Author Interview: Jess Butterworth 

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome another author for a Q&A; the incredible Jess Butterworth, whose stunning debut Running on the Roof of the World I absolutely adored (you can read my review in this post). Onto the questions!

Hi Jess. Welcome to Golden Books Girl, and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me!

My pleasure! I’m delighted to be here.

1. To start off, can you sum up Running on the Roof the World for anyone who hasn`t read it yet in 5 words?

Contemporary Himalayan adventure, featuring yaks!

2. I absolutely loved the setting of Tibet in the book. What inspired you to set the book there? Is anything in the book based on your own experience of living in the Himalayas?

Absolutely. My father was a trek leader and we lived on a remote foothill above Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan community in exile is settled. My mother’s family lived in London, where I was born. Growing up, I would always write about the Himalayas when I was in the UK and missing the mountains or my dad and grandparents who still lived there.

I wanted to introduce readers to events I care about deeply, but really it wasn’t as planned out as that. Tash’s voice appeared in my head one day and wouldn’t leave.

The vulture tree is based on a tree I saw about ten years ago, with many vultures perched on its branches. It’s something I’ve never seen again on my visits since, and an image that has stayed with me.

Another real life moment I drew from was when my sister and I once walked down the mountain at dusk and saw a bear up a tree. Needless to say, we backed away slowly and luckily left the bear undisturbed. My sister is a singer and from that moment onwards she would always sing at the top of her lungs as we walked over the foothills. We were taught never to sneak up on the leopards and bears; you’re safer if they can hear you coming and will choose to get out of the way.

The glacier scene came from a time I was trekking with my Dad and we camped by a glacier. Later, we used our sleeping mats to slide down the glacier. It was fun, but bumpy!

During my research trip, when I was close to the India/Tibet border, after acclimatising, I went up to 18380 feet, and very much felt the effects of being at such a high altitude. So that made it into the book too!

3. The difficult political issues in Tibet are very prominent throughout Running on the Roof of the World, as Tash`s parents are arrested by the Chinese soldiers for being rebels. Was it a challenge to explore such a brutal situation and still aim the book at middle grade readers?

I definitely spent time making sure that the book was truthful to its setting whilst still appealing to middle-grade readers. I wanted to write a story that was relevant to today and it was important to me to include those moments as they’re grounded in real events. Writing in first person helped and allowed the reader to see the events through Tash’s eyes, whilst still giving a sense of the bigger political picture. I included moments of lightness and laughter, and an overall theme of hope, and I focused on the universal aspects to make it relatable to younger readers.

4. What was your favourite scene to write in the book?
So many! I loved everything about writing about the mountains! Sliding down glaciers was one of my favourite, hiding with Eve, and the ending.

5. Speaking of writing, do you have any unusual writing habits? What are your writing routines like?

In the past few years, I’ve had many different jobs at the same time as being a writer, from working as a bid-coordinator, assisting in a vintage furniture shop, to nannying. In between them I was often travelling to and from India which means that my writing habits changed regularly. They mainly consisted of writing wherever and whenever I could! I do know that I work best in the mornings, when I can wake up and write straight away. I like to start a new idea in a notebook before transferring it to my computer.

Right now, for the first time ever, I have an office and office assistants, Luna and Bo Bo, the Maine Coon kittens, which is exciting.

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6.  Do you have any tips or advice for writers reading this interview?

Read as much as you can. If you’re stuck for inspiration, think back to the things you loved doing at the age at your protagonist or the things you feel passionately about. So much of writing is re-writing; Running on the Roof of the World ent through at least ten full drafts. Practice patience; everything takes a long time! Most importantly, don’t give up! Everyone has rejections.

7. What other activities do you enjoy apart from writing?

Trekking, dancing, reading, camping and being outside, being with friends, yoga, watching live music, travelling.

8. What has been your  exciting moment of being an author so far?
The book launch for sure! I got to see it in a Waterstones window display and gave my first public reading.

9.  If you could have written any book by another author, what would it be and why?
Matilda by Roald Dahl because it has remained one of my favourite books.

10. Finally, before we go on to the quickfire questions, are you able to say anything about your next book? I can`t wait to read it after your amazing debut!

Aw, thank you! It’s called When the Mountains Roared and is inspired by my Grandma who smuggled a kangaroo joey out of Australia. It’s an adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers.

QUICKFIRE

Can you give us three random facts about you?-

In the Australian outback, I got bitten by a brown snake and airlifted to hospital.

I have three younger sisters.

I edited Running on the Roof of the World while I was in India, during monsoon. I was often enclosed in a cloud. If I opened a window, the cloud would drift inside. My pillow went mouldy.

Favourite animal?-

Yaks and leopards (couldn’t choose!)

Favourite chocolate bar?-

Yesterday someone gave me pomegranate dark chocolate and it is my new favourite thing!

What`s your Hogwarts house?-

Gryffindor

Best book you`ve read this year?

The Huntress: Sea by Sarah Driver

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed writing the questions and organising the post with Jess, who has been an utter delight (and was kind enough to send me the gorgeous photos throughout the post to use)

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Blog Tour: Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington

Hello everybody!

Today I’m really excited to share a guest post from Laurel Remington, author of The Secret Cooking Club and Confetti and Cake. Thank you so much to Jazz at Chicken House for allowing me to be part of the blog tour for the book. If you’d like to chdck out the other posts, here’s where to find them 😊

Over to Laurel!

I’m delighted that my second book with Chicken House, The Secret Cooking Club: Confetti & Cake, was published last week. The book is a sequel to The Secret Cooking Club, my debut children’s novel, and winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015.

Confetti & Cake is a standalone book, but for those who read the first book, it follows the further adventures of Scarlett, her mum, and her friends who are members of The Secret Cooking Club. In this book, Scarlett now has her own blog and runs The Secret Cooking Club Online, and her mum’s ‘tell-all’ blog that used to embarrass Scarlett has been turned into an inspirational blog for parents.

It was interesting to explore how Scarlett’s life has been transformed on the outside – to the world, she is a confident young girl with a vibrant personality and a bold online presence – whereas in reality, she is still a little shy and has a lot of self doubts. In other words, no matter what her social media presence says about her, in real life she is a normal girl.

In a way, I lived a little bit of what Scarlett experienced over the last year since The Secret Cooking Club was published. I had the privilege of getting to meet a lot of young readers during school visits. They made me feel very welcome, and almost like a celebrity sometimes! But giving a talk in front of so many young people was a bit daunting, especially at first. I suppose it’s because children are generally a lot more honest than adults, and haven’t had all the years of experience learning to hide their feelings. That’s what makes it so exciting to write for young readers. They definitely keep you on your toes!

I hope that Scarlett’s situation may help other young people to see that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, not what someone may broadcast to the world on social media. It’s easy to look on Facebook and Twitter and imagine that everyone else is living the perfect life – and maybe feel a little bit bad about ourselves as a result. Scarlett has a bit of the opposite dilemma – after building herself up as The Little Cook and inspiring others, she secretly wants them to know that she still has problems too, and is just like them. In today’s world, sometimes we can feel like we have a split personality – online and real life. Scarlett learns that at the end of the day, it’s a luxury to be able to tell the truth and be herself.

Laurel Remingtons new book, Confetti & Cake, is out now. Laurels first childrens book, The Secret Cooking Club, was the winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015, and has inspired many young readers to try their hand at cooking and baking. She lives in Surrey, UK with her partner and three daughters.

Thank you all so much for reading everyone! I’d love to hear what you think of Laurel’s books if you’ve read them, and also just for fun, your favourite cake/biscuits! Personally I don’t like cake, but I’m partial to a choc chip cookie or a Bourbon 😊. Let me know yours in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

Amy xxx

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Maz Evans

Hello everyone!

Today I`m thrilled to welcome Maz Evans ( the delightful author of Who Let the Gods Out, which has been one of my favourite books this year) . I’m also very excited about reading the sequel, which comes out today, soon​ .Let`s get started with the interview!

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Guest Post: Louise Cole’s Top Books She Wishes She’d Written

Hello everybody! 

Today I’m very excited to welcome Louise Cole (author of the Devil’s Poetry) to the blog to speak about the top ten books she wishes she’d written. I had a lot of fun organising this post, and I really hope I’ll be able to have more authors on the blog in the future. I’d love to know your thoughts on the post in the comments or on my Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl. Now over to Louise’s excellent post! Amy x

Continue reading “Guest Post: Louise Cole’s Top Books She Wishes She’d Written”