YA Shot Interview with Kerry Drewery

Today on the blog, as part of the #YAShot2017 blog tour, I have a fab interview with Kerry Drewery, talking about her Cell 7 series.

When did you first get the idea for your Cell 7 series?

I first started thinking about Cell 7 way back in 2014. I wanted to write something exploring the death penalty, but as we don’t have the death penalty here, I started exploring different ways I could do it.

Did you always plan for it to be a trilogy or did it grow as you wrote it?

I initially wrote it as a standalone, but there were a lot of unanswered questions. Having the space to explore it over three books and really flesh out all the situations and characters was wonderful.

The story is written from several points of view – did you have a favourite to write?

Not really. I enjoyed writing the sections from Martha’s point of view because I could really get in her head and explore what she was thinking. In the first book I especially like the sections with Martha and Eve – I like their relationship.

It was great to be able to write in different ways though, and I did especially enjoy the script. It’s just a different way of writing – it feels more immediate.

Scenes from the Death is Justice TV show played a key part in the story – what made you include these rather than showing a character watching the show?

I originally tried writing them in third person, but it was way to clunky and far too much ‘he said, she said’ – it just didn’t work. Writing it from the point of view of someone watching it would’ve been much the same, and it would’ve been more removed from the characters. I think that distance would’ve pushed the reader too far away from the story.

There’s some pretty heart-wrenching scenes across the series – which was the hardest to write?

There was one particular scene in Final 7 which was very hard to write, and I did think long and hard about it. But it was right for the story – it had to be done. I don’t want to say too much and accidentally give spoilers!

The end of Final 7 is a bit ominous – do you envision a happy ending for Martha and her friends?

The whole trilogy was always Martha’s story. Although not a typically sweetness and light ending, the end of Final 7 left her in a much better place than the beginning of Cell 7, and I feel was more realistic. That point, as far as I see it, was the end of her story.

And here are my quick-fire questions to round off with:

What are you reading at the moment?

The Goose Road by Rowena House

Favourite book as a child?

The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown

Favourite writing drink and snack?

Coffee and custard creams!

5 desert island books?

Oh that’s hard! Errmmm…

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

Nothing by Janne Teller

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

But ask me tomorrow and it’ll probably be different!

Favourite place to read?

Curled up on the sofa in front of the fire, with a cup of coffee.

Any hidden talents?

I do triathlons. This September I’ll be representing GB (for my age group) in the long distance championship in Madrid. That’s 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon.

What fictional world would you love to live in?

I’d probably go back in time and live in the world of Swallows and Amazons! Messing about on the river in the summer with no cares in the world!

Thanks so much to Kerry for the interview. You can find Kerry on Facebook here, and on Twitter @KerryDrewery

Also, the lovely folks at Bonnier Zaffre have offered a copy of Cell 7 for one lucky winner! Enter the Rafflecopter below to be in with a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And finally, a huge thanks to the whole YA Shot Team for organising their amazing events and this blog tour! You can check out more of the stops on the YA Shot website here.

Book Review: Final 7 (Kerry Drewery)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 224

Release Date: January 11th 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Martha and Isaac have escaped, but are now on the run – the government has branded them rebels and a danger to the public. Despite the rewards being offered for turning them in, Martha and her friends are safe in The Rises, the area of the city full of the poor and the powerless. But then the Prime Minister orders a wall to be built around The Rises. Is it for the the safety or the poor – or is it to imprison them? Martha needs to act, and to act fast, in a tale of breathtaking treachery that reaches right to the heart of government…

 

Review:

It doesn’t seem too long ago that I was reading and reviewing  Day 7 and it’s weird to think this great series has come to an end now.

Final 7 picks up straight after the previous book, with Martha and an unconscious Isaac being driven to safety by a mysterious woman. Martha and her friends are blamed for the bombing at the Justice Building and are labelled the Rises 7. The media portrays them as a terrorist group and the government use this to further the separation between those in the city and those in the Rises by building a wall around the Rises.

The public believe Martha to be in prison so she spends a lot of this book sneaking around and in various disguises. Eve is arrested and taken to Old Bailey, which serves as a new death row with a historical twist. The chapters from her point of view were really grim and showed how badly the prisoners were treated. There’s a scene with her which I won’t go into because of spoilers, but it really brought a tear to my eye.

Max struggles to find his way in this book as he realises how far he will go to save his mum from death row. Martha faces a similar dilemma as she discovers which of her friends she can’t trust, and which of her enemies she can form alliances with.

The climax is intense and surprising and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn’t see any of it coming but I loved the way things turned out for everyone. My favourite part was definitely the aftermath when we see how the future might look for Martha, her friends and the whole of England. Have they really won, or have they traded one bad position for another? I’d love another book to find out!

This is a fascinating, extreme dystopian about corruption, privacy and the influence of the media. Although it seems a far cry from the system we have today, Drewery makes you question where we might be heading…

If you like a tense mystery-thriller with really compelling characters then I urge you to give this series a go.

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