The Jewel looks very exciting and certainly captures the current zeitgeist of YA dystopian fiction for young adults. Who or what were your main influences when you were plotting and devising The Jewel?
I can’t say if there was a particular book or author that influenced The Jewel. I love reading all types of books, but I do adore fantasy and anything that has good world building and fast paced storytelling. That’s the sort of book I like to read, so that’s the type of book I was hoping to write. I knew I wanted the world to be glamorous but dark. For the aesthetic, I looked at early twentieth century England. I watched a lot of Downton Abbey (research can be so fun sometimes) and did a lot of image searching. When I was constructing the royalty, I looked to pre-revolutionary France. The royal family was obscenely wealthy while the rest of the country was starving. I wanted to reflect that dynamic in the Lone City.
As a writer of dark dystopian YA fiction, in your opinion why do you think it has become such a hugely popular and identifiable genre for teenagers?
Dystopia allows an author to tell stories in a heightened setting, to explore a common theme or struggle in a fantastical way. And I think teens are drawn to that type of storytelling, looking for worlds that are so different from their own, yet with characters and situations they can relate to. It allows them to put themselves in the same heightened setting, and think “What would I do?”
What can we expect from books two and three in the trilogy that you’re willing to reveal?
You can definitely expect to see more of the other circles of the Lone City! And meet some fun new characters.
Can you tell us which writers you’re enjoying reading at the moment?
I just finished Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss, which I absolutely loved!
Do you ever imagine how a film adaptation of your books might look? If you were in charge of casting, who would you like to see playing Violet?
I would faint if this book became a film. And then I would ask to be at all the costume fittings, because I can only imagine what an actual costume designer might come up with for this world! If I could choose who would play Violet, I’d pick Chloe Grace Moretz. I think she’s fantastic.
On your Twitter about me, you have stated you’re a lover of cheese. Can you name your favourite cheese, please?
Ah don’t make me! That’s like asking me to name my favourite book. The cheese I eat most frequently is string cheese. I know, it’s weird, but I love it. Other than that, I adore a good sharp cheddar, or a rich creamy brie, or a nice manchego…yeah. I can’t decide.