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A Pack of Liars: Karen McManus on Multiple Narrators

'It’s like The Breakfast Club, but with murder.'

We know how the classic high-school drama plays out: a good girl high-flyer, a jock, a prom-queen princess, a bad-boy and a rookie outsider with a talent for uncovering secrets meet in detention. But this isn’t The Breakfast Club. Told from multiple points of view, Karen McManus's One of Us is Lying cracks open the veneer of teenage stereotypes to reveal a complex psychological thriller that examines how far someone will go to protect a secret. Here, exclusively for Waterstones, McManus considers the challenges and rewards of a story where every character has their say.

Never Say Die: Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider Lives Again

'It was jammed with action sequences and had a terrific new villain... before I knew what I was doing, I had sketched out a new novel. '

Alex Rider has been amassing legions of fans since he first stormed into being in the epic series debut Stormbreaker. So, when Anthony Horowitz announced that his ninth Rider novel, Scorpia Rising, was to be Alex’s final mission, readers were left on tenterhooks about the fate of the teenage spy. When it comes to espionage fiction, however, you should never say never and now, five years later, Alex Rider is back in explosive form in Never Say Die. Here, exclusively for Watertsones, Anthony Horowitz explains why he just couldn’t leave his hero behind.

Maria Turtschaninoff on Finnish Weird and the Legacy of the Moomintrolls

As a Finnish fantasy author, Maria Turtschaninoff has found an enviable freedom to create her own distinctive and unique voice. As Nanondel, the second novel in her highly praised Red Abbey Chronicles series, is released, she discusses the culture of Finnish Weird, the creative legacy of Tove Jansson and how being small can set you free.

Lisa Williamson on Life, Writing and that Difficult Second Novel

As any prize-winner knows, getting back to the desk again after the celebrations die down can be a challenging business, even more so when that book is your first. For Lisa Williamson, winning the older category award in the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for her sensational debut, The Art of Being Normal, left her with some pretty big expectations to live up to. Now back with her second novel, All About Mia, she talks to us about life after winning and the joy of finding her own voice again.

The Roanoke Girls Author Amy Engel on her Transition from YA to Adult Fiction

Described by The Washington Post as ‘storytelling at its finest’ Amy Engel’s novel The Roanoke Girls is a complex, power-play thriller flavoured with more than a touch of Southern Gothic. Set between Kansas and Los Angeles it is the story of a family with a dark secret and one woman’s attempts to escape the brutal past that haunts her. Dark, twisting and revelatory, it’s a far cry from the YA fiction where the author cut her teeth. As she makes her first steps into adult fiction, Amy Engel talks to Waterstones about making the transition from YA and the lure of a good story.

Vic James on creating Gilded Cage

As a current affairs television director, Vic James has had unique access to some of the world's most prominent and influential political figures. A lover of story-telling in all its forms, she is also a two-time judge of the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize. It is unsurprising therefore that her debut young adult novel, Gilded Cage, is underpinned by politics; the book is a dystopian fantasy set in an Orwellian Britain where the aristocracy are endowed with magical powers and the 'commoners' are poised on the edge of rebellion. Here, James explores five key experiences that inspired Gilded Cage, the first instalment in the Dark Gifts series.

Extract: We Come Apart

Extract: We Come Apart

Posted on 13th Jan, 2017 by Sally Campbell

The winners of two of the most prestigious children's fiction prizes, Brian Conaghan (winner of the 2016 Costa Children's Book Award) and Sarah Crossan (winner of the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal), have joined forces to create an ambitious and heartbreaking young adult novel, We Come Apart. The book is a modern tale of star-crossed lovers, Nicu and Jess, two teens with troubled homes and hidden secrets. If they are to succeed as a couple, they must navigate complex issues of cultural difference, parental expectation and their own frayed self-image. 

Conaghan won the 2016 Costa Children's Book Award for his dark, powerful story of survival, The Bombs That Brought Us Together,and Crossan was awarded last year's CILIP Carnegie Medal for her astonishing YA novel entirely in verse, One. The following extract is exclusive to Waterstones.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: Where I Write

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is the twenty-six year old debut novelist whose immensely popular children's book, The Girl Of Ink & Stars, captured all of our imagination this summer with its deft mix of the very sweet and the very dark. Such success was hard-won however; here the author tells a very intimate tale of where she writes and how it reflects her state of mind.

The Right to Write

The Right to Write

Posted on 16th Sep, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Amnesty International's Here I Stand anthology unites twenty-five unique voices on the theme of human rights under threat. The book is a searing, eye-opening collection of drawings, stories and poems by some of the world’s best-loved writers and illustrators. Here, Walker Books' Commissioning Editor Emma Lidbury explains how the project and the stellar line-up fell so completely into place.

So Much Noise

So Much Noise

Posted on 1st Sep, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Our Waterstones Loves title for September is Annabel Pitcher's Silence is Goldfish, her hilarious and deeply moving follow-up to Waterstones Children's Prize-winning Ketchup Clouds. In the novel, protagonist Tessa chooses to stop speaking. Here, in an article written for Waterstones Online, Pitcher explains where she got the idea and why teenager Tessa chooses silence over noise.

The Original Rebels

The Original Rebels

Posted on 4th Aug, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Whether you are a YA fiction aficionado or unsure where to begin in the Young Adult section, The Originals series is going to catch your eye; and sometimes you just have to judge a book by its cover. This show-stopping series takes the very best in young adult fiction from the last seventy years - the perennial classics, the true originals - and gives them a brave new look of which Saul Bass would have approved. Waterstones Online's Sally Campbell argues you will struggle not to fall in love with the book jackets alone... 

An Unlikely Feminist Icon

An Unlikely Feminist Icon

Posted on 12th Jul, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Kiersten White is a New York Times bestselling author of Young Adult fiction. Taking a departure from her previous books’ paranormal setting, And I Darken is set during The Ottoman Empire. It is a story of vengeance with a fierce female protagonist modeled on Vlad the Impaler. In the following article, White shares her (rather unlikely) feminist icon.