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With Halloween just around the corner, who better to take part in our 5-4-3-2-1 feature than Claire Barker, author of Knitbone Pepper And The Ghost Dog (published by Usborne)?

Books you’d save from a burning bookcase

1) Roald Dahl –Danny, Champion of the World. The first book that made me sit up and pay attention. I will never look a raisin in the same way again.
2) The QI Book of The Dead. Very, very interesting dead people.
3) Patrick Suskind – Perfume. Brilliant, dark, poisonous, frightening, addictive.
4) Terry Pratchett – Mort. Death has a horse called Binky: what’s not to love?
5) Childhood copy of Tales from Shakespeare, illustrated by Victor Ambrus. Full of war, blood and pretty frocks

Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island.

1) William Blake
2) Oscar Wilde
3) Neil Gaiman
4) AA Milne

TV shows you can watch all day long

1) Black Books. Bookshop + wine + bad behaviour = perfection.
2) Old re-runs of River Cottage, the early ones when Hugh is clearly mad; e...

We’re really excited for next week’s YA Shot event in Uxbridge, featuring a host of incredible authors! 

To celebrate, awesome organiser Alexia Casale (who is also a brilliant author herself, having written The Bone Dragon and House of Windows) is taking part in our popular 5-4-3-2-1 feature!

5 Pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author

Join Twitter and find the UKYA community STAT.
Stalk agents of all description on Twitter and read their articles about pitching.
Start a blog. Possibly a book blog. Certainly get reading all the book blogs.
That book everyone thinks is The World’s Worst Idea Ever is going to be your debut. Ignore them and write it.
Don’t despair. And remember, desperation isn’t much fun but it’s always when you’re at your best. Use it.

4 Songs that sum up the last novel you wrote perfectly

Pick Yourself Up
Room 504
Stellutis Alpinis
Fortymania

3 Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a...

We’re super excited for Joshua Khan’s Shadow Magic, published by Scholastic, which sounds fabulous! We’re thrilled to have Joshua doing our 5-4-3-2-1 feature today.

Books you’d save from a burning bookcase

The Hobbit

It was read to me when I was about seven and, I think, the reason I do what I do. I read it again every few years and am instantly transported back to that summer day when I sat on the lino floor in the classroom and the teacher uttered the immortal words, “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.”

I read it to my wife and newborn daughter during those 4am feeds, when you feel that it’s just the three of you alone in the world and everything is at peace. Daughter is now 15 and keen fantasy reader. I wonder if the Hobbit reached through those new ears and settled somewhere deep within?

Dune

Epic sci-fi and truly orginal. All sci-fi that followed has some Dune in its DNA. Game of Thrones owes it a huge one, given it’s all about noble houses at war. I even loved the David Lynch movi...

Having heard incredible things about Manuela Salvi’s Girl Detached – banned in Italy for its portrayal of a girl lured into sex work, but taking UK bloggers and readers by storm – we can’t wait to read it. (As you’d expect from the subject, though, it’s one we’d recommend for mature teens.) It’s one of the first books published by Barrington Stoke as part of their new The Bucket List imprint.

We asked Manuela to take part in our 5-4-3-2-1 feature today.

5 authors I’d want with me if I were stranded on a desert island

1. Alejandro Zambra
2