Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Blog Tour Stop - North of Nowhere Guest Post

North of Nowhere Blog Stop!

Last year I was introduced to Liz Kessler's writing when I read and enjoyed her standalone book, A Year Without Autumn. I received some lovely news when I found out that Liz will be releasing a second standalone book, North of Nowhere. Liz has very kindly provided a guest post for me to share with you, something which will surely pique your interest of her latest book. Here is what Liz would like to share with you:

I’m really excited to have been invited onto this blog to tell you about my new book, North of Nowhere.

One reason I’m excited is because, even though this is my tenth novel to be published, it’s only my second ever standalone book – which means that when I tell people about it, I can actually say ‘I just wrote this book – buy it,’ as opposed to ‘I just wrote this book, but don’t buy it, buy the one I wrote five years ago so that if you like it, and all the others in between, then when you get round to reading the one I just wrote, it’ll make more sense.’

As you can see, the first of these statements is much quicker to say, and the chances are slightly higher that the person I’m talking to will still be listening to me by the time I’ve finished, and won’t have glazed over, wandered away or wished they hadn’t got stuck in the corner with me. But it’s also exciting for me because I think that your latest book is always the one you’re most passionate about at that time, and I love the fact that everything I want to say about it doesn’t depend on people already being familiar with anything that came before it. It’s out there all by itself, waiting to stand or fall on its own merits and flaws. And I’ve always admired anyone who does that.

So, because you don’t have to know anything about anyone in order to read this book, I’m thrilled to get the chance to write a guest piece on this lovely blog and tell you a bit about it.

So, now I’ve got the chance what do I want to tell you about it?

Well, the first thing is that, like A Year Without Autumn, which came out in 2011, this book features a timeslip situation. I’m a massive fan of time travel stories, and luckily I’ve managed to persuade my publisher to let me write three of them. Yay! Lucky me! The first one was about a girl who saw something pretty awful in her future and knew she had to go into her past and change one particular moment so that the future might turn out differently. 

North of Nowhere looks at time travel in a different way. Rather than switching time zones to change anything, this one is about characters whose present day actions affect their past as much as their future. It’s about looking at time as more of a circular entity, rather than a linear one. It’s about getting to know someone who you thought you already knew, by meeting them at a different point in their lives from their present day self. It’s about disappearance – of people, of towns, of whole lives. And it’s about coming together afresh with the knowledge you’ve gained along your journey.

I guess at the heart of it all, it’s about the kind of thing I always find myself writing about without realising it. I think I’m writing books about mermaids and fairies and time travel, but over and over again I discover that I’ve written about the things that really truly matter to me. I never, ever intend to do anything other than tell the story and be true to my characters, and I never consciously have ‘themes’ in the books. But time and again, once I’ve written the books, I discover that they are there (usually when someone points it out to me) and they’re always the same type of thing.

Family, friendship, love, loyalty. The things that are actually at the heart of my life and matter to me the most. They always manage to sneak in there when I’m not looking!

Also, like many of my books, this one is about discovering things about yourself and others that you never knew – or perhaps things you always knew deep inside but never really acknowledged until certain events make you face up to them. 

But anyway. Never mind the themes. First and foremost, it’s about the story. It’s about a girl, Mia, whose grandad has gone missing, and who has to go with her mum to a village in ‘the back end of nowhere’ to try to find him. It’s about Mia finding an escape through a new friendship, until she discovers that there’s no way her new friend can actually exist. It’s about a whole chain of events that gets more mysterious and more impossible at every turn. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that all the solutions and answers to the questions can’t possibly be real – even though they are. It’s about paradoxes and mysteries and good old-fashioned adventures.

At least, that’s what I think it’s about. But I’m only the author. I’m sure that now it’s published, it won’t take long for someone to point out what it’s really about. Until then, I’ll leave it up to you to decide for yourself…

Thank you so much to Liz for taking the time to write this piece, and also to Orion.

NORTH OF NOWHERE by Liz Kessler is published by Orion Children’s Books on 24 January in hardback at £9.99

Orion are also currently running a North of Nowhere creative writing competition to celebrate young talent. The competition is open to all writers aged 8-13 who need to finish the story (the opening paragraph of NORTH OF NOWHERE) in 500 words or less. 
Entries are open from 17 January 2013 – 28 March 2013. The winner will have their story published on the Guardian Children’s Books website, will win a digital camera as well as £100 worth of Orion Children’s Books for their school library.


  1. Great post.
    Can any 8-14 yr old enter the writing comp or do you have to live in the uk??

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