The Most Personal Book I’ve Ever Written

This week I finished the copy -edits of my next book, This is Not a Love Story and sent it back to my editor at Atom Books.

It was a biittersweet moment, because there are a lot of changes at Atom, and the wonderful editors I’ve worked with so far are all moving to the new Hachette Children’s Book division. I’m sure the new team will be just as great, but I’d like to  thank Karen, Kate and Becca for everything they’ve done…in particular reading and re-reading multiple versions of This is Not a Love Story (which we’ve all been calling TINALS for obvious reasons).

TINALS hasn’t been easy to write. It’s partly because it has two narrators and another character who obnoxiously refused to fade into the background, it’s partly because the timeline jumps around, it has bits in three and a half languages –  mostly English, obviously, but there’s Dutch and Hebrew and the half is Yiddish.

But it’s mainly because it’s the most personal book I’ve ever written.

It’s about a city which I love and miss –  Amsterdam –  where I lived for eight of the most challenging years of my life. It’s about the north London Jewish communtiy where – like my characters –  I feel both an insider and an outsider. It’s about love and passion and pain and loss, and it brought back a whole lot of memories of being young and in love, trying to work out what do do with all those feelings while grappling with who the hell I really was.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the cover that the brilliant designers at Atom come up with, and sharing it here. Publications is six months away. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as nervous about a forthcoming book!

In the meantime, I’m exceptionally happy that Salvage has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, as well as being shortlisted for the North East Teen Award.

And I’m going to be at STREAM in South London this weekend, on a panel about teen issues alongside  the very brilliant Non Pratt, Isobel Harrop, James Dawson and Lil Chase.  Details here.


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