Jewellery students take the Amber design challenge

If you’ve read the brilliant Amber by Julie Sykes (and if you haven’t, you really should), you’ll know that it features a piece of amber jewellery (hence the name – clever, see?) that our heroine has.

Amber-cover

The necklace forms a pivotal part of the story, and we challenged jewellery students at Basingstoke College of Technology to design and make a piece of jewellery inspired by AMBER’s necklace and the sci-fi setting of the story.

Students spent the autumn term designing and making their pieces. In the run-up to Christmas, AMBER author Julie Sykes popped along to one of the classes to choose her favourite piece and award a winner their prize: a voucher for jewellery-making tools and a signed copy of the book.

The standard was remarkably high. Here are the top three entries:

Top three pieces of jewellery

But there had to be one winner – the winning piece was designed by Amanda Westbrook. Here she is (on the left), holding the winning piece and collecting her prize from Julie.

(l-r) Amanda Westbrook and Julie Sykes

After judging, Julie said “It’s such a great to idea to mix the worlds of fashion, jewellery and books, they’re all areas young people are passionate about.

“The standard of jewellery was really high and everyone was so nice. It was hard to pick a winner when it was obvious that all three ladies had put so much effort into their pieces.

“However, I did have a favourite. I picked it for two reasons. The shape was very close to the lightening shaped bolt of gold through Amber’s necklace. Also, it was a delicate necklace and Amber loves delicate jewellery.”

WELL DONE Amanda, and everybody who entered the competition.

Kate Kelly talks about her novel, Cli-Fi, cats and more, with Amy of Team Fox

Today, we have a lovely author whose book ‘Red Rock’ caught the Fox’s fancy and many of Team Fox’s readers as well! One lucky Team Fox member, that’s Amy (me! I’m writing this post), got to read & review it first. The other members followed suit & many of us enjoyed it. But sometimes it’s not enough just raging about a book, it’s nice to get to know them. So I sat down & talked to Kate for the Fox (thanks Fox & Kate for this opportunity); I was very curious & asked lots of questions. I hope you’ll find the questions, and especially the answers, interesting! 😀

For the readers, what’s your name & where do you call home? Can you do it 20 words or less? 

Hello, I’m Kate and I live in rural Dorset, not far from the sea, but I’m actually Scottish.

What’s next? Are you planning on writing more YA after your success with Red Rock

Most definitely. I have a new novel in the pipeline and loads of ideas buzzing around in my head.

Is there an issue/topic you would like to see more of in YA? Why? 

Tricky one. YA is pretty good at covering topical and challenging subjects. That is what makes it such an interesting genre. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more science and technology tied up in it though – but then, I am a scientist so I would!

I’ve seen that Red Rock is categorized as Cli-Fi, it’s the first book in that genre I’ve read. Do you think it’s becoming more popular and how can you describe it to the readers? 

Cli-Fi quite simply means Climate Fiction and refers to any novel that tackles themes of environmental change, not necessarily caused by humans. There seem to be quite a buzz about it at the moment and increasingly more novels are emerging that explore these themes.

Is Cli-Fi a genre you particularly have to do research for or is it from experience? Does reading other Cli-Fi’s help? 

I’m a marine geologist so I’m very aware of how the world has changed in the past – the ice advances and retreats, sea levels rise and fall. So it’s quite easy for me to extrapolate these changes to the present day. 

What occupational hazards have you experienced in being an author? 

The main one is losing track of time and forgetting to do important things like cooking dinner.

What is the hardest part of a book, such as Red Rock, to write? 

The start because it’s only through writing about them that I can get to know my characters.

Can you describe your publishing journey in brief (and know if you use the word ‘easy’ we’ll know you’re lying…) 

It’s a rollercoaster – there are exhilarating highs – like when a publisher says they want your book, or you first see your cover art – and lows – when you struggle with something in your plot that just won’t work, or you get piles of rejections (which was the case with an earlier novel of mine).

If you don’t already know, what star sign do you think your main character, Danni, is? 

Oh she’s definitely an Aries 

Which character (if any) is most like you? 

I’d like to say Danni, but it truth she’s more the person I would like to have been. I reckon I’m more like Isaac.

If you could only do one hobby for a day, what would it be? 

I’d go scuba diving. More specifically I’d go scuba diving off Comino. (I’ve dived there before and it was amazing.)

This/That? 

Pen or pencil?   Pen.

Cats or dogs?   I like both but I keep cats

Sad books or funny books?    Either. I love all books.

Hot climate or cold climate?   Either so long as it isn’t raining.

Plotter or a Panster?     Somewhere in between

Early bird or night owl?    Early Bird

• Ice cream or hot chocolate?     Depends whether I’m in the hot climate or the cold climate.

I did find those answers interesting & sometimes a little cheeky (especially with this/that). I’ll let the slight cheating slide though as Red Rock is so brill. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you read it, here’s some reviews: Penny West (editor @ Curious Fox) gave it 4* (which means she really liked it, of course!)Amy Bookworm (interviewer but primarily reviewer) also 4*’d it & gave her opinion, newspapers also gave a look in & there’s more reviews (and books) to look at here 😀

I also reckon there are more books by Curious Fox I’ll enjoy- I’d better get reading! *disappears… for now*

*Voice echoes as she disappears*

Team Fox: If you want to guest post here please let the Fox know! (TheFox@curious-fox.com) You could do an interview, review or discuss something. Maybe you’re curious about something, possibly publishing-related? Get your creative hats on, start thinking & let us know if there is anything you’d like to post at this blog!

(Massive Thank You! to Amy from all at CF)