1. Describe your book to us in one sentence?
Half Bad is the story of Nathan who is kept a prisoner in a cage by the White Witches because of what he is, a half Code, half Black Witch and half White Witch.
2. What does it mean to be on the first YA Book Prize shortlist?
Half Bad is my first book and I wrote it in the hope of getting an agent and maybe getting published but I never dared believe that would ever happen. To be published and now get shortlisted for such an important award is wonderful (and also a little unbelievable).
3. Why do you think your book should win?
Well the best book should win of course! But deciding that will be pretty tricky as the books on the shortlist are so diverse, and I've no idea how the judges will judge it. But I think the main strengths of Half Bad are that it mixes of fantasy with modern realism, it has a strong narrative voice and I hope it's something slightly different.
4. What is your all time favourite YA book?
So many favourites but top of the list is The Catcher in the Rye. Just read the opening paragraph - it was written in 1951and it still stands up today. The voice of Holden Caulfield is stunningly good. I love it.
5. What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
I do think we do real, gritty and "not nice" better than anyone and have done for many years. I'm a big fan of "not nice".
Next week: Kim Hood