I always had an affinity for weirdoes and strange things. My favourite movie as a child was Halloween and my favourite TV shows were Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, and The Ricki Lake Show. Books, however, were my obsession and main mode of escape. I had a rough upbringing. Noisy, busy, stressful but never boring. My brother was an armed robber who wasn’t very good at his job. My sisters were cool and encouraging. But the library was always my calm place. I read obsessively. I still do. I knew soon enough that I wanted to be a writer. More than that, I wanted to be the sort of author whose books I’d want to read. Becoming my own fantasy author took a bit of time and work. Writing isn’t an art, it’s a craft. You get better at it the more you write. I wanted to be like all my writing heroes, but I also wanted to be me.
At some point I found punk. Or maybe it found me? I identify as punk. What? It’s true. For me, punk represents being who you want to be, having a different perspective. It goes beyond music. It’s more than Nirvana, Hole, Sex Pistols, The Slits, Bratmobile and all the other bands I love. It’s what you say and do when everything is offensively boring. Writing can be punk too.
I trained in journalism and PR. Both came in useful. But I wanted to be a cult author, the cult of Kirkland. And so I wrote books and worked hard until one day I got published. I fell into YA. Young Adult fiction is like Adult fiction except for young people.
My first book novel is Conjuring The Infinite. It is a dark tale of madness, magick, and murder. I said in a press release that each page was “soaked in blood and Irn-Bru” – which sounds good, if a little grotty. Think of this book as Tracy Beaker in league with evil spirits.
My second novel is Endless Empress. Described by one reviewer as ‘sick and unreadable’, I was delighted with that review. Honestly, it made my year. The book, however, is unreadable. Not accidentally. I wanted to write the weirdest book for young people ever, but it was maybe too difficult to enjoy.
Strident Publishing took me on again for North of Porter. It’s about a teenage boy (with a Dolce & Gabbana handbag) who takes on a serial killer in a small town. It isn’t based on my actual life.
Glowglass, my latest weird book for young readers, is about a porridge massacre and a girl with a dream of being popular at her new school. But because she’s in one of my books, it all ends in violence and madness. Sorry about that.
I’ve been working on two novels for adults. They’re getting there, thank goodness.