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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2016 > Star interview: Frances Hardinge

Star interview: Frances Hardinge


Even as a child, Frances Hardinge knew she wanted to be a writer. Now a Costa Book of the Year winner, she still writes for her bookish twelve-year-old self, she tells Tina Jackson

Frances Hardinge, the winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the Year Award with The Lie Tree, must be one of WM’s greatest success stories. Frances, the only children’s writer to win the Costa Book of the Year Award since Philip Pullman in 2001 with The Amber Spyglass, is a former WM subscriber who would through Writers’ News each month looking for competitions to enter and outlets for fantasy short stories. ‘Twenty-year-old me would never have guessed that some day she might find herself on the front cover,’ she says. ‘Writing Magazine and Writers’ News were of real help to me.’

Frances has garnered many accolades and awards to keep under her fedora hat since those days, but no one was more surprised than she was about winning the Costa Book of the Year on 26 January. ‘I think I’m more amazed than anyone – I was joint least likely to win at the bookies, the odds on me were 5:1.’ WM speaks to her a month after, and it’s gradually sinking in. ‘There’s a feeling of it being part of my life now. It definitely has changed things – I’m expecting things to quieten down but it’s had an effect – sales have definitely been affected.’ The Bookseller reported just before this interview that sales of The Lie Tree were up 353%. ‘I’ve never been on a UK bestseller list before, so that was quite an experience,’ Frances continues. With seven books to her name, she’s philosophical about the realities of a writer’s life, but she’s letting herself acknowledge this win as a standout moment. ‘Even if things do quieten down, it is a thing that has happened,’ she says. ‘It’s staggering to be compared to Philip Pullman and have people mentioning me in the same sentence as him – that’s really nice.’

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About Writing Magazine

Got a five year plan? You set the targets, we'll help you hit them Everything you need to know before you write your novel New series: Shelf life - Top authors pick their favourite reads Reinventing Shakespeare: Be inspired by the Bard Publishing: Behind the scenes - Follow a book from manuscript to publication Star interview: Reader success - Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge Writers' News: 20 packed pages of publishing opportunities and £80,608 in writing prizes

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