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Catherine Forde - Author

About the Author

Cathy Forde worked as an English teacher before becoming an author. Her novel Fat Boy Swim was Shortlisted the Blue Peter Award and the British Book Trust Teenage Book Award in 2004. Cathy loves writing for teenagers and finds inspiration in the preoccupations of her teenage sons and their friends. She lives in Glasgow.

When did you start writing?

I always loved writing stories and poems in school, but didn’t start to write seriously until my younger son, Dec, went to school. That was nearly seven years ago now, and I can’t imagine NOT writing or thinking about writing every day.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere, and most of them develop from my own life and what goes on round about me. Maybe the way someone looks will start me thinking about a character, or I’ll go somewhere and hear a story about a place and the tiny nugget of an idea will start to grow. A lot of the time my two sons give me stories without realising it. They do something daft, or come away with a new word and I steal it from them. Please don’t tell them I said that or they’ll want payment!

How long does it take you to write a book?

My long novels take about a year to write, especially if I have to do research before I begin. Think Me Back, Fat Boy Swim and SKARRS each took a whole year to write and The Drowning Pond (2005), which I am still editing, has taken over a year because I am finding that other aspects of being a writer, such as doing talks in schools, interrupt my routine more and more. I’ve just finished writing a couple of shorter books in between edits of The Drowning Pond, and have worked on them very intensively for a couple of weeks each, and that’s been a whole new discipline for me.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?

First of all you have to read and read and read, and secondly you should get into the habit of writing regularly, even if it’s just a diary. Thirdly, you should take notes of all your good ideas, especially if they keep niggling at you.

Where do you write?

I work in a very cluttered room, on a very cluttered table by a window that lets in too much cold in the winter, and too much sun in the summer. Because all my books have taken shape at the same table, I’m a bit superstitious about making my writing spot more comfortable.

Who is your favourite character from all your books?

I’ll have to cheat and name three. Jimmy from Fat Boy Swim is the first. He just popped into my head fully formed and I think he’s really decent. GI Joe from Fat Boy Swim is another character I have a soft spot for because he is tough and kind and honest. My third favourite character is Grampa Dan from SKARRS. He is based on my dad who died of cancer just before I started writing SKARRS and before any of my novels were published. The ‘voice’ of Grampa Dan is my dad’s voice and the character is my tribute to him, from the way he talks to the music he loved.

Do you base your characters on real people?

Elements of most of my characters are partly based on real people. I’ll steal the way someone talks, or looks or behaves, but not a whole person. For example, Aunt Pol in Fat Boy Swim has lots of my sister Pauline in her character, and many of the teenage boys are inspired by my sons and their friends. I never, ever put anyone I don’t like in real life in my novels, but people who I’m fond of will often become cameos in my stories.

Who is your favourite author?

I have to cheat here and list a few. I know David Almond is considered a children’s writer but I think his work is stunning; spiritual and beautiful, and Skellig is one of my favourite reads of all time. My other favourite writers include Jamie O’Neill (‘At Swim, Two Boys’ my Top Read), John McGahern, Brian Moore, Pat Barker, Bernard MacLaverty, Rohinton Mistry, James Joyce and Charles Dickens. I could go on forever…

What was your favourite book when you were young?

I’m going to cheat again and list two. 1. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. 2. Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morley.

Featured books by Catherine Forde

Other books by Catherine Forde

Firestarter

Firestarter

Author: Catherine Forde Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 16/04/2015

"e;Firestarter"e; is an edgy and raw thriller from award-winning author Catherine Forde.Keith's new next-door neighbour Reece is strange and obsessed with fire. Reeesss who pronounces his name like gas leaking. Reece who makes three-year-old Annie laugh. Then burns her favourite rag doll. Keith knows he should ignore Reece but Reece is like smoke: he pervades every aspect of Keith's life. One night Keith wakes up choking on thick black smoke...

Drowning Pond

Drowning Pond

Author: Catherine Forde Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 16/04/2015

From award-winning author, Catherine Forde, comes The Drowning Pond, a gritty, fast-paced thriller for young adults.Nickys the least popular girl in school, and the glossy friends who were briefly interested in her are bored. Shell do anything to keep them. Nicky can get back in with the It crowd by picking on Loopy Loner Lizzie. Halloween at the Drowning Pond is about to become pure evil. Another chilling tale from the master of the gripping book for young adults, Catherine Forde. Warning: contains some violence.Praise for Catherine Fordes books for young adults:True to form, Sugarcoated is a caustic, abrasive thriller that burns to the heart of adolescent angst The Bookseller on SugarcoatedAnother gripping story . . . from an author who never disappoints Independent on Tug of WarA gripping and edgy thriller The Bookseller on FirestarterA novel that is both troubling and inspirational Guardian on SkarrsShould be force-fed to every secondary school child in the country Sunday Telegraph on Fat Boy Swim

Fifteen Minute Bob

Fifteen Minute Bob

Author: Catherine Forde Illustrator: 0 Format: eBook Release Date: 16/04/2015

From award-winning author, Catherine Forde, comes Fifteen Minute Bob, a coming-of-age story for the social-networking generation.Me and Dad? Well, were on opposite sides of a gaping fault-line . . . No actually were on different planets.Rorys dad is a struggling singer-songwriter and obsessed by one particular music legend. Despite years of failure, his music is all that matters nothing else: not job, not money, not even family. So Rorys home life is unpredictable enough. But when his two best mates hook up with his dad to release a music viral, everythingflips.Once again, Catherine Forde cooks up an authentic and moving book for young adults. Tackling troubling subjects such as family separation and loss, its an abrasive page-turner in the same vein as her other awards-nominated titles Firestarter and Skarrs.

Fat Boy Swim

Fat Boy Swim

Author: Catherine Forde Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2012

'Powerful, empowering... crackles with teenage anger and pain' - The Times From award-winning author, Catherine Forde, comes Fat Boy Swim, a story that will make you realise that anything is possible. Jimmy Kelly is fat. Lardy. Ginormous. Clinically obese. Inside, Jimmy doesn't feel like Smelly Kelly, Fat Boy Fat. He's just normal. His bedroom's a pit. His feet stink. He hates getting up on school mornings. If any of his classmates bothered to talk to him, instead of slagging him off, they'd find he was just as clued up as they were on films, on books, on telly, even on sport. But he wouldn't tell them that his secret talent is cooking. And Jimmy has another secret that even he doesn't know yet. A secret that will change him forever. Catherine Forde - author of Sugarcoated, Skarrs and Firestarter returns with a brilliant, bittersweet story of first love, forgiveness and a family coming to terms with the past. A gripping, emotive and insightful book for young adults. Perfect for readers who enjoyed Judy Blume's Blubber and fans of Annabelle Pitcher. Should be force-fed to every secondary school child in the country - The Sunday Telegraph This is a moving, tumultuous, roller-coaster, acid-etched story (with) a galaxy of distinctive, memorable characters - Bookseller Catherine Forde was discovered on the slush pile. Before turning to writing full time, she worked as a lexicographer for Collins and taught in secondary schools. She lives in Glasgow with her husband and two sons. All her books have received wide acclaim and Fat Boy Swim won the Grampian Children's Book Award and was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award and Booktrust Teenage Prize.

Fifteen Minute Bob

Fifteen Minute Bob

Author: Catherine Forde Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/05/2010

From award-winning author, Catherine Forde, comes Fifteen Minute Bob, a coming-of-age story for the social-networking generation. Me and Dad? Well, we're on opposite sides of a gaping fault-line ...No actually we're on different planets. Rory's dad is a struggling singer-songwriter and obsessed by one particular music legend. Despite years of failure, his music is all that matters - nothing else: not job, not money, not even family. So Rory's home life is unpredictable enough. But when his two best mates hook up with his dad to release a music viral, everything flips. Once again, Catherine Forde cooks up an authentic and moving book for young adults. Tackling troubling subjects such as family separation and loss, it's an abrasive page-turner in the same vein as her other awards-nominated titles Firestarter and Skarrs.

Tug of War

Tug of War

Author: Catherine Forde Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2008

From award-winning author, Catherine Forde, comes Tug of War, a heart-warming story about one girl's choices. In 2012 The Emergency begins as terrorist bombs shatter cities around the UK and wreak havoc on normal life. Molly's parents decide to send her and her brother, John, away from Glasgow to safety in the countryside. Molly is sent to Paradise Farm where she is cared for by Pernilla, who has always wanted a child, and gives Molly everything she desires. Pernilla's youthful enthusiasm is in stark contrast to Molly's own frumpy, daggy mum. Molly is so caught up in her new life that she fails to take action when her friend, Fergal, tells her that John has been sent to live with an abusive farmer. It is not until her mother comes to visit that Molly realises how important her family is, and how close she is to losing them. But now she has to make a choice: Eeny-Meeny Miny mum. Who will Molly choose? Praise for Catherine Forde's books for young adults: 'True to form, Sugarcoated is a caustic, abrasive thriller that burns to the heart of adolescent angst' - The Bookseller on Sugarcoated 'Another gripping story ...from an author who never disappoints' - Independent on Tug of War 'A gripping and edgy thriller' - The Bookseller on Firestarter 'A novel that is both troubling and inspirational' - Guardian on Skarrs 'Should be force-fed to every secondary school child in the country' - Sunday Telegraph on Fat Boy Swim

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