Introducing 20 Questions, a new format for interviewing authors. Alongside in-depth, one on one interviews, 20 Questions aims to provide a more spontaneous opportunity for writers to talk about their lives and their stories.
Non Pratt is the author of Trouble – a YA novel published earlier this year in the UK by Walker Books and in the US by Simon & Schuster (and has just been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal). She has dotted about the place within children’s publishing, working as an editor/writer of non-fiction, before becoming commissioning fiction editor at Catnip Publishing Ltd. For now, she’s writing full time/developing her Spider Solitatire skills. Her next book, Remix is due out in Summer 2015. You can (and should) follow her on Twitter @NonPratt
Describe your latest novel in 140 characters or less.
Best mates Kaz and Ruby go to a music festival to escape their problems and get over their recent break ups. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work.
Which phrase do you most overuse?
I have random favourites that I seem to pick up from phone conversations with my mum. Obviously I can’t remember a single one of them right now though… sorry.
eBook, hardback or paperback?
Paperback, every time.
What do you most dislike about your writing?
That it makes my wrists hurt.
Where is your favourite place to write?
All over the place if I’m in the mood, but probably, if I could control the mood (which I can’t) it would be at my grandad’s desk, handwriting on an A4 pad with a fountain pen in my office. Which makes me sound very pretentious, even though I’m really really not.
Your first book love?
As in book that I loved? Hmm… I don’t think I ever truly loved a book until I read Longshot by Dick Francis when I was ten. I couldn’t put it down. If you mean character that I fell in love with, then it’s probably Piccadilly the mouse in Robin Jarvis’s Deptford Mice series.
Greatest literary regret.
That I did not read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier much sooner than two weeks ago.
One book you wish you had loved.
I Capture the Castle – not particularly liking that book makes me persona non grata amongst publishing types. Seriously, it’s everyone’s favourite book.
The greatest beginning?
The start of The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Famous last words.
The last sentence of the end of The Oaken Throne (Robin Jarvis again) utterly, UTTERLY slayed me when I read it. I can’t tell you what it is, because it is a MAJOR spoiler.
To read or not to read; your favourite Shakespeare play or sonnet?
I love King Lear. I have the opposite feelings for The Winter’s Tale.
Dickens or Austen?
Neither, thanks. Unless we’re talking films, in which case Austen because I love Matthew McFayden’s Darcy. And no, I don’t really care that this makes me a heathen.
What three authors or characters would you invite around for tea?
I frequently do have some authors round for tea and I’m perfectly happy with those ones… I don’t want to insult them, so I’m going fictional. I’d like Mosca Mye from Fly by Night & Twilight Robbery, Neville Longbottom and Will from His Dark Materials.
Describe what you’re reading at the moment.
A very scary book that reminds me why I haven’t read very scary books since I read the Point Horror books as a child. If I didn’t know James Dawson, I would not have even attempted such a ridiculous feat.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
An editor. Is that cheating? Or maybe I’d be in advertising. I like making up taglines.
What do you do to relax?
Eat. Drink. Read. Watch The Good Wife and Brooklyn Nine Nine. Hang out with non-fictional friends.
Saying no when I want to say yes.
Any embarrassing habits?
Yes. I am embarrassed by them and have no desire to confess in a public forum.
A talent you wished you had.
The ability to speak another language. Or play an instrument. Or even sing. Basically, a talent that makes a useful noise.
Who are you most envious of?
No one. I’m genuinely happy being me, even if I am imperfect in many, many ways, I am (largely) happily so. No one has a perfect life, even the people you think do.
Finally, tell us a secret about what you’re currently writing.
One of my characters – Kaz – looks like a girl who once walked past me on her way to school. All the people I write about look like random normal people I’ve seen on the street or wherever. Ordinary people are way more interesting than actors and models. (Having said that, another character is based on someone from Hollyoaks…)