Monday 17 March 2014

** BLOG TOUR ** In Bloom by Matthew Crow ** AUTHOR Q&A and GIVEAWAY""

Back in September of last year, I absolutely raved about In Bloom by Matthew Crow which was published by  Much-in-Little Books in hardback around that time.

At the time, I said;
 I was completely under Matthew Crow's spell.  This short novel is just perfectly brilliant and I will recommend In Bloom to all readers, young and old.  

I certainly still feel the same way, please do go back and read my full review. In Bloom also made it into my Top Twelve favourite reads of 2013.  I have three paperback copies of In Bloom to give away today - to enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post. 

One of the most memorable teenage boy narrators since Adrian Mole, meet Francis Wootton. In Bloom is a brilliantly funny, poignant novel about learning one of life’s most important lessons – perspective.
Francis Wootton is a fifteen year old poet manqué, and as far as he’s concerned his subtle genius is wasted on his family – and pretty much everyone else in his hometown of Tyne-and-Wear. His mum’s run off her feet, his dad’s just run off, his older brother Chris is permanently broke, and he isn’t even sure he likes his best friend Jacob. So Francis often stumbles over the obstacles of adolescence alone. Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukemia, that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself. There’s the notion of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn’t reckoned on meeting Amber – fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber – and finding a reason to tackle it all – the good, the bad, and everything in between – head on. In Bloom is an exuberant, honest, painful, and brilliant novel about seeking the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be.

'Wow. Matthew Crow is an extremely funny writer and Francis Wootton is the best fictional teenager since Adrian Mole. Full of brilliant, bittersweet moments, full of all the love and pains and embarrassments and delusions of growing up. Read In Bloom right now. It will improve your life.'
Matt Haig, author of The Humans

Much-in-Little are publishing the paperback edition of In Bloom on 20 March 2014 and I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this very special book.  I'm also thrilled and quite proud that the paperback edition features a quote from my review on the first page. Matthew was kind enough to send me a copy as soon as he received them, along with a couple of tasty treats to go with it!

I'm delighted to welcome Matthew to Random Things today, he has kindly agreed to answer my questions, I also have three copies of the brand new paperback edition of In Bloom to giveaway (complete with my quote on the first page!!).  Entry is open worldwide - just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below - and good luck!

Welcome Matthew, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions - here goes!

Do you read reviews of your novels? Do you take them seriously?  
I do read them when they’re shown to me (which they inevitably are, as like most writers I now spend 90% of my time pissing about on Twitter.) I like to think I take them as seriously as they should be taken- the really nice, thoughtful ones are lovely and make a huge difference to your day, the bad ones are just one person’s opinion though- it’d be inhuman to not feel an initial wince, but it’d be soft and ridiculous to let them cloud your efforts in any major way.
How long does it take to write a novel?     Tricky one. The actual physical writing bit tends to be quick for me- maybe six to ten months- then the edits take FOREVER. I have quite a short attention span and I’m also reasonably fickle, in art as in life, so for me the longest bit of ‘writing’ is the lead up to sitting down at the computer- usually about a year- where I mull over characters and ideas in my head until I know that a) I care enough to see out their story to the end, and b) exactly where I’m going to go with them.
Do you have any writing rituals?Not a ritual as such but I normally have a mug of tea, a cigarette, and play some music at the lowest audible setting, which is my ‘ritual’ for almost all tasks in life, writing being one of them.
What was your favourite childhood book? Where The Wild Things Are was the first book I truly fell in love with, and stand by my decision and impeccable childhood tastes (related: I recently bought an amazing  t-shirt which has the ‘Wild Things cover of that front on it.) Then I became a real Roald Dahl kid. Obsessively so. There was even a Roald Dahl Revolting Recipes cookbook which I was given and briefly insisted most meals centered around.
Name one book that made you laugh? 
Other than Adrian Mole the one book I really laugh out loud to is A Confederacy of Dunces, which is also in my top five.
Name one book that made you cry? The first was a book called I’m The King of the Castle by Susan Hill, which floored me when I was about eleven or twelve. The last was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
Which fictional character would you like to meet? 
Robin, from The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, to ask who killed him (then I’d meet Harriet and tell her so that she could be happy.)
Which book would you give to your best friend as a present? 
At Christmas I did give my best friend a copy of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel, which is a fine book by the most criminally dismissed essayists working today.
Are you inspired by any particular author or book? That one always changes depending on what I’m enjoying at any given time. Initially- as a kid- I was inspired by several unnamed Bad Books, because I’d rewrite them to suit my own juvenile tastes when I thought they were getting a bit dull and dry.
What is your guilty pleasure read?    
I don’t feel guilty about anything I enjoy, least of all reading. One of my all time favourite authors is Stephen King, who unfortunately due to his enormous success is associated more with quantity than quality, which is a shame as he is one of the finest storytellers this world has ever known. The Shining is the best ghost story of the last century.
Who are your favourite authors? 
Donna Tartt, Sue Townsend, Peter Hoeg, F Scott Fitzgerald, Nabokov, Stephen King, Truman Capote, Roald Dahl, John Irving.
What book have you re-read?Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow by Peter Hoeg. Every year since I was about 15.
What book have you given up on?Anything by Brett Easton Ellis (I’ve tried and tried...I just don’t get it.)

Matthew Crow was born in 1987 and raised in Newcastle. Having worked as a freelance journalist since his teens he has contributed to a number of publications including the Independent on Sunday and the Observer. He has written two novels for adults. The second, My Dearest Jonah, was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize. 

In Bloom is his first book for young adults.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @mizzlecrizzle

I hope that I've whetted your appetite for In Bloom - it really is a fabulous story - I have three paperback copies to giveaway (open worldwide).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'd love to read this novel. The blurb has really drawn me in. As always, a fabulous review, Anne. It's got to be good!

  2. Thanks for the review and giveaway Anne, this sounds an excellent read

  3. Would love to win thanks for the opportunity

  4. I don't have to win.... nice though if I did! But thanks for the review Anne - going to look out for this one.

  5. Great! Sounds like a great book.