On my ninth birthday, my Dad bought me a vintage cash register. This particular model had a wind-up bell on top of it and the wooden till section would whip out and risk winding you when you pressed SALE (up to a limit of £1.99½ - that was as expensive as it could get). The cash register was rarely moved; it was hernia-inducing heavy.
Within a few weeks of my ninth birthday, I had opened my own shop, called Nik ‘n’ Naks, and given myself the title of Manageress. One Easter holiday, when I had watched Beaches, Annie and Back the Future on VHS that many times I could quote the films backwards, I took this little enterprise up to the next level, and created a shop newsletter.
In my coming of age novel, What a Way to Go, I took this experience and amplified it. I created an even cannier protagonist: one who would not only see through how products are marketed to pre-teens, but who would also use her wily ways to help her mother in her attempt to secure enough for a deposit in order to purchase the rented house in which they are living...
Harper also runs her own little enterprise, Harper's Bazaar, from which she sells illicit fag ends to sixteen year-olds, ungerminated sunflower seeds, bulk bought blue bubblegum and the contents of next year’s Christmas crackers, stealthily stolen from between the cardboard ends without detonating the exploding snaps,
To whet your appetite for Harper’s sideways stance on the world surrounding her, Atlantic Books and I have created a fictional version of her shop newsletter. Meanwhile, in the real world, I will be running my own giveaway on Twitter with the chance of winning a signed edition of the book imminently. Head over to @WriterForster to find out more!
What a Way to Go will be published on 7 January 2016 by Atlantic Books in the UK and is available for pre-order now via your local bookshop or on Amazon.