You can find the rest of the stops on the blog tour here, so make sure to stop by and check them all out!
Author: Rosie Best
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school, and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.
While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn't long before Meg realizes that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.
She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, however, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.
Rosie Best lives in London and loves all things nerdy. She is an editor at Working Partners Ltd, working on a huge variety of projects from first chapter books about unicorns to dark YA journeys through the land of the dead.
She’s also written for Working Partners on a freelance basis, on series published by Usborne and Hot Key Books.
The opening of Skulk won a place in the 2012 Undiscovered Voices anthology. When not writing or indulging a passion for video games, she sings with the Crouch End Festival Chorus.
Find Rosie on the web here: Strange Chemistry | Tumblr | Twitter
And now, for the interview!
1) What was your inspiration for writing this novel?
I was really inspired by the title - as soon as I read that 'skulk' was the word for a group of foxes, I knew I had to write the urban fantasy story to go with it. I was inspired by the urban foxes that I see sometimes around London, too. I wondered, if there was a group of people in London with the power to shapeshift into foxes, what would they do, how would they spend their time, and what reason would there be for people to exist with that power?
2) Since Meg is a graffiti artist, we see quite a bit of art scattered throughout London, whether it's hers, E3's, or someone else's. Are these pieces based off of real graffitti around London, or are they totally original?
I haven't specifically based the individual pieces of graffiti in Skulk on any pieces of real graffiti in London, but I'm inspired by all kinds of street art. I think of E3's style as being a bit like this:
|Graffiti by The Mac and Reyes, photo by funkandjazz|
whereas Meg's is a little bit less lush and colourful and more Banksy-ish - more thick black lines and stencils highlighted with bright colours. Here's one that always makes me think of Meg...
although I can see her painting in this kind of style too
3) Do you see any qualities of yourself reflected in any of your characters?
I definitely see my teenaged self in Meg - she's much cooler and more adventurous than me, but we have a similar outlook on life, especially when it comes to the things other people seem to think are fun and navigating friendships with people who you like, but don't have very much in common with. I was always the sensible one in any group, and it's not easy to be that person! I wanted to write about a girl like me who never had a great time at school but found her place in the world by finding people she has something in common with - for Meg it's shapeshifting and graffiti, for me it was geeking out and writing stories with friends from my youth choir. But the incredible feeling of actually, finally connecting with someone is the same.
4) If you could only use three words to describe Skulk, what would they be?
Wild, thrilling, grubby!
5) What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing Skulk?
Honestly, probably just getting over my own procrastination. I'm a terrible, terrible procrastinator. There were some hard times when I couldn't work out how to fill plot holes or I'd lost track who was where and who knew what, or I knew I had to get someone somewhere and couldn't figure out how. But the biggest challenge of writing for me is definitely the procrastination-guilt spiral.
6) If you could be a member of any of the Skulk, Rabble, Conspiracy, Horde, or Cluster, which would you want to be in and why?
It's hard to choose! I don't think I could deal with being in the Cluster - I have to assume that anyone who joins them quickly gets over their arachnophobia, but still, the idea freaks me out. I like the idea of being a fox, and I like the idea of being in the Horde so that I could hang out in abandoned tube stations, but I think I'd have to pick the Conspiracy, because they get to fly, and spend their time in such a cool location.
7) How does a typical writing day usually go for you?
I have a full time day job so I often grab 45 minutes in the middle of the day or even try to get some writing done on the Tube on my way into work, but I get most done at the weekends when I can get out of the house. I generally get up at a reasonable hour with a plan to go to work immediately, and then procrastinate heavily until lunchtime! Then I usually hop on the bus up to my local posh suburb and settle in at a cafe with my laptop, the soundtrack to Doctor Who or Game of Thrones, and the biggest cup of coffee they'll give me. I tend to go home when I've hit my word target for the day or stayed so long in the coffee shop that I have to either leave or start paying rent!
Thanks again for taking the time to stop by, Rosie!
--Ashley and Paul