Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nominate me!

Hello chickadees

I'm back from the Lake District, where I spent a lot of time being harassed by swans, geese, ducks and moorhens, which was very traumatising for a city girl like me. And I ate too much thunder and lightning ice cream, which is vanilla with chocolate and cinder toffee. Absolutely delicious!

I've been told by the Powers That Be to ask you to nominate me to be Queen Of Teen. It's a contest to find the favourite writer of girls aged between 10 and 18. Click here to nominate me (and your nomination automatically enters you into a competition to come to the 'coronation' and ride in a limousine and some such.) If I make the shortlist of ten writers announced on July 10th, I'll then nag you and nag you and nag you to vote for me. Sounds like a plan!

Regular commenter, Koko, has asked me if I've read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and what I think of it. But actually, I rarely read other teen fiction. I tend to be rather sponge-like and soak up stuff I've read so don't want to be unconsciously influenced by other teen writers when I'm working on a book. But also, I just prefer to do my own thing, and plough my own lonely teen furrow, without worrying what other YA writers are doing. In fact, as I write my grown-up book, I've stopped reading novels altogether. If they're good, I get all insecure and if they're distinctly not good, I start wondering what the point is of it all! It's memoirs and biographies for the forseaable future.

But if you like, I could make a list of my favourite teen books, either books I loved as a teen or books that I've read that I think you'd enjoy. Leave me a comment.

And don't forget to nominate me. I'm off to tackle the laundry mountain and clean my oven because being a writer is non-stop glamour!

Live on

Sarra x

Friday, May 16, 2008

Welcome to the Upper East Side, Bitch

A science-based compare and contrast on which show rockeths the most: The OC or Gossip Girl


Marissa Cooper vs. Serena Van Der Woodsen

Both blonde girls with issues, low-rent boyfriends and an extremely low tolerance for alcohol. Serena does deserve some credit for being even more freaking annoying than Marissa, which I didn't even think was possible but mostly she just tosses her hair, talks out of the side of her mouth and has put all her demons behind her. Qu'elle boring. Marissa on the other hand, was one hot mess of a trust fund girl. Who can forget the time she OD'ed in Mexico, shot Ryan's brother and tried out lesbianism to see if it brought out the blue in her eyes? Marissa was so out-of-control crazy that her own mother tried to get her committed and she could throw a hissy fit with the best of them.

Winner: The OC

Seth Cohen vs. Dan Humphreys

Yes, Dan's cute and he does have really good arms, but serves no other purpose than to follow Serena around slavishly, scrunching up his forehead when she plays hot and cold with his emotions. My future husband, Seth, though was a fully-faceted character in his own right with his seething mass of neuroses, his bitching t-shirt and CD collection and his monumental self-obsession. Then there was his way with a quip, his talent for drawing comic books and his Nick & Norah (that would be The Thin Man films NOT the YA book) relationship with Summer. Still need convincing? C'mon, ladies, Seth invented Chrismukkah!

Winner: The OC

Summer Roberts vs Blair Waldorf

I loved Summer, I really, really did. But I love Blair more. (Though it may be unfair to deathmatch them just for having the same colour hair.) I have a weakness for bitch goddess brunettes and Blair Waldorf is the bitch goddess Queen, while Summer lost her bitch goddess edge after The Powers That Be re-worked her character after the first few episodes. I can't hate on Summer too much so will just say that I love how Blair channels Audrey Hepburn in her outfits and Bette Davis every time she opens her mouth: "I think we can agree to those terms. But you can't wear those shoes." Or that hair." Oh, Blair, you're so my girl.

Winner: Gossip Girl

Sandy Cohen vs. Rufus Humphreys

On paper, Rufus should be way cooler because he lives in a loft in Brooklyn, used to be a rock star and own an art gallery. But his whiney mope rock anthems suck, the art he sells is crap and he's just a Disco Vicar imitation of Sandy Cohen, the coolest TV dad ever. He surfed! He was a public defense lawyer, taking a crap salary to help the disadvantaged! He loved bagels! He rescued Ryan from 'Cino! And he had the best fricking eyebrows in the world! Sandy for the win!

Winner: The OC

Chuck Bass vs. Ryan Atwood

Ah, the bad boys. Now Ryan was pretty hardcore. He did go to juvie and get stabbed in the neck with a fork in the very first episode. But take away the anger management issues and the puppy dog eyes and you weren't left with much in the way of charisma. Now, Chuck, on the other hand may be evil, but my goodness, he has charisma in spades. Other girls may coo over Nate, but the clever money is on Chuck as the Upper East Side boy it's cool to like. Plus, he knows how to accessorise and he's not afraid to wear bright colours, which should never be underestimated.

Winner: Gossip Girl

Julie Cooper vs. Lily van der Woodsen

They've both been married umpteen times to really rich men despite their dodgy pasts but there the similarity ends. We're meant to believe that the icy Lily who walks about with a smell under her nose and a stick wedged up her arse was a groupie. But then we discover that she was a groupie for Rufus, so actually not so much and she was only doing it to rebel against the pressure of being absolutely stinking rich. But Julie Cooper dragged herself up from trailer park trash to social prominence in the OC but along the way she was into poodle perm rockers and made a really tacky sex tape. While Lily spends her day supervising flower arrangement and being haughty, Julie had her own escort agency and she would totally take Lily down in a fight. We're talking serious maiming, possibly dismemberment using only her nails.

Winner: The OC for sho'

New York couture vs. Californian chic

I loved how Marissa and Summer were the first girls on TV to wear Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu and bloody Chanel, lest we forget. And they paved the way for the Gossip Girls' serious, designer real estate. I have a fashgasm every time, Blair appears on screen, keep adding to my wishlist items on each time I see a new bag on GG and wonder whether I could possibly rock a brightly coloured trench coat. Though, I am nearing my tolerance threshold for hair bands and coloured tights. One more pair of yellow tights and my retinas might just explode.

Winner: A tie!

New York vs. Orange County

That Californian surfer lifestyle was cool with the beach and the Bait Shop (I think that was the name of the club where all those Emo bands used to play) and sipping milkshakes at the diner. But they had to drive everywhere, which doesn't really translate to a British audience. Even the really poor kids have cars, which is something I've never been able to figure out about US shows. But, I digress. And say, New York! New York! So good they named it twice. Who wants the Bait Shop when there's dinner at Butter or shopping at Bergdorfs and pretending that Brooklyn is the absolute pits, but cool in a hard times chic way, just because it doesn't overlook Central Park. And they have those adorable yellow taxi cabs everywhere and streets you can actually walk down and even sitting on the school steps looks cool.

Winner: Gossip Girl

VERDICT: The OC only just scraped through by a nose, which surprises me. Maybe I love Gossip Girl more than I thought. Anywhere, here you have actual scientific proof that The OC is better than Gossip Girl. And that I am going on holiday tomorrow and will do anything to avoid packing and, laundry and oh yeah, finishing up all my outstanding work.

See you on the flipside, girlies

S x

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Accept no substitutes

So, with the recent UK release of Candy, I have no new teen books coming out for a while, as I work on my first grown-up book Unsticky. And it's grown-up in that I'd be kinda horrified if anyone under 16 read it, though I guess the content is no more racy than you might find in an episode of, like, Sex And The City. And I guess you all watch that...

Anyways, there will be new teen-friendly fare from me, but I don't think it will be until late next year. Though I'm very excited to start writing the book I have in mind. After the slightly fluffier Fashionistas, it will be classic Manning and very much in the spirit of Diary Of A Crush and Let's Get Lost. But I can't say any more than that.

I did want to assure you that I'm not going anywhere and I plan to regularly update this blog, which I have been very lax about of late. But without much book news, I really want to start having some fun here. I was saying to my friend, Sarah, that I really miss being on a teen mag at the moment because there's so much great stuff happening and there's no Ellegirl or J17 to cover it in the inimitable style with which we covered stuff. And then I thought: I have a blog! And teenage readers! So, I'm going to post all manner of odd pop culture snippets, both old and new, and witter on about them. Please see below:



Is Gossip Girl just a pale East Coast imitation of our beloved OC? This is just one burning issue that I will be sharing in the weeks to come. Hey, let's all have some heated debates...