Find out what Christmas means for Jaimie Admans and her newest heroine, Mistletoe Bell!

This week sees the release of Jaimie’s newest offering, North Pole Reform School, a YA romantic comedy.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – nobody writes quite like Jaimie Admans, she has a refreshing and original voice and I absolutely love her books. North Pole Reform School is no different and people who love Christmas films like Elf will absolutely love this book! So… here’s my Q&A with Jaimie.
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1. What’s your first Christmas memory?
I remember waking up to find my mum putting a stocking full of presents at  the end of the bed! I don’t know how old I was, probably 4 or 5, but it was the  first time I realised Santa wasn’t real! I don’t remember being overly  traumatised by it so maybe I suspected he wasn’t real anyway!
2. What’s your best Christmas memory?
I don’t know! I have loads of good memories of Christmas when I was little!  I loved having all the family in and all the presents stacked under the tree,  and I was the one responsible for handing them out when I was barely old enough  to be able to read the names on them! I remember jumping on my mum’s bed at 4am  when I knew she’d got me the Princess Jasmine doll I’d wanted for ages! The  Christmas our dog ate the whole tree and most of the presents under it was  pretty fun too in a disastrous kind of way! I think overall my favourite memory  is rushing downstairs at ridiculous-o’clock every morning in December to eat the  advent calendar chocolate and sing Christmas songs when everyone else was still  asleep! My family must’ve hated me in December!
3. Can you tell us anything about the parents that were strange/ mental  enough to call their baby Mistletoe Bell?
They’re completely mad about Christmas! Her dad works as a Santa in a  supermarket and her mum wants to be a Mrs-Claus-esque host of the perfect  Christmas! They had their first kiss under the mistletoe at a Christmas party,  and when Mistletoe was born on Christmas Eve, they thought it was some kind of  sign that she should be lumbered with an embarrassing Christmassy name for the  rest of her life! Of course, they think it’s the loveliest name ever and don’t  think it’s embarrassing at all! The book starts when Mis gets whisked away in  the middle of the night to North Pole Reform School so her parents aren’t in it  much, and I did cut a lot of their scenes and backstory as I wanted the book to  mostly focus on Mistletoe and Luke – the boy she meets at the reform  school!
4. This book seems very much to have the Jaimie Admans trademark surreal  vibe, despite the fact that it’s a Christmas tale – where do your influences  come from?
Ha ha! I think I just have a really weird, slightly disturbing imagination!  People do mention Tim Burton a lot in relation to my writing, and I have to  admit that I absolutely adore him, but I don’t think he directly influences me!  The whole idea for this story came from a newspaper headline – it was about a  window cleaner dressed as an elf who was cleaning windows while balancing  precariously on a ledge, with no harness or anything. The headline was ‘Elf and  Safety’, and it immediately put an image into my head of elves in a classroom,  learning the elf equivalent of our health and safety practices. Somehow that  turned into an image of elves in a classroom teaching humans the same thing, and  the whole idea of a North Pole school was born, and ‘elf and safety’ became a  class that the Christmas-haters have to take in the book!
5. A bit random… what’s your favourite Christmas song and why?
Up until a few years ago it was Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues, but  now it’s My Favourite Time Of Year by The Florin Street Band! It’s just such a  lovely, old-fashioned Christmas song! I fell in love with it as soon as I heard  it! And it’s got such a snowy, Christmassy video! (Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10f2w7T5CU)  I even managed to work a mention of it into North Pole Reform School!
6. Do you still believe in Santa? If so, what have you asked him for this  year?
Of course! You can’t write Christmas books and not believe in Santa! That’s  the kind of thing that gets you a lump of coal in your stocking on Christmas  morning! Seriously, I love all things Christmas, including Santa, and I actually  wish he was real! How awesome would that be? I honestly don’t know what to ask  him for this year, unless he could provide a winning lottery ticket? A winning  lottery ticket and a massive box of Ferrero Rocher, please Santa!
If you’d like to grab a copy of North Pole Reform School, you can buy from Amazon here. You can also check out Jaimie’s other titles and find out more about her by going to her website.
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Sneak Peek at Not Pretty Enough by Jaimie Admans

So, this is the second ARC I’ve been lucky enough to read this month and this one will have you grinning all over your face.  Even I was a bit in love with Lloyd as Chessie obsessed over him!  It’ s due for release early next month, you lucky people, so enjoy this excerpt and watch for more news from Jaimie herself by checking out her website: www.jaimieadmans.com or following her on Twitter

npe-cover-done-500NOT PRETTY ENOUGH:

“New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Lloyd Layton will know I exist. He once said three whole words to me, so this is obviously progress. If I don’t get a proper conversation out of him soon, then I’ll take my top off and streak through the cafeteria, because nobody could fail to notice these boobs.

2. I will not get expelled for streaking through the cafeteria.”

Those are the words that begin her mission.

Chessie is fourteen, not pretty enough, and very much in love. Lloyd Layton is hot, popular, and unaware of Chessie’s existence.

Her goal is clear: to get Lloyd to love her as much as she loves him, and she has exactly one year to do it.

As Chessie’s obsession with Lloyd reaches boiling point and she starts to spin a web of lies that spiral out of control, Lloyd turns out to be not quite the prince she thought he was. Can Chessie avoid the gathering storm before things go too far?

Not Pretty Enough is a contemporary young adult comedy suitable for ages thirteen and over.

Book two in the series will be released early 2014.

EXCERPT:

I stare at the back of Lloyd’s shaggy brown hair as I follow him across the yard. He doesn’t know I’m following him, of course. I’m not even following him, not really. Not this time, anyway. Debs and I are just casually strolling across the yard towards the buses and he happens to be in front of us.

“Chessie!” Debs shouts at me just a second too late as I walk smack bang into the side of a bus.

Ouch.

Lloyd turns around at the sound of the clattering thunk I make.

Usually I like the sound of Lloyd’s laugh, but not today. Not when he’s laughing at me.

“You couldn’t have told me just a second earlier?” I ask Debs.

“Sorry,” she says. “I was talking to you and didn’t realise you weren’t listening until it was too late.”

Luckily the bus I’ve just walked into happens to be our bus, and I throw myself onto it with such force that I nearly come out the other side.

“You all right, love?” The driver asks. I ignore him and heave myself down into my seat with a huff.

I am all right. My boobs are so large they hit the bus before the rest of me did, otherwise I’d probably have a bruised face as well as the bruised ego. Once, just once, couldn’t these things happen to me when Lloyd isn’t watching? It’s not too much to ask, is it?

“Maybe if you spent more time watching where you were going and less time watching Lloyd, these things wouldn’t happen in front of him,” Debs says.

I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

“But he’s just so… watchable.”

“I’m pretty sure he’s talkable to as well, you know, if you tried.”

The thing is, I have tried. Lloyd brings out the worst in me. He brings out the most nervous, clumsiest, downright embarrassing side of me that doesn’t even exist unless he’s in the immediate vicinity. Well, maybe it exists but it doesn’t show half as much if Lloyd’s not there.

“Why don’t you?” Debs is saying. “Just go and talk to him. You’re a great girl. He’d be lucky to have you.”

“Oh, please. Lloyd is popular, rich, and gorgeous. He doesn’t even have to get a bus to school, the lucky bugger. I’m the complete opposite.”

No one even knows where Lloyd Layton lives. He has a taxi bringing him to school every morning and picking him up outside the gate every afternoon. I get to ride on this rustbucket with Debs twice a day. He’s popular, always surrounded by a gang of equally popular mates, and always the first to be picked for sports teams. I’m unpopular, always surrounded by no one but Debs, and always the absolute last to be picked for sports teams.

“Come on, Chessie,” Debs says. “You’re not ugly and you’re not unpopular. No one dislikes you.”

“No one particularly likes me either.”

“I particularly like you. Ewan does too. We’re your friends.”

“I love you for trying to make me feel better but I’m average all round and you know it. The only person who has any feelings towards me whatsoever is Leigh, and she intensely dislikes me.”

“Leigh is just a bitch. She intensely dislikes everything.”

Leigh Marlow is our class bully. She walks around the school like she owns the place, flanked on either side by two other bullies who think the sun shines out of her backside. If she doesn’t get what she wants, someone gets hurt. What she wants this year is our friend Ewan, who isn’t interested in her in the slightest. She thinks this is somehow our fault, so Debs and I are her current targets. Me in particular.

This is why I made those resolutions. Not because of Leigh, but because I have to do something. I’m sick of being the girl who doesn’t stand out. I doubt most of the kids in my form could even tell you my name, and I’ve been in class with them for over two years. I get good enough marks but never good marks. I’ve never done anything memorable in my life. The most memorable thing about me is the size of my boobs and how frizzy my hair goes in the rain.

So I’m going to make Lloyd Layton fall in love with me. On most days it seems like the unlikeliest thing that could ever happen, because apart from those three little words last month, he barely even glances in my direction. I want to prove to myself that I can do things if I put my mind to it. I’m not pretty, I’m not smart, but I think Lloyd and I have lots of deeper, more important things in common, and I want to prove to people like Leigh that looks don’t matter, and not being as pretty as her isn’t the end of the world.

 

 

Jaimie Admans, author of Afterlife Academy, talks chocolate, Angry Birds and pink hair.

I’m thrilled to welcome another indie author, the delightful Jaimie Admans, to the blog to face my questions.  Jaimie’s first YA novel, Afterlife Academy, is due out 15th March and I can’t wait to read it. So, here she is to face the music…

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If you don’t already know, what star sign do you think your main character is?

Ooh, now that’s something I never thought of when writing this book! I think Riley is a Leo. She’s quite fiery, I think she’s quite arrogant in the beginning, and she’s impatient and proud, and she has a great sense of humour!

If you could be friends in real life with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I really like Anthony. He grew and changed a lot as I was writing him, he ended up being a lot nicer and more fun than I had originally intended, and I ended up really enjoying writing him. He’s a bit of a geek and was meant to be quite boring, but he turned out to be funny and really supportive! He’d be a great friend to have!

Have you ever written a character that you’ve disliked so much you’ve scrapped them from a work?

Not yet! I think dislikeable characters are really fun to write! I don’t write straight-up evil villains as such, but writing unlikeable, nasty characters is great fun! I like it when they’re not outright evil but you have to gradually show their true colours through their actions.

Which of your characters would frighten you if you met them in real life?

Eliza Carbonell, who is the headmistress of AfterlifeAcademy. She’s pretty strict and you don’t want to go against what she says. I think she’s quite reasonable and understanding sometimes, usually in that “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” way, but things would get pretty scary if you step out of line once too often!

Describe your book in one word.

Death-after-life. The hyphens make it one word, right? Right?

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Chocolate-loving, pink-haired, tattooed, procrastinating writer!

Do you ever consult friends when you’re stuck with a plot?

No. I can’t bring myself to talk about works in progress. It’s the fear of never finishing something and having to admit you’ve failed. It’s only when I have a decent draft, usually the second, that I know can be fixed and edited into some sort of readable shape that I can bring myself to start telling people anything about it!

What’s your personal kryptonite?

Procrastinating. Honestly, it would be amazing the amount of things I could do if I just got on with it! I always say I need more hours in the day, but if I stopped fizzing around aimlessly on the internet, I could get much more done! I have new book ideas to write and books to edit, a TBR pile so large I can’t see the top of it, and a to-do list as long as both my arms, and yet I still manage to find the time to play Scrabble and Angry Birds on my phone when I should be doing something else!

If you could converse, a la Dr Dolittle, with one type of animal, which would it be and why?

I’d love to be able to talk to my own dog, a Chihuahua called Bruiser, I reckon he’d have some good things to say, although he’d probably tell me to get off the internet and get writing! It would be great to be able to talk to dogs. Dogs know all their owners secrets – mine certainly does!

Tea or coffee?

TEA! How could you even ask me that?! Tea is an absolute necessity, and I am absolutely addicted to it. I can’t function in the mornings without a cuppa! I can’t stand coffee – I don’t mind coffee flavoured things like cake or ice cream, but coffee itself is vile! Tea all the way!

Find out more about Jaimie and her books at the following locations:

http://www.jaimieadmans.com
http://twitter.com/be_the_spark
http://facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks