Rachel Cotton is the author of Nowhere Else But Here, which will be published by Ink Road on 3 May 2018.
Rachel is currently attending sixth form in Chessington, Surrey, where she studies English Literature and Creative Writing. From humble beginnings on the self-publishing forum Wattpad, she has always dreamed of becoming a published author. Whilst that dream has come true, she also intends to study Journalism at Cardiff University next year.
Read below the line for the Q&A, and we've included some more info about the book at the end of the post!
- Briefly, what is your book about?
My book is all about unlikely love between two teenagers who lead very different lives: Rose, a girl whose life is controlled by the rules, and Theo, her reckless, aloof classmate. But when Theo goes missing for a few days and unexpectedly turns up on Rose’s doorstep asking for her help, their worlds come crashing together – and their lives as they know them will never be the same again.
- What inspired you to start writing?
When I was thirteen, I was introduced to the website Wattpad by a friend of mine who also loved reading. I immediately fell in love with many of the stories written on the site, and was quickly inspired to have a go at writing my own story. It took years of giving up and trying again, and a lack of inspiration or motivation at points, but about five years later I’d finished my first story and was so happy I’d persevered!
There was also a time when my mum was sadly diagnosed with grade three breast cancer when I was fifteen and I found that writing was really cathartic for me. Writing stories was my form of therapy, and it really helped me develop my writing style as well as get through such a hard time.
- Who was your favourite character to write, and why? / Do you have a favourite character in your book?
I definitely had the most fun writing Theo’s character when writing Nowhere Else But Here. He has so many layers to his character, and I really loved exploring the different sides of his personality – the one that everyone sees when he’s at school, compared to the side of himself that he shows to Rose when he’s staying in her bedroom. He’s also a lot cheekier and more reckless than Rose, so it was fun coming up with different ways he could surprise my readers!
- What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The beginning, for sure. I always struggle when I start writing a book; there’s so much to think about, like developing character voice, making sure the first chapters aren’t confusing, all while trying to build the plot as well. I remember rewriting the first chapter of Nowhere Else But Here multiple times because I was so determined to make it perfect. Beginnings, to me, are the most important part of a book.
- Your favourite book?
The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chboksy. I laughed and cried when reading the book for the first time, and have re-read it more times than any other book.
- What are you reading at the moment?
Currently, I am reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
- What would be your Super hero power/name?
I’d love the ability to fly, so I could see different parts of the world whenever I wanted to.
- Quiet night in or big night out?
Quiet night in. I’m a huge fan of Netflix, so my ideal night would be cosying up with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn and watching TV all night.
- City break or weekend in the country?
A weekend in the country. Where I live it’s always quite busy, being so close to London, so I’d choose to go away somewhere quieter, where I could go for long walks and spend evenings wrapped up by a cosy fire with a good book.
- Early bird or night owl?
Night owl. I’m terrible at sleeping, so I tend to stay up till the early hours of the morning. I find that I prefer writing late at night as well too – and I absolutely hate the mornings!
- Where’s your favourite place in the world?
I’ve always wanted to go to New York more than anywhere else in the world. I plan to go there in the late summer this year, just before I start university.
- Rebel rebel or teacher’s pet?
I’d say neither! I got too many detentions when I was younger, mainly for being extremely disorganised, to consider myself a teacher’s pet, but I wouldn’t say I was badly behaved enough to be called a rebel either.
- What advice would you give any aspiring authors?
I’d say always keep practising; whether it’s a novel, a short story or a piece of poetry, every single word you write will take you one step closer to where you want to be as a write. And make sure you write for yourself and no one else – there’s no point in trying to write something if you don’t enjoy writing it!
- What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
She’d definitely say I’m a foodie (I am always eating and talking about food!), and also sarcastic but caring at times when my friends need me.
- If you were stranded on an island but you were allowed one luxury item, what would it be?
My dog, Cassie, so she could keep me company!
- What book by another author do you wish you’d written?
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. It was one of the best books I read last year, and her style of writing is so beautiful to me. She’s a great inspiration.
- The one thing I couldn’t live without…
My laptop – I use it for everything from reading and writing, to watching TV, so I would be pretty lost without it!
Rose Valentine prefers to keep herself to herself. Life is easier when you stick to the rules and stay out of other people’s business. So why is she so intrigued by Theo Lockhart? Sure, he’s handsome – everyone knows that, including him. Sometimes he makes her laugh. But he’s also aloof, moody, and impossible to get to know. Rose should know, she’s tried. After two years of being Chemistry partners, she still doesn’t know a single thing about him.
When Theo disappears from town, Rose assumes he’s done a runner. She’s sure of it – right up until he turns up on her doorstep, asking to hide out at her house. Why is he running? And more importantly, why did he choose her? Letting him in means going against everything Rose believes in. It’s reckless and risky and definitely against the rules.
But there’s something about Theo that makes Rose want to break the rules . . . As he turns Rose’s world upside down, and even though she begins to enjoy it, they both know that the real world still exists outside the safe confinement of Rose’s bedroom. But can things ever go back to normal?
OUT 3 MAY 2018, INK ROAD