Cat Clarke has many a young adult title to her name. But none more exciting or thrilling than her most recent release, ‘Girlhood’.
The book divulges the secrets of the dark underbelly of adolescence and tight-knit friendship groups and this thrilling drama plays out against the backdrop of the secluded Duncraggen Boarding School.
We explored the conception for these dark themes and got the bottom of Clarke’s feelings on the characters of her newest release.
You currently have nine book titles to your name. How and why did you get into writing?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was around twelve years old. I was a huge fan of an American YA writer called Christopher Pike, and my first forays into writing were poor imitations of his stories. Eventually, I stopped copying him, but I’m still inspired by his tight plotting and pacy stories, even if some of the books don’t quite hold up all that well today.
We see you were born in Zambia and brought up in Edinburgh and Yorkshire. Does your background influence your writing?
I’m sure it must do, but I couldn’t exactly tell you how. Definitely in the language I use. Certain turns of phrase from Yorkshire usually creep into my books.
Your most recent release, ‘Girlhood’, is set in Duncraggan boarding school. If you were attending Hogwarts boarding school, which house would you sort yourself into and why?
I’ve been sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore, which I’m delighted about. Niceness is an underrated quality, I reckon. I was originally sorted into Gryffindor, which never quite fit, because I’m definitely not brave in any way whatsoever.
The girls who attend Duncraggen have formed tight-knitted friendship groups. Which celebrities would you pick to be in your girl gang?
Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Stone, Ruby Tandoh and Ellen Page. I would be very, very happy.
Are the dark themes that Girlhood touches on something that permeates your other writing?
Definitely. My books are often described as dark, but I like to think that darkness is laced with humour. There are certain subjects I return to again and again in my writing. Guilt and grief are two of them.
If you had to become any character in Girlhood, who you would be and why?
Definitely Rowan. She’s my favourite. She’s loyal, frank and funny… and has an extensive collection of slippers.
If a cake was baked to emulate Girlhood what ingredients would be in it?
It would be a classic Victoria sponge, but with so much vodka chucked in there that it would be completely inedible.
After falling in love with the girls of ‘Girlhood’, can we expect any more stories from the gang? Or are there other secrets you can spill about any future projects?
I’d never say never, but for now, I won’t be revisiting the ‘Girlhood’ girls. My next project is also YA, and will be out next year. It begins with a wedding and a car crash… and that’s about all I can tell you.
And lastly, for a bit of fun, what pizza topping describes your personality
Cheese. With extra cheese on top. And a side of cheese.