In the Chuck A Book hot seat today, I am pleased to welcome Sharon Jones, Undiscovered Voices winner 2012 and debut author of Dead Jealous.
1) The best book you have ever read.
Today it’s The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Tomorrow it will be something entirely different. But if you’ve never read this classic then do. The chapter entitled The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is really quite beautiful.
2) A book you loved from your childhood.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy.
Before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble. She had terrible trouble staying on her broomstick, she got landed with the last moggie out of the basket, and was more likely to trip over her trailing laces than mix a potion correctly, especially with the scary Miss Hardbroom constantly looking over her shoulder! The Worst Witch was one of the first books I chose for myself from the Puffin Book Club. I read it so many times that it literally fell apart. I ended up spending a Saturday afternoon sticky-taping each and every page to its neighbour. Needless to say, I loved that book.
3) A book that made you laugh.
Too Hard!!! I suppose for me, this is where UKYA/Teen excels. Anything by Keris Stainton, Luisa Plaja or Keren David is bound to have me howling at a witty one liner! Yes, I know that’s cheating.
4) A book you could not finish.
Shatter by Michael Robotham.
The narrator’s constant references to the legs of the female characters made me feel physically sick. From what I could tell, I wasn’t meant to be sickened by it; in every other way he was a sympathetic character. He was after all the detective/hero! So there I was wondering whether it was just me being particularly sensitive when up popped two lines of dialogue I’d heard elsewhere… I have a ridiculously good memory for dialogue and this dialogue happened to be from my favourite TV dramas, The West Wing. President Josiah Bartlet: [trying to wake up his wife] Abbey... Abigail... Abbey, the kids are eating sugar. Abbey Bartlet: Uh... [wakes up] Abbey Bartlet: Oh! President Josiah Bartlet: How you doing? You know I gave the kids candy all the time, right? Abbey Bartlet: Behind my back? President Josiah Bartlet: Yes. Abbey Bartlet: You bought their love. President Josiah Bartlet: Well, it was for sale, and I wanted it.
[Taken from: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0018939/quotes]
Now, all writers borrow (and as Sam Seaborn once said, after hundreds before him, ‘great writers steal’) but that conversation was taken from the mouth of one of my absolute favourite characters and a version of it put into the mouth of a letch. Afraid I lost it and consigned the book to Room 101!
5) A book that made you swoon.
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
Alex Fuentes – need I say any more??? When I was seventeen I went on exchange to a school on the outskirts of Chicago. Having grown up with US TV and having swallowed a lot of rhetoric about the US being the ‘melting pot’, I was shocked by how racially divided Chicago really was. I remember one day, on the way to catch the school bus, we passed two guys who lived on the same street but who were heading in the opposite direction. My host leaned in and whispered ‘they catch the bus out to the Latino school.’ I was like, WHAT? The school I went to in the UK wasn’t exactly racially diverse, but the notion that there was a Latino school really shocked me. I think my host really meant that they went to the Roman Catholic school… but still...
Reading Perfect Chemistry brought all of it back. Yeah, it’s kind of Romeo & Juliet, and that’s been done to death. But there’s a reason why it’s a classic trop. Plus… Alex… sigh!
6) A book you can’t wait to read.
Argh!!! There are too many on this list. How to choose?! At the moment I’m desperately awaiting Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover. Hopeless was so amazing it moved me to write a fan letter… well, fan email.
7) A series you have read and loved.
The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.
I loved the world building and the characters. I reread from time to time, just to dip my toes back in that world. We all need a little fairy dust in our lives.
8) A book that made you cry.
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
A lot of books have made me cry – this is just the most recent!
9) Your guilty pleasure book.
Writing manuals! I know that’s not exactly what you were hoping for, but I usually start reading them around the time that I REALLY need to be writing… hence the guilt! One of my current favourites is Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris.
10) A book that took you out of your comfort zone.
Can I give a classification of books? Because dystopian books FREAK ME OUT! Whether it’s Slated by Teri Terry, Dark Parties by Sara Grant, Withered by Lauren DeStefano or Matched by Ally Condie. They have all given me nightmares. I can put up with no end of blood and guts, but tell me that the future looks like THAT and I become a quivering mess. In fact, I have a self-imposed ban on dystopian while I’m finishing my second book, because they take me too far out of my comfort zone to then be able to write!
Dead Jealous is published by Orchards Books this week.
To find out more about Sharon Jones