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  • READ, SCREAM, REPEAT book cover reveal

    In case you missed the announcement last week, Farshore Books have revealed the cover of the brand-new middle grade horror anthology they’re publishing this August, which is curated by MG horror queen Jennifer Killick (author of the Dread Wood and Crater Lake series) and features stories by a fantastic host of authors: Kirsty Applebaum, Rachel Delahaye, Aisha Bushby, Sharna Jackson, Phil Hickes, Elle McNicoll, Polly Ho-Yen, Dan Smith, Joseph Coelho, Jasbinder Bilan, J.T. Williams – and me! Check out the animated cover reveal with sound on for maximum creep factor!

    Don’t you just love that creepy cover? It and the illustrations inside are the work of artist Mathias Ball, as well as the cover reveal animation above.

    It’s described by Farshore as a ‘spooktacular collection of horror stories that will chill, thrill and delight middle-great readers, keeping them on the edge of (or hiding behind) their sofas! Do you dare to turn the pages and see what’s lurking inside…?’

    This is my first time writing for this age category (9-12) and I couldn’t be more excited to have my story out there in time for Halloween! While I can’t reveal too much about the story yet, there’s no harm in dropping a teeny hint, right? So I’ll say that my story is based on a local legend I grew up hearing (but decided to make loads scarier). And I definitely can’t wait to read the other stories in the collection!

    It’s available to preorder if you’d like to make sure this pre-Halloween treat arrives as soon as it’s out.

  • 5 Random Questions with Claire Fraise, author of They Stay

    In this month’s newsletter (catch up HERE if you missed it) I interviewed Claire Fraise about They Stay – the first book in her YA supernatural thriller series, where Shiloh’s little brother is abducted, and it seems like the only clues she can find as to what happened to him come via the spirits haunting the local cemetery and an unlikely set of teens from her school. I really enjoyed the book and can’t wait to read the next 2 in the series before book 4, They Hunt, is released this December. It was such a fantastic thriller, full of great characters and so many twists, and I couldn’t resist finding out more about the author herself…

    Enter the 5 Random Questions!

    Question 1: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened on your birthday?

    When I turned 6 or 7, my dad took me fishing at a lake near where we lived. He took me out on the canoe, and it was this magical morning where the water was completely still and I caught a huge bass with every single cast I made. Neither of us had experienced anything like it. We must have caught 19 fish that morning.

    Question 2: Do you believe aliens are real?

    Definitely. The universe is too big, and we have discovered so little of it that I think it’s highly unlikely that we are the only life out there.

    Question 3: What’s the best non-bookish thing you’ve ever made?

    I love crocheting stuffed animals and have made a bunch of them, but my favorite has to be the crocheted Tigger doll I made.

    Question 4: If you had to explore either outer space or the bottom of the ocean, which would you choose?

    The bottom of the ocean – even though it might make my imagination run wild when I’m swimming.

    Question 5: Murder weapon of choice?


    About Claire Fraise

    Claire Fraise is an award-winning author of ghostly young adult thrillers. Her books include the They Stay series and her debut novel Imperfect which she published when she was 16. When Claire is not writing, you can find her crocheting amigurumi animals, baking gluten-free desserts, or hanging out with her dog. Even though it goes against every introverted bone in her body, she is on social media.

    Connect with her on YouTube at Write with Claire Fraise, Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor or visit her website at www.clairefraise.com

    If you missed my interview with Claire about They Stay, you can read it here. Also remember to sign up for my newsletter which goes out on the first Friday of every month – next month’s will be out 2nd June, and will feature an interview with Cecilia Vinesse about her gorgeous new YA romcom, The Girl Next Door.

  • 5 Random Questions with Melissa Welliver, author of My Love Life and the Apocalypse

    In this month’s newsletter (catch up HERE if you missed it) I interviewed Melissa Welliver about her latest YA novel, My Love Life and the Apocalypse – a post-apocalyptic romcom where a teen synth named Echo and Pandora – a teen girl survivor of the apocalypse – team up to find answers to what happened to Pandora’s family and the rest of Earth. I loved hearing how this futuristic, banter-filled roadtrip adventure came to be, so I just had to find out more about the author herself…

    Enter the 5 Random Questions!

    Question 1: Where would you ride out a zombie apocalypse?

    I want to say something sensible like build a survival team, find a boat, start farming on an island. But I am not sensible, so I’d probably go clear out Buckingham Palace and swan around there. Or the Trafford Centre, that place is a fortress and a city rolled into one! Plus it has a Lego Land!

    Question 2: Film you’ve watched the most times?

    A genuine tossup between Twilight, and Independence Day. TAKE FROM THAT WHAT YOU WILL seeing as I write Speculative YA romance for a living…

    Question 3: What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

    Non book related, I’d go dog breeds. I’ve had six dogs, everything from pedigree to Heinz 57s. Book related though I would go Hunger Games, I think I would bury that (books and movies!)

    Question 4: If books no longer existed, what would be your dream job?

    Hint in the previous question – I would love to work in a dog rescue centre, like Woodgreen Pets on The Dog House. Maybe that’s where I would also like to ride out a zombie apocalypse. Can I change my mind again?!

    Question 5: You’re about to be marooned on a desert island and can choose 3 celebrities to keep you company. Who do you choose?

    Bear Grylls – because, duh, he’d keep us alive AND have us out of there in no time!

    Ru Paul – because he could teach me how to do makeup while Bear builds the life raft.

    Boris Johnson – because we could leave him there when we sail away.

    About Melissa Welliver

    Melissa Welliver writes speculative fiction about how the end of the world is never really the end of the world. After studying Creative Writing at the University of Manchester, she went on to complete Curtis Brown Creative’s Writing for Children course. Her work has listed in Bath Novel Award, Mslexia, the Hachette Children’s Novel Award and the Wells Book for Children Competition. Melissa lives in the North of England with her doodles, Maude and Zelda.

    You can follow Melissa on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website here

    If you missed my interview with Melissa about My Love Life and the Apocalypse, you can read it here. Also remember to sign up for my newsletter which goes out on the first Friday of every month – next month’s will be out 5th May, and will feature an interview with Claire Fraise about her YA supernatural thriller series opener, They Stay.

  • A Taste of Darkness – announcing a new YA horror anthology

    I always love reading short story anthologies. They’re perfect for just dipping into when you have a few spare minutes, and have introduced me to tons of new authors whose longer novels I then go on to read.

    Which leads me to my exciting news: I’m thrilled to have been asked to contribute a short scary story for a brand new YA horror anthology coming this September from Scholastic! The anthology, titled A Taste of Darkness, will feature 13 stories by different authors and curated by Amy McCaw, author of Mina and the Undead and Mina and the Slayers, and Maria Kuzniar, author of The Ship of Shadows duology. As well as curating the collection, Amy and Maria will each contribute a story alongside Kat Dunn, Kat Ellis (me!), Rachel Faturoti, Kathryn Foxfield, Dawn Kurtagich, Amy McCulloch, Cynthia Murphy, Melinda Salisbury, Louie Stowell, Rosie Talbot and Mary Watson.

    It’s out in September – the perfect time for spooky reading – and is already available for preorder. The gorgeous cover has just been revealed – isn’t it a stunner?! I love the colours and the creepy trees and the shadowy figure who I’m pretty sure is controlling those birds…

    Maria Kuzniar said, “I’m delighted that this anthology has found a home with Scholastic, and beyond excited for readers to discover our collection of thrilling and creepy stories by a selection of very talented authors this spooky season!”

    And Amy McCaw added that she is, “absolutely thrilled to have co-curated this anthology that celebrates UKYA horror and allows readers to enjoy new works by familiar authors and find some new favourites.”

    Amy has also posted a YouTube video introducing all the authors who are part of the anthology and their previous work:

    I can’t give away any details about my story yet, but I will say that it’s inspired by a chilling Welsh folk tale, and I’ve gone all-out on the creep factor. It also includes a character named by request of a student from a recent school visit who asked me to use his name – hi, James!

    If you can’t wait until September, or just feel like reading something short and creepy in the meantime, I have written a short story called Christmas Lights which you can read for free. It’s about a girl named Ellie who’s helping to pack away her grandmother’s Christmas decorations after she passes away suddenly, when Ellie finds something terrifying lying in wait for her underneath the stairs. Despite its title, it’s not especially festive and can be enjoyed at any time of year… as long as you like your stories horrifyingly creepy!


    I’ll be sure to share any more details about A Taste of Darkness when I have them, and in the meantime, don’t forget to preorder a copy, and sign up for my newsletter to hear all my latest news and adventures each month.

  • 5 Random Questions with J.P. Rose, author of The Haunting of Tyrese Walker

    In this month’s newsletter (catch up HERE if you missed it) I interviewed J.P. Rose about her YA debut, The Haunting of Tyrese Walker a terrifyingly gripping horror story about a boy who goes with his mother to visit their family in Jamaica following the death of Tyrese’s father, and finds long-buried secrets and bone-chilling local legends waiting for him there. I loved everything about this book, so after interviewing J.P. about Tyrese, I just had to find out more about the author herself…

    Enter the 5 Random Questions!

    Question 1: Last book or film that made you cry?

    Oh God, I cry at everything and anything. I love rewatching movies. I might write horror and gritty crime but give me a Nicholas Sparks movie or an epic saga, or Catherine Cookson or Danielle Steel and I’m in my element. I must have watched Legends of The Fall, twenty odd times. I love a good cry. What’s life without a constant box of tissues?

    Question 2: If you could time-travel to any point in history, where/when would you travel to?

    I often think about this as I’m such a history buff. I think I would travel back to England 1485, which is the beginning of the Tudor reign. A fascinating but brutal 118 years of a time in history. Though I would need to come be able come back, there was a lot of early death and disease!  If not the Tudors I think maybe 31 BC when Augustus Caesar declared himself as the first Roman emperor. That would be fascinating and as I studied Latin at school, I might do ok.

    Question 3: Murder weapon of choice?

    Haha, I’m not a Marvel fan but I love the idea that you can kill with a kiss, like the character Poison Ivy did, so my murder weapon of choice would be my kiss, failing that, pushing someone into a sea of sharks is a pretty good one.

    Question 4: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

    Laura Branigan, Self Control!!! I love that song.

    Question 5: What’s your best party trick?

    You don’t want to know!!! Hahaha!

    Thank you, J.P.! I’m imagining all kinds of possibilities for that party trick

    About JP Rose

    J. P. Rose was born in Manchester, adopted early and grew up in the Yorkshire countryside where racial tolerance ‘wasn’t even a concept’. Feeling isolated, it was animals and writing stories which kept her company. Today, J.P. is the bestselling author of over 14 adult crime novels. As a Black author with dual heritage, her passion to smash down barriers and to tell stories to ensure that all children see themselves reflected in the books they read has never left her. J. P. lives in the countryside with her family surrounded by her horses and several other animals. Having trained as a pet bereavement support worker, in her spare time she volunteers at veterinary practises and other organisations helping people come to terms with the loss of their much-loved animal companion.

    You can follow J.P. on Instagram and Twitter. 

    If you missed my interview with J.P. about The Haunting of Tyrese Walker, you can read it here. Also remember to sign up for my newsletter which goes out on the first Friday of every month – next month’s will be out 7th April, and will feature an interview with Melissa Welliver about her brand-new YA post-apocalyptic romcom, My Love Life and the Apocalypse.

  • 5 Random Questions with Tess James-Mackey, author of Someone Is Watching You

    In this month’s newsletter (catch up HERE if you missed it) I interviewed Tess James-Mackey about her gripping debut, Someone Is Watching You – a YA thriller set in an abandoned prison, where Nia is goaded by her friends to put herself into increasingly dangerous situations until she finally encounters a danger she really hadn’t expected… This story is so intense and unique, I couldn’t resist finding out more about its creator.

    Enter the 5 Random Questions!

    Question 1: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

    I get a lot of joy from food, especially trying weird and wonderful creations in fancy restaurants. Whatever I eat, I need a lot of flavour – my favourite cheese is called, “Stinking Bishop,” and has to live in the garage.

    Question 2: What is your ‘happy place’?

    I’ve recently got back into horse riding and although I’m not so into the high-adrenaline moments anymore, I find a couple of hours mooching about on the yard and picking up poo is the perfect way to calm my thoughts, especially if they’re fixated on a plot hole!

    Question 3: Which book by another author do you wish you had written?

    I loved House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland – the creeping horror mixed with this kind of magnetic enchantment created this great rotten fairy tale vibe – it’s stayed with me ever since.

    Question 4: Best fight song?

    I listen to VERY LOUD house and techno whenever I’m walking anywhere to remind myself I’m alive – a defibrillator straight to the brain first thing in the morning after the school run. I sometimes imagine myself fending off street-fighting assassins to the rhythm of the bass. Though in reality I’m probably just giving myself tinnitus.  

    Question 5: Something that makes you irrationally angry?


    Thank you, Tess!

    About Tess James-Mackey

    After growing up in rural Shropshire, Tess set out to explore the world and find her place in it. She quickly rushed straight back to Shrewsbury when she realised she’d been where she belonged from the start. She now lives in a quiet suburb with a noisy partner and daughter, two extremely noisy cats, and a less noisy tortoise.

    She spent years mucking out and getting trampled on by horses, before finally deciding she might prefer a less precarious office job. Between analysing insurance risk, she writes teens into terrifying situations inspired by her lived experiences.

    When she’s not allowing her mind to wander to dark and twisty places, she pursues more wholesome activities, like growing mediocre vegetables in her garden, camping with her daughter, and even riding the odd horse.

    You can follow Tess on Instagram and Twitter.

    If you missed my interview with Tess about Someone Is Watching You, you can read it here. Also remember to sign up for my newsletter which goes out on the first Friday of every month – next month’s will be out 3rd March, and will feature an interview with J. P. Rose, author of the chilling YA horror novel The Haunting of Tyrese Walker.

  • Harrow Lake-inspired art

    A few weeks ago, I was invited for a virtual visit with a class from Korah Collegiate & Vocational School in Canada. The students had been studying Harrow Lake for their class, and so a Q&A session seemed like the perfect way to round off their study.

    They had a bunch of awesome questions, and – something I wasn’t expecting at all! – their teacher sent me some amazing artwork they’d created after the session, inspired by the book. I have to say that for me as an author, one of the absolute best parts of the job is knowing that the stories I’ve written might spark creativity in a reader – so seeing the reality of that in these drawings and illustrations was a wonderful moment.

    I’m sharing the following pieces with permission of the students and school.

    Check out this amazing drawing of Mary Ann, Lola’s imaginary friend/puppet. Her porcelain skin is webbed with fractures, and if you look closely you can see the words ‘Blood in the cracks’ repeated over and over in the background of the image. I love it!

    Image by Mackenzie

    I love this image of Mister Jitters reaching out from the darkness, ready to snatch Lola away! And those pinprick eyes…

    Image by Maya

    This is a brilliant painting of the ruined church inside the sinkhole in Harrow Lake. See how the church roofbeams are sticking out like skeleton ribs? And all the eyes peering out in the background – so spooky!

    Image by Nat R

    This drawing offers a Mister Jitters-meets-Pennywise pairing, and I’m so here for it! Why settle for one monster when you can have two? Though I’d hate to think what Mister Jitters would get up to with Pennywise pulling his strings…

    Image by Jessica

    There’s so much going on in this one: the creepy cave at the bottom with the hand reaching out; the bugs crawling all over the title; the Bone Tree with so many teeth hanging from it; the puppeteer’s hand looming large over everything, and I particularly love the girl puppet with her strings cut – the symbolism is just *chef’s kiss*.

    Image by student, Anon

    One of the big themes of Harrow Lake is girls and young women breaking free of the cages they’re put into. This image of Lola trying to escape her cage with Mister Jitters looming in the background captures that idea perfectly.

    Image by Lily

    Such scary vibes in this drawing of Mister Jitters and the Bone Tree! I love the little puppet version of Mister Jitters, and all the teeth hanging from the tree branches… so many chills!

    Image by Brooklyn B

    Thanks so much to the students who took the time to make these fantastic pieces of art based on their reading of Harrow Lake, and for letting me share them here.

  • 5 Random Questions with Naomi Gibson, author of Game Over Girl

    If you caught this month’s newsletter (missed it? Catch up HERE) you’ll already know a bit about Naomi Gibson’s gripping new YA cyber thriller, Game Over Girl. In it, Lola moves to an elite boarding school following the death of her mother, and is invited to join a small group of tech-proficient teens in testing a new VR game called Better Than Life. There aren’t many rules to the game… in fact, there’s really only one: don’t recreate anything, or anyone, from real life. But Lola can’t seem to help herself, and soon the game – as well as the real world around her – starts to spiral out of control. This is a game Lola can’t win… but she can’t quit, either.

    My newsletter interview focused on Game Over Girl and Naomi’s writing process, but I wanted to find out a few facts her readers might not know about her. Enter the 5 Random Questions!

    Question 1: What was the book that made you want to write YA?

    Slated by Terri Terry. It’s written in this gorgeous, measured way, and it’s so hooky. It was also the first book I ever got signed when I met her at NYA Lit Fest, and I blabbed something incoherent about how amazing she was.

    Question 2: You have a full tank and nothing but time — where are you driving to?

    The Isle of Skye. It’s beautiful and so, so quiet. We went one November and it was the perfect Winter getaway. Take me there now!

    Question 3: What’s a movie or TV show you’ll watch time and time again?

    Jumanji – the first new one with The Rock. (Lol.) There’s something about it. Every character has a really good arc and it really makes me laugh. Plus, you know me, the idea of being sucked into a computer game that’s trying to kill you is totally up my street.

    Question 4: One non-writing goal for 2023?

    We’ve been building for 2 years now, and I’m desperate to move in! I want to at least be partially moved in by the end of 2023. *Crosses everything* I’m SICK of living in a caravan!

    Question 5: Which book by another author do you wish you had written?

    The Binding by Bridget Collins. I love it, I love it, I love it.

    Thank you, Naomi!

    About Naomi Gibson

    Naomi Gibson is an author based in Glasgow, Scotland. She grew up in Cheshire, where her childhood was spent with her nose in a book and her hands on a sketchpad, constantly in search of adventure and new worlds. Encouraged by her family to be creative, she developed a love for writing at a young age – something that never left her. She studied Art History at the University of Manchester. Whilst there, she met her husband, someone who continues to tell her all about the latest advancements in AI, space, and consumer technology, even when she’s not listening. Her novels are proof she does in fact listen to her husband.

    Find out more about Naomi and her books on her website, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. 

    If you missed my newsletter interview with Naomi, don’t forget to catch up & subscribe here. February’s newsletter goes out 3 February, and will feature an interview with Tess James-Mackey, author of Someone Is Watching You.

  • Kat Ellis: My 2022 in Review

    Doing a yearly review post has become a bit of a tradition (I first started it back in 2012 on my old Blogger site, RIP) and it’s a tradition I thought I’d continue as I launch this new site. So, what happened in 2022?

    On the writing front, foreign editions of Harrow Lake and Wicked Little Deeds were released, and although I didn’t have a new book out, I wrote a lot. I finished a brand-new YA manuscript and a couple of shorter projects, and started work on 3 other full-length novels. So I’m starting 2023 in full stride, writing-wise. That feels like a good place to be.

    Last year I set myself a reasonable (read: very lax) reading goal of 24 books on Goodreads for 2022. I managed to – officially – read 38 books in total. These were books I read:

    YOUR 2022 BOOKS
The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Gone to See the River Man by Kristopher Triana
Daughter of Darkness by Katharine Corr
Big Bad Me by Aislinn O'Loughlin
Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle
Malice by Heather   Walter
The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros
Mina and the Slayers by Amy McCaw
The Balloon Thief by Aneesa Marufu
Sixteen Souls by Rosie Talbot
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Empress and Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams
Gilded by Marissa Meyer
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
A Midnight Dark and Golden by Holly Race
Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae
The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
A Crown of Talons by Katharine CorrA Throne of Swans by Katharine Corr
The Depths by Nicole Lesperance
You Can Trust Me by Gina Blaxill
My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
The Block by Ben  Oliver
Ready or Not by Tracy Darnton
Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick
Vile Stars by Sera Milano
The Loop by Ben  Oliver
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
Mem by Bethany C. Morrow

    (Some aren’t included – like book proofs I read which weren’t available to add on Goodreads at the time I read them.)

    I intended to pick out a handful of my favourites, then realised that I actually enjoyed or even loved pretty much all of them, so consider the entire list my reading recommendations to you! If you want to check them out on Goodreads, you’ll find all the titles under my 2022 Reading Challenge.

    In terms of author events, 2022 was pretty busy. I took part in panels and interviews for YA Thriller Con; organised and hosted quickfire interviews with various authors for UKYABooks’ Summer Shorts series; did an in-person panel at the No Limits Festival in Scunthorpe, and did some really fun online chats and podcasts. You can catch up on some of these if you visit my Events page.

    Last year was also the year I went from what my husband referred to as my ‘Dark Annie’ hair, through an unfortunate shade of orange, to what is now an occasionally OK sort of silvery blonde. I must admit that my enthusiasm for bleach has waned throughout the year; let’s see what interesting colours 2023 brings.

    The Blondening of Kat Ellis, 2022

    I had lots of adventures last year – these were some of the highlights:

    Gladstone’s Library by night – I met up with a bunch of brilliant horror/thriller authors here in this magnificent old library in Hawarden, North Wales. It wasn’t my first visit to Gladstone’s, but it always feels a bit like stepping onto the film set of a magical, historical mystery whenever I go there.

    St Winefride’s Well – a shrine to St Winefride who is said to have been brought back to life 1300 years ago after being murdered for rejecting a local chieftain (who sounds very rapey tbh). Water sprang from the ground on the spot where she was murdered, and it’s claimed to have healing powers. Pilgrimages have been made to the well ever since, and you can see the abandoned crutches of healed pilgrims in the visitor centre.

    This pic was taken when I visited the Great Orme Copper Mine in May. The mine is over 3500 years old, and it inspired one of the short stories I wrote last year. The place was only rediscovered in the 1980s, and there are whole networks of tunnels yet to be found and excavated.

    Over the summer, I ventured to London for the first time since March 2020 (I know!) and managed to fit in a bit of axe-throwing, as you do.

    I was terrible at it. Fun, though.

    As per usual, autumn saw me venturing into the forest to hunt for fungi. I saw some fab fly agaric toadstools, which always feel like the Top Prize as far as fungi are concerned.

    In November, I turned 40. I spent it doing fun stuff like visiting an exhibition of deadly diseases called Sick To Death, and posing for pictures like this.

    All in all, not a bad year – and looking back, pretty eventful! I hope your 2022 was a good one, and that 2023 will be even better.

    If you want to keep up to date with my writing news and adventures as they happen, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, where I also send out exclusive bonus content and author interviews. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram.