Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Harrow Lake is out there in the world

(...the UK, at least!)

So, it's been a minute. Since my last update, Harrow Lake has been published in the UK. (I still can't quite believe it's out there -- even though I have seen proof with my own eyes in my local Tesco!)

Me, cheesing with my book on release day

Me, cheesing on release day in Tesco (cheesing hidden by mask)

My little monster has also been getting great reviews and features since its release - here are some recent ones:

The Guardian - Young adult books round-up

Her.ie - 14 books you won't be able to put down this summer

Starburst Magazine Review

Interview with Shemazing.net

As of yesterday, Harrow Lake achieved that elusive orange Amazon Bestseller banner in 2 categories: YA Horror and Ghost Stories!

And today, it hit the #1 spot on the Bookworms Wales chart!

THANK YOU to everyone who has read, bought, reviewed, talked about, or generally just been excited for Harrow Lake's release. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, and there's plenty more to come.

Next time I update here, I should have a link ready for you to sign up to my newsletter. The first newsletter will feature a really cool, exclusive giveaway, so I hope you'll sign up.

In the meantime, better get back to my edits on the next book...

Kat out x

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Harrow Lake: the finished article!

Look what arrived in the post -- the first ever finished UK copy of Harrow Lake! I am so over the moon with how it has turned out, from the gorgeous cover and amazing blurbs, to the sprayed edges and little jitterbugs crawling all over it.

These are the scheduled publication dates (so not long to wait now!):

UK - 9 July 

Australia/NZ - 18 August

USA - 25 August

If you feel like pre-ordering, I will love you forever -- buy links are up on the right. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Kat out x

Saturday, 16 May 2020

The Ultimate Blog Tour comes to a close!

Well, it has been an EPIC 3-week blog tour for HARROW LAKE! The tour was organised by Dave at The Write Reads (do go and follow him on Twitter) who I highly recommend to any authors looking for a brilliant blog tour organiser to kick-start their book's journey into the hands of readers.

Today is the last day, so check out the #HarrowLake and #UltimateBlogTour hashtags on Twitter if you'd like to catch up on all the reviews, spotlight posts, and interviews.

It's been a blast!

Kat out x

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Lockdown Update #1

Hello! This is my first blog update under lockdown, and I hope everyone reading this is safe & well, and managing to find ways to keep things interesting while staying home.

For me, that has meant becoming slightly obsessed with plants (now up to 3 terrariums on my desk, a conservatory full of edible plants, and a few planters in the garden). Not as obsessed as I would've been if I wasn't on deadline for the new book, of course... *glances nervously as the steaming manuscript peeping out from the next tab*. Anyway, deadline is the end of this month, so I'll keep this brief.

Just a couple of things I wanted to talk about:

This tour, organised by @writereadstours started on 27 April and will be going on until 16 May, with loads of reviews, interviews, and spotlight posts from around 100 bloggers. It's been wonderful so far, so if you'd like to check out the posts that have already gone up, check out the #UltimateBlogTour and #HarrowLake tags on Twitter.

The other thing I wanted to share after re-reading my last post was a quick note about FrightFest, where I got to talk about Harrow Lake to the fantastic horror fans attending! It seems like eons ago now, though it was only a couple of weeks before the lockdown was announced. Here are a couple of pics from the event:

I'll be back with more news soon, but in the meantime, #stayhomestaysafe and be excellent to each other! (Yes, I'm excited for the new Bill & Ted film.) I'll leave you with a snapshot of how I'm starting May.

Reading: SLENDER MAN by Anonymous

Audiobooking: THE VANISHING DEEP by Astrid Scholte (narrated by Karissa Vacker and Will Damron)

Singing along to: HEART-SHAPED BOX (cover) by Hermitude and STUPID LOVE by Lady Gaga

Watching: THE HALF OF IT -- a wonderful new film on Netflix I highly recommend if you need some joy in your life.

And with that...

Kat out x

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Tales from Wales


Thought I'd post an update, seeing as it's St. David's Day and I haven't posted here in a while.

Since we last spoke, the deliciously creepy UK cover for HARROW LAKE has been revealed...

...and the amazing VHS-style proofs have also been slithering out into the hands of readers:

Thanks to all who have posted early reviews so far (especially if you liked it!) You can add it to Goodreads here, or preorder it from pretty much anywhere that sells books (a selection of retailers and links are on the right-hand sidebar --->) 

Thank you sooooo much if you've preordered it -- it makes a huge difference!

This week I will be travelling to FrightFest in Glasgow to talk about my book and all the horror movies which inspired the story, and I'm really excited about that -- it will be Harrow Lake's first real public airing, and to an audience who expect to be scared. My people, in other words.

In non-Harrow-Lake news, today I posted a thread of #TalesFromWales on Twitter if you'd like to check that out for some awesome YA and MG reads.

And as I'm waaay behind on the new book (but it is at least starting to take shape at last -- HURRAY!) I'll leave you now with a quick snapshot of how I'm starting March:

Reading: A proof of WILDE, the delightfully witchy new MG by Eloise Williams (out this May)

Audiobooking: COLD STORAGE by David Koepp, read by Rupert Friend

Singing along to: LET ME FALL by DeathbyRomy, and Hermitude's cover of Nirvana's HEART-SHAPED BOX (both absolute bangers)

Watching: the new season of OUTLANDER, and as many horror films as I can -- WITHIN on Netflix was a recent watch which I found genuinely scary!

And with that...

Kat out x

Monday, 20 January 2020

Brain Clutter

Happy New Year! Yes, I know it's far too late to say that, and I respect the side-eye you're giving me. But as this is my first blog post of 2020, it had to be done.

Last time I posted an update here, I thought I would be muuuuuch further along with the draft of my next book (next-next book, technically), but I'm really not. I moved house a few months ago, and the new place needed (still needs) a ton of work, and that's been taking up a fair chunk of both my time and my brain-space lately. I work at home, so I find it hard to focus if the space around me is cluttered. So yes, WAH, I have been distracted, and am a smidge behind where I want to be in this draft.

On the plus-side, my lounge is really pretty. Want to see? Here's a before and after (sorry the pics are at clashing angles!):


Shout-out to the carpet which haunts my nightmares.


I think Pilot misses the scary carpet.

Now I have a wonderful, clutter-free space to work, so it's time to write ALL THE WORDS! (Let's not mention the rest of the house.)

So, what else has been happening?

Harrow Lake-wise, I've seen the amazing finished UK cover, and the equally amazing proof packaging, and I cannot wait for both to be unleashed over the next few weeks. I'm also starting to put dates in the ol' diary for speaking events, so if you're a YA event-going sort, you might just see me out in the wild this year. More on that as plans are confirmed.

I caught up on some reading over Christmas, managing to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge by the skin of my teeth; you can check out the books I read here. A last minute standout for me was an early copy I read of Wranglestone by Darren Charlton -- a love story about two boys in the middle of a snowy zombie apocalypse. It was a fantastic story, and you can pick up a copy when it releases next month if that sounds like your jam.

Also, earlier this month I went trampolining inside a Victorian mine, as you do.


I'll be back with an update when I have the all-clear to share any news/the UK Harrow Lake cover, but until then I'll leave you with some stuff I've been consuming lately.

Reading Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

Audiobooking The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

Singing along to Homeostasis by Nostalghia and After Dark by Mr Kitty

Watching Rick & Morty and Sex Education S2

Kat out x

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Harrow Lake has a cover! and other writing adventures

It's been a while, huh?

OK, more than a while. It's been almost a year since I last posted a writing update (sorry, sorry!) but that means this one is going to be good, right? RIGHT.

So, an update on my next book, Harrow Lake: I'm thrilled to say it is now in the proofreading stage, which means it's THISCLOSE to being in its final, polished form, ready for publication next summer (July in the UK, and August in the US). I am verrrrry excited to see my dark, twisty little book out there in the wild! And what face will it wear? Well, the US cover is now final, and this is it!

Isn't she a beaut?? If you click here you can also read an excerpt from the book on the Penguin Teen site. And the UK cover should be finalised soon, too, so I'll post that when the time comes. In the meantime, it is up on Goodreads, if you'd like to add it to your to-read list...? Please and thank you.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, Harrow Lake had its first toe-in-the-water outing at YALC in July, where the first chapters were featured in the Penguin super-ARC alongside their other new and upcoming YA titles.

Over the summer I also went away to teach a YA writing course with Rhian Ivory at Ty Newydd Creative Writing Centre in Llanystumdwy, West Wales.

Me & Rhian

It was such a wonderful week; Penny Thomas from Firefly Press came to give a really interesting and insightful talk about publishing, and all the writers were brilliant. Ty Newydd itself is just the perfect place to chill out and write. They have all kinds of courses and retreats there, so check those out if you could use some writing inspiration this year.

Speaking of retreats, I went on the most blissful writing retreat a few weeks ago. It was in Yorkshire, hosted by Rachael Lucas who is not only a brilliant author but an amazing chef. Having a cozy fire and wonderful food laid on all week led to some very productive writing time, and only one or two afternoon naps.

If you're looking for a writing retreat in the new year, Rachael will be hosting another one in January -- details here:

Aside from working on edits for the last few months, I've started writing what will hopefully be the book after Harrow Lake. At this point it's very first-drafty and messy, but I'm really enjoying getting back to writing after such a long time spent with my revision goggles on.

Online, I've been absent-ish while I focused on edits, but I did recently write about creating an immersive setting for Rebekah Joan's NaNoWriMo Survival Guide series, which you'll find here.

And in non-writing news, I moved house in May, and have been slowly doing the place up with my husband. (This might go some way to explaining why I've been a bit quiet on here.) But you'll be pleased to hear the cats have settled in well, and I have discovered a peculiar knack for growing cayenne chillis (yes, even in Wales in November). On a more disappointing note, the new house doesn't appear to be haunted. Not yet, anyway.

In September, I got to meet my wonderful critique partner Kate Brauning for the first time IRL while she and her husband Jesse were travelling Europe on a grand adventure. I took them to see a Welsh castle and a gaol, as you do.

Oh, and in October I went ziplining.

On which note, I'll leave you with some stuff I've been consuming lately.

Reading Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Audiobooking The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Singing along to 555 by Jimmy Eat World and Overdose by Grandson

Watching The End of the ****ing World (and highly anticipating the return of Rick & Morty!)

Kat out x

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Winter wrap-up! Books, writing & adventures...

Happy December!

To those who took part in NaNoWriMo last month: Congratulations! You survived! And whether you hit the 50k word target or not, you wrote at least part of a novel. In case you're curious, I wrote 18k words of a new book, and I am so, so pleased to now have that under my belt seeing as I'm due to start edits on Harrow Lake very soon (which is now on Goodreads btw, so please go and add it to your to-read shelf). I'm pretty excited to dive back into that dark little book, too.

I've been trying out a new writing tool/method while taking part in NaNo - a nifty index card system I learned about from author Susan Dennard in her recent newsletter. It has really been helping me to map out the plot, break it down into bite-sized chunks, and focus on one scene at a time without feeling like my brain is getting tangled trying to keep all the plot threads straight. Here's a link to Susan Dennard's video about it.

Aside from writing, I've had a few authorly adventures lately. First, I visited Dyserth Waterfall, which is partly responsible for inspiring the book I'm currently working on (imaginatively titled 'The Waterfall Book' for now).

This past weekend, my husband and I journeyed down to South Wales for a couple of events with wonderful Three Strikes co-author Lucy Christopher and editor Penny Thomas, who is the publisher at Firefly Press. The Cardiff event was chaired by Karen Bultiauw (organiser of YA Lit Cardiff events) at Cardiff Central Library - here are some pics taken by photographer Phillip Fayers.

L-R: Penny Thomas, me, Lucy Christopher, Karen Bultiauw (Chair)

L-R: Penny Thomas, me, Lucy Christopher

Me & Lucy signing copies of Three Strikes

The following day we moved on to Swansea Waterstones where Zoe James-Williams, artist and children's books reviewer for the South Wales Evening News, chaired a panel with Lucy and me. (This pic was nicked from Lucy's Instagram.)

I had so much fun at both events! If you missed them but would like to win a copy of Three Strikes signed by me and Lucy, YA Lit Cardiff are holding a giveaway on Twitter, so go and enter by 16th December. 

Firefly Press are also offering any of their books (including Three Strikes, Blackfin Sky, and Purge by me!) signed and dedicated if you order direct from them - details here. Books make brilliant Christmas presents, you know ;-)

In non-writing adventures, I recently visited Chester with my sister Alex and took a look around its beautiful cathedral. 

Reading-wise, I read 2 books I absolutely loved in November. They were:

Wax by Gina Damico is a brilliant horror-comedy about a girl named Poppy who uncovers a sinister conspiracy where lifelike wax figures are taking over the small town of Paraffin.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is a thriller which follows 16-year-old Monica's investigation into what really happened the year 5 cheerleaders from the town of Sunnybrook died, including Monica's older sister.

I hope to reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books read in 2018, though that will mean reading 7 in the month of December, so it might be a stretch!

I'll leave you with this snapshot of how I'm starting December.

Reading The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck and The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

Audiobooking When We Collided by Emery Lord

Singing along to Here I Am by Dolly Parton and Sia (from the Dumplin' soundtrack - I'm also thoroughly excited to watch this when it comes out on Netflix this month!) and You Should See Me in a Crown by Billie Eilish (which has the perfect vibe for my new book, btw.)

Watching A Discovery of Witches and Rick & Morty (what?)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all who celebrate at this time of year! I'll be back in early 2019 with new posts and updates on what's going on in my writing life.

For 2018...

Kat out x 

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Halloween wrap-up!

Helloooooo, and happy Halloweeeeeeeen! *waggles fingers in spooky fashion* As promised several weeks ago (eek!) it's time to wrap up what went on in September and October. Let's start with a bang, eh? 

I was over the moon to announce the deal for my next book, Harrow Lake, which will be hitting shelves in Summer 2020 (Penguin Random House Children's/Kathy Dawson Books). 

The wheeling and dealing which preceded that announcement was all going on while I was in Orlando, which was literally the most exciting trip in history (I mean, book deal emails pinging my phone while I was being chased through Universal Studios by evil clowns -- does it even get more surreal than that??)

This meant that I got to celebrate secretly before coming home, and celebrate again when the announcement came out, and then celebrate again when Three Strikes was published, and then celebrate again with Lucy Christopher, Rhian Ivory, Chelley Toy, Lauren James, and a room full of wonderful readers at the Birmingham launch last week. In other words, I got through some prosecco this month.

If you missed Birmingham but were hoping to catch a spooky Three Strikes chat with me, there will be at least 2 more chances - at Cardiff Library on 1st December, and at Swansea Waterstones on 2nd December. There are links on my 'Interviews & appearances' page if you want to get tickets for either of those. I'll also add any more events to that page as they are confirmed.

Now I'm working on what I hope will be the book after Harrow Lake, and I've been researching and making notes and starting to scratch out the bare bones of what I'm referring to as the waterfall book -- all in time to get really stuck in during November. I will be semi-NaNoWriMo-ing, if you want to join me; at least until/unless I have to switch to working on edits for Harrow Lake. I'm looking forward to both, so it should be a great month either way.

Speaking of November, it's my birthday next month, and so I think that calls for a giveaway! I have a few spare copies of some of my books, so I'll see what sort of book-and-swag prizes I can get together, and I'll put the details up here and on my Insta and Twitter. Watch this space around 11th November if you want to be in with a chance of winning :-)

Reading-wise, I haven't exactly been storming through my TBR lately, but I have read these since the last update:

Yes, Three Strikes counts, because I only wrote 1/3 of it. Of the other books I read, Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson was definitely my favourite, and one I highly recommend if you're after something spooky and funny this Halloween.

I'll leave you with a snapshot of how I'm starting November. 

Reading: A BLADE SO BLACK by L.L. McKinney

Audiobooking: THE CHEERLEADERS by Kara Thomas

Singing along to: JEALOUS SEA by Meg Myers, BLUR b and SCREWS by Dreamers (this one was playing constantly in Florida while I was there, so it has all good feels attached to it)

Watching: Riverdale (I blazed through Sabrina and Hill House, which were both fabulous)

For now...

Kat out x