Rosie Best, whose début novel Skulk will be published next month through Strange Chemistry, is joining us today for a guest post. She’ll be telling us a few things that we wouldn’t otherwise know about her protagonist, Meg. But first, a little bit about her book!Skulk by Rosie Best
Published: October 1st 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Format: ARC, 387 pages
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When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.
As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Meg Banks
1. She doesn’t really have a favourite kind of music
This one freaked me out a little bit when I realised it, because I don’t think I’ve ever written a character who didn’t have a fairly strong musical opinion before! Meg’s a much more visual person, her main pastime is sketching and painting, and she doesn’t have any hard and fast rules about what music she likes – instead, she likes some individual songs a lot, without much preference for genre. Meg likes songs that are lyrically clever, and songs that are likely to annoy her mother, so she does have quite a lot of angry political rap music on her computer, but she almost never buys a whole album of any kind.
The only band she actively follows is OK Go, because she loves their music videos. Her favourite song and video of theirs is This Too Shall Pass. If you’re not one of the 40 million people who’ve watched it on Youtube, Meg and I both highly recommend it!
2. She once cried herself out of being arrested
A few months before the beginning of Skulk, Meg was out in the middle of the night painting graffiti onto the boarded-up windows of an abandoned house. She planned to turn each window into a cage full of beautiful coloured birds, but she only got to paint one because a policeman walked past at the wrong moment. She ran, and he chased her until she ran into a dead-end.
Meg did the only thing she could think of – she pulled down her hood, letting her big golden curls spill out, and started to cry. She pleaded very politely with the policeman not to arrest her. She explained that she was only doing this as a project for her Art GCSE and name-dropped her school, hoping that he wouldn’t ring them up to check.
He let her off, and she feels terrible about it. She knows full well that if she hadn’t been white, and a girl who was willing to cry, and brought up in a household that taught her the skills of seeming polite and deferring to authority while telling huge whopping lies, she would have been arrested and charged that night.
3. Her favourite comfort movie is Spirited Away
She loves the artistry of the animation, and the plot – she loves that Chihiro starts out as a lost, scared little girl and accomplishes things she could never imagine. She thinks the love interest is a little strange but secretly kind of wants her own (age-appropriate) magic river dragon wizard. The railway travel scenes always make her cry, and she isn’t sure why.
4. She wrote graffiti on the statue of Margaret Thatcher in the Houses of Parliament
Meg’s mother is the Conservative MP for Kensington and Chelsea, and she named Meg after Margaret Thatcher. As a rebellious liberal socialist, Meg is furious about this. Meg visited her mother’s workplace in 2007, shortly after the statue was unveiled. It was a serious test of Meg’s growing graffiti skills for her to write on the statue without getting caught, but she just about managed to scrawl the words ‘MILK SNATCHER’ in permanent red marker.
By the time they passed the statue again on the way out of the building, the writing had already been quietly and efficiently rubbed out.
5. She broke into a swimming pool at her Year 11 prom and might have stopped a boy from drowning
Meg doesn’t always agree with her school friends about what’s fun or interesting, but she has to admit they’ve had some good times. One of those was their Year 11 prom, which was held at a large hotel near the school. Towards the end of the evening, Meg and her friends Ameera and Jewel snuck away from the ballroom to break into the basement spa. They gave each other pedicures and went paddling in the swimming pool.
Meg didn’t do anything dramatic like jumping in her gown or giving anyone the kiss of life, but Jewel’s date followed them into the pool and Meg suddenly realised that he was really, really drunk, so she kept an eye on him and when he looked like he was going to wade out of the shallow end she distracted him by telling him Jewel would definitely get off with him if he went back into the spa and stole her a fluffy towel. It was a silly lie, especially as she knew Jewel was planning to get off with him anyway, but sure enough the drunk boy clambered out of the pool. Meg doesn’t know for sure that something would’ve happened if he’d gone into the deep end, but she is pretty sure she did the right thing.
Skulk will be available from October 1st where all books are sold. Check out the rest of the blog our schedule here.
Thanks Rosie for stopping by, and giving an insight into Meg’s character, and Strange Chemistry for not only shipping over a physical ARC all the way to Oz for me, but inviting me on the blog tour!