Posts Tagged ‘Stripes Books’

Red Eye Halloween Tour

October 23, 2015 - 4:44 am No Comments


Welcome to the Red Eye Halloween Tour, where I interview five authors from Stripes Book’s YA Horror imprint Red Eye. To find out more visit


Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte cover

1a) Short bio from the author including what their book is about

Frozen Charlotte is about a girl called Sophie whose best friend mysteriously dies after they fool around with a Ouija app one night. Sophie believes they accidentally released the spirit of her dead cousin, Rebecca, and decides to go and stay with her family on the Isle of Skye to try to find out what happened to her. There she finds a room full of antique Frozen Charlotte dolls that seem to have a mysterious influence over the household.

1b) What is the scariest book you’ve ever read? And why?
I think probably The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I love the country house setting, Gothic tone and unreliable narrator. I also really like the ambiguity of the whole thing. You can never be completely sure whether the governess is just imagining it all or whether there really is something seriously wrong with the children she’s looking after. Florence and Giles by John Harding is a great re-imagining of the story too.

2) What is the scariest film you’ve ever seen and why?
The Fourth Kind. This is a mockumentary style film about alien abduction and it completely scared the crap out of me. This is partly because, to begin with, I was gullible enough to think that the “real footage” parts were actually real footage, but also the fact that I guess I think alien abduction seems like such a terrifying thing that could theoretically happen to you at any time – i.e. you don’t have to be staying alone in a haunted house over night or anything like that – you could just be driving to work, or asleep in your bed. I also recently enjoyed scaring myself watching Oculus, which focuses on a haunted mirror and had some very creepy and original scenes I hadn’t come across anywhere else before.


Lou Morgan

Sleepless cover

1a) Short bio from the author including what their book is about

SLEEPLESS is the story of a group of friends at an exclusive,
high-pressure school who – desperate to pass their exams – take a
mysterious study drug they find on the internet. But there are
unexpected side effects, and it isn’t long before they realise that
the exams were only just the start of the nightmare.

Having sat a fair amount of exams in my time, I wanted to write a book
that was about stress, and exams and the amount of pressure put on
students – and the desperation that comes from that, as well as where
it could take you. And as someone who used to live in the Barbican in
central London, with all its twisty corridors and dead-ends, I
couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather set a horror story.

1b) What is the scariest book you’ve ever read? And why?

I’ve read scary stories ever since I *could* read, but I think for the
sheer impact of it, the one I remember as being the scariest was
Stephen King’s IT. A friend lent it to me when I was fairly young –
maybe eleven or so? – and I think I got about four pages in before I
had to get out of bed and put it in a drawer, just to make sure it
wasn’t going to… do anything during the night. I just didn’t trust
it. The memory of that is strong enough that I’ve never been able to
face reading it again!

Out of books I’ve actually managed to read, though, it’s almost
certainly another Stephen King: THE SHINING. I’m very, very late to
this – I only read it three or four years ago – but it still managed
to scare me. Those topiary animals. Oof.

2) What is the scariest film you’ve ever seen and why?

The funny thing is that I’m a notorious wimp when it comes to films:
it’s a source of never-ending amusement to my friends. So THE WOMAN IN
BLACK might be averagely-scary to some people, but I was already
whimpering my way through the dvd when my husband thought it would be
funny to go outside and bang suddenly on the window, in the pitch
dark. (I should add that I’m still married, but only just. It was
touch and go for a while after that stunt.)

Otherwise, both THE BABADOOK and THE EXORCIST are really interesting
and definitely some of the scariest films I’ve ever seen. Neither of
them rely on the jump-scare (although there’s a few of those) but draw
you into an oppressive atmosphere, making you more and more tense – so
when the real scares come along, they’re incredibly effective. The
setting is a part of the story, and you realise it could only be
taking place there – but that also, it could have happened anywhere.
It’s weirdly contradictory, but it’s true. The other thing about both
those films, of course, is that they’re not just about monsters or
demons or what have you: there’s a lot more going on in the stories if
you want to look for it. Or rather, if you dare to…



flesh and blood cover

My first book was published in 1997, and since then there have been just over seventy others. Many of my books have been aimed at 8-12 year olds – including the Saxby Smart detective stories and the SWARM spy series – but I’ve also written for teenagers and for younger children.

I started writing stories when I was in my teens, and now write in a tiny room crammed with books, coffee cups and empty chocolate bar wrappers. I live in Warwick, not far from the famous castle, but I spend most of my time in a world of my own.

Flesh And Blood is the first all-out horror story I’ve ever written. It’s about a teenager called Sam who moves to a new town and a new school. He feels like a fish out of water, and soon starts to feel a hell of a lot worse when some disturbing events lead him to investigate the powerful Greenhill family. He uncovers something very, very nasty indeed…

What is the scariest book you’ve ever read? And why?
I think the one that’s haunted me most, over the years, is Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Not a horror story, of course, but a book with some of the all-time scariest concepts in it, and that ending remains the most chilling I’ve ever read.

What is the scariest film you’ve ever seen and why?
Ooooh, so many possibilities! I’ll never forget the first time I saw Alien, in about 1981/2, whenever it was first shown on TV, on a little portable up in my room with the lights off. The Fly – the original, not the ’80s remake – is a firm favourite (another terrifying ending!), as are John Carpenter’s Halloween and The Thing. Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is something I can’t watch without covering my eyes at some point, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first of the Paranormal Activity films, too.

Graham Marks – BAD BONES

Graham Marks Pic

Bad Bones cover

1a) Short bio from the author including what their book is about
I have spent my whole career in children’s publishing, firstly as a designer and Creative Director and then, after a major change of mind as to what I wanted to do, as a journalist and author. My first published work was a book of poetry, Seeing is Touching, published by Paul Piech, one of the visiting tutors we had while I was studying Information Graphics at Harrow School of Art.
I have worked for Marvel Comics, and various other comics companies writing scripts, I did an eight year stint as a copywriter in an advertising agency and was the trade paper Publishing News’ Children’s Editor until it’s closure in 2008.
Bloomsbury have published my critically acclaimed YA fiction, including Radio Radio, How It Works – the South Lanarkshire Book Award winner, 2005 ­- Zoo, Tokyo – the Catalan Young Adult Fiction Award winner in 2009 – and Omega Place. 
Usborne have published my 10+ thrillers, including Snatched!, Kaï-ro, I Spy and its sequel Mean Streets.
Catnip have republished revised editions of the books I wrote in the mid-90s: Strange Hiding Place, Faultline, Takedown (previously called Skitzo) and Playing with Phyre (previously called Haden’s Quest). I have also written for Barrington Stoke (Bad Day) and Franklin Watts recently published Payback, in their ‘Edge’ series.
I currently live and work in Portland, Oregon.

1b) What is the scariest book you’ve ever read? And why?
The book that terrified me as a child – I’m not sure exactly how old, but between 10 and 12 – was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I read it one summer and, even though the language was sometimes arcane and quite old-fashioned, it scared me witless, especially the Bloofer Lady. It was a hot summer, but I slept every night of it with my bedroom windows shut tight so she couldn’t get in, bite my throat, drink my blood and turn me into a vampire.

I did have, and still do, an over-active imagination and remember reading one book a few years later – I can’t remember which – that involved leprosy; I spent weeks afterwards convinced that, at a school in the middle of suburban Hertfordshire, I had caught the disease was doomed to be cast out.

2) What is the scariest film you’ve ever seen and why?

Poltergeist was pretty scary, and so was Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie (especially the very end…), but the scariest probably has to be Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; the pre-release publicity was incredible, cinemas advertising that a doctor would always be available in case anyone had a heart attack while watching it, and it does deliver the screaming and the shocks even now.

Find out more about Graham Marks and Bad Bones which will be featured on

Tom Becker – DARK ROOM

Dark Room cover

Short author bio including what the book is about.

Originally from the northwest of England, Tom Becker grew up a tortured and maladjusted child who spent hours plotting the best way to inflict revenge upon society. In the end, he decided upon writing. His first novel, Darkside, won the Waterstone’s Childrens’ Book Prize and he has gone on to write a series of dark adventures and spine-chilling horrors. His new book, Dark Room, is set in an ultra-wealthy and secretive small town in America, where a vicious killer known as the Angel Taker preys upon a group of wealthy, narcissistic teens known as the Picture Perfects.

What is the scariest book you’ve ever read, and why?
I think the first real horror book I read was Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, which is a satisfying unpleasant and unsettling book composed by a truly great writer. In my reading I tend to gravitate towards the macabre rather than the outright horrific – particularly short story writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft and Robert Aickman.

What is the scariest film you’ve ever seen, and why?
I’ve had moments of real unhappiness watching The Exorcist, The Shining, and The Ring, but the winner for me has to be a Korean film called Ju-On: The Grudge. I made the rash decision to watch it on my own and lasted about 15 minutes before hurriedly turning off the DVD. It’s about a house suffering a terrible curse – the atmosphere of dread is instantaneous, and the depiction of possession simply terrifying.

Dark Room

September 4, 2015 - 7:54 pm No Comments

Author: Tom Becker
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Release Date: 10th Sept 2015
Page Count: 352pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Darla and her dad are looking for a fresh start, but when they wind up in affluent Saffron Hills, Darla has very little chance of fitting in or becoming popular with the selfie-obsessed teens at her school. Just as she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, she starts to have visions; dark and twisted visions of a killer on the loose. She’s actually seeing the future. And the camera never lies.
This suitably grim and gruesome YA horror is yet another strong addition to the new Red Eye series from Stripes Publishing. Darker than the Darren Shan Zom-B series yet not so dark as to ostracise the younger reader, the whole series so far has been a joy to behold. The covers, which are
Inked, are plain yet wonderfully realised, and Dark Room is no exception. The novel itself hits just the right tone and level of horror and is enjoyable enough to keep the most avid reader hooked. There are twists, turns and Darla herself is a fully relatable character who you want yo survive the journey.
Truly a great addition to the series. I want to discover more of Becker’s writing.

Phoenix Rising

June 5, 2015 - 2:52 pm No Comments

Phoenix Rising_Blogtour banner

I’m with #PhoenixCrew

By Bryony Pearce
Pub Date: 1st June 2015
Price: £6.99 Format: Paperback Age: 13+

From award-winning author Bryony Pearce comes this fast-paced and gripping YA trilogy set in a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed.

An outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge from the debris-filled seas. Toby’s father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they’ve been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it.

The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they’re closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting – preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn’t want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance? The future is in their hands.

To survive, would you join the #BansheeCrew – feared and fearless – or will you ally with the #PhoenixCrew – trusting and true?

Bryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and has also won the Leeds Book Award and Cheshire Schools Book Award. She is the author of two published novels; Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls. Bryony has never shied from writing about substantial topics as Angel’s Fury has the Holocaust at its core and The Weight of Souls explores the idea of vengeance. In Phoenix Rising, Bryony examines a dystopian, near-future setting resulting from environmental and political collapse of the world based on scientific and political predictions.

Readers are swearing their allegiance @StripesBooks – Which crew will you join?

@StripesBooks @BryonyPearce

Read the excerpt below for a taster!

Phoenix Rising Extract
Bryony Pearce

“You, there. Stop. All hands below deck.”
It was with a kind of awful relief that Toby realized he had been spotted. Even as his heart sunk, he straightened, tightened his hand around Nix and turned.
A single member of the Banshee’s crew stood silhouetted above him.
“You’re not crew. Who are you?” The voice was high, undoubtedly female.
Toby’s hand tightened on Nix and he sidestepped as the figure cartwheeled from the deck to land in front of him.
As she flew, a long coat like Nell’s flapped behind her. Her booted feet landed with a bone-jarring thud. Next to her the scrawny cat landed on silent paws. Toby watched as it wound itself around his legs, claws ticking through the puddles on the walkway.
Then it went to sit beside its mistress, growling low in its throat, as if daring Toby to move.
As the figure straightened, Toby stared. He was facing a girl who had to be about his age. His hand loosened on Nix.
All the crewmen of the Banshee that Toby had seen so far were shaven and tattooed; men or women, it didn’t seem to matter. This girl wore her long hair loose. Tiny braids decorated with beads and feathers kept it from falling into her eyes. Beneath the decoration, her hair was the colour of oil – a shiny black with prisms of colour beneath.
Toby balanced against the rise and fall of the ship and stared. The girl’s eyes were shockingly green – algae on seawater. Her face was as tanned as Toby’s own, but her skin was not as salt-burned or work-rough. She hadn’t the perfect face of the girls Toby had seen in his dreams. Her cheeks were hollow, her nose had clearly been broken at least once and she had a thin scar bisecting her lower lip.
As he exhaled, his breath shivered in the air between them and the girl put her hands on her hips to reveal black leather trousers and a tight waxed jerkin beneath her coat.
“Polly want a cracker,” Polly muttered, her warning obvious.
The cat hissed and Polly squawked angrily.
“I told them that boy was too young to be Ford’s son. You’re Toby, aren’t you?” The girl frowned. “Then who do we have in the cage?”
Toby growled. “That’s Hiko. I’m taking him home.” Finally he stepped backwards to run and the girl grinned.
“I don’t think so, boy.” Before Toby could react, she had grabbed his shoulders, slammed her forehead between his eyes, released him and leaped back.
Toby reeled from the sudden viciousness of the head-butt. Flashes of light burst in his vision and pain stabbed through his head. Half blind, he staggered, secured his grip on Nix and swung blindly.
The girl had already drawn a long knife from her belt. Nix clanged into the knife and struck on the hilt with an impact that shuddered up Toby’s arm.
He pulled free. “Sorr—” Half an apology slipped out, but the girl was already taking back her knife and lashing out with steel toecaps. Instinctively Toby blocked with Nix, making barely a dent in her thick boot leather. At the same time he remembered Callum’s favourite move from their sparring sessions and stepped in closer to her, his elbow aimed for her face.
The girl blocked with her own elbow and swung her left fist. Toby spun backwards, trying for the leg sweep, but the girl was also spinning, her coat flying behind her with a snap. Both missed.
They paused, panting and glaring at one another. Toby held Nix up and the girl held her knife in one hand, weaving it back and forth in front of her face. The other fist was closed in front of her sternum, protecting herself.
“Who are you?” Toby gasped, but the girl shook her head.
Then they were moving again. She slashed for Toby’s throat, but Nix flew, blocking her attack. Toby pressed against her knife and shoved her backwards. Then he lashed out with his feet, trying to plant his heel in her stomach. The girl shifted, but he caught her side. Air flew out of her, then she was already hacking towards his ankle. Toby moved, but not fast enough; pain burned and his blood dripped on to the deck. He hopped, sparing a quick glance downwards. A line of scarlet ran down his shin. He put his injured leg behind him, and raised Nix high, pinning his eyes on the delicate fingers that held the knife.
Polly flapped anxiously and the cat yowled, swiping upwards with wickedly sharp claws.
As Toby glanced towards his parrot, the girl feinted. Toby went to block, only to find a fist hammering into his kidney. It hurt, but he’d survived worse from Peel. He was lucky she had missed his injured rib. Somehow Toby managed to turn his lurch into a low block, caught her next slice on his leather glove, put his back to her and planted his elbow in her sternum.
The girl’s howl of rage was silenced by the outrushing of air. As she bent, Toby pressed his advantage by turning and hammering his fist into her side. Then he leaped backwards, leaving her to totter into the hull and lean on the wall, retching.
Toby gave her space. “You know who I am. Tell me who you are.”
The girl curled her lip, panting heavily. “I’m the one who’ll be taking you in.”
“Then tell me your name.” Toby pointed Nix towards his feet.
Eventually the girl shrugged. “My name is Ayla and I am second in command on the Banshee.” She raised her knife. “And seeing as you’re so fascinated by names, this is Boudicca.” She gestured with her blade to point to the cat. “I’ve been easy on you so far, but not any more. Will you come quietly?”