Five questions for Catherine Johnson

Catherine Johnson, author of The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo (Corgi Children's), answers five questions about her book and YA.

What is The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo book about?
Mary Willcox. She’s lost everything, betrayed by her lover, her baby dead and without the money to travel back home from the big city, she is attacked. To survive she tells a lie that to her surprise everyone around her wants to believe - she's not a poor girl off the street she's a princess from the South Seas. So in short, truth, lies, love and survival!

What does it mean to be on the YA Book Prize shortlist?
Unbelieavable! I was sitting in reception about to meet with my agent, and scrolled through my phone and saw all the texts. I almost ran round her office yelling!

Why do you think your book should win?
To make my mum happy! No seriously look at the stories I am up against. It’s ridiculous.

What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
I love YAUK and YAIE. I love stories from anywhere in fact but I do love the recognition that comes with stories set on home turf. And I do think that we grow some very special writers here. I expect it's the damp.

What kind of YA books do you like to read?
All sorts. I say I don’t like fantasy but I love The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price (set in the past and the future). A recent favourite was Simon Mason's Running Girl, a whodunnit with the most irritating and charismatic main charcter in Garvie Smith. One of my all-time favourite main characters is Sally Lockhart, created by Philip Pullman  - she's a sharp shooting, radical single mother and business woman. I am also massively enjoying Chasing the Stars, the new one from Malorie Blackman.

Catherine Johnson took part in a Twitter chat on Wednesday 20th April, hosted by @yabookprize. Read a recap of the #TeamJohnson chat here.