Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

I sincerely hope so, because it's time for another book spotlight!

This time, our spotlight shines on a book that not only has an adorable cover, but also looks like a ton of fun to read. You all know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Middle Grade reads, and The Lost Twin looks like my kind of book!

Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…

When shy Ivy’s troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to “take her place.” But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school’s true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?

Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn’t about to disappear without a fight. She’s left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy’s going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She’s got to.

But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they’ll do anything to keep their secrets buried…

I dare you to tell me that you're not intrigued by this book. This is the first in a series, and I can already tell that I'm going to be devouring this very soon. Look out for my review later this week, in fact! And, in case I've swayed you to add this to your reading pile, your links are below.

Now scroll forth and read a wonderful guest post by Sophie Cleverly, and then go fawn over her gorgeous author pic. Trust me, it's worth it. There's a giveaway down there too ;).

Creating atmosphere was a big focus for me when writing Scarlet and Ivy – The Lost Twin. When Ivy is forced to go to Rookwood School to hunt down the truth about her twin’s disappearance, it’s important that the reader feels what she’s feeling. At least part of that came from my own experiences of going from a pretty semi-rural school to a huge high school in the city. I remember feeling so small in front of that massive building – just like Rookwood, it looked like a cross between a castle and a prison.

I wanted Rookwood to be just as dark and imposing, but also to give you the sense that there are mysteries and adventures hidden away behind closed doors. Describing the building itself – what it looks like, just how old it is, the types of rooms and objects it contains – all helped to add to this. But I also wanted to use Ivy’s other senses to put you right in her shoes – the smell of the chalk dust from the clapped erasers, the taste of the horrible stew for dinner, the cold bath water on her skin, the sound of the distant shrieks of girls playing hockey and the silence of the empty classrooms. And then there’s the weather – since the books are set in Britain (where I live) and we have notoriously variable weather, I can play around with sun and rain and snow and storms to add to the mood of the place.

When it comes to creating characters, sometimes it feels less like a conscious choice and more like the characters have just walked into my brain. Certainly that was the case with the twins themselves. The idea for the book came to me during a writing exercise where we had to imagine someone returning to a room they hadn’t been in for a long time, and I imagined a room with twin beds – but only one girl entered. I quite quickly saw Ivy’s personality and knew that Scarlet would be her opposite in a lot of ways.

Other characters in the book developed a little more slowly, even though I do tend to get a good sense of them straight away. Often I know the type of character I want - a kind and funny new friend like Ariadne, or a terrifying teacher like Miss Fox, and I grow them from there. Some of my favourite kids’ book characters give me inspiration: Ariadne certainly has a bit of Hermione Granger in her, while Miss Fox was influenced by other scary headteachers like Miss Trunchbull and the Demon Headmaster. A lot of what makes a character is in how they act and react to what happens around them, but I also like to give them small details and quirks to make them stand out. Making character profiles is a great way to do this – even if you don’t include everything you know about the character, you can use it to infuse your writing.

Sophie Cleverly began writing Scarlet and Ivy in her second year at university, where she studied Creative Writing. She knew she had to finish telling the story, and when she heard that the university offered an MA in Writing For Young People she realized it was the perfect opportunity. She lives in Wiltshire, England. This is her debut. Visit hapfairy.co.uk.
Find Sophie: 

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