Today we have a very special guest star on Catherine, Caffeinated, or Catherine, Slightly Under Caffeinated, as I happen to be this morning…
Keris Stainton is a writer, blogger and book-lover with ‘her finger firmly on the pulse of what rocks in a teenage girl’s world’. Her debut novel, Della Says: OMG! is out now and bestselling author of The Princess Diaries Meg Cabot calls it ‘a fun, delicious treat you’ll want to eat up in one bite’. One Amazon reviewer said it was ‘absolutely the best two nights I spent in bed recently’…
[Catherine interrupts blog post to run off and buy Della Says]
“Della’s over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party – but then she discovers her diary has disappeared… When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?”
Keris’ voice sparkles with energy and originality and who among us, regardless of how much of an adult we pretend to be now, can’t relate to the ever-present Cringe Factor that permeates teenager life? I know I, for one, have blocked out huge swathes of my teenage time, for that very reason. Moreover, I’ve kept diaries my entire life, and if as much as a paragraph of one of them escaped my bedroom, I’d have to put myself in the Witness Protection Program….
I’d been writing for years, but didn’t finish a full-length book until 2006, when I wrote a YA book called FORGET ME NOT for National Novel Writing Month. I started sending it to agents the following March and signed with my agent in May. Eventually Orchard loved it and I got a two book deal, but then they decided they didn’t want FMN to be my first book and asked me to write something else. And so I wrote DELLA SAYS: OMG! So it’s actually taken four years from signing with my agent to seeing the book on the shelves!
Q: If you can pick one, what has been the best moment so far in your published writer life?
Oh there have been so many (and it’s not even properly out yet!), but I think my favourite might have been getting my quote from Meg Cabot. I absolutely love her – she’s my favourite YA writer and she’s been such an inspiration. I was thrilled that she even agreed to read Della, let alone that I have a quote from her on the cover.
Q: The timely plot of Della Says: OMG centers on the focus of teenage life, social networking. Did you need to do any specific research or was this all just a ploy to spend more time on Twitter and call it ‘work’? (I’m desperately trying to come up with an excuse to do that myself!)
Ha! No. I didn’t do any research, I’m afraid. And I don’t think it would be possible for me to spend much more time on Twitter – I’m a Twitter-holic. The idea for the book came from my own diary disappearing when I was a teenager. Back then, the worst someone could have done was read it out at school or, at a push, photocopy the odd bit. But now with mobiles and social networking there’s the potential for huge embarrassment.
Q: Della Says: OMG is a Young Adult novel, but I see on your site you’ve just finished an adult novel as well. How different are those writing experiences from each other and which do you prefer?
I find writing for teenagers easier. Partly because I still feel like a teenager myself – and all those teen humiliations still smart – and partly because teen books are much shorter! I did enjoy all the sex scenes in the adult book though. (But, no, I didn’t do any research for that either. Unfortunately.)
Q: What’s next?
I’m not exactly sure. There’ll be another book out with Orchard next year, but it still might not be FORGET ME NOT. I’ve finished another YA book and have a few more ideas. And hopefully someone will want to publish the adult book too. Fingers crossed.