marc Jacobs bag unprompted. “Stop it.”
“I can’t help it. This is the high point of my whole existence.”
Grace wasn’t surprised when Vaughn rolled his eyes. She glanced across the room again, hoping to spot a stray Scarlett or Gwyneth. She’d even have settled for a Sienna. At a back table were a group of thirty something guys cultivating a scruffy, laidback hipster chic and the three girls who were with them may have been the three most beautiful girls Grace had ever seen in real life. But there was something wrong with the picture – one of the men was bald, one had a huge beergut and the other one had a face that even his mother must have found hard to love. And despite the heavy make-up and designer dresses, not one of the girls looked as if she was out of her teens.
“Don’t stare, Grace,” Vaughn drawled, raising his glass towards Baldie, or was it Fattie. Both of them waved back.
“How come you know them?” Grace asked, then groaned theatrically. “Don’t tell me. You charged them obscene amounts of money for some bizarre light installation.”
“Actually it was two Gavin Turks and a Banksy,” he said lightly.
“Are they, like, hedge fund managers or something?”
“They either are or they aren’t. There’s no like about and they aren’t. The three of them created a puerile college humour website and social networking platform that they sold to Google for a small fortune. I think it was about forty million dollars.”
Grace sucked in a breath. “Fucking hell!”
“My thoughts exactly,” Vaughn had been very twitchy tonight; he’d had a day of meetings that hadn’t gone well, but now he was undoing his top two buttons, which was A Good Sign.
“And who are the girls?”
Vaughn shrugged. “Standard issue MAWs. Model, actress…”
“Whatever,” Grace finished for him. “I guess forty million dollars makes even early male pattern baldness and a flabby gut look attractive.”
“If girls like them want to be with men like that, then what of it? Really, Grace, I’m not sure why this conversation is making you frown quite so ferociously.”
Neither did Grace, but her unfailing good cheer couldn’t last for ever. She sank back on her banquette and nibbled at the edge of her thumbnail. Did no one ever simply date anymore? Or was it that now she was fully inducted into the club, she was better at spotting other members? “But they’re not girlfriends, are they? They’re mistresses.”
Vaughn gave her a long, slow look. Like she’d surprised him and he was surprised that she’d surprised him. “No,” he said finally. “They’re girlfriends. Whatever reasons they may or may not have for being with men twice their age and weight, they’d all beg to differ.”
Grace rested her elbows on the table because that was all right if you’d already had you entrée and you weren’t sure if you were going to have pudding. “So if you’d just asked me out and I’d said yes and we’d started dating, and with you being older than me and, like, loaded, would I be your girlfriend or your mistress?”
Vaughn rolled his eyes again. “You’re in a very odd mood this evening. I’m not sure I like it.” He reached across the table and stroked a finger along the back of her hand and that shivery feeling she always got rippled up her spine. “It’s better this way though, Grace, don’t you think? Less confusion, less room for misunderstandings, hmmm?”
“I suppose,” Grace sighed, because her undefined thing with Vaughn was still confusing and prone to misunderstanding from the Noahs and the Lilys and all the other people who made up the outside world. Still, the Lily’s and Noah’s weren’t sitting at Graydon Carter’s personal booth, so Grace definitely had the better end of the deal. It was a struggle, but she found her happy place again. “Technically, if we were on London time, it would be Treat Sunday now so do you want to share an Apple Crisp for pudding?”
“If it’s Treat Sunday then I don’t see why we have to share.” Vaughn huffed and he was faking the outrage, but Grace didn’t know if he was trying to distract her from asking any more difficult questions or if he was really indignant about having to go halves on dessert.
Either way, she couldn’t resist punching him on the shoulder as she stood up. “Either we share or I’m skipping having waffles for brunch tomorrow,” she hissed, because sometimes her ability to withhold sugar was about the only power play she had. “I’m going to have a fag.”
When she got back Vaughn was deep in conversation with the couple on the next table; a woman with a loud Long Island honk, which had previously made Vaughn flinch every time she opened her mouth, and her husband who did something with diamonds. Grace wasn’t sure what exactly, but she smiled politely, as she sat down.
Vaughn was swapping cards with Mr Bling then turned back to Grace. “Play your cards right and I might just hook you up with that tiara,” he said, which Grace thought was tasteless considering the conversation they’d just had. “I ordered pudding,” he added as Grace wriggled to get purchase on the leather seat in her slippy satin skirt.
Of course, Vaughn ate most of the Apple Crisp, Grace had to fight for every spoonful of vanilla gelato. Unusually, Vaughn didn’t want to linger over coffee and brandy either but asked for the bill and signed it, without even checking the final amount.
“Let’s get out of here,” Vaughn said, already helping Grace out of her chair.
“I just need to freshen up,” she said, as they came face to face with one of the couples from the back table, the man already hailing Vaughn like a long lost brother and not someone who’d stung him for marked-up graffiti art.
“This is Marisa,” Baldie said proudly, presenting his companion with a flourish.
Marisa was so stunning that all Grace could do was stare as Vaughn introduced her to Baldie with absolutely no flourish. Marisa had shiny, flicky straight hair, skin so flawless it looked airbrushed and was wearing a plunging Viktor & Rolf dress that showed a good two thirds of her breasts, which owed their awesome aerodynamics either to her barely pubescent years or a really good surgeon.
“I’ll get your coat,” Vaughn murmured, leaving Grace with Marisa, who must have needed to pee too though Grace couldn’t believe she possessed something as prosaic as a full bladder. Marisa hadn’t acknowledged Grace’s presence in any way and now she propped herself against the wall, as they waited in the narrow alcove, like her beauty weighed so heavily that she couldn’t stand up straight. It was hard not to look at her in the same way that it was hard not to look at a beautiful pair of shoes or a Narciso Rodriguez dress.
And OK, her upper lip was the tiniest bit too short but that was just clutching at ugly straws and staring at that perfect arch where her sooty eyelashes swept down or the elegant curve of her cheekbones made Grace feel like a blowsy, thrown together girl that didn’t deserve the good fortune that was currently getting her coat.
Even Marisa dropping the hauteur long enough to ask Grace if she thought that they should bang on the bathroom door and ask the current occupant what the hell they were doing, couldn’t pierce the pity bubble that Grace found herself in. Especially as Marisa decided that they should bond, which meant showing Grace pictures of the adorable spaniel puppy that “me and Archie just got from the pound.”
Vaughn had been right. Marisa expected guys to fall in love with her. Rich guys. Even if she was selling her beauty to the highest bidder, she got flourishes and puppies out of it and Grace? Well, she had a credit card, the best table at The Waverly Inn and an expiration date stamped on her forehead that was only visible to Vaughn. Because Grace wasn’t beautiful or smart or whole enough to be anyone’s long haul girl.
And when she got back to the car to find Vaughn waiting impatiently for her, he said, “For God’s sake, Grace, stop pouting. You look like you’ve had filler injected into your bottom lip.” Grace knew for a fact that Archie would never, ever say anything like that to Marisa.
It turned out that Vaughn had wanted to get back to the apartment for a midnight conference call to Beijing. He took it in the study, which left Grace free to make her own fun. Grace wasn’t sure when making her own fun, which mostly involved mentally planning her Sunday shopping expedition to Soho, became snooping.
She’d never snooped before. Not even when she’d been left on her own for days in the Hampstead house – she’d been brought up to respect other people’s privacy. But then she’d also been brought up to save herself for the man she married, never drink to excess and strive to be all that she could be; all things that she’d failed to deliver on, so having a quick rummage in Vaughn’s drawers wasn’t so terrible.
Apart from a half-eaten bar of Green & Blacks, which she bet Gustav knew nothing about, her search proved futile. There wasn’t anything incriminating in the bureau either, no porn stash under the mattress and absolutely no photos of the ex-wife or the women he’d had arrangements with before Grace. She could hear Vaughn’s tread coming down the hall and quickly arranged herself decoratively on the bed, her heart pounding, her cheeks stained with red. Vaughn didn’t notice that anything was wrong but maybe that was because Grace was on her knees, unbuckling his belt, before he had a chance to ask why she had such a guilty expression on her face.
I’ve been thinking a lot about sex and teenage girls this week.
It’s hard not to when the press have been so gleefully and salaciously reporting on all the details of the Jeremy Forrest abduction case. When the new Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, has had the same papers clutching their collective pearls, at her suggestion that there needs to be more sex in YA novels, to offset the damaging messages teenagers are receiving from the prevalence of porn online.
Talking of which, there was also the Robin Thicke video for his number one single, Blurred Lines, which features three fully clothed man, several nude girls cavorting with children’s toys, having their hair brushed, smoke blown in their faces and told “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”.
Meanwhile Jinan Younis, a seventeen year old girl who started a feminist society at her school in response to how she saw her friends suffering as a direct result of their gender was met with responses like “feminism doesn’t mean they don’t like the D, they just haven’t found one to satisfy them yet,” from her male classmates.
So, is it any wonder that I can’t stop thinking about sex and teenage girls?
The teenage girl is not a one-size-fits-all entity. When I was fifteen, the girls in my class were busy dealing with their newfound sexuality in different ways. Half of them channelled all these new feelings that they weren’t sure what to do with into fancying some fairly innocuous boybander. I love that there is no power mightier than thousands of girls screaming their heads off at the 02 or Manchester arenas.
Then there were the other fifteen year old girls who all dated men in their twenties because they had money and their own cars. By and large, they didn’t seem unduly threatened by having a relationship with someone older than them. On the contrary, they got off on the social cachet and would callously dump their twenty something boyfriends on a whim. Besides, have you ever spent time with a fifteen year old boy? You have? Then you’d understand why no self-respecting fifteen year old girl would want to go out with one of them. But this is why we have the age of consent to protect all the different types of teenage girls, from the shy ones who write Mrs Harry Styles on their pencil cases to the ones who seem worldly and sophisticated because they date older men, but who you wouldn’t trust to do their homework unsupervised.
When I was fifteen, I vacillated between the two camps. Most of the passion and yearning that turned me inside out on an hourly basis was directed at Morrissey from The Smiths and writing him heartfelt letters when I should have been doing GCSE coursework. But there were other times when I was made painfully aware that I existed in this strange hinterland of not quite a girl, not yet a woman but I didn’t have Britney Spears to articulate that for me.
I had the awkward fumbles at parties that are a teen rite of passage and which left me wondering what all the fuss was about. But there was also the time when I was trying on a dress in a very cool London boutique on a quiet morning when I was bunking off school. All of a sudden the changing room curtain was pulled back by the male shop assistant. Stuff happened, partly because I was curious and partly because I was suddenly in this strange situation that I didn’t have the experience or the maturity to extricate myself from. Afterwards, he let me have the dress for free and I remember walking out of the shop feeling more powerful than I think I’ve ever done in my life. It didn’t fuck me up. It didn’t ruin me. For a week or two, it lifted me up from being an overweight, self-loathing fifteen year old.
But there was another encounter with a friend’s dad in a bathroom that filled me with dread and revulsion. There were times I was flashed at. Times I was told that I might be worth a go once I was legal. Times I was groped and mauled on crowded tube trains, while I was in my school uniform. And those incidents did fuck me up and made me feel that I wasn’t in charge of my own body or what happened to it.
All this was in a time before the internet. Before Facebook. Before selfies. Before the pressure on teenage girls to look sexy without daring to be sexually active, because then you’re a slag and a slut and asking for it, was at the epidemic proportions that it is now.
Also, it was a time when the teen mag ruled supreme. We might not have had Twitter, but we had Just Seventeen. We were armed with information and knowledge. Told time and time again “to be safe, to be sussed, but sex under sixteen is illegal”.
By the time I was working on Just Seventeen in the late 90s, the amount of information and knowledge we could arm our readers with was constantly under threat. I used to hate going into work on the days that a backbench Tory MP desperate for some column inches would rail against the hot bed of vice and iniquity that were teen mags, while making it clear that they’d never actually picked up a teen mag and read it. In between fake ads for Leonardo DiCaprio commemorative plates and perfectly innocent articles on what to do to make your crush notice you, we still had problem pages, we still had articles on sexual health, we still ran real life pieces on relationships and told our readers that “to be sussed was a must but sex under sixteen is illegal”. It was very obvious to me that the main problem the Tory MPs had was our acknowledgement that teenage girls could be sexual beings and that they needed advice and support on dealing with that.
I used to sit on TMAP, the Teenage Magazine Advisory Panel, with other teen mag representatives and some genuinely well intentioned do-gooders and try to explain to them that the Department Of Health ran ads targetting our readers to inform them about sexual health issues in our magazine that we couldn’t run as editorial because the government would try to shut us down.
But now the internet and mobile phones have killed off teen magazines. What they haven’t killed off the need for teenagers to have somewhere to go to get frank, impartial information about everything from their boobs to fancying their best friends to whether they can get pregnant if they do it standing up. The internet is a big, unregulated place where it’s impossible to filter information – which is why a lot of sex education now comes from porn films – so teenagers think that pubic hair is an abomination, blow jobs are mandatory and if you’re not having multiple orgasms then you’re a freak of nature.
In the wider world, from RnB videos to the Daily Mail sidebar of shame to University Facebook pages set up to discuss how rape-able the female student body is, teenagers, boys and girls, are taught that women’s bodies are objects to be pored over, discussed, criticised, used, discarded, belittled. And I’m not going to apologise for coming across as all second wave feminism here. We are sliding dangerously back to a place that I never thought we’d get to, not after all our Take Back The Night marches and riot grrrl fanzines.
I cannot imagine a worse time to be a teenage girl. When eating disorders and self-harming are at an all-time high. When girls are under pressure to send sexy pics of themselves to their male classmates or risk being labelled frigid and tight. And when if you are raped or sexually assaulted, it was probably your fault for drinking or going for a walk with a couple of boys or wearing a short skirt. The onus is still on girls to protect themselves because boys and men are unable to prevent themselves from doing what comes naturally when confronted by the mind-melding power of a female body. It would be much simpler to send out one clear message: don’t rape people.
So, I think teenage girls are getting their rawest deal and this is why I’m so passionate and committed to writing YA novels. My characters have sex. Big whoop. They have awkward, messy teenage sex that causes awkward, messy feelings. They talk about sex. They learn that sex has emotional consequences, good and bad. And sometimes they have sex just because it feels really nice.
That to me is a healthy, important message for my readers. I doubt very much that reading one of my novels has ever forced a teenage girl to go out and have sex but I absolutely know for certain that when they did finally get round to going out and having sex, what they’d read in my novels helped a little bit. And yes, I’ve had reviewers describe the sex in my last YA novel, Adorkable as “gross” and “nasty”. But the gross comment came from a thirteen year old girl and if she thinks sex is gross then I’m happy about that as she isn’t going to be having it anytime soon. The “nasty’ came from a woman in America and says more about her attitude to sex, than it does to my decision to write about two teenagers above the age of consent establishing clear boundaries before they got down to it.
There’s a lot of reactionary nonsense talked about sex in YA novels, but I’m far more worried about the teenagers who don’t read books and what they’re getting up to than the ones who are.
So, what I wish teenage girls knew is that their value and worth isn’t intrinsically tied in to how they look, That’s it’s all right to want to have sex. It’s all right if they don’t want to. But both camps should know how to put on a condom and why getting vaccinated against HPV is non-negotiable. Wider society should be there to provide advice and support and to give teenage girls the space and freedom to realise that their sexuality doesn’t belong to anyone else. It’s their own to do with what they will, at a time that’s right for them.
© Copyright Sarra Manning 2013
Hope you are all good. I have just delivered by brand spanking new YA novel, The Worst Girlfriend In The World to Atom. My favourite line in the whole book? “Girl, you be knowing shit about sexual politics.” It’s not out until May next year but I’m excited about it.
I am also very excited to tell you that my grown-up books are now available on Kindle and print-on-demand in the States. (I hope you liked my seamless segue there.) They have different covers that I sort-of-designed myself.
Pretty, no? Even better, Unsticky and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me are currently a bargainous $2.99 on Kindle. Not sure if those links work because I have a UK computer, which is insistent about defaulting to Amazon UK.
Because I’ve cut out actually having a US publisher, this means that the books have all the Britishisms (WAG, thermal vest, Marks & Spencer) preserved as well as the British spelling, which is good or bad, depending on your politics.
On the YA front, I now have a distribution deal for Adorkable in the States, so it’s available as ebook and as an actual paper book that you can buy in actual stores. Hallelujah! Same lovely cover as the UK edition. (I also think that the newly reissued Diary Of A Crush trilogy is available as an ebook, but I’m not 100% sure. It gets very hard to keep track of these things.)
I would appreciate it ever so much if you’re in the US and you bought and liked my books to give me a review on Amazon. It helps in all sorts of ways. If you didn’t like them, let’s just keep it between the two of us.
Oh, America, you are a hard nut to crack, but your TV shows and big cities are excellent.
Well, it’s been years in the making but today, the Diary Of A Crush trilogy is available as ebooks.
And the ‘sort-of sequel’ Diary Of A Grace, which will only be available as an e-novella.
The print books will be out on May 30th.
If you’re rereading, hope they live up to the memory and if you’re reading them for the first time, I hope you fall in love with Edie and Dylan, just like I did.
My goodness, I’ve been sitting on this news, like a clucky hen sitting on eggs, for months and can not wait to share it with you.
For years, people have been asking me when Diary Of A Crush will be available as ebooks or just as regular books, because it’s been out of print for so long and I’ve been all like, yeah, whevs… Not because I didn’t care but because due to really boring and complicated legal issue, the matter was beyond my control. Well, not anymore.
I am thrilled, THRILLED, SO BLOODY THRILLED to tell you that the Diary Of A Crush trilogy will be available for download from April 30th.
That’s not all. Oh no! The books will be back in print too from May 30th, all with spiffy new covers.
New town, new college, new people, Edie’s feeling overwhelmed. What if nobody wants to be her friend? But then something happens that turns her life upside down: Edie spots Dylan. Messy-haired, pouty, frustratingly elusive Dylan. . .
Fast forward to the college trip to Paris and things are really heating up. In between the shopping, the clubbing, the kissing and the making up, something happens between Edie and Dylan that changes both their lives for ever. But do boys like Dylan ever play for keeps?
KISS AND MAKE UP
Edie’s having major boy issues. Trying to get over Dylan is hard, but snogging new boy Carter isn’t hurting. . .
When everyone heads off to a summer festival, Edie wants to forget her troubles and try and have fun. But she didn’t count on her leftover feelings for Dylan and now she’s all churned up again. Edie’s got some big decisions to make, but is she ready to kiss and make up?
SEALED WITH A KISS
Edie and Dylan have been dreaming about their road trip across America for ever. But nine weeks in a car together is going to be a huge test for them. They’re crazy in love, but what if that’s not enough?
Trailer parks, diners, motels and glitzy casinos are the backdrop for an adventure that threatens the whole future of their relationship. Will Edie and Dylan be able to go the distance?
I have done a little tweaking and updating (I mean, Blazing Squad?!) but it’s the Diary Of A Crush that you know and love. And if you don’t know it then I’m going all out and calling it the iconic UK YA series that follows the torturous relationship of Edie Wheeler, vintage queen, diary keeper and crusher and Dylan, her tousle-haired art boy crushee. Set in Manchester, our intrepid pair fall in love, snog a lot and fall out of love in Paris, at a festival and even on a epic roadtrip across the States.
Diary Of A Crush changed my life. I learned how to write fiction as I wrote this series for J17 magazine. I got my first proper publishing deal for Guitar Girl, rafter my first editor, Emily, Thomas, read the Diary Of A Crush columns. And though they’re probably my poorest selling books, I get more messages about Diary Of A Crush than any of my other books.
I’m not quite done yet. You know how I refuse to write a sequel? Well, that’s still the case and I explain why in the end notes of book three, but for the first time since they appeared in J17, the year’s worth of columns featuring Poppy’s little sister, Grace, will be available too. Diary Of A Grace will be an e-novella, out on April 30th. It will only be released as an ebook, but, hey you can read them on your computer or mobile phone, you don’t have to have an e-reader.
Grace is in love with pink guitars, Harry Styles, dark-chocolate Tunnock’s teacakes, Audrey Hepburn and a boy called Jack (well, maybe not quite in love) . . .
(Remember, Diary Of A Grace will only be an e-novella.)
It has taken a long, long, long time to make this happen. I hope you fall in love with Edie and Dylan all over again, or read them for the first time and then fall in love with them. There’s also a few little extras included in these reissues so now you can possess everything Diary Of A Crush that there ever has been. All for you. I give you all my Diary Of A Crush. Hurrah!
I am so excited that I wanted to write this whole post in shouty caps with lots of exclamation points but I’ve managed to restrain myself. Still, hurrah!
And, no, before you ask, I’m never writing a proper sequel!
I am really sorry, gutted in fact, to have to tell you that IT FELT LIKE A KISS has been put back to early 2014. No exact date as yet, no matter what it says on Amazon.
There’s nothing wrong with the insides of the book (I hope not!) but we weren’t happy with the cover and times are so tough that it’s important to make sure that we get everything right with the book. So my publishers have taken the brave decision to put the book back while we work on making sure the whole package is as strong and awesome as it can be.
The reason that it’s been put back by so many months is that we’ve now missed the slots to sell in to shops for summer and as you know I don’t write the traditional beach reads and it’s definitely not a Christmas-themed novel, so early next year was our only option.
Again, I can’t tell you how sad I am that you have such a long wait. Please bear with me. And if you’re a fan of my YA books, I am going to have the most SCREAM-worthy news to tell you at the end of the week, which I hope might make up for it.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
The Booby Trap on sale today
It Felt Like A Kiss – cover reveal
Your summer reading list
Unsticky – deleted scene
Sex and the teenage girl
I like to be in America.
DIARY OF A CRUSH ebooks out today!
SCREAM!!!!!!!! DIARY OF A CRUSH – IT’S BACK!
It Felt Like A Kiss – delayed