Author Archives: kirstyes
Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Kim Curran’s Glaze which was released on Amazon on the 15th May. The blog tour has been organised by Faye at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts. Kim is also over at Uncorked Thoughts today. See below for the full list of stops.
Tonight there is a twitter chat happening at 8-9pm BST – Do join in by following Kim and the hashtag #GlazeChat
There’s also a blog wide giveaway – here’s the rafflecopter entry. Prizes up for grabs include a limited edition hardback edition, chance to meet or skype with Kim, bookmarks and more. I think I might need to enter.
Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.
I have been lucky enough to be able to ask questions of three of Glaze’s characters: the book’s protagonist Petri, her close friend Kiara and the mysterious Ethan. I even snuck in a couple of questions for Kim, the author. I hope you enjoy.
Do you wish you had been called Petra?
*sighs* I wish I’d been called ANYTHING other than Petri. Zizi, that’s my Mum, thought naming me after the method of my conception was hilarious in the way that only she could. She also has this joke about getting ‘half-price on ginger sperm’ that she tells like fifty times a day.
Why the fascination with numbers?
I guess it’s because they make sense. They’re constant and comprehendible in a way humans never will be to me. Prime numbers. Patterns. I find them comforting. And sometimes, when everything feels like it’s too loud, I sit and recite Pi in my head till I calm down. Weird, I know!
What do you think of the idea ‘You’re better together’?
Zizi came up with that line, so, I was a little bored of it before the rest of the world heard it. But at first, I totally bought into it. I really believed that everyone would become their best, most brilliant self when part of something bigger than just them. I was always hearing about how all the great thinkers in the world only got to where they were because they were working with the ideas of others. How no one can really achieve something alone. But now… I’m not so sure. I guess it all comes down to what we mean by ‘better’. And who is the one making that decision.
What does family mean to you?
To me, it means belonging. Having a sense that you are safe and that no one is judging you for who you. They just love you – the way you are. It’s not something I’ve experienced all that much, to be honest.
What do you really think about kissing now?
Like anything. It’s about doing it with the right person. :oD
How did you feel when you were saved by a girl on the first day of school?
You mean when Petri stopped those guys from bullying me? I guess I could have handled the situation myself; I’ve been in my fair share of fights after all. But I thought it was really brave of her to step in. I mean, she didn’t even know me. She just knew that what they were going to do was wrong. It’s one of the reasons I like her so much. She’s this tiny thing with all this rage inside her. You do not want to be standing in the way when it explodes.
What’s it like being invisible?
I like it. I like solitude and being able to think clearly. I spent a long time surrounded by other people and having all of my decisions decided by everyone else. So being invisible means I don’t have to worry about that anymore. It can be lonely too, for sure. But I’ll take that over noise. And it means I don’t have to worry about the government watching my every move.
Do you think Glaze contributed to your depression?
I don’t know for sure. The doctors tell me that it’s to do with an imbalance with the chemicals in my brain and so maybe I would have been depressed with Glaze or not. But I know it made me feel a whole lot worse about it. It was like everyone else in the world was having the best time of their lives while I was having the worst time in mine and I thought that there must be something so very wrong with me to not be able to join in with all that fun. So yeah, it made it worse.
What is it about the stars?
To me, they symbolise hope, they’re a point of light in the darkness. My dad used to take me outside to the garden at night and point out all the constellations. The bucket. The leaping frog. The laughing elephant. I didn’t know till I was older that he was making all the names up! So now, when I look up at the stars, I remember the stories he told to make his little girl happy. And that feels nice.
Why do you write?
There are a lot of writers who say they write because they can’t imagine not writing. I’m totally not one of those writers. I can absolutely imagine not writing. I can imagine myself running off and becoming a Mongolian Eagle Hunter and never writing another word. I can imagine myself becoming an astronaut and spending all my time watching the world rather than writing about it. But… that’s also exactly the reason I do write. Because I’m never going to run off and become a Mongolian Eagle Hunter or an astronaut. So I write to go on exciting adventures. I write to try and live other lives for a while. I write to entertain myself and work out what I think about things. I write because I love it. (I adore this answer although feel that Kim underplayed her skills of ‘premonition through writing’ – Google Glass and riots happened in real life shortly after she wrote Glaze!!! Spooky!)
You’ve turned to self publishing for Glaze so it must be important to you. Why write this book?
That’s a brilliant question. And yes, my decision to self publish rather than just let Glaze live in my bottom drawer was precisely because this book is so important to me. I wrote it to deal with a lot of confusion in my own head about trying to find myself amid the noise of other people’s opinions. I wrote it to try and understand how I feel about the world we’re living in today and where it’s taking us. I spend so much of my time online that I end up feeling really angry with myself for not getting out and living. So, I guess I wrote it to try and claim something back from that wasted time. And once I’d written it, I believed that other people might have the same worries as me. Which is why I wanted to share it with them. (I think there can be lots of positives from online interactions but it’s definitely a challenge balancing time online with interacting with the real world. I think the book shows this really well).
Huge thanks to Kim (and Petri, Ethan and Kiara) for giving us a further insight into the world of Glaze. I really enjoyed this fast paced read. Interested to hear everyone’s views on the interview here today.
There’s a fun new website on the interwebs where you can create your own themed bookshop.
My Independent Bookshop allows you to create a mini bookshop of up to twelve books and you can link to your local independent bookshop (via Hive) so that when someone buys a book online based on your recommendation your local bricks and mortar bookshop benefits. I’ve chosen to link up with Gullivers Bookshop, a local family run bookshop that are supporting the HPA group I run with our Accio Books campaign.
Here’s the link to my Bookshop called The Future is… Books! which is celebrating my love of Dystopias/Science Fiction Futures.
Click on the books on the shelf and they open to reveal a mini review or suggestion of why I liked them. I’ve not added full reviews yet but I will. I’ve chosen seven books at the moment but have a few more on my reading list which I’m hoping to add. I’m only adding five star reads at the moment.
Here are a few other bookshops (by some twitter faves) that I’d recommend you take a look at:
Books Galore! (by blogger and Project UKYA organiser Lucy Powrie)
YA Yeah Yeah (by blogger and Countdown to 5th June organiser Jim Dean)
UKYA Books (by author Keris Stainton whose writing course I’m currently participating in)
James Dawson Books (by author James Dawson who is going to scare me soon with Say Her Name)
Have you created your own website yet? Share the link with me below.
Firstly huge thanks go to Jim Dean at YAYeahYeah for organising this Countdown to 5th June blog tour and for allowing me to be a part of it. You can find links to all of the previous posts and the posts to come on the Countdown Blog.
Next I’d like to thank Matt Whyman for taking the time to answer my questions about War Girls (UK Amazon Link). I’ve added a couple of comments in red – mainly as a private joke with Matt – I promise none of them are “Must Try Harder” though ;o)
War Girls is a collection of short stories told from the perspective of women during the period surrounding WW1 and Matt is one of the contributing authors. His story Ghost Story was particularly powerful.
At the end of June this year it will have been 100 years since the start of WW1. Why do you think it was important to consider the experience of women in the war and why now in particular?
It’s very easy to think of Tommy in the trenches when it comes to WW1, but the fact is women played a vital role in so many different ways. This centenary has certainly embraced wider aspects of the conflict, in terms of coverage in the media, and the anthology seemed like a fitting means of exploration.
We’ve also reached a point where most people with first-hand experience of the war have now passed. Without a direct link to that generation, handing down their stories, it falls to writers to bring the past into the present – and there is some responsibility that comes with that. (There certainly is, and one which I think this set of writers handles very well).
How did the collection come about and how did you get involved?
I’d like to tell you that my incisive knowledge of WW1 made me an obvious candidate to contribute, but that would be, well… lies. (Lies, like the dog ate my homework – tut). I’ve watched a lot of action movies, but I don’t think that counts. In fact, having just published a memoir about life with a sausage dog (riiiiiggghhhht?!) when the author approaches went out, I still think there might have been a mix up somewhere. On the upside, I’m always drawn to a writing challenge. The research was intense and enlightening. It involved reading history books, papers and journals, uncovering news cuttings and talking to historians in a bid to get a clear picture of the event I planned to write about. In the end I found myself doing the same amount of groundwork as I would for a novel. (Well then you definitely deserve an A for effort as well as execution).
Your story in particular considers an experience I don’t think I’ve come across before. What did you learn from writing this piece?
The story is set during the Gallipoli campaign – a disastrous attempt by the Allies to open a new front against the Ottoman Empire. Getting my head around the history took some time, but what compelled me to write about it was an account by a shell-shocked British soldier of an attack from a sniper he claimed to be female. It’s a convincing case, but also called into question by historians who doubt Turkish women took arms.
It left me with a dilemma. The last thing I wanted to do was make claims for the existence of a markswoman who was essentially the product of mistaken identity or a traumatised imagination. At the same time, the defence of the soldier’s account has a great deal of merit. As we’ll never know, given where we are in history, I decided to write the story from the point of view of a grieving mother and widow who picks up a gun by circumstance only to question her purpose. So, she’s there, looking down the sights of a sniper as our soldier claimed. It’s just things aren’t as they might appear. Ultimately, I know what it’s about in my mind, but never like to tell a reader what I’m trying to convey. That’s the role of the story and the pleasure that comes from reading. In other words, I’m terrible at summarising. (No, I think you’re right, it is good to allow readers to form their own views too).
Which other story in the collection do you think brings a new insight?
This is a powerful anthology. Every contributor has sought to shine light on aspects of the war effort that are often side lined. What strikes me above all is that nobody falls into portraying their characters based on our moral outlook today. It’s uncomfortable sometimes, but the only way to truly get under the skin of individuals who served their country one hundred years ago.
You start your story with a short factual piece, do you think this freed you up to then enter into the narrative without the need for explanation during the story itself?
The story was finished before I wrote the introduction. I just wanted to be transparent about the contention surrounding the origin of the story. You could say I was keen to show my workings. As you’re a teacher, I’m hoping this answer will earn me a big tick in the margin. √
In your story was it important that the woman remained nameless?
Yes. She has no name and no life ahead of her. Everything she loves has been taken away. She’s a lost soul, waiting to join her loved ones, and effectively dead from the moment we join the story.
At the end of the book are some adverts for other short story collections. How do you relate to short stories in comparison to novels, both as a reader and a writer?
As a writer, short stories are hard work. Every word feels like the compression of a sentence. What you leave out says more than what you keep in. You’re working with less but aiming to say more. I find it to be one of the more rewarding nightmares of the writing process. As a reader, I devoured short stories in my twenties by authors such as Angela Carter and Raymond Carver. I’ve written a lot over the years, but not by choice. I’ve always been approached, never learned to say no, and remain very glad of that whenever I see the finished anthology or collection.
And finally the question I always ask – Why do you write?
For the same reason that I was drawn to put pen to paper in the first place – because there’s nothing to hold back the imagination – no costs or crew to consider, or practical stuff to arrange. With some time and self-discipline, you can sit in a crappy bedsit creating a story that might cost millions to film, but won’t cost a penny. It inspired me as an impoverished 21 year old and I’m still mindful of that today.
Huge thanks to Matt for his excellent Grade A ‘Homework’. Matt has been working hard because he is also over at Winged Reviews talking about a solo project on Sunday 25th May.
Tomorrow’s stop on the tour is Nigel McDowell over at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts with Faye.
Faye is also the organiser of Kim Curran’s Glaze blog tour which I will be taking part in next Saturday, the 17th, with a character interview from Glaze.