BLOG TOUR: Take A Chance on Me by Beth Garrod

I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for the new sunny, feel-good romantic comedy Take A Chance On Me by Beth Garrod, published by Scholastic.

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Take A Chance On Me by Beth Garrod

Meg’s first kiss was a disaster…but this summer she will have a perfect, swoony, just-like-in-the-movies kiss with a hot boy – and what better setting than the sun-drenched Greek island she’s holidaying on? But with three very different boys vying for her attention, resetting her first kiss may be more complicated than she bargained for…

Just in time for summer, this fun, feel-good story will strike a chord with young people hoping for holiday romance! Beth Garrod is the author of the Super Awkward series and has worked for broadcasters including Radio 1, Blue Peter and MTV.  She now concentrates on social impact campaigns, working with charities and broadcasters around the world to make content that can help empower young people. I am delighted to welcome Beth to the blog today for a Q & A on this first stop on the blog tour!

Describe Take a Chance on Me in five words

Can I do six?! Holiday hotties, best-mate missions, superstar surprises.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?  Well, a few years ago I visited a small Greek island for the very first time – I was so lucky. We had to catch a plane and a boat to get there, but when we arrived it was like something from a postcard! The water was like a giant warm bath, the sea and sky were the brightest blues, and everyone there was super friendly. And oh my goodness THE FOOD. The whole island was so good that it ended up being the inspiration for Meg’s surprise holiday in Take A Chance On Me.

Lots of the action in Take a Chance on Me takes place on a film set. Name your dream cast for a movie adaptation of the book. This is a hard one! Hmm… Can I dream big?

Meg – can Joey King from the Kissing Booth do it?! Or Lana Condor. Or Jessica Barden who is totally amazing. Or Amandla Stenberg.. sorry I need to stop now.

Anita (her best mate) – Manpreet Bambra from Free Rein. I love that show, and she seems super fun. Barbara Ferreira is also a total boss.

Meg’s Dad – Stephen Mangan. But he’d have to get really into health and safety. And could Jodie Comer get older to play her mum?

Billy – Maybe Ncuti Gatwa, as he brings all the laughs and all the feels in just one look. Or Lewis Capaldi, if he fancied acting?

TJ – I mean I’d love Noah Centineo to be in it, but he’s too Noah and lovely to be TJ right? Right?!

And can a young Miles Teller/ Shailene Woodley be in there too? And Marsai Martin – she’d star in the film AND keep TJ in check.

Can you share the cringiest thing that’s happened to you on holiday? Oh wow. Lots of things have happened. It’s hard to choose a winner. I think the time I did my dissertation in Ibiza on… biodiversity, was pretty excellent. Everyone else was on holiday, and glamming it up on the beach, but my uni needed video evidence I was following procedure so my friend had to document me on the beach, clutching a 1m square quadrat (a giant wooden and metal grid thing) in full high vis safety wear and non-slip shoes.

Any top tips for going on holiday with your friends? If you’re going somewhere on a plane then pack a spare swimsuit or bikini in your travel bag. I once had a case go AWOL, and let’s just say the clothes my friends lent me were all at least 4 sizes too small. It was all quite a lewk. And always have a stash of chocolate. It tastes extra good on holiday, especially if it’s fridge-chocolate. And remember a speaker. Music is a must – then you can come back and re-listen to the playlists and try and pretend you’re still there.

And something to remember if it’s your first holiday together, living with someone is harder than just hanging out, so allow everyone the space to be  a grumpy morning person, or to be sleep deprived, or a bit hot and sweaty one day. One day it’ll most likely be your turn.

Oh, and is it wrong to mention I never regret packing Marmite?

What are your favourite YA reads of 2019 so far? There have been so many! I wasn’t surprised at all that I loved Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green so so much. Just like his Noah books it had everything in that I love – big laughs, awkward moments, and a really beautiful mega-crush. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard was another one I loved – it’s also very funny and contemporary, but with a real twist to it. Jemima Small Vs The World I adored, and wished Jemima would pop out of the pages and become real. And I’m about to go on holiday (to the non-imaginary Greek island I mentioned just before) and I can’t wait to read The Switch Up by Katy Cannon and Scar by Alice Broadway. I’ve been dying for the third book in the Ink series for ages!

Find out more about Beth at www.bethhgarrod.com.  With thanks to Scholastic for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour this week:

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Bookchat: Q & A with M.G Leonard on the Branford Boase Award

BBA_LogoNext Thursday a whole host of the great and the good from the world of children’s books will gather to hear the announcement of this year’s winner of the Branford Boase Award. This year is the 20th anniversary of the award which is given annually to a first-time writer of an outstanding book for young people and also their editor, recognising the important contribution of the editor in identifying and nurturing new talent. Running alongside it is the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition which encourages writing talent in 19 year olds and under. 

M.G. Leonard Branford Boase winner 2017

I’m delighted to welcome past award winner M. G Leonard to the blog today for a bookchat about the Branford Boase Award.  M.G Leonard won the Branford Boase in 2017 for her brilliant debut Beetle Boy, along with her editors from Chicken House, Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon.  Beetle Boy was the first in a trilogy, and M.G Leonard has since gone on to have huge success (read my review of Beetle Boy here.) Today she shares her thoughts on winning the award, the important relationship between author and editor and also her current projects!

Can you tell us what makes the Branford Boase Award so special? A debut novel is a rough diamond, and requires more input from an editor than any other book an author will write. It is a powerful collaboration, and this award is the only one to recognise this work. The Branford Boase Award has an amazing history of awarding writers who go on to be some of the most exciting authors out there telling stories for young people. It is the award that all writers want to win.

How did it feel to win the award and what difference has it made to you two years on? I am very proud to be a Branford Boase Award winner. It was the first major award that I won, and it is hugely encouraging to be told that you did a good job when you are floundering in a new industry. It was particularly lovely to have Rachel and Barry’s work celebrated, because Chicken House believed in Beetle Boy right from the start. Winning the award increased my confidence and creativity, and it’s ever so lovely when people announce you before your event and tell everyone that you won it. The Branford Boase Award is a hallmark of quality, a standard to live up to, and the finest club I’ve ever been in.

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Barry Cunningham described the relationship between author and editor “like your first girlfriend or boyfriend in how it shapes you”. How do you think working with both Barry and Rachel Leyshon has shaped you as an author? I think the relationship depends on the people in it. My work as an author is considerably shaped by my working for fifteen years in the theatre, however what Barry and Rachel taught me was the importance of keeping the action, the power and the decision making firmly in the hands of the children. This is an invaluable lesson, because it’s so easy to be in love with your creation, when really you need to be in love with your characters.

What advice would you have for aspiring authors working on their debut novel about developing a good relationship with their editor(s)? To the aspiring writer I would say, the editing process is painful and infuriating. You will doubt yourself and lose all objectivity, so you must trust your editor. They know the world of books far better than you, if this is your first. Read your edits. Step away from your manuscript and vent all your frustrations and anger at a wall, or a friend. And you will be angry, or upset, because we are all defensive about our creations and the role of the editor is to question and poke and cut. Your debut is an epic voyage and your editor has the map; you must journey alone, but you won’t get to the end without your editor’s help. Once the quest is complete you will feel an enormous debt of gratitude to your editor, because you will see your book is a far superior vessel for your story than when you first set out.

Can you share with us what you’re working on at the moment? I am writing a new series of books for Macmillan, called Adventures on Trains. The first book, The Highland Falcon Thief will be published in March 2020, and swiftly followed by a second in September. Harrison Beck, the protagonist, is an eleven-year-old from Crewe with a talent for drawing. When his uncle, a travel writer, takes him on the last journey of the royal steam train around the British Isles, he draws what he sees. When a priceless diamond necklace goes missing, Harrison realised there are clues in his pictures, and sets out to catch the thief. The books are a joyous celebration of trains, rail travel and landscape, as well as a damn good adventure. Each book in the series features Harrison and his Uncle having a new adventure on a different train in a different country. The second book is set in America, on the California Zephyr.

I have also written a picture book for Walker Books, illustrated by Daniel Rieley, that will be published in January 2020 called The Tale of a Toothbrush – a story of plastic in our oceans, which I’m very excited about, because the subject is very important to me.

With thanks to M.G Leonard for participating in this blog today!

 

You can find out more about M.G Leonard on her website www.mgleonard.com. Read all about Chicken House here www.chickenhousebooks.com and for more information about the award visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk

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Christmas is coming!

This Christmas to celebrate the wonder of writing, we’ve made our very own Author Christmas Calendar!

Featuring fuchristmas-1015350_1920n and festive Q & As with a whole host of brilliant children’s authors, every day throughout December.  There are questions from young readers and budding writers, including some from children who go to the Inkpots Writer’s Hut and some who attend Warden Park Academy.

We’ll be finding out, amongst other things, what stories our authors enjoy at Christmas, what their Christmas traditions are and most importantly – mince pies or Christmas pud?!!

Authors participating include Michelle Magorian, Paul Gamble, Gwyneth Rees, Chris Priestly and Abi Elphinstone to name a few.  We’ll also be running a BUMPER Christmas giveaway with an incredible prize for ONE lucky winner!  So watch this space because Christmas is definitely coming!