Alison Rattle writes YA historical fiction. Her latest book is a YA crime book set just after WWII. Here she tells us about her passion for notebooks and how she uses them during her writing process.
When I’m writing a book I usually start off on my laptop, but then very quickly reach for a pen and notebook. There’s something very freeing, peaceful and intimate about letting your imagination run wild across a beautiful clean page. I don’t have a favourite pen or pencil as such, as long as it works, that’s all I ask. But I do tend to buy myself colourful, bejewelled or bonkers pens, just so I can say, ’Hey that’s mine!’ in a house where pens get used, borrowed and go missing on a regular basis.
I always buy a new notebook whenever I start a new idea for a book. It’s a brilliant excuse to add to my collection, but also so exciting to hold those clean, fresh pages in my hand, knowing that before long they’ll be covered in words I can’t even imagine yet. My most glamorous and expensive notebooks were given to me as presents. I usually buy reasonably priced ones, but the prettiest I can find. Once I start writing in a notebook, I’m not precious about it at all. They all end up being scruffy, well-worn things that contain not only the workings of my book, but scribbled recipes, telephone numbers, shopping lists etc…a snapshot of my life during the writing process.
Although not strictly stationery, I also collect old tins which are perfect for storing bits and bobs, such as erasers, Tippex, pencil sharpeners etc.. My tin of the moment is an original Oxo cube tin. It reminds me of when I was a child in the sixties (my nan always had one in her kitchen larder) and it sat on the kitchen table next to me when I was writing my latest book V for Violet (published by Hot Key Books May 7th 2016) which is set in 1961.
Violet White is born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announces victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling any time soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a Rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…
You can follow Alison on Twitter @alisonrattle