Author Interview: Keris Stainton

Today we’re welcoming author Keris Stainton and asking her a few questions about her latest book, Jessie Hearts NYC and what she’ll be up to this summer.

Hi Keris and welcome! Can you describe your latest book, Jessie ❤ NYC in 5 words?

This is cheating because a reviewer called it this, but: love letter to New York. 

Quite a lot of people know how much you love New York but if you had to choose between going there for a whole summer or anywhere else in the world, where would you pick?

Hmm. That’s tricky. I probably wouldn’t want to go there for a whole summer because it’s way too hot for me (I’m really feeble in the heat). I’d like to spend summer by a lake somewhere – there’s one in Canada I’ve got my beady eye on…

Jessie manages to go and see quite a lot of the sights in NYC. If you only had time to go and see one thing, what would it be?

Top of the Rock, I think. It’s just amazing. It’s glamorous and exciting, the views are amazing – Central Park in one direction, midtown Manhattan, including the Empire State Building, in the other – I recommend it to everyone. 

If you could have a summer romance with anyone from NYC, who would it be? 

Ooh. Good question. Well Penn Badgley was my original inspiration for Finn (though I don’t picture Finn as him anymore) so that would be nice… But I should really go for someone more age-appropriate and that would be Jon Stewart. Love him.

 How much research did you have to do for this book?

Well I’ve been to New York five times, so I was pretty well up on New York before starting the book. My lovely friend Sally Lawton is a playwright and she and her partner gave me a tour of a theatre, which was completely brilliant. The rest of the research I did on Twitter and Google Street View…

Your teenage characters are always so realistic. Do you take inspiration from anyone you know?

Thank you. And no. I’m really thrilled when people say they’re realistic because I just write them with a combination of what I would have done in whatever situation and what feels true for the character. 

Who would you like to see as the main cast if Jessie got made into a movie/ TV adaptation?

I wouldn’t say no to Penn Badgley for Finn, but I’m not sure about Jessie. Maybe Kaya Scodelario from Skins (who I think someone suggested would be good to play Della, oddly enough). 

Can you recommend us some of your favourite beach reads?

Certainly! Both of Sarra Manning’s adult novels, Unsticky and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me are amazing. If you’re interested in New York there’s a lovely book called Summer of Tiffany, which is a memoir by Marjorie Hart who worked at Tiffany’s in the 1940s. Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells is another lovely, summery book.

Both of your books have been set in summer. Why do you think summer is such a great setting for books?

Because you don’t have to worry about school! But also summer is so exciting, particularly when you’re a teenager. You get these six weeks where you’re basically free to do whatever you want (within reason!). I remember how exciting it was (even though I never actually did anything exciting, but I always hoped I might). 

Finally, where and what will you be reading this summer?

We’re going to Northumberland for a week and I can’t wait. I’ll be taking Kay Woodward’s new book Wuthering Hearts and Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols. I’ll probably reread The Writer’s Tale by Russell T Davies, and I’m finally going to read The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, which has been on my wishlist for ages.

Thanks Keris!

Find Keris: 

Twitter @keris

You can read Lyndsey’s review of Jessie Hearts NYC here & Vicki’s review of 
Della Says: OMG! here

Guest Post: Keris Stainton Talks About Her First Week As A Published Author

Today I’m thrilled to be the latest stop on Keris Stainton’s blog tour to promote her fabulous debut novel Della Says: OMG! As well as reading and loving said book, I’ve been following Keris and the build up to her launch on twitter, and her excitement has been contagious! Today Keris talks about her first week as a newly published author.

My first week as a published author

6 May 2010 was the publication date of my first novel. (Yes, it was also the date of the UK general election. Guess which I was more interested in? At least to begin with…) The book had actually sneaked out a couple of weeks early, particularly online, and friends had been texting and emailing and tweeting me pictures of it on various bookshelves for days. So even though there wasn’t a big Publication Day Ta-Da!, some lovely flowers and presents arrived from friends and we marked the occasion by going out to dinner.

The big Publication Day Ta-Da! actually took place on the Saturday when I made the trip down to London for my launch party. I’d been worried about having a launch party. Part of me wanted to celebrate my achievement while another part of me hates parties and just wants to stay home watching 30 Rock DVDs and eating Tangfastics in my pyjamas. But I was so glad I overruled my slobbish side, because my party was amazing. So many lovely people – old friends, new friends, people I’d only “met” on the internet – came and I chatted and giggled all night. I had a brilliant time.

When I woke up the next morning I was still on a high (and my husband was still snoring) so I took myself off out for a walk. I walked down to the Thames and stood looking out at the London Eye and thinking about how things have changed for me. I lived in London for eight years and it wasn’t my happiest time. Since moving back to the north, I’ve got a degree, had two gorgeous sons and written four books. Oh and, yes, had one published (with another to follow next year). I allowed myself a little wallow in my achievements and a little cry. (And I sent a few tweets about it all, obviously.)

Once I’d had my fill of the freezing wind off the river (in May!), I wandered up to Starbucks and bought myself a mug in the same shade of green as the cover of my book. And then I bought a hazelnut latte. I usually drink plain lattes, but I decided to have a hazelnut one so that whenever I have one in future, it will remind me of my book launch. Is that weird?

This week has been mostly back to business, i.e. faffing about on Twitter and avoiding writing (although I did give myself permission to take it easy this week – back to work on the new book on Monday), but tonight I have yet another launch party. This one in Manchester. I think I’ll pick up a hazelnut latte on the way…

Keris Stainton

Thanks Keris for taking the time to drop by. Hope you have a wonderful evening tonight and I will be looking forward to the next book! Well done on such amazing achievements, you’re an inspiration!

You can read my review of Della Says: OMG! here
Find out more about Keris, her book and her blog tour here
Check out the next stop at Novelista tomorrow here

Book Review: Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton

When Della finally catches the eye of her forever crush, Dan Bailey, at her sisters going away party, she can’t quite believe it’s true.

But her joy is short lived as she realises someone has took her diary and pages are being scanned onto Facebook or left for friends and family to find.

Della is left wondering if her newfound romance is nothing but a joke, or does someone really have it in for her? Dan seems genuine enough, but how can she keep his interest when her deepest and darkest secrets are being revealed to the world? And why would anyone want to hurt Della like this?

What I really loved about this book is that Keris Stainton completely captures the essence of being a teenage girl. It’s written in the first person from Della’s viewpoint, and this really gives the reader an opportunity to get inside her head. Della is the most believable character who everyone will be able to relate to, whether they are a teen themselves or once were. For me, reading Della’s thoughts and feelings was like being transported back in time and when I’d finished I had to remind myself that I was now an adult mother and not a seventeen year old girl about to head of on a nerve wracking date, full of anxiety and self doubt yet fizzling with excitement.

The blossoming relationship with Dan is sweet, painful and so very realistic. I can vividly remember my ‘major’ crush paying me attention and convincing myself that it was all one big joke and everyone was in on it. I loved how things developed between the two, starting out clumsy and awkward and building into a beautiful and tender romance. The book is filled with subtle little observations, which had me nodding ‘yes, I remember that feeling!’ and really bring the characters to life. Stainton also uses language that is believable, meaning it’s brutally honest and at times a little cringe worthy, but this just adds to the authenticity of the book. She doesn’t sugar coat anything and refuses to patronise her readers; its so refreshing and I loved this. But the book is also a lot of fun, filled with witty one-liners that had me giggling to myself. Della’s friend Maddy is a feisty character while her parents, particularly her Dad, provide comedy with their toe curlingly embarrassing antics

The mystery of who had taken Della’s diary and why, added some mystery and intrigue and kept me turning page after page. Again the emotions and sense of dread Della experienced as she realises someone is using it against her are so realistic, that I myself felt my heart sinking to the pit of my stomach. Della’s vulnerability at having her privacy so cruelly violated makes her easy to sympathise with, and really get on her side. I thought I had guessed who was responsible, but I was wrong and it was quite clever how suspicion was directed away from the culprit. If I had one teeny complaint, it would be that once revealed the book ended quite quickly and I might of liked a little more regarding the fall out. This really is the only slight niggle I had though, and overall this is a fantastic debut novel. It’s down to earth, sincere, sweet and fun. Keris clearly understands teen culture and as a result has written a book that will without doubt appeal to and be adored by it’s target audience (and those out of it….like me!). I read Della Says: OMG! in almost one sitting and couldn’t put it down. Keris Stainton is one to watch out for in the future, and I look forward eagerly for more!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me this book for review.

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine to highlight the upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This weeks choice is Della Says: OMG by Keris Stainton.

When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della’s distraught – how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets? (from

You can read the first chapter here

I’ve been following Keris on Twitter and I’m now really looking forward to her book, released 6th May. It sounds like loads of fun. In fact I’d also recommend following her on twitter too (@Keris)…I love her tweets!

Don’t Forget you can read my interview with Tamsyn Murray, author of the fabulous My So-Called Afterlife AND win a signed copy here (open worldwide)