Today I have something a little different and incredibly exciting happening on Rebecca-Books as I am hosting Joanna Nadin as part of her blog tour for her new (and last in the series) book in the Rachel Riley series! I remember reading some of her books a couple of years ago and they were brilliant, she completely understands young people and I loved that. This book follows Rachel as she prepares to go to university, I'm so looking forward to reading this as I only went to university six months ago.
Anyway, I'll stop rambling and hand you over to Joanna Nadin herself to answer some of my questions about her book and an end of an era...
Release Day: 6th March
Publisher: Oxford University Press
1. Hi Joanna! Welcome to Rebecca-Books, it's brilliant to have you here to answer some questions. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your new novel?
Well, I write books, mostly. And speeches, sometimes. I used to work for the Prime Minister, which, like, I KNOW. I so did NOT fit in on the corridors of power. In fact I once danced down the corridors of power (to Bat Out of Hell, it's a long story) and got caught by a Cabinet Minister. Not my proudest moment. Which is exactly the kind of thing Rachel Riley does. Though not in this novel as she's only seventeen and also she's currently banned from the Houses of Parliament over an incident on a school trip involving her best friend Scarlet and an illegal camera. Plus Scarlet's the one who wants to go into politics. Rachel is going to be an actress and live in a squat in Camden with a tormented poet or musician. If she gets into uni to do drama. And passes her A Levels. And does NOT get distracted by new boy Wilde and his giant sunglasses and leopard-print everything.
2. This is the last book in The Rachel Riley Diaries series. How did you come up with the idea for the series originally?
I started off trying to write something more serious i.e. an "issues" book, about broken homes or abuse or general tragedy. Only the thing is I didn't grow up in a broken home and abuse generally consisted of being forced to eat brown bread instead of white and tragedy was not being allowed to watch Coronation Street because it was both Northern and "common"; a double whammy of crimes in my mother's eyes. Which is when I realised maybe there was some comedy to had in the kind of wishing for a tragic life that I indulged in. So Rachel is, in fact, me. Her friends are my old friends. Her family is startlingly similar to mine (I never even got round to changing my brother James's name). Her appalling luck with boys is fairly similar to mine. Though at least she didn't snog anyone who kept pigs. Though she does, at one point, snog someone who has a habit of getting his thing out in class because she thinks he might be a genius underneath the idiocy. He isn't.
3. What are the best and worst parts of writing for you personally?
There really aren't that many bad bits. I mean, I get to spend the day footling around inside the head of a teenager, thinking about what I'm going to name my fictitious band, and wondering if Jack will actually snog me down the Duke on Saturday night. Working on your own can get slightly cabin feverish. But that's what Facebook is for. That's like hanging out in the school common room. Only without the saggy sofa with the Yazoo stain or the quarantined microwave or Fat Kylie trying spray tan a Goth.
4. What advice would you give to aspiring young writers or those wanting to get into the publishing industry?
Just write. Like playing violin, it's something you will only get good at by practising. So write every day. Even if it's a diary or a blog. In fact definitely keep a diary – it may come in handy one day for a teen novel.
5. What is the best book you've read?
That changes on an almost daily basis, along with my Desert Island Discs and who I thank in my Oscars speech (so going to happen one day). At the moment I'm on The Great Gatsby as I'm studying it again for my doctorate. But I'm also going to say Adrian Mole, as without him, there would be no Rachel. Those books gave me hope as a teenager – that I wasn't the only gawky, nerdy, unlucky-in-love thirteen-year-old out there. Which is what I hope Rachel does a tiny bit today.
6. Are there any plans for your next novel?
I write a lot of books. Some funny. Some serious. And I'm definitely in a serious phase now. So I have a YA thriller called Eden out later this year - set in drama school in 1988. Then a funny/sad/scary middle–grade book set in a tower block in Peckham out next year. And I'm just starting work on a YA high school novel about changing your identity. Kind of like Mean Girls crossed with The Great Gatsby crossed with Election. That could so work, right?
(Yes a Mean Girls/The Great Gatsby/Election high school novel can DEFINITELY WORK. I'm already excited for this!)
This is the first post in a five day blog tour stopping at some of my favourite blogs. Check them out every day this week!
6th March - Bookbabblers
7th March - Amy Bookworm
10th March - Book Angel Booktopia
11th March - What Danielle Did Next
12th March - Fabulous Book Fiend