Interview with Lucy and Lydia Connell, authors of #FindTheGirl: All That Glitters!

Today, we have the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Lucy and Lydia’s follow up to #FindTheGirl, All That Glitters! If you’re out of the loop on the series, it focuses on twin sisters, Nina and Nancy. They have polar opposite personalities: Nancy is a popular, beauty and boy band obsessive, while Nina is a reserved, musical prodigy. The pair find themselves at the centre of a social media campaign when one of the girls spends quality time with Chase, the lead singer of Chasing Chords, and he’s desperate to find out who she is. There’s drama, romance and music you wish you could hear in real life!

Reading about the bond between twins is particularly special for us, and the journey that Nina and Nancy go through in All That Glitters, dealing with the pressures of the spotlight, and stepping out of each other’s shadows felt so deeply real. So, we were ecstatic to get the chance to interview Lucy and Lydia about the series, and how their relationship reflects in their characters.

Are each of you more like Nina or Nancy?

I would definitely say that Lydia is more like Nancy and my personality (Lucy) is definitely more like Nina. There is so much of us in these characters, I feel like they are exaggerated versions of ourselves! Lydia is much more outgoing, I feel like I’m so much like Nina! When our viewers and friends read this book, they will definitely see us in these characters!

If you could swap places with either of them, who would you pick?

Ohhhhh this is so hard! We both loveeeee Nancy’s confidence, style and fun loving personality but Nina has such a big heart and is such a talented musician and in this book, she attends the Guildhall summer music program which is something we would have loved to have done! Also she’s dating dreamy Chase! SO IT’S REALLY HARD!

How did being twins yourselves influence Nina and Nancy’s characters?

One thing we love about being twins, is that twins have such a special bond, which is something we really wanted to highlight in both of our books. There is no bond as strong as a twin bond, you’re always stronger together. The twins are so close at the end of our first book, but in this second book, they face some new challenges of having to be independent. Nina is now the ‘IT’ girl, dating Chase from the biggest boyband Chasing Chords and Nancy finds this quite hard as their roles of popularity have now reversed. Nancy is struggling with feeling left behind and not knowing exactly what she wants to do and Lydia felt a little bit like this when she was at school.

Obviously Lydia and I are extremely close, and have always been so it was fun to explore the possibility of these twins being polar opposites, and having such different personalities that we could really develop!

What was the best and the hardest part of writing together?

The best thing about writing our books together is that we could really bounce ideas between us. This really helped develop our story, all of our ideas and enabled us to be extra creative with the story. The hardest part of writing together was that we wanted to work on the same chapters, and when we did this we would have to decide on which version we preferred/had to choose which part we preferred.

Describe the series in emojis!

💗 👭 🎵 ✨ (pink heart, two twinning girls and a music note because of the love of music in the book and of course the sparkle emoji because our new book is called ALL THAT GLITTERS! 

In the way that Nancy is obsessed with Chasing Chords, what are you both obsessed with at the moment? 

We are both absolutely obsessed with Soul Cycle gym classes at the moment! They are so much fun! We are also obsessed with mini ice cream Twisters! They are a summer must have! Of course, just like Nancy we are music obsessed and we have actually made a FIND THE GIRL playlist that would be the most perfect soundtrack for our book! We have been listening to this on REPEAT!!

FIND IT HERE :  https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1FI88x3lZNvb7R4Uu3QpPs

We absolutely lived for your New York Minute recreation on Instagram last year! What are your top 3 Mary-Kate and Ashley movies?

Thank-you so much! Those photos are some of our favourites ever! We love recreating our favourite Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. They were our idols growing up and we looked up to them so much! We hope Nina and Nancy can be an inspiration just like Mary-Kate and Ashley were to us! Our favourite Mary-Kate and Ashley movies were definitely Holiday In The Sun, Our Lips Are Sealed and New York Minute!

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House for inviting us to be part of this blog tour, and to Lucy and Lydia for answering our questions! Twin sisters > anything else!

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Interview with Michael Grant!

So, earlier this month Egmont reached out to us about Michael Grant’s Soldier Girls series, and as part of that we had the opportunity to ask Michael a few questions, and here they are:

  1. For those that haven’t read the series, what three words would you use to describe it?

Intense. Accurate. Entertaining.

  1. What triggered you to write Front Lines?

Actually my father-in-law was pushing the Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson on me, and I thought nah, I’ve read enough about World War 2, but then I started reading it and very soon decided that I wanted to write about it.  It’s just so much story!  So many fascinating and strange and intense stories.

  1. Did you have any real life inspirations behind Rio, Frangie, and Rainy, and if so, who were they? 

Rio is based a bit not on the actual Audie Murphy, who was the most decorated American soldier in the war, but on the idea of Audie Murphy who was this short, squeaky, somewhat effeminate-looking kid from nowhere Texas.  The Marines rejected him, the Navy rejected him, and even after he was accepted in the Army and had been through training and was deployed to Italy, his officers tried to keep him out of combat because he was this little guy who stood 5’ 5” and weighed less than eight stone, which incidentally is about the size of a typical American woman.  Murphy won every medal they had, including the Medal of Honor, which is our equivalent to the Victoria Cross, and is not the sort of thing they hand out as prizes in Happy Meals.

  1. What was the most challenging and the most rewarding part of writing Front Lines?

The most challenging bit was getting the historical details right.  Practically every page required me to go and check some fact.  I suppose the most rewarding part was the feeling of having done something a bit outside my comfort zone.  Also, I’d never written in third person present tense before. You have no idea how many times I had to go back and correct myself for slipping into past tense.  But going with present was part of making the books feel more immediate, less sepia-toned.

  1. What was your favourite scene to write?

I think less in terms of scenes than characters and relationships.  I liked the relationships within Rio’s platoon.  I liked Frangie trying the square the circle between her basic gentleness and faith, and the fact that again and again she is patching soldiers up only to send them back into the fight.  And I liked Rainy’s coldly analytical way of thinking.  I liked all my main characters.  I would definitely like to buy them all a beer and sit in a pub and listen to their stories.

  1. In what ways did writing Front Lines differ from writing your other series?

Well, normally I just make things up.  That’s sort of my job description:  make things up.  The only time I’ve had to do much fact-checking was for the BZRK series, but even there I had much more control over how everything played out.  For FRONT LINES I went to a lot of trouble to get it all right.  In addition to reading and sifting through war videos I went to a number of locations:  Sicily, Luxembourg, Oradour-sur-Glane, Buchenwald.  And all tax-deductible.  Yay!

  1. If the Front Lines girls lived in contemporary society, who would they look up to?

Well, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton.  I’m sure of that much.


If you haven’t started this series yet, then we would highly recommend it and you can read our reviews of Front Lines and Silver Stars, if you need extra persuading!

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An Interview With Katy Cannon!

Love-lies-mincepiesFor the release of Love, Lies and Mince Pies, I got the chance to interview the author about the book and the other books in the series, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies and Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines, both of which are some of my all-time favourite contemporaries!

Maddie: What inspired you to write ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Pies’?

Katy Cannon: Basically, my love of cake! I was looking for a story that would encompass all the things I enjoy writing about most – a group of unlikely friends, great recipes and a good old-fashioned bad boy meets good girl with issues love story. The idea of a Bake Club just grew from there.

M: Did you have a favourite recipe from the book?

KC: I love them all! The ones I bake most often are the chocolate chip cookies and the double chocolate brownies, because they’re quick and easy (to make and to eat!). But my favourite is probably the Birthday Cake recipe, because that’s the cake my mum still makes for me every birthday.

M: What was your favourite part about writing ‘Love, Lies and Mince Pies’?

KC: Getting to revisit the gang and find out where they are now, a whole term after the events of Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines. When I wrote that book, my favourite thing was hanging out with the characters again, and it was the same this time. They’re all just such great fun to write!

M: Jasper was such a fun character in both books, the fact he’s getting his own story is fabulous! What did you particularly enjoy about giving Jasper a voice?

KC: I love that Jasper is everyone’s favourite, because he’s (not-so-secretly) a lot like my youngest brother. It was so much fun getting into Jasper’s head for a change, and figuring out what stresses him out, what he thinks about, and what his happy ever after looks like.

M: So, my fangirl heart needs to know, are Lottie and Mac living their happily ever after (with cake, of course)?

(*Spoiler Warning!*) KC: Of course! Mac is still living above the bakery, working out his apprenticeship at the White Hill Bakery and studying at the college, while Lottie studies for her A Levels. The whole gang hangs out at the flat sometimes, and someone is always baking something (usually Lottie).

M: It’s a tough decision, but do you prefer baking or sewing?

KC: Ooh, it is a tough one! I like sewing because I have something to keep at the end of it, but I think baking just edges ahead as my favourite because you get to eat what you make (and I do have a rather sweet tooth…).

M: What’s your favourite Christmas food?

KC: My Mum’s mince pies! They’re the basis for the mince pie recipe in Love, Lies & Lemon Pies – and in Love, Lies & Mince Pies, too, actually! They’re richer and tastier than any other mince pies I’ve ever tasted. I make them to her recipe every year, and as soon as I do it starts to feel like Christmas. But somehow, mine are never quite as good as Mum’s…

M: What’s the best advice you’ve been given about writing?

KC: Keep trying. I wrote for years before I was published, practicing, improving and learning all the way. It doesn’t come overnight – but if you give up, success doesn’t come at all.

M: And finally, would you consider writing any more spin off stories about the Bake Club gang?

KC: After the fun I’ve had with this one, I’m definitely thinking about it! I like the idea of checking in on them from time to time, seeing how they’re getting on. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to leave them, just yet.

Love, Lies and Mince Pies is being released on Katy’s website for all to see on within the next couple of days, but for now, sign-up to her newsletter for news and fun!