Happy Sunday! This was meant to go up yesterday but I’ve been laid up with a nasty sickness bug and I’m just starting to feel human! I’m delighted to be talking to Chantelle Atkins today about the series she started writing when she was 12, why she’d travel back to the 60’s and about her new YA novel, the first in a trilogy which is due out in December…..
YA and adult, mystery, coming-of-age, crime thriller, psychological, dytopian and literary
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a mum of four. I work as a dogwalker/pet-sitter and I also own a Community Interest Company called Chasing Driftwood Writing Group. We run adult writing clubs and workshops, children’s workshops, projects and after-school clubs.
What inspired you to start writing?
I think it was reading books like Watership Down and The Animals of Farthing Wood when I was a child that started me off. I would make my own little books about lost or abandoned animals and do my own illustrations. I think I just loved reading so much that it made sense to start creating and controlling my own worlds and characters.
How many books have you written and published?
I have 9 books published, a new one coming out in December, and four unpublished novels waiting to be polished up!
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
It has to be The Boy With The Thorn In His Side series. I first wrote an early version of the book aged 12. I was obsessed with it and rewrote it again and again throughout my teens. I was absolutely in love with the story and the characters so that they became part of my life and I would go to sleep every night thinking about them and planning what would happen next! I finally got back to it in my early 30’s and since then, the original story has evolved into what will be a 6 book series, and a spin-off! I just can’t leave these characters alone, or is it the other way around?
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Sometimes they just come to me instantly with no thought process. Sometimes I enjoy using names I really like and haven’t had a chance to use yet. If I ever get stuck I tend to scroll Facebook and look for cool names.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Probably Elliot from Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature, because he would be good at survival skills! He would know how to build a den or shelter and forage for food. He would see the positive side to it all and wouldn’t lose hope or get depressed. He would be fun to talk to as well.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Charles Bukowski is probably my favourite author, closely followed by SE Hinton and Stephen King. Its so hard to choose! I love everything Bukowski wrote, including his poetry. I suppose I would choose Ham On Rye as it was the first book I read by him and lead onto me buying a lot more.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
A story about a puppy that was bought at Christmas and then thrown out afterwards. He had to make friends with a gang of stray dogs and learn to survive! I’ve still got it. It has illustrations and a back cover blurb!
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
Cleaning, shelf-stacking at asda, childminder and now I am a dog walker/pet sitter and owner of Chasing Driftwood Writing Group.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I would go back to the 1960s I think because the music was amazing and I would love to experience those rebellious times!
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Charles Bukowski because I think over a drink or two we could have a very interesting conversation about writing and living and human nature!
What are your favourite things to do?
Writing, reading, walking dogs, being with my children, listening to music and discovering new bands and gardening.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
I honestly can’t think of anything really strange at all!
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Keep going, don’t give up, don’t lose it. Believe in it. Believe in you and ignore all the negative vibe merchants!
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed because they’re both very important for our times.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My next book is out on December 6thand is a YA novel and the first in a trilogy. It’s called A Song For Bill Robinson and is about a young singer who struggles with alochol dependency and is trying to win the local talent contest to help save the community centre, whilst also having a feud with local thug Charlie McDonnal who is a suspect in the recent murder of a 15 year old boy.
a bit more about chantelle
Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories.The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. Her next YA novel A Song For Bill Robinson will be released in December 2019. Chantelle has had multiple articles about writing published by Author’s Publish magazine.
Thanks so much for taking part Chantelle. I am absolutely jealous of your job as a dog walker – I’d love to do it! I love the fact that you started writing one of your books when you were 12 and are still going…..it must be so satisfying!!
Any questions/comments for Chantelle then you know what to do!
Hope you’ve all had a great weekend