Tag Archives: ava bloomfield

And the novella is live!

Bazinga!

Never Grow Up - High Resolution

Never Grow up is available now on Amazon. Remember I told you ’bout it the other day?

“It’s a funny, upbeat coming of age story about Jude, a tomboy who never wants to grow up. She just wants to live. It’s a quirky little read, filled with letters and texts and lamenting teen rants with an optimistic little sister, a swiftly changing best friend, a despairing dad, a jet-setting older sister and a band called The Manic Flamingos.

This sweet tale is told in just over 21,000 words.”

I also told you it’d be up for 99p, and it is. Alternatively, ask me for a copy! I’ll happily oblige. ❤

Forthcoming Guest Blog & New Novella!

Hurro!

So, on 16th of February, I will be guest blogging over at Shannon A. Thompson’s blog, talking about writing relatable teenage characters. I’m mega excited. Coinsiding with that will be the release of my new novella, Never Grow Up, about how one summer changes the course of a girl’s life and rockets her into the oblivion of adulthood.

Never Grow Up - High Resolution

It’s a funny, upbeat coming of age story about Jude, a tomboy who never wants to grow up. She just wants to live. It’s a quirky little read, filled with letters and texts and lamenting teen rants with an optimistic little sister, a swiftly changing best friend, a despairing dad, a jet-setting older sister and a band called The Manic Flamingos.

This sweet tale is told in just over 21,000 words and will be available on Kindle very soon for about 99p.

As ALWAYS, I’ll be giving away copies via Twitter, here, or anywhere you can find me. If I don’t thrust it in your face, just ask and I’ll oblige.

Honestly, this was such a pleasure to write. It’s a straight-up story of a girl’s choices at 18, when she doesn’t really want to make any. It’s about how one summer can change your life. Given that Honest is a very dark story with an unreliable narrator, this was just so refreshing. I’m hoping to pepper by full novels with novellas, to ease the transition from story to story.

They’re all stand alones, after all, so it’s important to get it across to readers that each book is about a very complex, very different character. I never write the same girl twice and their stories are wildly different. Indeed, they’re from all different walks of life, and that’s what makes it such a pleasure for me. I feel like I’ve got friends all over the place and I’m the one who gets to tell their story.

I think that’s why writing is just the best fun in the world. I’d recommend it to anyone. There’s no better escape!

Best wishes and snippy snappies,

Ava

Post-Halloween foot-shuffling

Riiiiight. So I just had a pretty long break from blogging right after announcing a giveaway, didn’t I? Well, fortunately that gave Goodreaders plenty of time to add my books, of which there’ve been a pleasant few, so thank you!

I seriously can’t wait to get them out there, and I’m keeping my promise. Those who add my (e)books will get a free copy. When one has no budget for wonderful websites like Netgalley, one’s only choice is to distribute old-fashioned freebies.

Anyway, on to the excuses. RIGHT out of the blue, I found myself flat-hunting and preparing for jury service (all right, the jury part was known for a while, but not coinciding with an entire flat move!) in the run up to Christmas. Seriously, those two very stressful things collided and I almost can’t believe it’s all over. As if moving wasn’t horrible enough, I.E ‘Eurgh! So  much dust!’ and ‘WHY DO I KEEP SO MUCH CRAP?!’ and ‘I’M NEVER LIVING IN AN UPSTAIRS FLAT AGAIN!’, it had to happen on the weekend smack-bang before I started my “civic duty”.

So basically, in between tearing handfuls of my hair out and fretting over my expenses forms to make up for the lack of transcribing I’d be doing for 2 weeks, I was forced to put all bookish thoughts out of my mind. My own books, that is; of course I had time to read for pleasure during those annoying, lengthy waits in the juror’s room.

So there we have it. Before Christmas arrives I plan to get some day-job work done, finish squeezing my bank balance and get cracking on the ebooks. I never expected such a massive delay to occur, but I’m not Wonder Woman and so I was forced to just take a breather and stop expecting myself to build Rome in a day, as they say.

Now, onwards and upwards!

New WIP completed!!

YAY!

 

Yesterday, I finished my romantic ghost story at 78,000 words. I’m hoping by the time I’ve gone through the first draft and started my first go of edits, it’ll end up at a round 80k – just because. If the story doesn’t demand it, then I won’t worry about it so much.

My working title was originally “Prom Spirit”, because it’s about a girl who dies on prom night and ends up in limbo, where she meets Zachary, a boy who died on his prom night in the 80s. So, those two words just kinda made sense.

I’m now working with the title “Beyond”, because that’s what these guys are searching for – the path to whatever is beyond limbo, the bleak, grey world between life and death.

 

So here’s loosely what it’s about. I’ve only just completed the first draft, so forgive me if this seems a bit rusty (and it will!):

About our characters:

Our main gal, 16 year old Jamie, is battling with the loss of her own life, and dealing with the betrayal of her best friend, all from beyond the grave. When she glimpses her loved ones’ future, she is terrified that her death will set them all on the wrong paths; will her sister give up ballet and become a shrinking violet? Will her best friend end up in an unhappy relationship with Jamie’s ex, Ted? Will her parents ruin their marriage? Jamie decides she can’t let that happen – not if she has the power to set things right. Jamie must tread the fine line between ‘just visiting’…and haunting.

Zachary, a moody yet sentimental dancer, is hiding a dark secret about his death and the circumstances surrounding it. With nobody to confide in and all his resentment bottled up inside, he has lived alone in limbo for 29 years, refusing to make peace with his past and all the memories that haunt him. Zachary doesn’t do haunting; he lives in the now, and that’s how he likes it. Until Jamie comes along, that is, and turns all his stubborn ways and everything he’d grown to understand on its head.

Jamie knows they need to work together, because – duh! – she’s see the film Ghost and knows how these afterlife deals work. It’s Zachary that’s the problem – all he wants is somebody to dance with, and she wants to crack on with the haunting. They can’t faff around with flying mopeds and dancing ghosts; joy amongst death is impossible. Besides, Zachary is keeping something from her, and falling for somebody you can’t trust is dangerous…even if he’s the last ghost on earth.

 

About their world:

Limbo, the world Jamie and Zachary inhabit as ghosts, is their own town – but it’s cold, isolated and deserted. The sun shines, but there is no warmth; the flowers bloom, but their petals hold no colour. Their world is a cool shade of grey, surrounded by an eerie, mysterious green aura. If they ever hope to see the world in all its beauty again, they must make peace with their life on earth.

That is, if they can dodge the lightning. With every visit made to a loved one, a storm brews. If Jamie can’t keep herself from the land of the living, then she might just get stuck there; separating her from Zachary and whatever lies beyond for good.

It’s a fine line they’re treading. On one hand they’ve got a whole world to themselves; a world where their imaginations rule and almost anything is possible. On the other, they have a duty to discover what their unfinished business is to earn their passage to the afterlife – if there even is one!

Jamie discovers that it isn’t so easy to let go and forget, and while she’s doing unimaginable things in Limbo, her loved ones in The Living are falling apart.

——————————————

So that’s the premise, in a nut shell. I always find it incredibly difficult to condense the story into some kind of blurb or teaser that people just read and instantly understand. I tend to over-think things, start rambling, and lose sight of the key facts. /sigh

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to start editing soon, get this thing beta read, and then work towards getting the manuscript as polished as I can. Not bad for my  seventh completed book! That’s right, seven – of which only about three or four are any good for publishing, in my opinion. Actually, probably everybody’s opinion. D:

So if you’re reading this and you’d like to be a beta reader for my contemporary/spooky tale, please contact me! I need you! 🙂

 

The Books that Made Me

Getting to knoooow you…Getting to know aaaaall abooooou-

 

Enough of that.

 

So given that this is a new blog, I think it’s a cracking good idea that I reveal just a few tidbits about me to get you, the reader – yes, you – interested. Maybe we’ll find some common ground, or maybe we’ll discover that we have absolutely NOTHING in common. But, none the less, you shall know a little bit more about me. And that’s a good thing.

ME, me, meee.

 

A little idea I had was to include a few books that “made me”, as in, books that inspired me growing up. Would you like that? Yes?

Well then, if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin.

 

I discovered what an “author” was when I was about four, I think – around the same time I realised what books were, and that there were lots of them and that I could live thousands of different exciting lives all whilst sitting still. By the time I was about 6, I think, I had decided that the author life was for me. Before then, I’d just thought that books came down from space and that authors were people who sat on different moons and sort of showered them down from the galaxy – not real, living, normal people like me.

For a start, how on earth did they get all those bazillions of words down into a book? Why was their handwriting so neat? What happens if you made a spelling mistake?

Of course, I didn’t realise that publishing was a business which required a team of people to write, edit, polish – not to mention all the ghastly slush pile processes, the agents, the rejections and the acceptances.

So it was with this in mind that, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I attempted to “write” my own “book”. I’m sure I attempted it a few times by folding bits of paper, but that didn’t work – the paper unfolded, got stained and, anyway, I could only fit about three words on it. No, it was after I fell in love with my first “favourite author” that I got hold of a red, hardback notebook with lines and margins and started my own novel in biro.

It was a Jacqueline Wilson rip-off. Yes, you’ve guessed it. My first favourite author was Jacqueline Wilson, and this – I think – was my favourite book:

 

illustratedmum

 

The Illustrated Mum.

Jacqueline Wilson was probably my first introduction to realistic children’s writing – stories about highly imaginative, colourful kids who are living dramatic, gritty, honest and shocking lives.

And they were lives we, the kids, could relate to.

Sometimes it was because we recognised the characters – such as the illustrated mum herself, who is fun, and fantastic, and vibrant, but suffers with Bipolar Disorder (or manic depression) and can be every bit as awful as she was brilliant. Poor Dolphin is caught between loving her mum so much it hurt and recognising, as she gets older, that her mum is not well. Her mum isn’t reliable. Worst of all, her big sister, Star, is growing too old to put up with it anymore; for her, the magic is wearing off, and the sisters are growing apart.

Sometimes it’s because we recognise the kids – like Dolphin, who still loves somebody blindly and fiercely, even when it hurts. Or like Star, who isn’t such a baby anymore, and can’t help seeing the darkness in the people she loves.

That’s deep stuff for a kids book.

I think it was at this point that I realised I wanted to write about deep, meaningful subjects; about young people dealing with real-world issues. Though I did dabble in the odd bit of fantasy – like Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice, for example – I escaped into worlds that felt familiar. Not necessarily in terms of subject – JW’s stories often revolve around the foster care system and council housing, which I never directly experienced, though my friends did. But in terms of emotional impact, I was definitely there with them.

JW’s work – all of her books, in fact, which I gobbled up fast as you could say NICK SHARRATT (every kid recognises those cartoon characters a mile off) spoke to me on that intimate level, and every character became a new best friend who was whispering in your ear, telling you their secrets.

#

 

So as time went on, I started to read more “Grown up” books alongside my Jacqueline Wilson books – and all the others from the library, of course, which my dad took me to seemingly all the time. In fact if there was one thing my dad would usually agree to buying me, it was a book. It was our most prominent bonding experience, that.

After reading the Sugar Secrets series:

sugar secrets

I started to become more open to books about teens, and sex, and smoking, and drinking and the like. Of course, still being a whipper-snapper, I wasn’t actually *doing* any of these things, and so it made it all the more exciting to read about.

Being a bit shy, grungey and anti-social (black nail polish was to become black hair, black boots, black everything later on!) there was something really alluring about friendship books, where break-ups were the end of the world and every summer was full of drama, snogging and mystery. They were brilliant novella-length books that, much like JW, could be gobbled up one after the other like Smarties.

Delicious, delicious Smarties.

So then, after a tip-off from a pal of mine, I became even MORE open to outlandish books full of drama, sex and scandal, and I discovered…

This.

flowers

 

Flowers in the Attic.

 

V C Andrews, to this day, is one of my favourite authors. I recently finished the first two books of the Casteel series and loved them every little bit as much as I loved this. Although dear, talented Virginia Andrews died before she could write any more, the franchise has branched out to include hundreds of ghost-written novels of the same ingredients – the gothic mystery, drama and tension that we all came to love.

But of course, none of them could hold a candle to the originals.

Flowers in the Attic was the first guilty-pleasure book I ever read, and I was 12. Seeing my undying passion for these books, my mum rushed out and scooped up the rest of the series from a charity shop – something she still does for me today!- and I gobbled them up, yes, like Smarties.

Flowers was the first gothic romance I’d ever read, and it was filled with hate-filled lust, misery, torment – you name it. Cathy and Chris Dollanganger were my saints and I loved them, even when their dark brother/sister relationship turned a little weird while they were locked up in that attic loft with their little siblings, Corie and Carrie.

Yep, this is the one you’ve heard about – the incest story.

V C had these wickedly amazing talent for developing characters to the point where their confused, weird, erotic relationship had a twisted sense to it. After all, they were just children locked in an attic, and as those children grew into adults, they became dependant only on each other. They created a surrogate family for themselves in the lofty attic rooms of Foxworth hall, the gothic mansion where they were trapped by their own wicked mother.

All right, it’s weird, and kind of gross- but that’s the beauty of FICTION!

Every dress, every hair style, every meager meal they were fed under lock and key – all were described so beautifully that even the paper flowers which decorated the attic became a vast and looming garden. Every Ballet step by Cathy was a gorgeous, moonlit performance. Everything was dark, and troublesome, and undeniably beautiful.

It was also full of sex – with details, too, which my 12 year old mind was just going crazy for. You can imagine.

The swan-shaped bed that features in the later books would forever haunt me – as seen in the film Sunset Blvd, actually – and be a dream of mine to this day. I must have a swan-shaped bed.

 

Even though Flowers was never considered a gothic romance of the calibre of, let’s say, the Bronté sisters – whom I also love and adore, by the way – it was a novel that took the world by storm. Even when it was released around 30 years ago-ish, thousands and thousands of teenage girls, or almost-teens, like me, were going mad over this novel.

And they still are to this day.

#

 

So, though there were arguably many, many books that made me, I think those were my earliest influences that stand out for me. Later, of course, I would read things like The Beach by Alex Garland, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and many other beautiful, dark and mysterious books.

And they would all fuel one desire within me: to write gritty realism from the point of view of teenagers and young adults.

Naturally, like all authors, published and not – I’m still learning, and still searching for that dark story to tell.

 

But those are the books that took me there, and will be holding my hand all the way.