Author Profile - Penny Bates

Author of: A Murder of Crows, The Calling and The Scream (Shades 2.0 series).

Where to begin? I would rather create an amazing character than write about myself, but here goes …

I’m an English teacher who currently works as a school librarian, who also writes fiction. This means I can both shout and shush, and from time to time I get to write books rather than just dust them!

In every secondary school there are students who can’t read or won’t read and my stories are for them. If you are learning to read you need accessible, age-appropriate stories with short chapters so you can take a break every now and then. If you don’t want to read you need to be enticed by distracting stories which draw you in and take you on a memorable journey, word by word. I like to think that the stories I write for Ransom are as satisfying as a tasty three course meal with an intriguing opening, a strong storyline and a surprising conclusion. At least that’s the theory, but there are probably times when readers end up with indigestion due to the F factor – Fear!

The teenagers I work with enjoy stories with a supernatural thread, so I usually take this as my starting point. Ghosts are real for some of my students, because they live with them, while others know from experience that the world isn’t all that it seems. I wouldn’t describe my books as horror stories, as I don’t cover my characters in tomato ketchup, but I like to think that my stories creep up on you when you least expect it. They are the unexplained chill in a room on a sunny day or the odd tapping on a window pane which no longer has any glass. “I wish you would write something nice!” an elderly relative once said, but I hope I never will.