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?
Here's an interview with Keris to mark publication of her first young adult novel, which I can't wait to read.
Choose three words to describe yourself
Determined. Excitable. Short.
My biggest writing dream would be to have one of my books turned into a movie directed by Nora Ephron. So, no, I haven't reached it. Yet.Who has been the biggest help to your writing career? This is tricky because there have been so many lovely people, but if I had to pick just one, it would be Suzy Greaves. I started working with Suzy - who's a life coach - about five years ago when I was doing a job I didn't enjoy and basically getting nowhere with my writing. She pointed out in, I think, our first conversation, that I needed to find something I loved to do while I was waiting to get a book deal (or in case any advance wasn't enough to enable me to give up work). I remembered that I'd wanted to be a journalist when I was a teenager and decided to give that a go. Suzy was incredibly helpful and before too long I got a commission and then another and then - with the words "Jump and the net will appear" ringing around in my head - I quit my job. And I've never looked back. Where did the idea for your book come from and how did you turn it into a reality?
When I was a teenager, my sister had a party while the rest of the family was away and she was supposed to be staying at a friend's house. When I got home, I couldn't find my diary. It wasn't missing for long and I found it under my mattress (with a very unpleasant message scrawled across one of the pages), but while it was lost I was a nervous wreck, wondering who might be reading it. If, back then, someone had taken my diary the worst they could probably have done was read it out at school or, at a push, photocopy the odd bit. But now with all the social networking? Potential for huge embarrassment.On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about it coming out?
Ha! It changes. Sometimes it's a 10 and I sit giggling to myself and can't believe it's really going to happen. At other times, it's maybe a 5, because I REALLY can't believe it's going to happen and feel like I've made the whole thing up. I don't think I'll really believe it until I see the book in a bookshop.What characteristics do you feel a writer needs to "make it"
Determination would be the big one. It's taken me a long time to get to this point, but I never thought about giving up because I have to write. I don't feel like myself if I'm not writing.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers who would one day love to be where you are now?
Join a writing group. I hated the idea of a "real world" writing group where I might have to read my writing out to other people, so I founded an online group and it was one of the best things I ever did. In fact, after hiring Suzy Greaves, it was the best thing. Not just for feedback on your writing, which is of course incredibly useful, but also just for chatting and encouraging and sympathising and asking stupid questions.
How have you managed to fit your writing in with family and work life?
I'm incredibly lucky in that I have the easiest kids in the world. Joe sleeps for three to four hours every morning and Harry did the same (he's now at school). I also have a very hands-on husband, who is not only happy for me to disappear to the computer when he gets home from work, but who also cooks. Work-life was a bit harder because for a while it was the journalism that was paying while the fiction was just a dream. But now I tend to focus on the fiction in the hope that the harder I work at it, the sooner the rewards will come.
Writers' block - real-life problem or imagined hurdle?
Well I'm a strong believer in the power of the imagination, so I'd say it's an imagined hurdle that becomes a real-life problem when you focus on it.
Where does your skill in writing come from and what has helped nurture it? Have you ever been on a creative writing course, for example?
I don't know how to answer that question because I don't believe I have a skill in writing. I'm not trying to be modest, I'm genuinely shocked when people say that kind of thing. All I try to do is write as naturally as I can. But, no, I've never been on a creative writing course; I would be far too self-conscious. I did do an online writing for teenagers course a few years ago (run by YA author Lauren Barnholdt) and that was brilliant for my confidence and for finding two fabulous crit partners (Sara Bennett Wealer and Darcy Vance), both of whom have since got book deals too.
What question do you wish I'd asked? Please answer it.
Q. If you could live in a book, which would you choose? A. Any of the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin. I would love to meet the characters that seem so incredibly real to me. It amazes me that Michael Tolliver doesn't exist in the real world.
You can buy Della says: OMG! by clicking on the image below.Earlier Write Away posts: