Posts Tagged ‘Katy Haye’

The RNA Conference 2017

Anna Belfrage, Claire Watts and Gill-Marie Stewart

It’s amazing how much fun it can be to sit in a student kitchen with your friends and talk about everything under the sun!  From happy-ever-afters to religion, women’s football to social welfare, hot heroes and suitable heroines, and most of all how the writing is going …  That is the wonderful thing about the RNA conferences!  There is never a dull moment and you never run out of people to talk to and catch up with, or topics of conversation.

I must have been to at least fifteen of these conferences by now and it never gets old.  Each year it is just as much fun and there are always interesting talks on a variety of subjects.  I learn something new each time and come away feeling inspired and more enthusiastic about writing, fired up and ready to go … once I’ve had some time to recover from the late nights and early mornings.  Because who needs to sleep, when there is so much to do?  Sleeping can be done afterwards!

Anna with a member of our audience

This time I attended some great talks, among them Janet Gover’s excellent one about how to manipulate pictures using programmes like Adobe Photoshop – I am now itching to go and play around with photos to see what I can do!  There was also the brilliant and very useful talk by Ruth Long (R F Long) on how to do talks at schools.  She had some great advice and made me feel inspired to give it a try.

I also participated in talks myself – one with the lovely Anna Belfrage, where we discussed time slip vs time travel and what an author writing in these sub-genres has to bear in mind.  We had a wonderful audience who had some great suggestions when it came to finding a way to time travel that a reader could find plausible.

Then there was the talk with my fellow Paisley Piranhas (Gill-Marie Stewart, Claire Watts and Katy Haye) in which we discussed romance and relationships in YA novels.  Our audience braved the early hour (nine on a Sunday morning after the gala dinner!) and we had some fun creating a YA plot together.

The Paisley Piranhas – Claire, Gill-Marie, me and Katy

As happens every year, there were some great talks that I missed – because you just can’t be in two places at once, sadly! – and people I didn’t have time to chat to, but there is always next year and I’ll definitely be there! Huge thanks to the organisers for this time!

Claire and Gill-Marie heading off to the gala dinner with Henriette Gyland

The Piranhas in our glad rags

At the gala dinner with Henriette

You need special conference nails …

… and shoes!

YA Launch Party in Scotland

I absolutely love Scotland and will take any excuse to go there, so although it’s a very long drive, I jumped at the chance for a visit last weekend.  And I had a very good reason to go – the launch party of the Paisley Piranhas!

That might sound a bit strange and has nothing to do with fish – Paisley Piranhas is a group of YA authors (including me) who are working together to promote our teen books, and Sunday saw our official launch party at the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries.  A fab little cinema, we were able to use it to launch our books and to have a private showing of The Princess Bride, one of our all-time favourite movies (which also happens to be mentioned in one of the books).

Claire, Gill-Marie and I (missing Katy!)

Claire, Gill-Marie and I (missing Katy!)

With sweets, snacks and drinks on offer, as well as our books of course, it was a great afternoon and we were very pleased to welcome so many lovely people.  Claire Watts, Gill-Marie Stewart and myself had a fab time and were only sorry the fourth member of our gang, Katy Haye, couldn’t be with us on the day.  Next time for sure!

The Paisley Piranha books so far are:-

Gill-Marie Stewart – Music and Lies

Claire Watts – What They Don’t Tell You About Love in the Movies

Katy Haye – The Last Gatekeeper

Pia Fenton – New England Crush

Here are some photos from the event – huge thanks to everyone who came and Gill’s and Claire’s families who went above and beyond the call of duty to help us!

(For more information about Paisley Piranha and our books, please check out our website here)



Guest – YA author Katy Haye

Today I’m very pleased to have as my guest fellow YA author Katy Haye, whose debut novel The Last Gatekeeper is out now!  Here’s a quick Q & A session to find out more:-

1 – So, Katy, The Last Gatekeeper is a YA fantasy novel – please tell us about it!

If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t fit in, then The Last Gatekeeper should strike a chord. The main character, Zan, knows she doesn’t fit in with modern life.  She has electrical hypersensitivity which means she can’t have a normal teenager’s life – texting, using the internet, even shopping aren’t possible for her. Her mother has the same thing, so Zan assumes it’s one of those things that has to be tolerated (and her life’s never been anything but isolated, so it isn’t as though she really knows what she’s missing). But on her seventeenth birthday life takes a turn for the weird. Zan’s mother vanishes, she finds her father unconscious in their home, and a rather gorgeous alien knocks on her door to tell her she’s the only one who can stop life on Earth being wiped out.

2 – Why did you want to write for teens rather than adults?

YA is about 90% of what I read, so for me it was natural to write for a teen rather than adult audience. YA fiction tells some of the most intelligent, imaginative and unlimited stories around and that’s what I want to be a part of.

I also think the human question, “Who are you, and where do you fit in life?”, is particularly key during the teen years and examining that question is a strong vein in my writing.

3 – And what made you opt for fantasy and not any other sub-genre of YA?

My mantra for writing seems to be, “If you’re going to make it up, you might as well REALLY make it up.” My imagination teems with fairies and genies and ghosts and aliens, so I guess fantasy is a natural home for the stories that interest me and which I long to tell. I also have quite a taste for melodrama – in The Last Gatekeeper, Zan needs to save the world. That would be a hard sell in a contemporary novel (I guess a thriller could just about manage it), but such high stakes are entirely natural in fantasy.

4 – Your heroine has been kept in the dark as to her true identity.  Can you explain why her parents thought that was the best course?  And do you think they come to regret it, following the things that happen in this story?  (No spoilers, but quite a lot does happen to her!)

Ooh, well, I think one explanation is that her parents have simply not noticed that she’s no longer a child. At the backs of their minds has been a nagging thought that they should tell Zan the real reason why she has electrical hypersentivity and can’t have the sort of life a modern teenager would expect, but they keep putting off telling her until – bang! – one day it’s too late.  They certainly underestimate her – but luckily for them Zan turns out to be capable of far more than anyone might expect!

5 – There is romance/first love in your story as well as adventure, mystery and excitement – did you find it difficult to write about this aspect of being a teenager?

Once I’d met gorgeous talvarrine Thanriel I fell a little bit in love with him myself, so that initial rush of infatuation wasn’t difficult at all!  The Last Gatekeeper is written in the first person and really I saw everything through Zan’s feelings and emotions.  I didn’t find it difficult to write her falling in love because I was simply writing what she experienced – but whether that also communicates to the reader I guess is for other people to decide.

6 – Is this book the first in a series or is it a stand-alone?  If it’s a series, is there anything you can tell us about what might happen next?  Or if it’s not, what are you working on now?

There will be more Chronicles of Fane. I’m working on book 2 at present. That tells the story of the dreamseer – a gifted fane who would give anything to be rid of her abilities.  It’ll be a while before that’s ready for an audience, however!

Well, I hope it won’t be too long, Katy!

About the author:-

Katy Haye spends as much time as possible in either her own or someone else’s imaginary worlds. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

When not lost in a good book, Katy may be found on her allotment growing veg and keeping hens in order to maximise her chances of survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse or similar catastrophe (yes, she has a very vivid imagination).

Find out more at, check out her blog about books, reading and writing at, or chat on Twitter @katyhaye

The Last Gatekeeper is available as a Kindle ebook or as a paperback.

Zan knows she’s different. Today she discovers why …

Zanzibar MacKenzie knows she’s a freak. She has EHS – electrical hypersensitivity – which leaves her trying to live a Stone Age life in the twenty-first century: no internet, no phone, no point really. Then Thanriel knocks on her door and the dull summer holiday becomes maybe too exciting. Zan discovers fairies and angels are real beings from other planets, she herself is half alien, and the future of life on Earth rests on her shoulders.

Thank you so much for dropping by, Katy – I’ve had a sneak preview of The Last Gatekeeper and can highly recommend it, it’s fab!