What was your top read of this year?

I’ve read a lot of books I really enjoyed this year, but I want to flag up two that I read because I felt I should and then found myself completely bowled over by. The first was One by Sarah Crossan which won this year’s YA Book Prize and the Carnegie Medal (you can read my review here). The second is the book I reviewed just last week, Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, which is in the running for this year’s Costa Book Prize.

Have you come across any new authors that you’d recommend?

Having come across Elizabeth Wein’s books several times and never got around to reading one, this year, one her books came into focus just when I needed to buy one of my daughters a birthday present. She raced through Codename Verity and then so did I (review here). Total genius writing that I am in awe of, gripping, clever, funny, moving. Of course, I have now bought her other books.

What books are you looking forward to reading next year?

I’m very excited that Patrick Ness has a new book out in 2017, because I am a huge Patrick Ness fangirl. I’m also looking forward to Juno Dawson’s new book Margot and Me which is out very soon and (I think) involves a present day character and one from the past. I’ll also be reading Philip Reeve’s sequel to Railhead. For me, Philip Reeve is the absolute master of creating new and believable worlds. And besides, trains that can think? It’s a must-read!

Can your readers expect something new from you next year?

I’m hoping to get a new book out in the autumn. In the back of Gingerbread & Cupcake I promised a book with a definitively happy ending and this is going to be it. It’s still in the very early stages, so all I can really tell you is that it’s set in Lawton College, the sixth form that the characters in my other books go to, but it’s earlier in the time frame, when they’ve all just started there.

What are you going to be working on next year?

Being the desperately organised type that I am, I’ve got a spreadsheet of all the work I’m planning to do in 2017. First, I’m going to redraft and polish a book involving witches that I’ve been working on some time. Then I’ll be writing, editing and releasing my new Lawton College book. Towards the end of the year I’ll be starting to write a second book in my witch series. I’ve even allotted myself a week off here and there!

Do you have a book-related New Year’s Resolution?

YES! Next year I’m planning to make regular use of the public library. You can read why here.

img_0291What are you hoping to get in your Christmas stocking?

There aren’t going to be a whole lot of presents in my family this year because we’re going away to France. My suitcase will be full of things for my daughters’ Christmas stockings, because they absolutely can’t do without stockings. For me, the best bit of Christmas is having everyone around and feeding them.


What’s your favourite Christmas food?

I love stuffing, but only if I’ve made it myself – sausagemeat (squeezed out of actual sausages rather than the pink stuff that comes in packets), chestnut purée, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, seasoning. Mmm! I’m also fond of Christmas cake and we always have a massive one that lasts us almost until my husband’s birthday in Februrary!

Claire Watts

Claire Watts writes and edits fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults.

Her new YA novel, Gingerbread & Cupcake, is just out. 


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