First stop GSAL for teen authors on tour

Monday 20 November 2017

Four top authors who write for a teen audience made The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) their first port of call as they headed off on tour.

BKMRK is a new online hub for teen and young adult readers, and to celebrate its launch the publisher Hachette is taking authors around the country to meet their readers.

Chris Russell immediately caught the attention of the audience of Y8 and Y9 pupils by picking up his guitar and singing a pop medley. He then told the story of how he and his best friend George bonded over their obsession with Bon Jovi, eventually touring the world with their own band The Lightyears.

Chris said: “I realised I could turn my adventures on the road into novels, but I had to learn the craft of writing so I took freelance writing jobs, including writing gossip about One Direction. The consequence was the creation of a fictional boyband, Fire & Lights, and my first novel Songs about a Girl.

“I wanted to write as a kid but started the band, then music brought me back to writing. There’s a lesson – have an idea of where you want to be but be open to unexpected twists and turns.”

Author Teri Terry talked about her latest book Contagion, which deals with an epidemic sweeping the country, challenging our notion that such things happen in other places and couldn’t happen here.

Cat Clarke writes emotional, intense coming-of-age stories and confessed that she steals her ideas. As a young teenager herself she was copying her favourite authors and now gets a lot of her ideas from the news, which she says is more unbelievable than her fictional versions.

Leo Hunt has recently completed his Thirteen Days of Midnight trilogy, a darkly funny supernatural tale about Luke who was bequeathed a collection of vengeful ghosts by his father.

The event was supported by the team from Leeds’ newest bookseller, The Little Bookshop in Chapel Allerton, who set up a stall so pupils could buy books and have them signed by the authors.

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