Blog

Blog

Conjuring up a villain.

 

It would be fair to say I had a bit of a misspent youth. If I wasn’t sneaking off to hire scary movies with my gran’s video card, I was pinching my brother’s Stephen King and James Herbert novels. As a teenager, I was pretty clueless about most things in life, but ask me about creatures of the night (or day) and there wasn’t much I didn’t know. I’m certain this fascination with all things grisly and ghoulish came from family gatherings, where we would revel in telling ghost stories. Films were another great topic of discussion with my uncle and aunt being enthusiastic horror buffs. I would listen in to all the conversations and when it came to bedtime, pretend I was invisible in the hope that my mum would forget I was there. Gran’s house was spooky and my bedroom at the end of a long, dark corridor. Needless to say, I felt right at home creating White Eye, the evil villain of Twister. White Eye doesn’t appear immediately in the story, so I wanted to give him a name which would make the reader start to picture him in their own mind. It was my brilliant editor at Scholastic, Lauren Fortune, who suggested he should be more of a bogeyman figure. This struck a chord with me, as when I was growing up and not behaving myself, I would be told Sawney Bean would come and get me. Sawney Bean lived in a cave in the west coast of Scotland and dragged unsuspecting travellers off the highway to eat them. Although he was only a local legend, the thought of him hunting me down always made me behave as good as gold.

I think the best baddies have something about them that is visually distinctive and with White Eye it was his coat, which had a whole host of undesirable critters crawling around it. One night, as I was working away on Twister, the hairs went up on the back of my neck at the thought of him standing next to me. I knew I had to have a scene in the book where Twister suddenly realises White Eye is right behind her. That moment still gives me a bit of a shiver! Throughout Twister, White Eye never speaks. I felt a voice would somehow make him a little less creepy and so I had to create another character that could do all the talking for him.

I will always love dreaming up terrible villains. And if you think White Eye sounds dreadful, wait until you meet the baddie in my next book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my writing inspirations for Twister.

Some people listen to music when they are writing. Not me. I need to surround myself with pictures. I turned my kitchen wall into a mood board when I was working on Twister and this was one of the photos I pinned up. I snapped it not far from my parent’s house. I found the tree quite spooky, which was perfect for one of my characters in the story. It is a sweet chestnut and I have grown quite attached to it now.

 

 

When I am stuck, or need to figure something out plot-wise, I take the dog for a walk. I always find time away from the laptop works wonders. I love being outdoors and will often weave what I see in the park into the story. I am so deep in thought, my friends have to flap their hands in front of my face before I notice them. I am quite sure they think I am a sandwich short of a picnic.

 

 

This was given to me by an old colleague of mine. We got our very first job together in advertising – she was a copywriter and I was an art director. That was many years ago, when an all-female creative team was unusual in the industry. My friend knows I have got a busy mind, so having this close by when I am writing reminds me to concentrate on the task at hand.

 

 

The chair is a symbol of sitting and watching people. Place me in an airport, train station, library or park bench and I am in seventh heaven. Sometimes, in the theatre, I will be looking at the audience instead of the actors. People are a never-ending source of great inspiration and material for me.

 

Meet my dad. As you can tell from this ancient photo, having a sense of humour was important in our household. I am forever thankful for the stories he used to read out at bedtime. I was captivated by authors such as Laurie Lee, Dylan Thomas and the poetry of Norman MacCaig.

 

Twister: Book of The Week at Golden Hare Books.

So delighted Golden Hare Books has chosen Twister as their Book of The Week. Golden Hare Books are a terrific independent store who host many fantastic events and one of those places you feel right at home the minute you step through their doors. Thank you!

Mysterious Magic at the Hay Festival.

Sophie Anderson, Juliette Forrest, James Nicol

MYSTERIOUS MAGIC

Venue: Starlight Stage

Three authors discuss the very different ways in which the power of magic and mystery enhance their stories with reference to their books The House with Chicken Legs, Twister and A Witch Alone.

I am so excited to be appearing at the Hay Festival alongside the wonderful Sophie Anderson and James Nicol. Not only is the festival one of the best, I couldn’t be happier making my debut appearance with two such brilliant authors at my side. I have a feeling this is going to be a lot of fun. Please go to hayfestival.com if you’d like to find out more about tickets or if you’d just like to take a peek at some of the incredible events they have lined up. It’s a scorcher.

Twister and other Fantastic Females.

So chuffed I’ve been picked to join this incredible list of Fantastic Females. Thank you to everyone who recommended Twister.

Twister. The Book Trust’s Book of the Day.

I am so delighted the Book Trust has chosen Twister to be their Book of the Day. A huge thank you for reading and reviewing the book. This means so much to me.

Twister’s father has gone missing. Her mother is depressed, and people are accusing her father of starting a fatal fire. Even school is horrible now, despite Twister’s love for learning, and other than her Aunt Honey and her dog Point she feels that everyone is now against her. Then one day Twister finds a magic necklace with transformative powers. Will this discovery help her to find her missing father, or will the dark forces looking for the necklace be too much for Twister?

Forrest has created a compelling protagonist, with all the hallmarks of a great heroine. Twister is brave, smart, strong willed but also relatable in her adolescent uncertainty about herself and the world around her. While magic features heavily, it does not detract from the emotional pull and character development that are so key to this book. The story rolls from hilarity to horror, and even extremely touching and heart-wrenching moments, without missing a beat and never feeling forced.

 

Irresistible, warm and fierce as a summer storm: it’s Twister.

 

Thank you to the wonderful children, teachers and bloggers who have taken the time to read and write reviews about Twister. And I didn’t even have to offer up one bribe. Honest.

This story takes you on a journey of emotions. If you were to use it in English lessons, it would be a great text to challenge your class. If just used as a class story, all would enjoy.” Sophie Bartlett, Year 6 teacher, Rivermead Primary School, Berkshire.

Twitter is as irresistible, warm and fierce as a summer storm and many a young reader will dream of having her bravery and strength. A book not to be missed.” Linda Lawlor, The Bookbag.

After reading this book, I see the world as a place to be free, to be wild, to be yourself.” Eliza Varga, Year 6, Rivermead Primary School, Berkshire.

Twister is a fantastic, all-action adventure with thrills, chills and mystery aplenty, and with an inspirational heroine who is gutsy, fierce and loyal, and more than ready to tackle her enemies, whether they come from the real world or places of fantasy and magic. Gritty, exciting, inspirational… and not to be missed!” PNorfolk Book Reviews.

An original, powerful story which mixes magic and at times brutal reality, ‘Twister’ is a compelling read. Twister herself is an intriguing character, loyal and spirited. Her voice is beautifully captured, with her dry commentary on the actions of those around and her wonderful turn of phrase.” North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award.

Sharp as a pin, brave as a bear and kind, loyal and clever as you could hope, Twister would give Hermione Granger, Lyra Belacqua and Scout Finch a run for their money.” Scoop the Mag.

I would recommend it to adult readers, because then they can learn and understand about young children’s problems and feelings.” Shruthi Moka, Year 6, Rivermead Primary School, Berkshire.

 

Meet Twister.

It is a big deal when you first get to hold your book in your hands. It is a product of sheer, bloody hard work and determination. It symbolises some of the happiest moments I’ve ever had and some of the darkest ones too. It is sitting in front of me because along the way, people and organisations – such as the amazing Scottish Book Trust, took the time to help, train, support and cheer me on. And, of course, I was lucky enough to find my creative champion, Polly Nolan – without her, this book would still be a stack of loose pages I’d be jotting shopping lists down on.

Thanks to Scholastic and the fabulous Lauren Fortune, the editing process was an enjoyable one where I learned so much. (If I’d known how much work was involved I might have given up at the first hurdle.) Writing books is not for the faint hearted.

I can’t believe something that has rattled around my head for years has been illustrated in such a beautiful and vibrant way. Ever the art director, I LOVE the typeface! A huge thanks to the designer, Sean Williams, and to the artist and printmaker, Alexis Snell.

Twister launches on 1st February. Here is a link to a terrific review that made my heart sing and me ready to start the whole process all over again for my next novel.

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Twister_by_Juliette_Forrest

 

Homegrown authors are the hottest properties in print.

A huge thank you to The Scottish Book Trust and the Daily Mail for this fantastic article. I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to be in it, but also to be alongside such an amazing bunch of writers. I know I wouldn’t be in this position had it not been for the support of the Book Trust who are a lifeline for writers in Scotland. Twister launches on 1st February, so I’ll be posting all the latest news here. I think 2018 is going to be an extraordinary year.