Our very own reviewer, Tracy Darnton, is celebrating the release of her 2nd Young Adult thriller this month – The Rules. Hooray! Well, we couldn’t let this moment pass – so we popped our infamous questions over to Tracy… and here are her answers. Enjoy!
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Sometimes reading, sometimes writing, always messy. I love games and puzzles which may be why I like writing intelligent thrillers for young people.
Your latest Young Adult novel, The Rules, is hitting the shelves. Can you tell us a little bit about how it came to be?
Once upon a time there was a short story called The Letter about a girl called Amber. This was published in I’ll be Home for Christmas and we got lots of lovely feedback and I was asked to write a full novel. I had to think about why Amber was the way she was and why was she estranged from her dad. I quickly knew he was a prepper – someone who constantly prepares for disaster – and the story built from there. Sadly, they didn’t live happily ever after. The End.
Ok, here’s a challenge… can you sum up your book in five words? [runs and hides!]
A thought-provoking, shocking thriller
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’d like to say I write productively for four hours but that is my distant ambition. I certainly don’t write every day. I need a clear head and a clear desk and complete quiet which is much harder under lockdown.
What makes you happy?
Family, playing games, hanging out in bookshops, walking in woods, almond croissants.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
So many books. I thought I’d get through them during lockdown but it hasn’t panned out like that. I’m currently reading Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, then I’ll read the latest YA thrillers from Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.
What’s your worst habit?
Putting things off that I worry about.
Your favourite word(s) and why
Agapanthus – love how it rolls off the tongue, sounds like an ancient emperor and reminds me of happy holidays in Cornwall. I haven’t managed to get it into a book yet!
What are your top tips for budding YA writers?
Enjoy writing – don’t fixate on getting published.
Give yourself headspace to be creative. Play.
There’ll be a period with every novel when you hate it and don’t know how to finish the blessed thing – push through as it seems to be part of the process.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about the publishing process?
How long everything takes. Basically double how long you think anything will take. Then double it again.
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake)
I’m writing another YA thriller for Stripes. I can’t reveal the title, but it’s set in Cornwall – so maybe I will sneak the word agapanthus in somewhere.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Redbush tea, no milk, china mug.
Paper books or e-books? Paper. Confession: I’ve never read an e-book.
Cake or chocolate? Biscuit.
Write or type? Type for YA. Write for picture books.
Poetry or prose? Prose to write. I read both.
Hot or cold? I can’t function in a hot climate so definitely cold. I have an excellent collection of woolly socks.