Friday, 19 January 2018

Q&A With Non Pratt and Second Best Friend Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend? I'm so excited to be welcoming one of my favourite UKYA authors Non Pratt onto the blog! Today we're chatting about her brand new book Second Best Friend, writing advice, and dealing with insecurity. I'm also giving one of you lucky lot the chance to win a copy of Second Best Friend over on Twitter!

Q1.) Hi Non, welcome to the blog! I absolutely loved Second Best Friend, what sparked the idea behind it? 
Friendship is a constant theme in all my books, but I’d not yet explored the concept of rivalry and the insecurity that can arise from admiring your best friend so much that you make the mistake of thinking they’re better than you. I thought it was time to write about it!

Q2.) What advice would you give to anyone who, like Jade, feels like a second best friend?
We all feel like that sometimes – don’t we? BUT if all of us feel this way, then your best friend is sitting there wishing she could be just as brilliant as you. It’s all relative! Which means that whole concept of ‘best’ is completely ridiculous in this context. Don’t strive to be the best of all people, just strive the best of yourself – it’s the only thing you can be. (And go easy on yourself if you make mistakes. That’s part of being human too.)

Q3.) What Hogwarts houses would Jade and Becky be in? 
Jade is ambitious and in this story we see a little more of her manipulative side. She’s so set on winning that she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get there, which is a very Slytherin trait - having said that, she’s also a little rash, so there’s a splash of Gryffindor in there too. Becky’s a Ravenclaw through and through. She enjoys studying and knowledge and she works hard to achieve those ends.

Q4.) Barrington Stoke is a publisher that makes reading more accessible to young people, do you have any tips on how to get a non-reader reading?
The first thing I’d do is to try not to focus on the idea of someone being a ‘non-reader’. You don’t have to think of yourself as a reader to actually be one – maybe you read loads on online or in magazines or a computer game. We consume words outside of books too. If you want to entice someone towards books, find out what they like. If they’re into sports then an interesting autobiography or fact book might be more up their street. Cartoons? Try a graphic novel. Film and TV? Try a script. The most important thing to do isn’t to give them something you love, but something they will love. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve seen recommending Harry Potter for dyslexic readers – those books are densely typeset and have tons of unfamiliar words (spells aren’t part of our Muggle vernacular), just because you gobbled them up doesn’t automatically make them a safe bet for others.

Q5.) This is your second short story for Barrington Stoke, is writing a short story harder or easier than writing a full-length novel? 
Both. It’s easier in that I’m more focused and don’t end up writing 3 x more words than necessary, but because I’m not allowed to fart around in infinite different ways, I also get a bit bored, which can be hard to overcome!

Q6.) Do you have any advice for aspiring YA writers? 
My advice is to listen only to the advice that works for you. If you write like me then I advise you don’t worry too much about mapping out every chapter before you draft, rather that you have a good idea of where to start and where to end. You can prep all the Post-its you want, but you’ll only get to know your characters through writing about them. For YA specifically, it’s more important to develop a distinctive voice than a distinctive plot. You can write almost any storyline a million different ways, so give your reader a reason to listen to how you do it.

Q7.) What’s been your best author moment so far? 
I thought it would be the writing, or maybe finding my books in the shop, but it isn’t. On my desk there’s a letter from a librarian – not addressed to me, but to my publisher, thanking them for setting up a visit to her school. In it, she speaks of challenging students who enjoyed the talk, a new reader who was brave enough to ask a question and how Trouble is the longest book some of them have ever read to the end. Nothing has ever been better than that letter.

Q8.) What books would you recommend to fans looking for stories similar to your own? 
Maybe try Holly Bourne, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, or Lisa Williamson – I wouldn’t say our stories are similar, but I think if you like anything I’ve written, you’d like their writing too! In terms of friendship books, I love Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and I’m really looking forward to Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard.

Q9.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 
The project that will have my attention this month is Floored – this is a collaborative novel that I’m working on with Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Mel Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Ellie Wood. I adore their work and it’s been brilliant drafting together and we’re just tightening everything up in the edit. The book takes six teens who’ve never met until the first chapter, when they witness an event that brings them back together, one way or another, on the same day for the next few years of their life.

Q10.) And lastly, what three words best describe Second Best Friend? 
Dangerous insecurity spiral.

Don't miss your chance to win Second Best Friend over on Twitter!
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