Today I am really excited to be kicking off The Switch Up blog tour with a Q&A with the author Katy Cannon.
The Switch Up is a fun, enjoyable, hilarious read that is perfect for the summer. I loved reading it, so watch out for my review nearer to publication day (13th June!).
A big thank you to Stripes Publishing and Leliah Skelton for allowing me to be part of this amazing blog tour!
Meet Katy Cannon
Two teens, both dreading their summer holidays, swap lives for the summer. Pretending to be each other they make new friends, follow their dreams, and discover who they’re both really meant to be. Also, there’s an awful lot of gelato and baked goods consumed.
2. What were your favourite books when you were a young teenager?
I loved fantasy more than anything else, devouring huge trilogies by David Eddings or Guy Gavriel Kay. My absolute favourites were the Song of the Lioness novels by Tamora Pierce, though. Oh! And Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. It was only a little later that I started to enjoy contemporary fiction more – and I fell hard for Douglas Coupland’s books then. Other than Tamora Pierce, most of my favourites were books for adults, but that’s partly because there just wasn’t such great YA around as there is now!
3. What are the three main things a reader will find in your books?
Friendship, always, at the centre. Then family. And then probably some sort of cake or dessert, to be honest.
4. Did you always want to be a writer? Have you had different jobs before you were an author? Do you think a variety of work experiences has helped you to write?
I always, always wanted to be a writer, since I was very small. But it took me a while to get there. In the meantime, I washed dishes at an old people’s home, worked a supermarket checkout, took phone orders for a perfume company, temped for many companies in London, organised conferences all over the world, worked for social services, managed large groups of volunteers for a professional organisation, was a production assistant on a west end show, and spent a year or so as a stay at home mum.
I was lucky that all my jobs enabled me to meet fascinating people from all walks of life, and that one of them allowed me to travel the world and get paid for it. Both those things, plus developing the ability to write anywhere at any time (as I never stopped writing when I had other jobs), have definitely benefited my writing career.
5. Where do you get your ideas from, and how do you store them?
My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, and I never know when one is going to strike. They rarely come to me complete, either – more often, a number of small ideas or possibilities, over time, come together to make a full story. Because of this, I have to be very careful not to lose them while I’m waiting for the rest of the ideas that they need to meet! I use the digital notebook system, Evernote, to jot down scraps of ideas – and tag them with a dedicated tag so I can find them again. Later, when things start to come together, I brainstorm in longhand in my bullet journal. Seeing the words on paper somehow makes connections in my brain that don’t happen on the screen, and I like being able to draw lines between points and scribble every which way on the page in lots of different colours.
6. Every writer creates a story in their own unique way. Roald Dahl had an armchair in his shed, Lewis Carrol liked a standing desk and to write in purple ink. Do you have any unconventional methods, habits or superstitions when it comes to writing?
I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, anytime – although I do need peace and quiet when I’m editing! I do have some habits though… After I’ve got my initial ideas together, I need to come up with two plans. One of them is the plan for the actual story, the other is a time plan for when I’m going to get it done, and how long it will take. If I don’t have a deadline spurring me on, I could procrastinate forever! Both of these plans require a lot of multi coloured post it notes being stuck up on the giant whiteboard on my study wall. I use these to build my book synopsis, and my project spreadsheet. Then they get transferred to my journal, in case I need them again later. Once I have my plans all set, I can start writing!
7. How much of Katy Cannon is reflected in your characters?
All my characters are, first and foremost, themselves. But they do all have a little bit of me in them – and often a smidge of my friends, family and random acquaintances, too! Even Willa and Alice, two characters who are so different, both have bits of me in them. Alice’s journaling, reading and confidence issues for instance, and Willa’s love of theatre and drama, and shopping!
8. You are in a library with a young teen who claims that they don’t like reading… Which 3 books would you reach for to try to change their mind?
I always think that someone who doesn’t enjoy reading just hasn’t found the sort of books that suit them yet, so I’d want to give them a range of options to try out. Maybe a graphic novel (although I’d have to get advice from my comic-loving friend about which one, depending on the teen), a non-fiction book on a subject they’re fascinated by, or applies to their real life (like The Confidence Code for Girls, maybe, which has a really engaging format with quizzes, lists, comic strips – as well as incredibly useful advice!), and then a fun, modern story that would make them laugh and cry – perhaps, Beth Garrod’s Super Awkward.
9. What’s the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing is hearing from readers who tell me that my stories spoke to them, made them feel, or like they knew exactly how the characters were feeling. Also, getting to make stuff up for a living is pretty great.
The only downside is that it’s just me, and when the deadlines pile up and there’s too much to do, I can’t delegate any of it!
10. Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Read, read, read. Read the books you wish you’d written, and the ones you never would. Read writing advice books and blogs – but realise that every one of us has to find our own path, the writing methods that work for us, and it’s fine to ignore the suggestions that just aren’t right for you. Learn what makes a good story and why – you have to know the rules before you can break them. And keep a note of every single idea you have, no matter how small or weird. You never know when it might come in handy..
1. 3 words that describe you:
Hopeful, enthusiastic, introverted
2. Favourite time of the day?
3. 3 random facts about you:
I was born in the UAE, I’m the eldest of three siblings, I cannot cope without a to do list.
4. Go-to snack?
5. The best advice you ever got:
Get some sleep and it’ll look better in the morning. (It nearly always does.)
6. “If I could go anywhere in the world right now, I’d heading for…”
7. “If I could swap lives for a summer with anyone, it would be…”
My daughter, so I could see the world through her eyes
8. Worst fashion faux pas?
An awful beige borrowed hat to go with a beige dress for a wedding. I looked very… beige.
9. Your dream place to curl up with a book?
A garden swing-seat with a shade, on a sunny day
10. The 3 books you’d like to get for your next birthday:
I just had a birthday and got a whole stash, including: Death prefers Blondes, Once and Future, and What Would Boudicca Do?
The Switch Up by Katy Cannon