Did you know the title including the symbol reads The Square Root of the Square Root of Summer?
Ha! Well-spotted. Yes. But... reasons. Mysterious, publishing reasons. If you check inside the book, there is a half-title page with just the square root symbol and the word summer. Mathematically accurate.
Can you send me a free book to review?
Nope. If you're a blogger and want to review books, get in touch with the publicity departments at publishers and sign up for NetGalley and Edelweiss. For books that are already published, you'll need to buy your own copy or get it from your local libary. Please don’t ask authors for free copies!
Can you send me a signed copy?
No, but if you send a stamped, addressed envelope and a blank sticker (such as you might stick inside a book) to my UK publisher, Macmillan Children’s Books, they’ll pass it on to me. And I’ll post you back a signed and personalised sticker to go in your book… along with an assortment of swag. (A badge or a glow in the dark star or a postcard or similar.)
Where can I order your books?
Anywhere books are sold, such as your local independent bookshop. To find your nearest in the US, visit IndieBound. To find one in the UK, go to Hive. It's also available on Schmamazon, boo hiss. But the best place to buy my books in the UK is via Much Ado Books in Alfriston, East Sussex, where you can get signed copies and have them posted worldwide. Call them on 01323 871444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will you be visiting my city on tour?
Tour dates and bookshop events are out of my control. The best thing to do is hassle your local bookshop or library or my publisher and say you want to see me! You can check where I'll be on my Events page, which I try to keep vaguely updated. I generally shout a lot on Twitter when a new thing gets announced. I do offer school visits and I'm happy to extend these to libraries too.
Please note that for personal reasons I won’t be doing school or library visits, or touring, until Autumn 2019.
Are fashion magazines really like The Devil Wears Prada?
Worse. Much, much worse. Mostly kidding! It's hard work, but you do get loads of free make-up.
What's up with your name?
My first name is Harriet. My surname is Reuter Hapgood. Two words, no hyphen. Reuter is German, like Reuters the newsagency, and pronounced ROY-TUH to rhyme with goiter or loiter, not Roo-tuh. Please don't call me Harriet Hapgood or shelve my book under "H" or, worst of all, call me Miss. It’s Ms, because feminism forevah!
How do I get an agent?
First step, finish your book! Let it sit for a while, let it steep - like tea. Then rewrite it, revise it, redraft it - four or five drafts. You'll know when you're done. Then research: look up your favourite writers online - often their Twitter bios or websites will let you know who represents them. Look up those agents, follow them on Twitter, listen to their wish-lists, their likes, their dislikes... Then find their submission guidelines AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY. If your preferred agent wants 30 pages hard copy 12pt font double-spaced, send them that. If it's a form application, do that. If it's 10,000 words pasted in an email - so be it. Don't mess with the system.
How can I get a job on a fashion magazine?
Are you sure you want to? It's long hours, hard work, low pay, high risk (print publications are folding fast) and competitive. Your best approach is to do some work experience - don't work unpaid for longer than two weeks! Any longer is an internship, and should be paid - to see if you like it. Then, frankly, just start pitching articles. If you've got ideas, you can write, and, crucially, you can do the journalism aspect - interviewing, digging, fact-finding, discovering a new angle, research - you'll get through the door eventually. You don't need to do an MA, but NCTJ training can be useful for shorthand skills, knowledge of the libel law, etc.
Where did you learn all the quantum physics that's in The Square Root of Summer?
Wikipedia. And a book called Quantum by Manjit Kumar. And if I'm really honest, a picture book for kids and making some of it up. It’s called fiction, baby!
How long does it take you to write?
*Holds hands far apart, then close together* Many years... but also sometimes I’m not working on a draft. The first draft of Square Root was like making a slug do a cartwheel. Up a hill. Then I did onetwothreefourfive drafts just like that. Then I edited it for my agent - more slugs. When the book sold, in two flat-out whirlwind weeks, I had two months to do three rounds of edits to get it ready for publication. Then again, my second book got rejected for publication (it happens!) so I wrote a draft in about two weeks flat and turned around edits lickity-spit and now it’s coming out in spring, so... how long is a piece of string (theory)?
What is the square root of summer?
Hot skin and cool sea water. 99s and bare feet on sun-browned grass. Cider and freckles and my cat, flipping over and over in a patch of sun by the window. Jasmine and honeysuckle in the garden, falling in love, reading books in trees and trailing home after dark in days that last twice as long as forever. Friends.