Interview with Eve Ainsworth

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photo credit: Linda Woodard 2019

Today I bring to you a very exciting post! I’ve been very lucky and had the opportunity to ask the wonderful Eve Ainsworth some questions about her writing and, in particular, her new release Because of You, which is out this month with Barrington Stoke. I raced through this one and, even though it’s a lot shorter than her other books, it was packed with such important themes and still felt like it explored those topics so well and I loved reading it!

For those who haven’t had a chance to read Because of You yet, how would you sum it up?

Because of You is about a young girl, Poppy, who is struggling with some huge changes in her life. Her mum is moving her new boyfriend into her house, her Dad is becoming more unreliable and school life is both challenging and unpredictable. Poppy is juggling lots of things all at once and suddenly they all seem to be crashing down around her.

img_5365Your books cover such important topics that can be quite hard-hitting, and Because of You is no exception. As a reader who’s been affected by a few of these issues but has felt that you’ve hit the nail on the head with how you’ve tackled them, I’m interested to know how do you go about “getting it right”?

That’s quite hard to answer as I don’t always know! I’m just glad to hear that I am getting it right, as that’s all that matters to me. I guess I didn’t have an easy time of it growing up, which is something I’ve never forgotten and is often reflected in my books. I also spent many years working closely with teenagers who were struggling with various issues, so I hope that this has helped me to keep my books authentic and fresh.

How do you choose the topics that you write about?

I usually come up with a character first and weirdly that character will often ‘tell’ me what it is that is troubling them. It’s a very strange process!

Because of You was slightly different because I knew I wanted to focus on blended families, as I know it’s something a lot of young people experience and can have difficulties with and I like my books to be reflective. It was only while writing the book that I realised Poppy was going to be bullied too. Often my writing is very instinctive and character-driven and takes me on quite an exciting journey while I’m writing!

img_5721I really understood how Poppy was feeling throughout Because of You and I think she handles everything in such a mature way and is really a character to look up to! Where do you get your inspiration from for your characters, and how do you manage to get them to reflect how real teens and young adults feel in such an accurate way?

Again I think that it helped that I worked with teenagers for quite a long time in a very direct job – so they would talk to me in an open and honest way. I also have a big family, so have a lot of young people around me. I find it hard to tell you where my characters come from, because they just evolve in my mind over time. I’m not even quite sure how it happens! I’m just glad that my brain manages to create them for me.

Barrington Stoke do an amazing job of bringing engaging stories to a wider audience by producing dyslexia friendly books – was the process of writing a novella specifically for Barrington Stoke a challenge compared to writing a novel?

Not at all. To be honest, it’s been an amazing experience. I had to make sure that I kept the story and plot tight, because the books are much shorter, but I found that to be an exciting challenge. Barrington Stoke focus on the editing to ensure that the book is dyslexic friendly, so I don’t have to worry about that part, they just want me to focus on the story. This mean the book is specifically edited, and goes through a few more ‘editing stages’ but it is a fascinating process and one I loved being part of.

img_5722There’s been a lot of discussion since I started blogging about the decline of sales of UKYA, but at the same time there’s been such a lot of support shown towards authors because it’s such a vital category. As a leading author of UKYA, what’s your take on this and what can we all (authors, publishers, readers etc) do to encourage UKYA?

I think we all just need to continue what we are doing already – but perhaps a little louder and prouder. We need to shout loud about those amazing YA books that have been read, promote authors who might not be as visible and keep being champions of this wonderful eclectic, diverse and exciting genre.

Wow – what wonderful answers! Thank you so much to Eve for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Kristin at Barrington Stoke for arranging this for me! Because of You is out today from Barrington Stoke, and I’d highly recommend getting a copy!

kayleigh

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 9th July 2019

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl! I’m here with a post that was fun to reflect on all the books I’ve read so far this year.

Character Freebie: My Favourite Characters of 2019 So Far

  1. 65437136_2264371210543422_3580393001359822497_nEmily – No Big Deal (Bethany Rutter)
  2. Matt – Fierce Fragile Hearts (Sara Barnard)
  3. Sunita – New Class at Malory Towers (Narinder Dhami)
  4. Owen – Owen and the Soldier (Lisa Thompson)
  5. Kayla – Because of You (Eve Ainsworth)
  6. 61971278_415305359064079_2481963016976786297_nHerbert – Malamander (Thomas Taylor)
  7. Isabelle – Stepsister (Jennifer Donnelly)
  8. Luciana – The Golden Butterfly (Sharon Gosling)
  9. Hope – Happy Girl Lucky (Holly Smale)
  10. Camille – Enchantée (Gita Trelease)

It was so hard to narrow it down to just ten characters; I’ve met so many wonderful ones so far this year! Who would make your top characters so far this year?

kayleigh

BECAUSE OF YOU – Eve Ainsworth

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RELEASED: 15/07/2019
PUBLISHER: Barrington Stoke
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Dyslexia Friendly

Poppy’s having a nightmare at home. Her parents have split up and her mum’s new boyfriend is moving in. Dad is the one who’s always been there for Poppy, but now he’s drifting further and further away. It seems like things can’t get any worse until it all goes wrong at school as well and Poppy finds herself being targeted by spiteful bullies. As the vicious online comments keep coming, who can Poppy turn to for help? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 12+

Eve Ainsworth is a staple author for fans of UKYA contemporary books, and so I was very excited to see that she’s releasing a novella with Barrington Stoke this year! The thing that I love about Eve’s books is how she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but also creates stories and characters to love. Because of You is no exception.

I think that Eve has really hit the nail on the head with all the emotions that go with being a teen in a non-nuclear family, as well as dealing with some difficult topics such as parents separating, rejection and bullying.  Change is something that can be so difficult to deal with, no matter what age you are, and so to see it handled so positively and constructively is brilliant. I also like how this is suitable for the younger teen market which is an area where there are few books.

This is a standout title from Barrington Stoke for me; it’s full of what makes UKYA so brilliant, but in a way that’s accessible to a wider range of readers, and so I’d highly recommend it!


Thank you to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this book!

Six for Sunday: 7th July 2019

Hello! It seems like aaaaages since I did one of these posts – I’ve loved seeing everyone’s lists today! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Summer Reads: books with sunshine on the cover

  1. sunflowers in februaryI’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson
  2. Sunflowers in February – Phyllida Shrimpton
  3. The Colour of the Sun – David Almond
  4. how to be a lionGoodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard
  5. The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright, Jim Field
  6. How To Be A Lion – Ed Vere

This one was pretty tricky for me; my books are all shelved double stacked because I have so many and I can’t see them all to get ideas! What books make you think of sunshine?

kayleigh

 

WORK IT GIRL: J.K. ROWLING – Caroline Moss, Sinem Urkas

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RELEASED: 07/03/2019
PUBLISHER: Frances Lincoln
GENRE: Children’s Non-Fiction, Biography

In this new series for aspiring future girl #bosses, discover the life of JK Rowling, the famous author. Be inspired by her remarkable story, and learn 10 key lessons from her life and work. Featuring inspiring quotes and mantras, this is a book for all girls wanting to forge their own career path.

I’m absolutely a Potter nerd, and I find the whole history of the world and of the books fascinating, and so I was very keen to get my hands on this book all about the lady behind the magic!

Boss The Bestseller List Like J.K. Rowling makes for a really interesting read. Although I knew that she had a difficult time before Harry Potter got published and on the road to publication, I didn’t realise a lot of the things that this book mentioned. That said, it was all put across in such a positive way, and it wasn’t hard to finish this book feeling very inspired and empowered.

This book makes a wonderful gift; it’s bold and engaging, and I flew through it! This series is a fabulous idea that shows young girls that they too can achieve regardless of the difficulties life may throw their way.


Thank you to Ellen at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book!