How Young Adult Fiction Came of Age – The Atlantic

How Young Adult Fiction Came of Age – The Atlantic.


Essi Tolling: Book Signings & Store Visits 2012 UPDATED

May 27th Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway  11am, – 3pm

June 2nd Waterstone’s Southampton (West Quay)  11am – 3pm

June 9th Waterstone’s  Swindon  11am – 2pm

August 18th Waterstone’s Wells   11am – 3pm

August 25th Waterstone’s Camberley   11am – 3pm

Sept 1st  Waterstone’s Haywards Heath 11am-3pm

October 6th  Waterstone’s  Swansea 11am-3pm

October 20th Waterstone’s Salisbury 11am -3pm

October 27th Waterstone’s Woking 11am – 3pm

November 3rd Waterstones Trowbridge   11am – 3pm

November 10th Waterstone’s Bristol Galleries 11am – 3pm

An update on our author Essi Tolling’s latest book signings and school visits…

Essi Tolling - Author

It’s been a really busy time recently, including a trip across the country to Suffolk to visit some schools and do another book-signing event.

Both legs of the car-ride were through torrential rain: the kind when you can hardly see the car right in front of you. In fact, as I drove around London, the weather reminded me of the beginning of Watchers.

When we first meet Tilly she is woken by rain hammering on the roof of the Greenway’s apartment. It is the fortieth straight day of downpours and clouds hang ominously over the capital. Tilly has no idea that the rain is all part of a devious plot to microchip the population, nor that London is about to be evacuated…

I won’t spoil the story for those of you who haven’t read it yet. Let’s just say that sometimes fact and fiction shake hands and as I drove…

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Essi Tolling - Author

In my last post I talked about how I mix fact and fiction in the Tilly Greenway books and how much I love going to the various “sacred sites” and places of historic interest that pop up in our tale. There’s so much to see and learn in any country, but England, Wales and Ireland certainly have their share of wonderful places to visit.

It’s often easy to overlook what’s right under our noses – to take for granted things that others will travel hundreds or thousands of miles to see. With this in mind, I took the wiggly route on my way back from a recent book-signing at Hereford Waterstones so that I could spend some time in one of the most important places that Tilly and Zack visit during book one: Skenfrith Castle.

Sitting on the border between Wales and England, this is one of many castles built…

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And now for something completely different… One Good Turn by Emma Newman

A warm welcome to the lovely Emma Newman who is guest posting a story here this week from her very innovative Spilt Worlds project. From Tuesday November 1st 2011 to Thursday November 1st 2012 a new story set in the Split Worlds is posted on a different blog/website every week, and leads up to the launch of ‘The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns’ on November 1st 2012.

Emma is the author of 20 Years Later, a dystopian YA novel and describes The Split Worlds, her current work in progress, as an urban fantasy setting with gritty noir, fantastical magic, evil faeries and people just trying to drink their tea in peace!

The idea of a story slowly building its own new world by popping up on various websites all around the web-world struck us a pretty ingenious so we are delighted that a little part is bubbling up today on Katy Press. So without further ado…..Here’s Emma…


This is the twenty-third tale in a year and a day of weekly short stories set in The Split Worlds. If you would like me to read it to you instead, you can listen here You can find links to all the other stories, and the new ones as they are released here.

One Good Turn

She saw him from a café across the street as she finished her coffee. White faced, eyes squeezed shut, his arms were wrapped around a lamp post. He was dressed in loose dark trousers and a quilted wine-coloured jacket like one from the awful period dramas her mother watched. Ten people walked past him, eyes fixed ahead in true London style. “Heartless gits,” she sighed and grabbed her bag.

By the time she got across the road he was still clinging to the lamp post like it was a ship’s mast in a storm. The afternoon sun was warm, but not enough to make him sweat so much, and his breath came in short, rapid gasps. He looked about forty, with only a few grey hairs scattered amongst the dark brown.

“Hello,” she touched his arm gently. “Are you alright?”

One eye opened, the other still squeezed shut. It was a pleasant, unusual green and very bloodshot.

“No,” he whispered. “Everything’s changed.”

She looked around. “What do you mean?”

“All of those… things…” He looked at the road. “I just wanted to see the blue sky, that’s all, but it’s too much. Nothing makes sense.”

“My name’s Amber, what’s yours?”

“Archibald. Archie.” He took a couple of deep breaths and held out a hand. She offered hers, but instead of shaking it he pressed his lips to the back of her hand. She tried to ignore the dampness left by his upper lip. “How do you do?”

She discreetly wiped her hand on the back of her dress. “Archie, would you like me to help you?”

“Yes please,” he replied. “I feel quite unwell. I’m so frightfully embarrassed.”

“Okay. You need to let go of the lamp post.”

“Yes, of course.” He eventually unwrapped his arms, keeping his back to the road. “May I take your arm? I… I’m not…”

“That’s fine,” she smiled. “My Mum gets these attacks, I know how scary they can be. Have you found it hard to breathe?” He nodded. “I’ll take you to the hospital, it’s very close.”

“I’m not certain that’s a good idea, I’ll be missed soon and they’ll come looking for me.”


He swallowed with an audible gulp. “My family.” A discarded drinks can clattered along the road, pushed by the breeze. He gasped, horrified. “They’re already trying to find me! I just wanted some time in the meadow, but it’s not here anymore!”

“Meadow? This is London, you need to go about ten miles that way to get to a field. And it’s alright,” Amber slipped her arm around his and held it in the crook of her elbow. “That can’s just a bit of rubbish, it doesn’t mean anything.”

He looked at the pavement around them with frantic eyes, then calmed. “I do beg your pardon.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed it over his face, holding her arm tight. “You’re most kind. I’m terribly sorry to be a burden.”

He allowed himself to be guided. Amber thought of the last time her mother had a severe attack in the lingerie section of a huge department store. She couldn’t remember which one, only the fact that there were no windows and the layout made it impossible to see the exit easily. She’d had to steer her wheezing mother to the escalator, all the staff and other customers watching dumbly. The memory still made her teeth grind.

Archie clung to her arm very tightly, he twitched at every piece of litter that moved near them, but other than that he was easier to manoeuvre. They were at the hospital in less than five minutes, he said nothing as she guided him to the waiting area and left him to speak to the triage nurse.

“Ask him to fill in this form,” the nurse said once Amber had explained the circumstances.

She took it over to Archie who was gripping the sides of his chair. “It smells so strange here.”

“All hospitals do,” Amber said, sitting next to him. “We need to fill this form out, then they’ll check you over but there’s quite a wait. Do you want me to help you fill it in?”

When he didn’t answer she looked up from the form to see him staring at a pen rolling towards him. “I don’t want to go back,” he said, tears forming. “It’s so grey there. And empty. No green, no blue, nothing but mist. I can’t bear it any longer.”

A nurse picked up the pen and hurried on. “Archie,” Amber said, resting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s going to be okay. Really. It feels horrible now, but it’ll pass, I promise.”

“How do you know?”

“My Mum suffers from depression. She said when it’s at its worst, it’s like there aren’t any colours anymore. She said life turns into a black and white film that she watches and can’t take part in. And she gets panic attacks too. They pass. You’ll feel better soon.”

“I doubt it. I’m too tired and too old to care about anything anymore.”

She raised an eyebrow. “You’re… what, forty years old? You’re handsome. You’ve got strange taste in clothes, but that’s nothing to panic about.”

She hoped it would make him smile but he shook his head. “I’m over three hundred and fifty years old. And I’m very tired.”

Amber snorted, thinking he was trying to tell a joke but he looked serious. He wasn’t just depressed, he was a complete loon.

Another pen was rolling towards them, then she saw another and a pencil, a dusty ball of scrunched up paper and a lone earring, all heading for Archie. He saw them too and grasped her hands tight. “Thank you for your kindness. Promise me that on every sunny day you’ll go outside and enjoy the sky?”

“I promise,” she said, not meaning it, but wanting to soothe him.


They both looked at the entrance to see a man dressed like he was about to go to a wedding heading straight towards them.

“Damnable seeker charms,” Archie muttered and let go of Amber’s hands. “I won’t forget you. And I won’t tell my family about you either. It’s for the best.”

Amber watched him leave then took the untouched form back to the desk. By the time she went outside Archie and the man who’d collected him had gone.

She looked up at the blue sky, watched a rabbit-shaped cloud morph into a dragon and then got her phone out, dialling the number from memory. “Hi Mum, it’s me. Just wondering how you are.”

Thanks for hosting Katy Press!

I hope you enjoyed the story. If you would like to find out more about the Split Worlds project, it’s all here: – you can also sign up to get an extra story and get each new story delivered to your inbox every week. If you would like to host a story over the coming year, either let me know in the comments or contact me through the Split Worlds site. Em x





Essi Tolling - Author

When I write, I walk through each scene from the perspective of every character, like a movie-director walking around a set. I find this helps to get a picture of what they all experience. On top of that, I’ll often have in mind a real actor or actress as I build their history and create their dialogue.

The exception to this rule was with both Tilly and Zack, the main protagonists of our tale. At twelve and thirteen respectively, I didn’t know any particular actress/actor who would fit the bill. I guess I just haven’t seen many movies with children of their age and description in. All this changed, so far as Tilly goes, a week ago.

In my penultimate post I spoke of a young girl with long red hair who approached my table when I was doing a book-signing at the Cribbs Causeway Waterstones. I couldn’t say more…

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A big thank you to Waterstone’s!

Our author Essi Tolling has been having fun these past few weeks visiting branches of Waterstones.

It’s a real pleasure to spend time in these lovely stores and we cannot compliment the staff at Waterstone’s highly enough. What a warm, welcoming and book loving team they are! It’s so refreshing to meet people who so obviously love what they do and who display such a knowledgeable and keen interest in all the books they stock.

Thank you also to the lovely Sarah Tippelt from Waterstone’s Dorking, who unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of on the day.

Here are a few more photos from our latest signings:

Essi Tolling (right) with Simon Monfredi, Waterstone's Cribbs Causeway
Essi Tolling (right) with Bethan England, Waterstone's Abergavenny


Essi Tolling (right) with Angela Timmins, Waterstone's Hereford

Essi Tolling - Author

I’m just back from a week-end away, including a book-signing at the Cribbs Causeway Waterstone’s (that’s me having just got set up at the table). It was very busy, with lots of people stopping to chat and many to buy (always good!).

One of the things I love about the Tilly series is that, because it ranges so widely over different topics, folks of all ages and descriptions are interested in it.

One minute I’m chatting to a middle-aged man who is a John Grisham fan about conspiracy theories; the next an eleven-year-old girl comes to my table, clutching Tilly to her chest with a dreamy look in her eyes. She’s seen the picture of Tia and Kama, two of the dragons in the tale and already feels the magic. I tell her she would make a perfect Tilly if the film is ever made and her eyes light up…

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Essi Tolling: Book Signings & Store Visits 2012

Essi Tolling will be visiting these branches of UK Waterstone’s bookshops.
Come and visit to chat, have books signed or maybe even catch a reading..

March 10th Waterstone’s Dorking 11am-3pm
March 18th Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway 11am-3pm
March 23rd Waterstone’s Abergavenny 11am -3pm
March 24th Waterstone’s Hereford 11am-3pm
April 14th Waterstone’s Newport 11am-3pm
April 28th Waterstone’s Ipswich 11am-3pm
May 5th  Waterstone’s Plymouth  11am – 3pm
May 12th Waterstone’s Abergavenny  11am – 3pm
May 27th Cribbs Causeway  11am, – 3pm
June 2nd Waterstone’s Southampton   11am – 3pm
June 9th Waterstone’s  Swindon  11am – 2pm
August 18th Waterstone’s Wells   11am – 3pm
August 25th Waterstone’s Camberley   11am – 3pm
Sept 1st  Waterstone’s Haywards Heath 11am-3pm
October 6th  Waterstone’s  Swansea 11am – 3pm
October 20th Waterstone’s Salisbury 11am – 3pm
October 27th Waterstone’s Woking 11am – 3pm
November 3rd Waterstones Trowbridge   11am – 3pm
November 10th Waterstone’s Bristol 11am – 3pm


We will update this list as and when additional dates are confirmed…

Author Essi Tolling shares his thoughts on the shy and elusive hare..

Essi Tolling - Author

If I were to choose an animal totem, it would be the wild, shy, magical creature that we know as the hare.

As a boy I used to see a lot of hares, especially in Spring, when they come out to “box”. There is something truly fey about them. Is it the fact that they seem to be able to disappear in the twinkling of an eye, or that they dance under the full moon? Is it their elusive shyness, or the vulnerability with which they nest in “forms” in the grass? Whatever the reason, hares hold a special place not just in my heart, but in cultures all over the world.

In the East, the hare is sacred to Buddha. One tale tells of a time when Buddha asked all the animals to bring him some food for a feast that would be held later that day. That night…

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