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UKYA Extravaganza: Interview with Keris

 Today I am extremely excited to have Keris Stainton on the blog with an interview. It is no secret that Keris is one of my favourite authors and I cannot wait for her newest books to be published later this year.

Tell us a bit about your up and coming release Spotlight on Sunny. 

It's the second book in the Reel Friends series (the first, Starring Kitty, came out last year) and this one focusses on Sunny, who is British Asian. The girls go to London for a film-making course and Sunny also has to deal with an annoying roommate, a cute boy, and the secret she's keeping from Kitty and Hannah. 

I love that the characters in your books are diverse and was especially excited to hear that Sunny was getting her own book. Why is it so important to include diverse characters in fiction?

Quite simply because the world is diverse, the readers are diverse, why wouldn't you show that in fiction?! There are so many people doing amazing things in this area now - not least the fantastic We Need Diverse Books campaign - but the thing that really made me stop and think was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story. She said, "Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify... I did not know that people like me could exist in literature. " Everyone should watch it.

Starring Kitty and Spotlight on Sunny have been classes as MG by some and YA by others. Which do you think it is? Does it matter?

I think because they are probably in the grey area between MG and YA! I think maybe that's what 'clean teen' is, but I'm not sure. I think of them as 10-14-ish and that's not really a category that we have (even though LOADS of books fit right in there). I'm not sure if it does matter, to be honest. I go back and forth. I think maybe it does because we have the UKYA campaigns and the wonderful new MG Strikes Back site, so the in between books might get missed because they're not so easily categorised, but do readers really take much notice of these categories anyway? I don't know. Clear as mud, sorry.

I love series that are companion novels rather than the traditional series. Will there be more from Kitty, Sunny and their friends?

I hope so! Would love for Hannah to get her own book too, but no news yet.  

I also want to know more about Counting Stars your next novel. Can you tell us anything yet?

I think so... It's set in Liverpool and it's for older readers. Older than anything I've written before (under my own name anyway). It's about a group of friends sharing a house and working, having fun, getting drunk, making terrible decisions... I hope it's real and funny and a little bit sexy. I'm loving writing it. 

Which authors do you draw inspiration from when writing?

I'm incredibly lucky to have a fabulous group of writer friends who are always there (online) when I need encouragement or support or a kick up the backside, so they're my main inspiration. Books-wise, I'm not sure I'd be writing YA if I hadn't read Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries series.  

Which book has been your favourite read in the past year?

Okay so my favourite read of the past year was a One Direction fanfic. Shut up. (Seriously though.) That aside - ahem - Pea's Book of Holidays by Susie Day is full of joy. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill blew me away (and depressed the hell out of me, but still). I thought Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman was brilliant. Oh and not YA (or MG) but I think everyone should read What the **** Is Normal? by Francesca Martinez. (Sorry, were you hoping for just one?) 

Which five characters from fiction would you invite to a dinner party and why? 

Oh help. This is too hard. Can I take five from the One Direction fanfic? You know why. 


Josie said…
What a great interview - Thanks!
Fab interview! I'm really excited by both Spotlight on Sunny and Counting Stars :)