I’ve been sitting on this news for ages, and – as you can imagine – for someone as gobby as I am, it’s been a real challenge keeping quiet. But I’m told I don’t have to keep my mouth shut any longer (and if it turns out I’m wrong on that then we’ll just carry on and pretend that nothing ever happened, m’kay?).
It’s pretty common knowledge that I love horror – and having grown up on Point Horror and Christopher Pike books, I’m a big fan of horror in YA and teen literature in particular.
So… I’m delighted to announce that my first YA horror book, SLEEPLESS, will be published by Stripes Publishing later this year as one of the launch titles for their new Red Eye series.
I’m incredibly excited by the idea of writing YA horror, as it’s an area where there are fantastic books which I love – books like ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, HOLLOW PIKE, DEPARTMENT 19… all of them properly frightening. You can imagine how I felt about getting the chance to come up with my own.
And when Katie – my wonderful editor at Stripes – told me I didn’t have to worry about it being too scary… well. SLEEPLESS was the result.
Don’t go to sleep…
With their wealthy parents and expensive homes in the exclusive Barbican complex at the heart of the City of London, Izzy Whedon and her friends at The Clerkenwell School seem like they have it all… but success comes at a price.
As the pressure of the upcoming exams gets too much, Izzy and the others resort to taking a “study drug” they find on the internet – and by the time they realise there are side effects, it’s already too late. When one of the group disappears, the others discover the horrifying truth behind their miracle pills.
Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, they learn there’s only one way out: to stay awake until the drugs are out of their systems.
If, that is, they can last that long…..
Writing SLEEPLESS has been a huge amount of fun, and although I’m embarrassed to admit it I even managed to creep myself out a couple of times (how does that even work?).
The team at Stripes are awesome, and I knew that I was in safe hands with Katie when we spent a whole morning going over ideas and talking about terrible B-movies from the 1980s (for which I have an unashamed passion).
It’s also given me the chance to do something I’ve liked the idea of for a very long time – using the Barbican Estate as the setting for a novel. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a hulking great Brutalist complex of flats, walkways, gardens, tower blocks and restaurants. It’s best known for the hub of theatres, galleries and cinemas in the Barbican Centre, but it also contains a church, a lake, a library, a girls’ school, the Museum of London, two residents’ gardens, several playgrounds and the Guildhall School of Music – as well as miles and miles of labyrinthine walkways. It’s an easy place to get lost in, put it that way.What better setting could there be for a book like this one?
I’ll be posting more details and more about the world of SLEEPLESS further on down the line.
Huge thanks go to Stripes and my fabulous agent Juliet Mushens for making this possible.
And in the meantime? Whatever you do… don’t go to sleep.