Tales Q&A with Paula Rawsthorne


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this awesome new children’s anthology by Stories From The Edge.

Stories from the edge was released on the 18th July 2016 and features some fab UKYA authors!

A huge thank you to Katie Dale for getting in touch and for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour I have had the chance to put some questions to the lovely Paula Rawsthorne!


A collection of gripping, thought-provoking short stories by eight award-winning UK young adult authors.From the perils of online chat rooms, doping in sport, racism and terrorism, to gender and self-esteem issues, love, life and death, Stories from The Edge isn’t afraid to ask some big questions. Sometimes frightening, often funny, always brutally honest, these stories will take you to where the shadows are darkest and the ground drops away. The question is, are you prepared to look over the edge?

Discussion Guides for exploring each of the stories are available as a free PDF download from the EDGE website. Go to: http://edgeauthors.blogspot.co.uk

Hi Paula!  I’m so happy and super excited to have you here today!

Hi Chelle, Thanks for inviting me onto ‘Tales of Yesterday’.

Can you tell us a little about the anthology Stories From The Edge?

‘Stories from The Edge’ is an anthology of gripping short stories for teenagers, written by eight award winning YA authors.

Joy Court (Chair of the CILIP Carnegie Medals) writes in the introduction to the anthology, “I guarantee these stories will leave readers gasping for more.” 

Can you tell us a little about your short story in the anthology, ‘A level Playing Field’?

‘A Level Playing Field’ is the story of seventeen-year old Alfie Pickford, who has worked hard and sacrificed so much to become an elite swimmer.  We meet Alfie as he is about to start the most important race of his life but, as we follow him length by length, we discover just how far he is willing to go to win. 

What inspired you to write this story for the anthology?

I wanted to write a very topical story involving a teenager which would lead to lively debate and make young people wonder what they would do if they were in Alfie’s shoes.  The issues involved in Alfie’s story are hitting the headlines weekly.  All the stories in the anthology, together with the discussion notes, are created to get teenagers engaged, reading and talking.

How did you become involved in the anthology?

I’m a member of the YA writers collective, ‘The Edge’.  We write sharp fiction for young adults and teens.  The eight of us have been blogging and doing school events together for five years now.  We’ve always been interested in providing a platform for readers, librarians, booksellers and bloggers to talk about YA fiction. 

During our school visits we heard time and time again from teachers and librarians that it was difficult to find engaging short stories for teenagers.  We know that the short story form fits perfectly with the fast paced life of young adults.  The Edge realised that we were in the perfect position to write relevant, intriguing stories to get teenagers reading and so our anthology was born! 

We’ve also included free to download discussion guides on The Edge website to make our topical stories easy to use in the classroom.

What research was involved to make the story about a world class swimmer authentic?

I undertook fairly extensive research because it was important for the world of the swimmer to feel authentic.  I read about the training regime of elite swimmers, the lifestyle they have to adopt to be at the top of their game.  I also read about historic and unfolding scandals in the sporting world and the pressure on elite athletes to win. I was particularly interested in reading about teenage athletes and the pressure that they have to deal with daily.

How does writing a short story for an anthology differ from writing a whole novel?  Is there a different structure?  A different editing process etc

Writing a novel is like running a marathon; it takes a long time and requires a lot of stamina.  Whilst I enjoy the challenge of writing novels I also love the short story form.  I’ve had short stories published for adults and teenagers and enjoy the satisfaction of crafting the whole world of the story in just a few pages.  With a novel I tend to work on intricate plots whilst the short story gives me the freedom to focus on a crucial point in someone’s life and capture it.  I still tend to do quite a lot of research around the subject matter of a short story (as I would with a novel) but I can get the first draft down relatively quickly and then I go back and shape and edit the tale until I’ve managed to evoke a lot by saying a little.

Which of your characters from A Level Playing Field would you most like to spend the day with?

I’d like to spend the day with Lily who is Alfie’s twin sister.  As Alfie is our narrator we only get his perspective of Lily and her behaviour.  I’d love to befriend Lily and let her talk about how Alfie’s swimming career has impacted on her life.

Have you read any of the other stories in Stories from the Edge?  Do you have a favourite?

The stories in the anthology are diverse and involve so many intriguing issues like racism, sexuality, doping in sport, terrorism, love, life and death.  Every one of the stories had me gripped; they are so well written with fantastic teenage characters.  If you forced me to highlight just one of the other stories I’d say that Bryony Pearce’s ‘Face2Face’ will be particularly useful to teachers in the classroom to explore the issue of grooming on line.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Paula Rawsthorne?

  1. I’m hopeless at gymnastics. I can’t even do a forward roll.
  2. I love to swim in lakes, ponds and rivers.
  3. I didn’t know that I was a writer until my early thirties
  4. I hired my red wedding dress (so luckily I haven’t needed it again)
  5. I can only do exercise if I’m guaranteed an alcoholic drink when I finish.

Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?


I wish that I’d written ‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman.  The voice of his young hero is compelling and appealing whilst the subject matter is heart-breaking and so relevant to our society.

What are you currently reading?

Henry Marsh’s ‘Do No Harm’ which is fascinating and awe- inspiring. 


I’m also reading ‘Mumnesia’, a middle grade book by fellow Edge member Katie Dale.  It’s great fun!


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I feel that with ‘Stories from The Edge’ I’ve fulfilled an ambition to collaborate with my fellow Edge writers.  They are all tremendous, exciting YA writers and, after having blogged and done author events with them for so long, it’s been wonderful to work on our anthology together.

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

I try to soak up inspiration from anywhere and everywhere and, when I get an idea, I start to jot down whatever happens to come into my head.  It may be pieces of dialogue, the appearance of a character, the very end of the story, or a fully realised scene. I also embark on research to make my story feel as authentic as possible.  I just go with the flow and see if it develops into something I feel passionate about pursuing.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

It’s not particularly strange but, every morning, I walk to my local café and bring home a take-away latte.  Only then do I feel ready to get down to writing.  As my friends point out to me, it would be cheaper to buy a coffee machine, but the walk and chatting with people helps to get my creative juices going.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest 2016 or 2017?

Yes.  My third novel is written and I’ll be continuing my work with ‘First Story’ as a writer in residence in a Nottingham school as well as doing school visits here and abroad.  I’m looking forward to sharing my novels and ‘Stories from The Edge’ with students everywhere.

Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Paula!


You can buy a copy of Stories From The Edge here

 Discussion Guides for exploring each of the stories are available as a free PDF download from the EDGE website. Go to: http://edgeauthors.blogspot.co.uk

About Paula Rawsthorne


Paula Rawsthorne is an award-winning writer of teen fiction.  Her debut novel, The Truth about Celia Frost, has won multiple awards.  Paula’s second novel, Blood Tracks is the winner of ‘The Rib Valley Book Award 2014’. Both books are published by Usborne.

You can find out more about Paula and her books on her website – www.paularawsthorne.wordpress.com

Or why not follow her on twitter using @PaulaRawsthorne











The Edge website


Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of this fab blog tour or catch up on posts at the following stops.


A huge huge thank you to Paula for answering all my questions and for Katie Dale for asking me to take part!

Have you read Stories From The Edge?  What did you think?  Will you be going to grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!





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I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

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