YALC Readathon Guest Post: 5 Fun Facts About the Oathbreaker’s Shadow

YALC Readathon 2014

Hi guys! It’s day 5 of the YALC Readathon (where did the past couple of days go?!) and we only have two more days left – how are you all getting on? Which books have you managed to read so far and what are you planning on reading at the weekend? In case you want to take a break from reading, today’s guest is Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. Amy stopped by Books, Biscuits and Tea to share five fun facts about her book with you – over to you, Amy. :)

1. I remember the exact moment the idea for The Oathbreaker’s Shadow came to me: when I was sitting in the audience at the Toronto premiere of the Lord of the Rings musical. The musical wasn’t so inspiring… but the idea stuck and never left!

2. After that moment, I wrote the first draft of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow in a blur while in my final year at university. Some of my most productive writing was done when I was supposed to be listening to lectures (oops).The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

3. The first scene I ever wrote now begins Part 2, where Raim is lost in the desert. This was meant to be a prologue, and got re-jigged back to its rightful chronological place when I realized that prologues aren’t always the best beginning to a story.

4. I then completely ripped that draft apart and rewrote it after I went on a post-uni gap year, helped by the fact that I visited my first actual desert in Namibia. This completely changed how I wrote about Raim’s experience. I don’t always believe in the writing advice ‘write what you know’, but in this case it really did help!

5. I might be the only author in the world with my own book tie-in hand-knotted oriental carpet, thanks to my sister who designed it and my dad who owns an oriental carpet store and had the connections to get it made!

#YALCReadathon Guest Post: Marcus Sedgwick on The Shining

YALC Readathon 2014

Hi guys! As part of the YALC Readathon (a week-long readathon dedicated to reading as many books by YALC authors as possible, running from today until the 29th June), which I’m co-hosting with the lovely Jess, Carly and Michelle, UKYA author Marcus Sedgwick stopped by the blog to talk about what he thinks about Stephen King’s famous novel, The Shining – and its film adaptation. I hope you enjoy the post – and if you’d like to sign up for the readathon or find out more, you’ll find all the details here. Over to you, Marcus. :)

Since YALC is taking place inside a film festival, I thought I’d talk about the moving pictures a bit, by asking: Stanley Kubrick, what the hell were you on about?

Stanley Kubrick is one of the greatest directors of all time, and certainly one of the most influential. The other remarkable thing about him is that he made a wild variety of films, from early pieces like The Killing (which directly influenced Quentin Tarantino), to biblical epics like Spartacus, to classic war films like Full Metal Jacket, to the unquestionably best sci-fi movie ever, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Along the way there was the shock-fest of A Clockwork Orange, the dark comedy of Dr Strangelove, but the movie I’m going to talk about here is Kubrick’s contribution to the world of the horror film: The Shining.

The Shining

One of the first things you notice about Kubrick is how many of his films were based on books or short stories. He was a voracious reader, and according to his collaborators, was always on the look out for the next story that he found excited him enough to want to adapt.

And talking of books becoming films, ADAPT is the word. For the two beasts are not the same. A book is a book and a film is a film and each has things it is good at, and things it is bad at.

So Kubrick’s film of The Shining is very different from Stephen King’s original novel, and famously, King hated what Kubrick did with it. I doubt Kubrick cared very much; in fact, there’s some rather strong evidence to show that he didn’t.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that Jack Torrance and family drive a RED VW beetle. Kubrick was well known for the meticulous thought behind every detail in his films – if he put something in a shot, he did it for a reason. Given that he knew that King hated his intentions for the book; the car that Jack Nicholson ends up driving is a YELLOW VW beetle.

And if you’re thinking so what? Then see what exact car, of all the thousands he could have chosen from, Kubrick has crushed by an 18-wheeler in the car crash scene later in the film…

Oh, a red VW. Two fingers to you, Mr King, I’ll make my own picture.

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James Dawson’s ‘Say Her Name’ Book Launch: In Pictures

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend James Dawson’s book launch for his newest novel, Say Her Name. Being a massive fan of one of his previous books, Cruel Summer, I knew I had to be there. So, armed with my copy of CS, which I desperately wanted to get signed, I was heading to Islington to meet James and fellow book bloggers.

I met Zarina before the event and we made our way to Waterstones together. We were a tiny bit early so we had the chance to say hello to James, get our books signed AND grab a cupcake before the crowd arrived. (Mine happened to match my book’s cover. #madskillz)

My signed copy of James Dawson's Cruel Summer

Before the speeches began, we spotted Sabrina in the crowd (who has the cutest, most awesome tote bag and coin purse ever) so we had a little chat. I’ve been following her on Twitter for quite a while so it was lovely to finally meet her in the flesh. I also met the lovely Faye who, I think, is one of those few people who I’ve known pretty much since this blog exists but don’t seem to meet too often so it’s always great to see her. :)

Vicky from Books, Biscuits and Tea and Sabrina from I Have to Read That

Sabrina & me with James’ books

After we’ve been chatting and stuffing our faces with cupcakes for a while, James reappeared. Dressed as Bloody Mary, in tights, a kilt, a black wig, terrifying contact lenses and blood all over his face. And then the speeches began. I’ve never met James before last week but all I can say is, he’s such a genuinely lovely guy. He made all of us feel welcome and he was so, so funny. I’ve been to a few book launches in the past couple of months but this was definitely the most fun so far. :)

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Showcase Sunday #81

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How was your week? Are you enjoying the sunshine? We’ve had surprisingly great weather this week (considering that it’s England we’re talking about, it was rather on the hot side) so I tried to spend as much time as I could outdoors and soak up the sun in my lunch breaks.

Do you guys have anything exciting planned for the summer holidays?


Cat Clarke books

 Entangled | Boy21 | Torn | The Winter Foundlings

I had a brilliant week book-wise (especially compared to the past few weeks, when I was too busy with the new job and moving house to go book shopping) and got four shiny new books in the post. I was reading Cat Clarke’s Undone this week and a few chapters in I fell in love with her writing. I absolutely loved the main character, Cat’s style and… basically everything about it, so I decided to go and buy some of her other stuff. I asked you lovely lot on Twitter which one you’d recommend and most of you said Entangled, so it was a no-brainer. And since I loved the sound of Torn as well, I decided to take both. I’ve been meaning to read more YA this year anyway, so I’m really glad I found a new favourite author to add to my ever growing list.

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Summer at the Lake: Guest Post + Giveaway

Summer at the Lake blog tour

Hello everyone! I have a special guest for you today. To celebrate the publication of Erica James’s 18th novel, Summer at the Lake, the publisher has organised a blog tour. As part of the tour Erica stopped by Books, Biscuits and Tea this morning to talk about what she loves about summer -  so kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and give a warm welcome to our lovely guest.

Over to you, Erica.

I’ve always considered myself lucky to live in a country that has such clearly defined seasons. I don’t think I could live somewhere that doesn’t have that sense of change and renewal that the arrival of each new season brings. I enjoy them all but summer has that special something and, of course, we British are so good at grabbing it with both hands and making the most of it while we can, for we know from experience just how fleeting it can be. So here are some of my favourite things about summer.

Rise and shine… The longer days always seem to re-energize me, physically and mentally. Waking up at six in the morning in the summer doesn’t feel half as bad as it does in winter. What better alarm clock than the gossipy chirping of sparrows and blackbirds and the gentle cooing of doves through the open window? It’s a sound that’s guaranteed to get the day off to a good start.

As fragrant as a rose… As a gardener I love to see all the new growth in the garden once the warmer weather arrives. Is there anything more uplifting than the sweet smell of roses and the calming scent of lavender, or even the milky smell of freshly cut grass?

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Showcase Sunday #80

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you all? Long time no see! I’m so sorry for being so behind on blogging again but life has been insanely hectic lately. I started looking for a job earlier this month and last week the (real) craziness began. My days pretty much consisted of  job interviews on the phone and in person, running around like a madman trying to buy new clothes for said interview, and – since I got the job! – packing all my stuff and trying to organise the next couple of weeks.

So, as you’re reading this post I’m making my way to my friend’s place in London where I’ll be staying for the next three or four weeks until we find a new house. It’s all VERY exciting and I’m so excited to finally be in London (and not having to commute from Zone 9) but I’m a bit nervous as well. I’m trying to catch up with reading and writing my reviews but in the meantime, please bear with me. :)


The Executioner by Chris Carter

Chris Carter autograph

The Executioner | No Time for Goodbye

Two very exciting books arrived this week – I was part of Chris Carter’s London Underground Poster campaign (more about this in my next No Books Allowed post) this month and when I talked to him a few days ago and mentioned that I’m quoted on his posters, he was lovely enough to send me a signed copy of one of his books (one I haven’t had the chance to read yet) as a thank you. I absolutely LOVE Chris’s work so I’m still giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to read it!

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WIN 5 Copies of The Broken by Tamar Cohen

Great news, fellow crime fiction fans. Courtesy of Transworld, I have a brand new giveaway for you. To celebrate the publication of Tamar Cohen’s brand new novel, The Broken, I’m giving away 5 copies of the book to 5 lucky winners.

About the book

The Broken by Tamar Cohen


Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl’s schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don’t tell lies. They don’t take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don’t call lawyers. They don’t make you choose sides.

Best friends don’t keep secrets about their past. They don’t put you in danger.

Best friends don’t always stay best friends.

To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway runs until 31 May, 2014 and is open internationally. The winners will be contacted by email and have 72 hours to claim their prize. Good luck! :)

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