The Next Big Thing…

So, I’ve been tagged as part of an internet meme (horrid word. Also odd, as I thought memes were mostly pictures of cats doing amusing things or pseudo-political captions on pictures of sunsets, but I digress…). Last week was Veronique Martin (lovely French writer, good haircut, husband looks like Dexter). You can read about her Next Big Thing here:

And you can read about mine below…


What’s the title of your next book?

Life on Other Planets

Where did the idea come from?

This is the seventh in the Rachel Riley series, which sees her turn eighteen, finish high school, and attempt to leave the tragically normal Saffron Walden behind.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s teen comedy. That said I know many grown-ups who are huge fans. As well as some eleven year olds (whose mums are clearly not fazed by the use of the words “knob” or “mentalist”).

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie?

Well, the book is somewhat autobiographical, so that’s like asking who would play the teen me in the movie of my life. So, someone geeky, awkward, with bad hair: Alia Shawkat or Lena Dunham, maybe? 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Smalltown girl decides to escape smalltown to find fame, fortune and man who stirs her in pants-based area.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s being published by OUP in March 2014.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About four months. Though there was a lot of faffing for months beforehand.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s a kind of inverse Princess Diaries so Meg Cabot fans, and also fans of Grace Dent’s Diary of a Chav and Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson books might also like it.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I got tired of books always being about troubled teens. Not all of us, thankfully, have or had drug habits or unwanted pregnancies or abusive parents. Though at the time I would have given my right arm for one of these. I wanted to reflect that, and show that there is drama, comedy and tragedy in the normal.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A man called Pig, a cat called Nietzsche, and Aled Jones.

Who are you passing the baton to for next week’s Next Big Thing?

To my friends, and almost neighbours:

Catherine Bruton (

and Cathy Hopkins (

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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1 Response to The Next Big Thing…

  1. Sounds great and both my daughter and I will look forward to it. (Loved your comment about the eleven year old daughter’s mums.)

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