Thursday, 27 November 2014

Two new authors for Team Catnip! (part 2)

I am Terribly Excited to announce that my second new author is Sophie Plowden, author of JACK DASH AND THE MAGIC FEATHER, a hilarious, anarchic adventure for 7+ readers.

If you found a golden quill pen that would make anything you drew come to life, what would you draw?

Sweets? A pet dog? A racing car?

This is exactly what happens to Jack. Except Jack isn't that good at drawing. And he ends up with a massive sealion in his room.

Now Jack has to work out how hide the sealion from his parents and his dad's scary boss, the Mayor, while drawing lots of fish for her to eat (the sealion, not the Mayor). It looks like Jack may have to enlist the help of the irritating - possibly insane - girl next door, Coco. With only Coco and his (questionable) drawing skills on his side, will Jack save the day (and the sealion)?

As soon as I started reading this, there were two things that I absolutely loved (obviously all the other things about it were brilliant as well, but I just took that for granted, lucky, greedy editor that I am).

1. The magic feather (I WANT ONE). A quill is already so much cooler to write with than a pen, so a magic quill that makes everything you draw come to life is probably the coolest thing ever. You can add it to the list of things I wish were real (Bernard's watch, the psammead, time travel, Ron Weasley). The magic feather opens up unlimited possibilities. You could draw ANYTHING! Sadly, like Jack, my drawing skills aren't brilliant, so I would probably end up faced with a load of real-life stick men, which would actually be quite scary.

2. Jack and Coco. One of my favourite double acts ever. I just loved that Jack immediately tries to avoid Coco, while she charges around after him like a crazed Violet Elizabeth, determined to be his friend. It's the perfect set-up for a comedy adventure. These two also provided me with my favourite line in the book (possibly all books), when Jack says to Coco, 'Are you out of your ginger mind??' When I met Sophie, I was interested (worried?) to hear that she'd based Coco on a younger version of herself.

Catnip have bought World English rights from Ben Illis at the BIA. JACK DASH AND THE MAGIC FEATHER will be published in September 2015. The sequel, JACK DASH AND THE SUMMER BLIZZARD, will follow in 2016.

You can follow Sophie on Twitter here.

So please join me in welcoming Jane McLoughlin and Sophie Plowden to Team Catnip!  

Two new authors for Team Catnip! (Part 1)

Today is Terribly Exciting Thursday and I am delighted to announce that Catnip have signed TWO fabulous books to be published next year!

This is also Terribly Exciting for me personally, as these two lovely new authors are my first signings as Catnip Editor. I feel a bit like Jose Mourinho. (I am assuming Jose also dances happily around the room when he signs new players).

First up is Jane McLoughlin, author of THE CROWHAM MARTYRS, a brilliantly frightening - and frighteningly brilliant - ghostly thriller for 9-12 year olds.

Maddy Deeprose is your average thirteen-year-old. If your average thirteen-year-old could see ghost. But it’s not the ghosts that are bothering Maddy. Because something far worse is lurking at Crowham Martyrs boarding school.

Could there really be witches and demons here at Crowham? Are the badness and ‘fings’ real? And do all these things have anything to do with Hannah going missing? Do they have anything to do with me?

When I was a child I was desperate to see a ghost - on trips to old houses and castles I used to lurk about in the corridors, willing the ghosts to come out and scare me. So not only am I quite jealous of main character Maddy, I've also been waiting a long time for this book. THE CROWHAM MARTYRS is genuinely spooky (I think the best measure of this is that one scene had me completely spooked while sitting on a crowded train). It has the markings of a classic ghost story - the crumbling old school building with its many secrets and the ever-fascinating theme of witches - but with its own truly original twist and truly awesome, contemporary heroine in Maddy.

Catnip acquired World rights (excluding US and Canada) from Sallyanne Sweeney at Mulcahy Associates. THE CROWHAM MARTYRS will be published in June 2015.   

You can follow Jane on Twitter here and read her blog here.  

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

SNEAK FREAKS PEEK! Sam Hay's Battle of the Beach Freaks

Hello and good August! 

Sam Hay's hilarious and tons of fun new book, BATTLE OF THE BEACH FREAKS is very nearly here and so I thought I would give you all a sneak Beach Freaks peek (eek!).

When her aunt Gloria gets jilted, bridesmaid Jess is out of a job. So she decides to put herself up for hire. 

But Jess soon discovers that in a seaside ghost town the path to true love does not run smooth. In fact it runs spooky and very weird. Will Jess manage to outwit the dastardly Duke of Spooks and get a couple of lovesick ghosts to the church on time?

Battle of the Beach Freaks is a story set in Screaming Sands - the world's spookiest seaside ghost town! Two other Screaming Sands titles are available now, so if you fancy spot of spookiness beside the seaside while you wait for the Freaks you can discover the origins of Screaming Sands.  (It all begins with a zombie donkey named Doris).

And here is an exclusive extract from BATTLE OF THE BEACH FREAKS!

Monday, 14 July 2014


Good day Catnip friends!

As the weather turns lovely and sunny you might find yourself taking a trip to the seaside.


If you find yourself in Screaming Sands, the town that's full of spirits, you may find a few strange folk lurking on the beach. Ghosts, ghouls, witches, zombie donkeys and dead circus people to be exact. If, like I do, you actually think that sounds rather fun, then you should definitely read this book:


When her aunt gets dumped, bridesmaid Jess is out of a job. So she decides to put herself up for hire in local newspaper the Darkington Times. 

But Jess discovers that in a seaside ghost town the path to true love runs far from smooth and she soon finds herself in the middle of a scare-raising adventure.

Can Jess outwit the dastardly Duke of Spooks and get a couple of lovesick ghosts to the church on time? 

9781846471698 Publishing 14 Aug 2014. 

(And there are two other hilarious books set in Screaming Sands, which are available now - THE DAY THE DONKEY DROPPED DEAD 9781846471575 and ATTACK OF THE BALLISTIC BLANKET 9781846471643.)

Today I am thrilled to be revealing the TRULY BRILLIANT cover. (And I am allowed to say that, because I didn't design it, the fabulous Tim Rose did, and all illustrations are by Tom Morgan-Jones.) To mark the occasion I thought I would interview Sam and what better place than Screaming Sands's spooky cafe, the Whistling Kettle?

Hello Sam! Welcome to Screaming Sands, the town that’s full of spirits. (But then you know all about that, being the author and all!) Pull up a scare – sorry, I mean a chair – in the Whistling Kettle café. Would you like a drink?

Oh...err... Snot Chocolate please! Or maybe something stronger. A Gin & Toxic, please or perhaps a Bloody Mary. Must keep out the cold! Oh, wait... I see they do milksnakes! Clawberry please! 

Super! While the Snot Chocolate is very tempting, I’ll have champain. So, for readers who’ve never visited, could you tell us a bit about this seaside ghost town?

Oh it’s great. It’s got everything the undead could ever want... rain, cold, dark - lots of dark! Did I mention the rain? Oh and then there’s spiders... Enormous spiders!!! Hey...? Where are you going? ...Don’t leave...STOP!
[Sam rugby tackles interviewer and sellotapes her to her chair]

See, Catnip friends, I told this town was full of oddballs!! Could you at least feed me my champain Sam? Thank you. Now, along the oddball theme, this book is called BATTLE OF THE BEACH FREAKS. Could you introduce us to some of the freaks we are going to meet?

Well, there are lots of freaky ghosts, such as the Flying Leep-aleenies - the best acrobats ever to have lived. Or died! They broke their necks when a high wire trick went wrong. They still like to tumble though sometimes they get their heads and legs jumbled up, a bit. 

There’s also the Duke of Spooks. He’s sort of dead but isn’t. And he’s really bad! He’s got really big hair, too.
Oh and there’s Jess, the hero of the story. She’s not actually dead yet. She’s about to be a bridesmaid when the bride gets jilted. So she hires herself out to dead circus people. Jess is funny and fast and great at kicking her annoying older brother. (A useful life skill, I always think).
Then there’s the spiders... Did I mention the spiders? 

Well that all sounds terrifying. If I wasn't sellotaped to this chair I would make a run for it. Apart from Jess - Jess sounds fun, if a bit kicky. Time to order food! I think I’ll have ghoulash with a side of dready salted crisps. What do you fancy?

Well, as this café is famous for i-scream, I’ll have one scoop of shock-late and a scoop of vankiller please!


And to you! So, where did you get the idea for this story?, [author searches the filing cabinets of her brain] ... I love the seaside, but I don’t like sun or crowds much. So I tend to go on wet, cold days when no one else is there. Seaside towns in the winter have loads of atmosphere and it’s easy to imagine a different type of customer (the pulse-less variety) hanging out there. Plus when I was a kid I always wanted to be a bridesmaid. But I didn’t know many brides so I considered hiring myself out! I used to daydream about attending weird weddings! 

If you could be any character from your books, who would you be?

I love Jess. She impetuous and fiery! She does stuff without worrying about the consequences. Whereas I tend to leave the house with a giant bag bulging with stuff I might need, just in case. Stuff like spare clothes, snacks, money, passport, lucky pebbles, six blunt pencils, emergency mint cake, because you never know... Also Jess gets to fly and wear a dress made of cobwebs. Did I mention the spiders?

I’d also quite like to be Brimstone, the chameleon from ATTACK OF THE BALLISTIC BLANKET (Screaming Sands book 2). He’s a shape-shifting magical lizard. Then I could be anything I want to be... dog, cat, giant woolly mammoth! Imagine!!! 

I'd love to be Brimstone! He was my favourite character in book two. And I could shape shift out of this sellotape. What about a character from another book?

I have an enormous sweet tooth (and loads of fillings!), so please may I be Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate factory and then I could go and live in the factory and eat and eat until I pop and my teeth dissolve. 

I’d also quite like to be Danny Woo from the Mysterium series by Julian Sedgwick. He’s a magician and escapologist and he can do this awesome hypnosis trick that makes people do what he wants!! That would be super useful - I could get my family to do all the chores! 

I’ve just heard that the dastardly Duke of Spooks has derailed all the trains out of Screaming Sands! Looks like we are going to be stranded here for a few years, possibly eternity (the noticeboards just say ‘delayed’ at the moment). It’s lucky you’ve brought a suitcase with your favourite book, person and luxury item inside! So what will you have accompanying you on your endless stay on this spooky beach?

Oh, I don’t mind staying. I love cold, wet, dark places. And spiders! And i-scream! But it’s good to have some stuff from home with me... I brought along a giant encyclopaedia, because I’m super nosey and always need to find out lots of things about a lot of stuff. I also brought Martin, our Cat. He’s not at all useful. He’s dim and scared of everything. But he is a black cat. So he’ll help me fit in with the witchy folk staying in Screaming Sands. It’s always a good idea to blend in with the crowd when you go on holiday - especially when the crowd could turn you into a two headed toad if they didn’t like the look of you. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I’d quite like to be magic. Is that a job?

No. Okay... Librarian, then. But only if I can work in a small, dark, dusty old library that no-one ever visits, then I could just read all day, unbothered by people!

Alternatively I love pencils, so could I be a pencil tester in a pencil factory please? 

Do you have a favourite place to write? And where will you write now you are stranded in Screaming Sands FOREVER?

I can write anywhere. I’m not fussy. I don’t go out much, so most of my books are written in my messy cupboard. It’s small and dark and I’ve got so much paper and junk stacked up on the desk that I can barely see my computer screen! I have to shove it off each morning, before I start work. Actually, I’d quite like to stay here in the café... I can have endless cups of coffee and buckets of i-scream! Actually, my tummy’s rumbling. Can I have another sundae? I’ve heard the ‘Doris’ is very good. Want to try one? Did you know it is named after a dead donkey?

I did! I read all about Doris in THE DAY THE DONKEY DROPPED DEAD. She's my all-time favourite zombie donkey and I lurk around Screaming Sands hoping I'll catch a glimpse of her! Oh, I’ve just heard they’ve put on a replacement bus service. You can go home! Don’t worry about the bill – the folks at the Whistling Kettle Café say it’s on the house as thanks for the screamingly funny books you are writing about the town. But before you leave, could you introduce the brand new cover for Battle of the Beach Freaks?

Sure. Here goes... What do you reckon? The magic pixies at Catnip have done an awesome job, haven’t they??!!

I quite agree! Those pixies are terribly helpful. And here's an extra surprise - we are going to show you the back cover too! Isn't the Screaming Sands sign lovely? They cleaned it especially for the photo. That's it from me for now - Sam never untied me and now everyone has left the cafe and turned the lights off. I hope none of the ghosts come to get me.

What's that noise?



Thursday, 10 July 2014

STARRING KITTY BLOG TOUR: Exclusive first look

Hello and Happy Thursday!

At the beginning of the week we had to announce the very frustrating news that the fabulous STARRING KITTY by the also fabulous Keris Stainton had been held up and wouldn't be arriving for another two weeks. These faces all round at Catnip Towers: >:(
(Particularly for me - I have the proof cover and pages on my desk and want to share!)

So to stop me running out into the street and reading the book aloud to strangers, Keris has something rather exciting for you all while we wait for Kitty to arrive - the Starring Kitty blog tour! There are ELEVEN posts for you to read and the chance to find out a bit more about Kitty, and her best friends Hannah and Sunny before you are properly introduced to them on 24 July.

To kick off the tour, I am rather excited to be posting the opening chapters of the book. 

So I hope you enjoy the chance to meet Kitty, Sunny and Hannah (plus someone else rather special) and follow the tour for plenty more fun Kitty-related stuff!

Sometimes the greatest love stories happen behind the scenes… 
Kitty's keeping secrets. Like how she's struggling to cope with her mum's illness. And how she's falling for the girl with the purpley-red hair... A fun film competition with her friends Sunny and Hannah seems like the perfect distraction. But then Dylan wants to be more than Kitty's secret. Is Kitty ready to let her two worlds meet or will she risk losing Dylan forever?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Romance Festival 2014: Interview with KERIS STAINTON

To celebrate this weekend's Digital Romance Festival, fabulous Catnip author Keris Stainton and I are going on a blog date. I put on my best, most romantic outfit and my most seductive facial expression (I will leave you to imagine that) and then I locked Keris in my interview room (currently decorated in hearts and renamed The Catnip Lurve Cafe).

We talked about Keris's heart-melting and fabulous new book Starring Kitty (out 10 July) and then we played a game of 'Make Your Own Romance Novel'. Enjoy and feel the lurve!

Hello Keris and welcome to the Catnip Lurve Cafe! Feel free to have a coffee or one of my homemade Catnip love buns. 

So first, tell me a bit about you and Starring Kitty.

Just give me a minute to stop sniggering at "love buns"... Hello! I'm Keris, I live in Lancashire with my husband and two small-ish sons. I'm obsessed with American TV and Twitter. My new book, Starring Kitty, is about three friends who enter a film competition and what happens when one girl (Kitty) finds she has feelings for another girl...

Do you have a storyline in mind or do you create your characters and see what they do?

I hardly ever have any story in mind. Maybe a tiny bit. I almost always start with a character or setting. I start writing and after a few thousand words, panic that the book's not about anything. Eventually, I start to see patterns and connections and ideas pop up (usually when I'm in the shower or washing the dishes) and, eventually, it's all fine. This happens every single time, but I never get used to it.

Tell us a bit about Kitty, Hannah and Sunny and how you came up with them.

Kitty is a worrier, dealing with her mum's illness and her fears about her feelings for this girl she barely knows. Hannah seems much more confident, but she's the kind of girl who keeps everything inside... until it bursts out. Sunny puts herself under a lot of pressure, not least because she wants to keep everyone happy. They've been friends since primary school and live in a slightly faded seaside town.

I can't really remember how I came up with them. Kitty and Hannah were partly inspired by a photo I saw in a magazine. All three were partly inspired by girls I've met on school visits. And one of them was also partly inspired by a book blogger I know and love. So they're a bit Frankenstein's monster-ish. But in a good way.

I felt like Kitty's relationships with her best friends were just as important as her relationship with Dylan. Is this something you thought about?

Oh absolutely. I still remember those intense teen friendships, how you can spend all your time together, but still not necessarily know what's really going on with each other. Something I think about a lot is how when I was a teen, I was often scared to talk to my friends about more serious things because I wasn't sure whether they were "normal" or not, I didn't know how they were going to react. You don't want to risk the friendship.

Something I've found hard in writing romance is building the sense that two people have fallen in love when you have only the length of a book! (Whereas we had plenty of episodes to make us really care about Pacey and Joey or Tim and Dawn). Do you have any tips for romance writers for creating those couples that the reader roots for?

Ummm... no? I'm glad you've mentioned Tim and Dawn though, because that relationship definitely inspires me when I'm writing. Just the little looks, noticing things about each other. I think that makes all the difference.

I'll be cryptic to avoid spoilers, but my favourite Kitty/Dylan moment involves Google Maps! Do you have a favourite scene or one that you think really sums up their relationship?

Aw, I love that scene too - thanks! (Also, I spend a lot of time "travelling" via Google Maps.) I have a soft spot for the bit near the beginning where they meet on the beach. Kitty's discovering how expressing her feelings (by throwing rocks) can actually make her feel better. And Dylan jumps off the wall to the beach, rather than clambering down cautiously, like Kitty does. That probably doesn't make any sense to anyone who hasn't read the book...

The next book is Spotlight on Sunny, out early next year. Can you give us a taster of what is to come?

Er. You know above when I said about not knowing what the book's about? And panicking a bit? That's where I am with SOS (!) at the moment. Even you saying "early next year" gave me the wiggins. Also, almost anything I say will be spoilery. I can say that there's a new setting and some new characters, including a very lovely boy and a not so lovely girl.


Now we are going to play a little game of Make Your Own Romance! We are each going to select our favourite fictional ingredients to make our ultimate love story recipe. 

Favourite couple (I will allow TV shows as well as books):

Coach and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. Adore them both.

Georgia and Dave the Laugh from the Georgia Nicolson Diaries by Louise Rennison. I spent ten books wanting Georgia to forget about the Sex Gods and the Lurve Gods and realise Dave and his clown nose would be the one to have her laughing away on a fast camel. 

Supporting characters - you need to populate the book with some of your favourite fictional romance characters otherwise the main couple will get lonely. These can be hilarious characters, evil people to stir things up, people you really fancy - anyone! Please pick two (although more are allowed).

Because I just mentioned Friday Night Lights and then you just mentioned "people you really fancy" I literally can't think of anyone but Tim Riggins. The most perfectly gorgeous misunderstood bad boy. *fans self*

Amy Poehler is my dream best friend, so I'll have her too.


Lydia from Pride and Prejudice (because she seems like fun), the nurse from Romeo and Juliet because none of my characters so far are very organised and she can make sure the plot stays on track, and Dawson Leery from Dawson's Creek, to analyse everything and because if things got all intense and emotional, he could break the tension and make everyone laugh by doing this:

Favourite romantic moment

Keris: *tries to think of a book* *fails* The declaration at the end of When Harry Met Sally (my favourite film): "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Liz: Lizzie and Darcy's eyes meeting over the piano in the BBC Pride and Prejudice. 

Favourite kiss

Keris: When Nick and Jess first kissed on New Girl. I rewound it and watched it again. And again. And again. That was a heck of a kiss. I also always always well up when Rachel crosses the room to kiss Ross in The One With the Prom Video. 

Liz: Ron and Hermione. I think I actually yelped mid-read. 

Favourite love song (to be in the soundtrack when it is made into a film)

Keris: Weekend in New England by Barry Manilow. Shut up.  

Liz: All I Want is You by Barry Louis Polisar

Happily ever after (or not) - favourite ending

Keris: Even though I have some issues with the film (waah for her beautiful shop!), I always cry at the end of You've Got Mail. "I wanted it to be you." Sigh. I'm such a Nora Ephron fangirl. 

Liz: THE. NOTEBOOK. Although it was difficult to see because of MY SOUL SPILLING OUT OF MY EYES.

Keris' ultimate romance:
Eric and Tami are just friends (they claim) and spend their time coaching a football team, misunderstanding their bad boy friend Tim and talking to each other on the Internet without realising it's them. Their friend Amy, who works in local government, turns a local quarry pit into a football pitch and to celebrate locks Eric and Tami in a cupboard. They refuse to kiss, but then they do kiss later and it is the BEST KISS EVER and Barry Manilow's Weekend in England is playing. Eric runs across the football pitch to get to Tami's new year party and makes a passionate speech. Then she realises he is the man from the Internet and Phoebe says 'he's her lobster!'

Liz's ultimate romance:
Georgia and Dave's eyes meet over a piano and they start to fall in love, but are distracted when Georgia's sister Lydia, helped by an organised nurse, elopes with a sobbing Dawson Leery and shames the family. Georgia and Dave get past that and finally kiss in the middle of a war with an evil wizard (while the Juno soundtrack plays). Then it ends in heartbreaking Notebook fashion, with the crying led by Dawson.   

What do you think of our homemade romances? Have we missed any key romantic bits? Let us know your chosen bits below! 

There are lots of lovely love-shaped things going on right in the Romance Festival - just head here to take a look and follow all the action on Twitter with #Romance14. Also check out Lydia Syson's amazing blog post on putting the political in to romance - here

And look out for Dylan and Kitty (described by one blogger as 'ridiculously cute') - coming your way on 10 July!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

INTERVIEW WITH A WEIRDO: Publication day musings with Natasha Desborough

Welcome to the Day of the Bumskulls! 

This is day that WEIRDOS VS BUMSKULLS (by right weirdo Natasha Desborough) is unleashed upon the world. 

WEIRDOS VS. BUMSKULLS by Natasha Desborough 
Catnip 9781846471827 £6.99

Funnier, weirder, ruder - Blossom is back. 
Blossom and Petrina, school weirdos, are on a (natural) high after their band Camel Toe shared the bill with International Rock God Josh Raven. Now they have the chance to perform at a real festival when they enter Battle of the Bands

But then Blossom meets Vince (AKA MANCAKE), sexy lead singer of rival band Bumskulls. And supposedly loved-up Petrina has been spotted staring (dribbling) at the bass player... 

Amidst a churning whirlpool of love, sex and music, can the Weirdos keep their quest for musical domination on track or will it all go norks up?

To celebrate the publication of this hilariously funny, delightfully rude and utterly brilliant book (which I am ridiculously proud to be able to publish), I thought it would be nice to interview Natasha and get an insight into her strange mind. I knew she would be difficult to pin down now she's a super-awesome author busy doing author things, but all it took was a few emails, some phone calls and a threatening letter that I wrote in my own blood and then Natasha kindly agreed.  

So I channeled my inner Jeremy Paxman and asked the deep, probing questions that everyone needs to know.    

1. Hello Natasha and welcome to the Catnip blog! I've locked the door so you can't leave. Could you please start by describing yourself in three words. (None of them can be swears.) 

A bit odd.

2. Let's play Snog Marry Avoid. We'll start off with some characters from the book.

Josh Raven, Vince Aston-Granger and Matthew Ludlow

(AKA an international rock god, a local sexy MANCAKE and Matthew Ludlow.)  

OK, first of all, let’s pretend that I’m not a withered, saggy middle-aged woman so that this answer doesn’t sound too revolting. Are we ready? OK - I’d snog Vince – as I dreamed him up to look like just the kind of boy I would have fancied when I was sixteen. He’d never have looked at me back then as I was a chubby, pale-faced teenager who dressed like a farmer. Then I’d marry Matthew as he is LOVELY and I’d avoid Josh Raven because he’s a rock star and having kissed a few in my time, I know there is no point and I might catch a cold sore.

3. Now we'll try it with some proper famous celebs.

Dave Grohl, Robbie Williams, Dougie Poynter

This is TOO easy. I’d marry Dave Grohl. When I interviewed him for my breakfast show on Xfm he gave me a kiss ON THE LIPS (though he didn’t give me a cold sore) and then gave me a special gift (which I still have and keep under my bed). I interpreted this as a sign of his love for me and I am ready to divorce my current husband whenever Dave says the word. Then I’d snog Dougie Poynter from McFly because he is GORGEOUS and looks like I imagined Vince would in Bumskulls (look at the Bumskulls cover. It’s Dougie). And finally, I’d avoid Robbie Williams because he looks like a big hairy baby. I’d have had a rethink if it had been Jason Orange instead. He’s HOT.

4. Would you rather… have trotters for hands or the face of a pig?

I had the face of a pig when I was a teenager. I had a porky face that went bright pink when I was embarrassed or fancied someone (which was ALL the time). My nose was a bit too long and pointed to be an actual snout, but otherwise I could easily have passed as a pig in DMs and a lumberjack shirt. I survived the ‘pig face’ phase once and I could do it again so I’ll take that option and give the trotters a miss.

5. Now imagine you are Blossom at the beginning of WEIRDOS VS. BUMSKULLS. Would you rather… win Battle of the Bands or get a hot sexy rock star boyfriend?

Win Battle of the Bands of course. That way all the hot rock star boys would want to snog me anyway. I’d have the best of both worlds. And loads of cold sores.

6. Let’s play I Have Never. I’ll go first. I have never strapped any processed foods to my chest. How about you?

I see what you’re doing there. You know that the scene in WEIRDOS VS QUIMBOIDS where Blossom ends up with two pieces of processed ham Sellotaped to her chest is based on an event from my own real life. You obviously want me to spill the beans. Well, I can’t. It’s top secret. Let’s just say that the real event was much, much worse than the scene in Quimboids and that the ham wasn’t Sellotaped to my chest. We’ll leave it there shall we? Next question.

7. YOU ARE ON A DESERT ISLAND. Which book, luxury item and person would you have with you?

Okay, I’m going to strike you a deal here. Can I swap the book for a couple of great Bluetooth speakers? Because my luxury item would be an iPod crammed full of new music and classic albums. Is it bad that as an author I’d rather take music than a book with me? But I would be making up stories in my head to amuse myself too. And as for the person? Well, I’d need another music lover to chat for hours/days/years about music. I suppose that’s what I do with my husband anyway, but I fancy a change. So Dave Grohl please. No, actually Chris Packham from Springwatch. He’s lovely and grumpy and I quite fancy him at the moment. He’ll do nicely.

8. YOU ARE IN PRISON. What crime did you commit to get there?

I once said a really, really bad swear word on primetime live TV and during the horribly severe telling off that I received afterwards, I thought they might send me to prison. So perhaps I would go to prison for doing bad swears. My swears are pretty badass.

9. If you could be any character from your books, who would you be? And how about from someone else’s book?

I’m already in the Weirdos books. I’m sort of spread over a few of the characters. A bit of Blossom, a dash of Walter and a LOT of Matthew. If I could be a character in someone else’s book – well I hate myself for saying this but I’d like to find out what it’s like to be cool and have hot boyfriends. So I’d be one of the twins from the Sweet Valley High series. But just for one day and I wouldn’t want to be Elizabeth, the boring frigid one. I’d be Jessica so that I could snog the boy with the moustache on the cover of ‘All Night Long’. Is it weird that I once actually fancied a drawing of a fictional boy?

I wanted the Catnip blog readers to be able to make an informed decision on this, so I have found the boy with the moustache.

10. Finally, could you describe WEIRDOS VS. BUMSKULLS in a sentence? (All the words must be swears.) (Joke.)

I’m not going to lie – I just spent over an hour trying to answer this stupid question. And you know what? I can’t do it. The best I came up with was ‘A weirdo encounters a massive bush’ which is true but I don’t think really does the book justice. WEIRDOS VS. BUMSKULLS is funny, rude and I’m extremely proud of it.

And we at Catnip are proud to a ridiculous degree that we are able to bring the Weirdos out into the world. 

If you haven't already seen what Natasha was up to before I locked her in my interview cupboard, then do go and check these out!

Tuesday 13th May
SNEAK PEEK chapter extract on The Overflowing Library

Thursday 15th May Reveal of 'Nork-Grabbing Quimboid' the new single by Blossom's band, Camel Toe, on Wondrous Reads

Tuesday 20th May Character playlists - listen to the soundtracks for all the main characters in WEIRDOS VS. BUMSKULLS on Readaraptor

And keep an eye out next week for:

Tuesday 27th May Battle of the Bands! Musical talents from the character playlists battle it out in front of judge Natasha Desborough and hosted by SisterSpooky

Thursday 29th May Online dating - Weirdos style with Natasha Desborough and YA Yeah Yeah.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Hello and happy Thursday!

We on the good ship Catnip are very excited to reveal (along with lots of lovely bloggers) the cover for WEIRDOS VS BUMSKULLS by Natasha Desborough, the hilarious follow up to last year

Flippin awesome illustrator/designer Vicky Barker ( has come out with another cracking cover . . . and here it is:

Funnier, weirder ruder . . . Blossom is back.

Blossom and Petrina, school weirdos, are on a (natural) high after their band Camel Toe share the bill with INTERNATIONAL ROCK GOD Josh Raven. Now they have the chance to perform at a real festival when they enter Battle of the Bands.

But then Blossom meets Vince, lead singer of rival band Bumskulls and TOTAL MANCAKE. And supposedly loved-up Petrina has been spotted staring (dribbling) at the bass player. 

In a churning whirlpool of love, sex and music, can the Weirdos keep their quest for Musical Domination on track? Or is everything about to go norks up?

In the next few weeks there will be lots of exciting Bumskulls material around (including the brand new Camel Toe single, NORK-GRABBING QUIMBOID, described by a Radio 1 producer as The Horrors + The XX on huge amounts of steroids) Get ready to laugh your bumskulls off!

Words of praise and wonder for WEIRDOS VS QUIMBOIDS:

‘This is the third most important publication in the world after The Beano and Steve Brookstein - My Struggle. It’s also flipping funny. In fact, it should come with a free pair of socks because you’ll laugh off your current ones.’
Greg James, Radio 1 DJ

‘I LOVE it! I’m hooked...think Georgia Nicolson meets Adrian Mole. B.U.M. is my new literary heroine – sort of – a bloomin delightful read!’
Nemone Metaxas, BBC 6 Music DJ

‘This book is as good as all the others I haven’t read.’ Karl Pilkington