Saturday 7 February 2015

UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour! Guest Author ~ Helen Hiorns.

I'm really excited to be hosting the blog tour today for the UKYA Extravaganza, which is an epic event taking place in Birmingham at the end of this month with 35 wonderful YA authors attending! I can't wait to go, but in the meanwhile, I'm honoured to be able to feature a guest post from one of those authors, Helen Hiorns.


How my life has changed since winning the first Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award

by Helen Hiorns

I’m pretty much just your average wannabe writer, I just accidentally achieved the dream ahead of schedule.

When I entered the Song Young Movellist of the Year Competition, I was nineteen, in my first year of university and posting an obscene amount of fanfiction online (Harry Potter fanfiction was my poison of choice, at the time). Now I’m most of the way through my degree, writing a little less fanfiction (Supernatural, now), with a novel on the shelves in selective Waterstones. It’s quite surreal.

The publishing story has a touch of fiction about it all by itself. I wrote the book on a whim, most of it in eight days (don’t ask me how that’s possible. I don’t know. I have not been able to repeat it since) I get the phone call that I’ve won whilst I’m interrailing in Hamburg. My friends take a picture of me crying down the phone. Random House send me the cover whilst I’m in Poland. I read edits on an overnight train to Prague. I get my contract in Slovenia. Then, bam, I have a book. Some people even like my book. People exchange money for my book. Some paperback edits and a few months later, I have a paperback too. A real life 3D version of these words I wrote, printed with a blurb and a front cover and my name on the side.

You google my name, the first page of results is all me. That’s a strange kind of moment.

The most immediate change in my life was that I was suddenly a lot more popular on Facebook. Did you know there’s a ‘published a book’ life event available on facebook? Well, there is, and it’s a slightly more exciting addition to most people’s news feed than someone changing their profile picture. Also, publicity. Ringing up local newspapers and begging them to pay attention to me was a whole new world, as well as being really hard. There’s a lot of books available. Getting people to notice yours is much more challenging than expected. I spent some of my advance on going to the Isle of Wight, and I got to introduce myself as an ‘author’ for the first time.

Then, a year of solid writer’s block.

People don’t tell you that achieving your dreams is genuinely terrifying. Amazing, of course, but really really scary. I’d had all this ambition and want and desperation to be a writer, and I’d been so scared that I’d never get there. I get neurotic about writing because it means so much to me. It does not necessarily bring out the best in me. Suddenly, in this whirlwind dreamlike reality, I’d done it. I’d done the thing. I had a book, and everyone that scoffed when I told them I was going to be a writer was wrong.

I review stalked and worried that people wouldn’t like the book, or that I’d never publish another book again. I was halfway to convinced that, because I’d achieved my life dream before I was twenty, I’d never do anything exciting again. I’d be a washed up one hit wonder who wrote an okay book, once, then spent the rest of her life staring at her keyboard in despair. I hid from all my writer friends. I retreated to my cosy anonymous fanfiction corner of the internet and occasionally wrote things there.

After a while, I got my mojo back and realised I was acting like a crazy person. Now, I’m writing, both fanfiction and original stuff, in between university and everything else I committed myself too. I’m still a little bit neurotic. I still don’t really believe that I have an actual book on the shelves.

So, the truth… achieving your dreams doesn’t actually change your life that much. I have a brilliant comeback to people who scoff when I say I want to be a writer. I have some validation. Occasionally, I manage to worm my way into author events like the UKYA Extravaganza, and hang out with all these incredible authors whilst expecting someone to realise I’m not a real author and chuck me out of the author-club (‘she doesn’t even go here’). I have an extra thing to put on the ‘interests’ section of my CV. I have more google entries. I’ve met and chatted to quite a few more authors than I had done previously.

It’s all brilliant and I love all the opportunities I’ve had because of it immensely. It’s still terrifying and it’s still amazing. And I’m still your average wannabe-writer, hoping that someone somewhere will care about my next book.

Title: The Name On Your Wrist.
Author: Helen Hiorns.
Publisher: Random House.

Purchase: Amazon UK

It’s the first thing they teach you when you start school. But they don’t need to; your parents tell you when you’re first learning how to say your name. It’s drummed into you whilst you’re taking your first stumbling steps. It’s your lullaby. From the moment it first appears, you don’t tell anyone the name on your wrist.

In Corin's world, your carpinomen - the name of your soul mate, marked indelibly on your wrist from the age of two or three - is everything. It's your most preciously guarded secret; a piece of knowledge that can give another person ultimate power over you. People spend years, even decades, searching for the one they're supposed to be with.

But what if you never find that person? Or you do, but you just don't love them? What if you fall for someone else - someone other than the name on your wrist?

And what if - like Corin - the last thing in the world you want is to be found?

The gripping debut novel from the winner of the inaugural Sony Young Movellist Award.


  1. I love hearing about the authors. You are lucky to go to such great events.

    1. Me too! I'm excited for it, now I just need to figure out how to get there :)


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