Catherine Bruton

Catherine Bruton Badger Learning AuthorCatherine Bruton is the author of several critically acclaimed novels for teens and young adults. Her debut novel 'We Can be Heroes' was recently adapted into a film, starring Alison Steadman and Phil Davies.  

Later titles include 'Pop!' and the multi-award nominated 'I Predict a Riot'. Catherine has been described as, 'One of the finest teen writers of recent years' (The Guardian). She lives in Bath with her husband and two children and teaches English part-time at King Edward's School.

Q&A with Catherine Bruton

What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?

When I'm not writing novels, I teach English to Secondary School students. I have come across so many young people who love stories but have lost their joy of reading. I wanted to write stories that would get them buzzing about books again!

What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?

Lack of confidence takes all the enjoyment out of reading. Long chapters, overly complex vocabulary and dense typeface can be daunting and off-putting.

What is your favourite type of character to create?

I love the rebels, the rule-breakers, the mavericks – the characters who push the boundaries.

What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that high-interest appeal that really engages teenage readers?

I like to plunge them straight into the action so they are hooked from the very first page. Strong characters that readers can relate to, and themes that are relevant to them are important, as are fast-paced and exciting stories written in language that is accessible and engaging.

What difference do books like these make to students who are in need of literacy support?

Books like this give reader's confidence and enable them to reconnect with reading in a way that will benefit them both at school and bring the joy of books back into their lives.

Can you give us any teasers of what to expect in your YA title, S/HE?

The new kid at school is not like anyone Kat has met before. Raven is 'gender fluid'. Not a boy. Or a girl. But kind of both - sometimes ... sort of...

At first the class are fascinated, intrigued.  But people like labels. Boy? Girl? Blue? Pink? Do you need to make a choice? Does anyone have a right to know?  You decide!

What are the major themes of your work?

Gender, identity, sexuality, love and friendship.

What controls do you place on the vocabulary you use and how important is this?

Keeping vocabulary simple and sparse shifts focus onto the story and characters. It means your plot and characters have to be really engaging right from the start – it's a really exciting way to write!

What is your favourite children's book?

Billy Elliot by Melvin Bragg.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/authors?

Write what you would love to read yourself! And never give up.

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