1) There’s a scene in my book where my main character Skye goes with the rest of the group to jump off a 20m tower at a disused army base. I knew how to explain it because my three daughters did a jump as a Christmas present after we decided they should have an experience instead of a thing. They’ll love it, I thought. The older two did. The youngest was ten at the time and couldn’t bring herself to jump. My husband was at the top of tower with her for ages talking her through it (I’d volunteered to take the photos obviously). Eventually she came down – after telling her dad to push her. The following Christmas we gave her a hamster.
2) In much earlier drafts Skye was called Carey. Then I read If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. Her protagonist was also a 15-year-old called Carey so I renamed mine.
3) I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. At their conference I won a critique from editor Natalie Doherty in a raffle. One of the very useful suggestions she made was to start with a dramatic flashback. Until then I thought flashbacks were frowned on in children’s books. I was so wrong. In fact Scholastic asked me to add more.
4) Skye regrets being too open with another character on Day 1 of the camp. I know that feeling.
5) When I had my initial meeting with Scholastic they said it was unrealistic that there was so much good weather in the book given that it was set in England! They suggested I add torrential rain in the last scene which I did – and it made it much more atmospheric.
6) Being told that Lying About Last Summer was reminiscent of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart was the biggest compliment I could be given – I loved that book.
7) The scene where Brandon moos like a cow is based on an anecdote my friend told me about her daughter pretending to be an owl near a group of serious bird watchers.
8) The first time I saw a copy of Lying About Last Summer was at the Scholastic Book Bloggers’ Brunch. I went a bit quiet – I thought I’d feel like whooping when I held it, but it was more of an intense bloody-hell-it’s-in-my-hands moment.
9) I lost thousands of words late one night when I permanently saved the wrong version over the top of the right one. Another time I spilt a large glass of water over my laptop, the screen went blank and the whole thing gave up. My kind husband took it apart, dried the components in the airing cupboard, then put it back together and it worked again. There was much rejoicing.
10) A lot of Cadbury Freddo Frogs were consumed during the writing and re-writing of Lying About Last Summer. Especially when a pack of six went down to £1.