Hello, Sophie! We loved Girl, Missing. What inspired you to write it?
I was inspired to write Girl, Missing, by the real life case of Ben Needham, a toddler who went missing years ago and who was never found. I came across his pictures - both an actual photo of him as a small child and an age-enhanced version of the teenager he would be now - on a missing children's website. And it struck me: what if Ben Needham visited this site? What if he saw these pictures and the biographical data and thought, 'Could this be me?' What would he do? What would I do?' That's what got me started on what became Girl, Missing.
Lauren goes through some harrowing experiences. Was it difficult, emotionally, to put yourself in her shoes?
No, to be honest, it wasn't. I mean I did go through all the ups and downs of her adventures with her so I had to feel all her emotions, but then that's what I love about writing (and reading too, for that matter) - the opportunity to live in someone else's head for a bit!
Can you recommend a book that you loved as a teenager and/or that you love now?
When I was a teenager there were no books written exclusively for that age group - or, at least, none that I was aware of. In fact I stopped reading for a few years. I'd say that between the ages of about 13 and 16 I read very little other than the books we were studying at school. Of those I fell completely in love with Jane Eyre and everything written by Jane Austen. And, yes, I still love those stories today.
Can you tell us something about your next book?
My next book is called Six Steps to a Girl. It's published by Simon and Schuster and will be on sale from August. It's the first of three books about a boy called Luke and the ups and downs of his relationship with a girl, Eve, in his older sister's class. The story is written from Luke's point of view and explores the six steps he takes to try and get Eve to go out with him. It was a great challenge to write as a 15-year-old boy - but one which I enjoyed very much!
Thank you very much, Sophie McKenzie, and we're really looking forward to the release of Six Steps to a Girl on August 6th 2007