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?
Unfortunately authors don't get near enough copies to do that! 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. Since The Square Root of Summer is already published, no more review copies are available - find it at your nearest bookshop!
Can you send me a signed copy?
No, but if you email me via the Contact page, I can send you a signed bookplate to stick inside. Probably with some stickers and glow in the dark stars and stuff. I can't promise I'll be timely about this...
Where can I order the book?
Will you be visiting my city when you go on tour?
Tour dates and venues are out of my control. You can check where I'll be this year on my Events page, which I try to keep updated. I generally shout a lot on Twitter when a new thing gets announced. The best way to get an author to visit your local school, library or bookshop is to ask your teacher, librarian or bookseller to ask the publisher - the more requests the publisher gets, the more likely it is they'll send an author to visit!
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.
How do you pronounce your name?
OK, no one's asked me that. BUT I WISH THEY WOULD BEFORE ATTEMPTING IT. My first name is Harriet. My surname is Reuter Hapgood. Two words, no hyphen. If you skip the Reuter, you're mixing me up with a London-based tattoo artist. Reuter is like Reuters, the newsagency, it's German, and it's pronounced ROY-TUH to rhyme with goiter or loiter. Scone is pronounced like skon, and gif takes a hard g.
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 book?
Wikipedia. And a book called Quantum by Manjit Kumar. And if I'm more honest, a picture book for kids.
How long did it take you to write?
*Holds hands far apart, then close together* Six years... but also sometimes I wasn't working on it. The first draft 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. So... how long is a piece of string (theory)?
What is the square root of summer?
Hot skin and cool sea water. Mr Whippy 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.