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: The Number One Rule for Girls (Rachel McIntyre)

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

Publisher: Egmont UK

Pages: 309

Release Date: February 25th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Daisy knows a thing or two about love and romance. She’s surrounded by it – in fact, there’s no escape! Not only are her parents childhood sweethearts turned soulmates, they also run the very successful wedding agency ‘Something Borrowed’, helping couples to tie the knot in whatever frilly, quirky, tasteful, outrageous way they choose. So it’s no surprise that Daisy has a pretty clear vision of how her life with boyfriend Matt is going to pan out.

There’s one major flaw in this plan – Matt and Daisy have split up! Determined not to brood, Daisy sets out to re-invent her life and her dreams. And that’s when Toby enters the scene, who appears to be perfect, but is turning all the Rules upside down..

Review:

I fell in love with Rachel McIntyre’s Me & Mr J last year (seriously, it’s amazing, go read it if you haven’t yet) so I was really excited to read her new book. I read this in preparation for a guest post from Rachel for the YAShot 2016 blog tour, which I’m really excited for you all to read.

I didn’t really know what this was about when I went into it so I was surprised at the turn the book took. After breaking up with serious boyfriend Matt, Daisy starts a new college and is determined to reinvent herself. Until Toby shows up, with his gorgeous face and interest in her. But is he all he seems to be?

I think this review is kind of spoilery if you don’t know what the book is about. So fair warning y’all!

The development of Daisy and Toby’s relationship was really interesting to me. At first, Daisy loves his little quirks: he turns up at a wedding she’s working at and helps, he asks her to take selfies for him when she’s out and he always takes her down because he says she looks better that way. But then his insecurities begin to get in the way: he’s paranoid when she talks to other guys and doesn’t trust her with them, he gets angry suddenly but makes it up by being sweet later on. While Daisy talks about herself a lot to him he never opens up to her.

This is a controlling relationship that develops so subtly you’re not sure what’s happening until you step back and take stop and realise that all these little things aren’t sweet and caring: they’re paranoid and jealous and isolating you from your friends. I’ve read other books about similar relationships but this one captured it best for me: it’s not obvious what’s going on at first, it’s not one big clue but lots of little ones that all add up to something being very wrong. And that’s what it’s like in real life, and why it’s so easy to get sucked in and keep on forgiving and forgiving.

I really love McIntyre’s ability to write teenage characters. Just like Lara in Me & Mr J, Daisy’s voice is so realistic it feels like I’m hearing my 16 year old sister’s thoughts. There’s a ton of modern references and colloquialisms that my sisters use which make the voice authentic. And then there’s Daisy’s wit and sarcasm. She’s very dry, the snarkiest of snarks and she made me laugh out loud a lot. I loved her confidence and colourful outfits and it broke me when she started to lose that.

Daisy now goes to a different school to her friends and their relationships keep getting between them, but they all have each other’s backs when it comes to the crunch. Their ‘Rules for Girls’ were great and something we could all do with having in our lives! I also loved the variety of different weddings we see as Daisy works too: I’m not a big wedding person but ‘Something Borrowed’ sounded like the company I’d want doing mine if I was! It was a great way to see different relationships and have Daisy reflect on them: what works and what doesn’t and what she wants for herself.

This is a funny book on a serious subject, with a good dose of girl power friendships thrown in the mix too. It explores the mental side of abusive relationships, with subtle comments and actions that work towards breaking someone down and isolating them so they become dependent on the abuser. I’m glad Daisy’s friends were able to help her see what was really going on, and I hope anyone out there in a similar situation can see the way out too. This book will make you laugh but it’ll give you a lot to think about too.

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 Check back in a couple of days for my guest post with Rachel McIntyre for #YAShot2016