Friday Reads – Clementine Florentine by Tasha Harrison

Today I’d like to welcome children’s author Tasha Harrison to my Friday Reads blog. Tasha is going to tell us about her latest book, the hilarious Clementine Florentine. So grab a cuppa and get yourself comfy. 😊

In an ingenious reverse Parent Trap, Clementine and her school nemesis Callum have to work together to break Clem’s dad and Callum’s mum up before they fall in lurrrve and the two poetry rivals end up as step-brother and sister!

However, an unlikely friendship with ageing punk icon Lyn Ferno and her chatty pet parrot Viv, helps Clem to start seeing things differently. But by then, is it too late to undo the damage she’s caused?

You can buy it from:

Welcome to my blog Tasha. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, creative writing has been my passion ever since I was a kid. After uni, I did a journalism course and ended up working as a sub-editor on magazines and TV guides, but the game plan was always to earn a living from writing fiction. It’s taken me 20 years and eight manuscripts to get a traditional publishing deal – and I’m not in a position to give up the day job yet – but I’m over the moon to have finally achieved my dream of being a published author.

Has any author inspired you?

Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was the first book I read that made me think I’d love to write something like this that will make people laugh.

I loved that too! What do you like writing most?

Comedy with deeper themes at its heart. So far I haven’t felt an urge to write anything else. For years I wrote comedies for adults but about six years ago I shifted towards writing for young adults and middle grade kids. With Clementine Florentine, I hope I’ve written something both kids and adults will find funny.

Are you a pantster or a plotter?

A bit of both. I usually start writing when I have about two thirds of a plot. The rest gradually comes to me as I start writing, so I try not to panic when I can’t figure it all out in one go. I just start writing and keep an eye on the holes, and they eventually fill themselves in over time. It’s always amazing how much my initial synopsis changes after a couple of drafts.

Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?

Yes all the time! In Clementine Florentine there are quite a few gross comic scenes and they were pretty much all inspired by true stories that happened either to me or to friends. I also borrowed from my own childhood. Like Clementine, I once got into trouble for throwing a ball of mashed potato at a boy in the school dinner hall. Also like Clem, I got into trouble for sticking chewing gum under a desk after another student found it stuck to their skirt.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write about flawed characters who made mistakes and then learned from their mistakes. I wanted to help kids feel good about themselves, to not beat themselves up for making mistakes, but to know we’re all human. Likewise, to realise that people and situations are never as black and white as they seem on the surface. 

What time of the day do you write best?

I usually get into my stride mid-afternoon after walking the dog, putting the laundry on, responding to emails, doing admin and faffing around on the internet. I’m usually too tired to write in the evenings so will write then if a deadline is looming. My husband recently installed some software to block out all his favourite websites for a large chunk of the day and he reckons he’s been 80% more productive since doing so, hence I’m considering doing the same…

What are your hobbies?

I love reading, writing silly poems, exploring new places and swimming in the sea – although not in winter!

What advice would you give to other writers?

1) When querying, start immersing yourself in your next idea – it’ll help cushion you from the endless waiting and rejections.

2) It’s pointless comparing your path to anyone else’s. We’re all on the path we’re supposed to be on.

3) Don’t hold back – just be yourself. Especially if you’re writing comedy!

Very helpful advice Tasha! It’s been lovely to talk to you today. Wishing you lots of success with your writing!

Meet Tasha

A brief author bio

Tasha Harrison was shortlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award in 2017 and longlisted for the same award plus the Mslexia Children’s Novel competition in 2018. She lives in Brighton with her family and extremely greedy Labrador, Arnie. When she’s not writing comedy she’s either editing, copywriting or writing silly poems.

Author links:

Twitter & Insta: @DotDashTash


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