YA Shot 2018 Tour – Featuring Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Hi Everyone! Today, I’m happy to invite a couple of guests to Arkham Reviews in order to tell you a bit about YA Shot.

For those of you who are new to this blog, YA Shot is a one-day even that brings together a whole host of young adult and middle grade authors from the UK. It’s basically a massive celebration of that showcases the best of writing for young readers, promoting the joy of reading and inspiring a passion of writing.

This year’s YA Shot takes place on 14th April 2018 and is venue is the Hillingdon Civic Centre, Uxbridge Library and Uxbridge Waterstones. It features a programme of workshops, panels and book signings. If you’re interested, you should totally check out their website – http://www.yashot.co.uk/ – which has details about the events, the authors involved and where you can buy a ticket.

Two of the writers who are taking part in YA Shot this year are Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, who are the authors of The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy. If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that I’ve spoken about each of these books – The Witch’s Kiss, The Witch’s Tears and The Witch’s Blood – over the last couple of months, so feel free to head over to those posts if you want to read more. This post is also part of the official book tour for The Witch’s Blood which was released last week. Check out the bottom of this post for more information about the other stops.

Please read on to learn a little more about these authors, and have a chance to win a copy of the The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy for yourself!


An Interview with Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Lacock Abbey Cloisters

Tell us a little about yourselves. Perhaps something that not many people know?

Kate: I was on Multi-coloured Swap Shop (a kids’ Saturday morning TV show) when I was 10, on their Junior Mastermind competition. I gave my occupation as ‘brownie’.

Liz: Straight after uni I worked in advertising for a bit. I was on the L’Oreal account, because I was totally worth it.


What books did you love when you were teens?

Liz: Particular favourites were The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (we’ve both written at length about how much we love that series) and Stranger With My Face by Lois Duncan (still scary). In general, I read a lot of Isaac Azimov and Terry Pratchett.

Kate: I got into Jane Austen when I was about 13, and discovered Lord of the Rings at 15 (cue much time spent trying to learn Elvish). I loved the Gormenghast Trilogy, especially Fuschia – I was so upset when she died that I wrote terrible, angsty poetry about it. I also read a LOT of Star Trek novels.


If you weren’t writers, what would your dream jobs be?

Kate: Astronaut (though I’m not that good at maths so I might blow up my spaceship/rocket/space station).

Liz: Vampire slayer. Or copy editor.


As writers, what creatures would you choose to be your mascots or spirit animals?

Kate: A black swan because a) that’s my Patronus and b) they look really calm and elegant on the surface, but underneath there’s a lot of frantic paddling. It’s a perfect symbol for a writer.

Liz: An Alaskan Malamute. Nanook (the dog Sam has in The Lost Boys) is an Alaskan Malamute. He was beautiful and loyal, and I always was obsessed with The Lost Boys.


If you learned that you were witches, what kind of spell would you cast first?

Kate: Ooh, that’s a tough one! I’d like to think I’d use my power to fix some of the problems in the world, but realistically my first spell would probably be the Cinderella spell Merry mentions in The Witch’s Tears: one sip of the potion and you’re the most gorgeous you it’s possible to be. It would be fantastic to have good skin for once in my life…

Liz: The broomstick spell that our witches use in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. It’s a basic transportation spell and it would be super useful because I’m always running late.


In your books, one of the most important themes is the relationship between Merry and her brother, Leo. Is this at all based on your own relationship as sisters?

Kate: Very much so. We’re really close – we always were as kids, and when our mum died we began to rely even more on each other.

Liz: It would be really hard to write a book with someone you weren’t very close to, I think, especially as we’re writing from just one POV. We would have both liked a brother, though, so Leo is kind of a fantasy sibling for both of us.


Why did you choose to write a young adult series about witches?

Kate: I’ve always been fascinated by witches as women who break the mould. Historically, women were often accused of witchcraft because they didn’t fit in or they were too outspoken. In fiction, especially fairy tales, witches are women with power, women who don’t need men or marriage. The witch is always a more interesting character than the princess.

Liz: We’ve always loved fantasy, and witches are a big part of so many fantasy worlds. It seemed natural to write something about a young witch who was just learning about her power and about the magical world around her.


Do you read reviews of your own books? How do you deal with any negative ones?

Kate: I read reviews if we’re tagged in them, but otherwise I steer clear to be honest!

Liz: Well, I know that the recommendation is not to read them, but sometimes I just can’t resist. Positive reviews are fantastic, and negative ones – I know everyone has them, so the key is not to take it personally. Books are subjective, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. Luckily, we get far more positive reviews than negative ones, and the sheer enthusiasm of some of our readers is too good to miss out on!


Do you believe in writer’s block?

Kate: I think so. Sometimes it’s really hard to get the words to flow, even if you know what you want to say. The only thing to do is to put something down; it might well be rubbish but it’s something to work from.

Liz: I’d agree. We’re lucky: if one of us is having trouble with a chapter, the other one will hopefully have some insight or suggestion that will move things on. It’s always worth having a chat with an interested friend if you’re stuck.


What do you view as common traps for aspiring writers?

Kate: I would say, not finishing a draft. That often goes hand in hand with starting to edit before you get to the end of the first draft. It’s so easy to write three chapters, then get stuck, then start editing the stuff you’ve written rather than force yourself to keep going, but if you don’t finish the first draft there’s never going to be a book.

Liz: That’s true. I’d add, don’t be put off by rejection. Every writer gets rejected, published authors as well new writers. You just have to believe in your work and keep going.


Why did you decide to get involved with YA Shot?

Kate: We were first invited by Alexia Casale, the founder of YA Shot, and obviously we said yes because she’s such a talented and wonderful person!

Liz: But even if we hadn’t known her, we would have wanted to be involved because of the ethos of YA Shot. It’s all about encouraging reading, supporting public and school libraries, and making sure that opportunities to pursue a career in the arts is open to all. These are all things we’re passionate about.


The Witch’s Blood was the final instalment of your trilogy. What are you planning to do next?

Kate: We’re working with our agent on a number of things at the moment. A couple of middle grade projects, a couple of YA projects….

Liz: We’re sad to have reached the end of Merry and Leo’s story, at least for the time being, but it’s fun to be able to explore other imaginary worlds and characters!



The good people at HarperCollins UK have very kindly agreed to provide a set of the complete series to one very lucky reader – that’s three lovely books so you can enjoy Merry’s magical battle to save her family from dark wizards from start to finish!

The contest runs from now until 12th April 2018 at 12am GMT and is open to all residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

If this sounds good to you, please click on the link below to be taken to the giveaway.



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