What was the craziest thing you have ever done?
Decide I wanted to become a writer? I’m not sure, but one of the most daring things was to fly to Italy for a job that I lied to get... I said I spoke Italian... I didn’t.
What impact does a bad review have on you?
Great question! It depends really. If it’s a simple ‘I didn’t like it’, or if the reviewer comes across as a tad biased, then it doesn’t affect me at all, because you can’t hope to write a book which everybody in the world loves. However, if the reviewer is fair and raises some good points, then it will make me think. I take on board the comments and strive to make sure I don’t make similar mistakes in my next project. Basically, constructive criticism is harder to take because it’s actually highlighting where you’ve gone wrong, but then at least you can learn from it!
How would you describe your protagonist?
Sola is ultimately a caring, resourceful person. She’s not a natural survivor, but she’s so desperate to live that she will curb her morals and work hard to make sure that she does survive. At the beginning, she is very naive and full of self doubt, but she has a slow awakening throughout the book.
What is your dream for yourself as an author?
There’s so many! To write great stories, and for the reader to experience/feel an emotion or reaction they weren’t expecting as they read. To create worlds in which people don’t want to leave. And, to be successful enough that I don’t feel guilty for sitting down to write while my partner goes off to work.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I actually do. It might not be ‘love’ as in that connection which means you’ll do anything for that other person, but I believe that if you are going to be attracted to someone’s personality, you’ll find them instantly attractive/enticing.
Do you have a favorite author? Why is he or she your favorite author?
I don’t have a firm favourite, but some authors I love are: Maria V Snyder, Kristen Cashore, George R R Martin, Margaret Atwood and Rebecca Hamilton.
What inspired you to write After the Fear?
I got the idea for the society from what was happening around me. For example, from seeing where Facebook was heading (tagging you into locations, recognising your face in pictures, tagging other people in your statuses etc), I knew I wanted to explore a society in which social networking was mandatory, and everyone, everywhere knew where you were ALL the time. This social networking site became ‘Debtbook’ in After the Fear. The ‘trigger cameras’ are a version of CCTV cameras here in the UK which activate upon hearing certain words. Even the Demonstrations could be seen as an extreme form of the way certain criminals are sensationalized in the media.
Do you have a favorite YA novel?
Probably Poison Study by Maria V Snyder.
If you could have only one wish, what would it be?
Ah, that’s hard! Something unselfish to do with peace and happiness…
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I really want to go to Japan! As soon as I conquer my fear of long haul flights I’ll be there.
If you could go back in time and change something in your past what would it be and why?
I believe all your mistakes and regrets help to shape you, so I wouldn’t change anything from my past. Instead, I would go back in time and take a tour through history: fight a gladiator in Rome 100BC, see a tragedy in Ancient Greece, stir up some trouble in the Middle Ages, and watch King Henry fall in love with Anne Boleyn in the Tudor period.
Oh man that would be so cool.
Now that you read criticisms about your work, do you wish you could re-write it and start over or not and why?
Sometimes I think ‘ah why didn’t I put that bit in to make such and such more obvious’, and ‘this has happened too fast!’ but then I remind myself that the book has come out exactly as it should have come out. It shows where I was in my writing at the time, and I’m really proud of what I’ve created!
Can readers expect more books from you in the future?
Yes! I’m currently working on a YA fantasy with a twist, and then I’ll start the sequel to After the Fear.
You have not attended a Demonstration this month.
In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.
Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.
Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.
Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.