Where to start? The Queen of Teen ceremony has come and gone in a pink and frothy blur, and my feet are just about hitting the ground. I was so thrilled to be nominated again, and particularly against such an awesome list. The nominations for the award are made by the fans. You have to be aged between 9-18 to nominate, and write a short paragraph about why your chosen writer should be queen. The nominations are counted and the top 10 authors are the finalists. It’s been a while since my last book was published, so I had no expectation of getting in, but enough of my readers cared enough about my books to rank me alongside John Green, Cassandra Clare, Veronica Roth and Holly Smale. Wow. The others authors were equally brilliant.
To be honest, I won the day the nominations came out. To be ranked alongside writers of that calibre is just breathtaking, but I set about making my campaign videos and drumming up votes for the final. I’ve had some brilliant support from bloggers, librarians and booksellers, and I can’t thank you all enough.
So on Friday the big day dawned. Voting had closed a few days before, so we gathered, dressed in the traditional ‘hint of pink’ at The Inn on the Lake, where the lovely team from The Book People (who run the award) had assembled our Superfans. Each finalist had a Superfan – one of the people who had originally nominated us for the award. Mine was Lara, and she was accompanied by her school librarian, Wendy.
After the lunch we all moved to the Catteshall Manor where the ceremony was taking place in a marquee on the lawn. We got to travel in style – a stretch limo with plenty of champagne to keep us going on the five minute drive. At one point every author in there was clutching a glass in one hand and tweeting pictures with the other! At the manor the limo drew up at a very long, very pink carpet, and we all quickly learned how hard it is to get out of the back of a stretch limo elegantly. The only one who managed it was Natasha Farrant, but I think we all felt like Queens as we stepped up the carpet, smiling at the long ranks of fans taking photos.
The ceremony itself was brilliant – each Superfan gave a short speech about why their chosen author should be Queen, and presented us with a tiara (rather fabulous actually!). The stories they told really captured what the whole thing was about – that they had found a book which had really turned them on to reading, which spoke to them and what they were feeling. All had become avid readers, and quite a few were also writing their own stories too.
And finally the Queen was announced – to a magnificent drum roll – James Dawson! The author of some chilling teen horror stories, James had mounted a military operation to gather votes and at the final hurdle had beaten all the US writers with their Hollywood movies to bring us a UK Queen. I know that James will really champion the cause of young adult and teen reading. He’s a prolific campaigner, always willing to speak up and to get out there to meet the fans.
We couldn’t be more proud of our Queen.
If you haven’t discovered the Small Blue Thing trilogy yet, you can read the first chapter of the first book in the series below, or order the book online here.