Time to let a very exciting cat out of the bag — I’ve begun work on a new YA trilogy called The Poison Diaries. It will be published by Balzer & Bray (IMHO the coolest of all the many cool imprints at HarperCollins), and the first book will be released next summer.
Here’s the rather unbelievably awesome part: these books are based on a concept by the Duchess of Northumberland, and are inspired by the real-life Poison Garden on the grounds of Alnwick Castle, in northern England.
Duchess. Castle. Poisonous plants. Are you following how awesome this is?
Two months ago, while researching the first book, I had the opportunity to visit the exceedingly lovely Duchess (and her gracious husband, whom you may call, natch, the Duke). I roamed around the Poison Garden (look but don’t touch!), and was treated to a dungeon-to-parapet tour of Alnwick Castle. Here’s what we’re talking about:
If the castle looks at all familiar, that’s because Alnwick was used as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. Allow me to recap:
Duchess. Castle. Poisonous plants. HOGWARTS, PEOPLE!
I am very excited about these books, and I think you will be too. It’s so inspiring to be able to set a story in a place that is both totally astonishing and absolutely real. This project is also a chance for me to flex some of my favorite but lesser-known writing muscles: it’s creepy, gothic, and darkly—dare I say lethally—romantic.....