Tag Archives: his dark materials

My top ten Book Girlfriends

In April 2015 I posted a list of my top Book Boyfriends – fictional characters who you would totally marry if they were real and available, like, no questions asked. Straight to the altar.


In honour of The Last Beginning (out in ten days!) where Clove finds her straight-to-the-alter girlfriend, here are my top ten book girlfriends. These are all from books I loved as a teenager, and a lot of them were inspirations for both Clove and Ella, just like my book bfs were inspirations for Matt.


10. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

Obvious choice is obvious, bUT SERIOUSLY. This girl was my idol. Literally #lifegoalsorwifegoals. She’s clever and bossy and brave and completely wonderful.


From the illustrated edition by Jim Kay

I can’t really say much here that hasn’t been said many, many times before, but seriously. JKR changed the lives of a lot of girls when she created Hermione. She gave us all permission to be better that the male protagonist in our lives.

9. Marnie from The Raging Quiet2863604

I guarantee that only one of you, if that, will have read this book. I used to get this book from the library over and over when I was a teenager – I’ve read it more times than I can count, and only a little bit because of how cool the heroine is. It’s set in medieval times, and tells the story of Raver, a deaf orphan who the villagers think is mad. Marnie, a widowed young girl, befriends him. She realises that his ‘madness’ comes from a lack of understanding of speech, and together they create a form of sign language.

Marnie is so strong, even in the toughest of situations, but also very patient and careful. She thinks things through, quietly and gently, before acting. She’s flawed too – there are times where she loses her temper and reacts badly, but never fails to learn from her mistakes. She’s an extremely modern girl in a very dark ages time, and I love her. She’s one of those characters who you know would be your best friend if they were real.

8. Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials

LYRA FREAKING BELACQUA, MY GUYS. PALS. LYRA BALACQUA. This girl!! She’s spiky and loud and completely infuriatingly annoying. Sometimes she doesn’t listen and gets herself in a right old tangle, but she always finds a way out. Characters who never give up will always have my heart.

I think Ella has a lot of Lyra’s fire in her.

(Pan, her daemon, is an honorary Book Boyfriend, I guess? IDK.)

7. Ella Enchanteddownload.jpg

Char from Ella Enchanted made it onto my book bfs list, and Ella is on here. I was seriously into this book.

Ella is under a spell that means she has to do everything anyone asks of her, but that doesn’t stop her from being totally strong-willed and clever. She outsmarts everyone, slides down banisters, gives Princes good tellings off, and can pick up languages in a flash (so she can talk to trolls and her pet centaur). She’s also extremely witty and never hates anyone, even when they spend their whole lives being horrifically mean to her.

In summary: Ella freaking Enchanted, guys.

6. Holly Short from Artemis Fowl

Another pair who make it onto both lists – Artemis Fowl is a real DILF in my imagination, and was on my Book bfs list. Holly Short is the tiny, fiery fairy cop whose entire personality type can be summarised as ‘FIGHT ME!!’.


From the Graphic Novel

She fights against sexism as the only female cop, worries about ageing now that she’s over one hundred years old, has the best banter with her BFF Foaly, and isn’t afraid to show Artemis how much she despises him, even when he holds the future of the fairy world in his hands. Basically she’s the ultimate badass. She’s cooler than I could ever hope to be.

There are definitely elements of Holly Short in Clove.

Holly Short!! Marry me!!!

tumblr_mnvyy7Wq7a1qkgg6ro1_500.jpg5. Sally Lockhart from The Ruby in the Smoke

Sally is a Victorian lady detective who uses all her skills to solve crimes. She’s dangerous and carries around a tiny pistol whereever she goes, in case of trouble (she gets herself into a lot of trouble). She was played by Billie Piper in the BBC adaptation, which is a pretty good casting choice imo.

I really need to reread the Sally Lockhart books, because however much I appreciated her then, I’m sure I’ll appreciate her 100 times more now I’m a grown up. I think I kind of took her incredible-ness for granted as a kid.


4. Sue Trinder from Fingersmith

Now Sue is a big inspiration for Ella in The Last Beginning, in that she lies about everything about herself to the girl she fancies.


She’s rough and poor and will fight anyone who gets in her way. She’s a thief with a heart of gold. Her character arc from pushover to overprotective fighter is a joy to watch. Again, she’s a really flawed character who ultimately tries her best, even in tough situations, and I adore her.

3. Rosie from Spindle’s End

In this retelling of Beauty & the Beast, the Princess is taken away to be raised by fairies, but she grows up to be a tomboy instead of the proper princess sort. She hates dresses, dancing and embroidery, shears all her golden hair off, is described as a ‘thug’ and is always causing trouble. She even ends up marrying the Blacksmith and giving up her throne! It’s excellent, and Rosie is the best character in the world.

I couldn’t find any fanart for her, tragically. GET ON THAT, TUMBLR.

2. Death from Sandman

Dream had the distinct honour of being included on my Top Ten bfs post, and Death is being included here too. There’s clearly something about Neil Gaiman’s writing.


The ancient personification of Death is gentle, sassy, loyal and very loving. She really cares about the people she leads into death.

At times she’s just on the edge of becoming a manic pixie dream girl, but her characterisation grows and develops into something wonderful in her spin-off series.

1. Liraellirael.jpg

If there’s anyone who’s a direct inspiration for Clove, it’s Lirael. She lives in a huge underground library and is too shy to even talk to the other librarians. Instead she spends her time exploring its thousand year old depths with her magic dog sidekick. She also can transform into a otter.

It’s hard to articulate how much Lirael meant to me as a teenager. It feels very weird to make jokes about what a babe she is, because I just think that she’s absolutely wonderful. I used to really wish she was a real person. She may be my literary soulmate. I’m so excited to see where Garth Nix takes her in Goldenhand, out next month. I’ve missed her.

In other news: You can still vote for The Next Together in Maximum Pop’s debut of the year competition until Friday. Please do!

I also filmed a little video over at Maximum Pop here.

The Last Beginning is making its way to bloggers! [shivers with nerves] Here’s a picture I love:

And a reminder, I’m doing an event in Milton Keynes on the 14th:



Meet the three newest members of the James family…. Noah, Gansey, and Ronan (because of course I named them after the Raven boys, I’m nothing if not predictable). Thank you to the wonderful @lucythereader for letting me take these little babies off her hands! They are truely show-worthy – the top left is a Swiss Boar! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH ALREADY. Follow my snapchat (flossiepots) for many many guinea pig shenanigans over the next few months.

Finally – if you’re excited for The Last Beginning, you may just want to subscribe to my blog by email, which you can do on the right hand side of my blog. There’s some exciting things coming up over the next week, including some exciting announcements…!

The Last Beginning is published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK| Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles  | Hive 

You can add the book on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad.

More extras:

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here.

15 day countdown to The Next Together: Meet the Characters

Give me a drum roll please, because . . . there are now fifteen days until my first novel comes out! In fact, the eBook is released tomorrow, so in the next few hours people will be reading my book, whaaaat?

To celebrate, I’m going to releasing a new Behind the Scenes extra about The Next Together daily until September 3rd. You can find them all here, along with extras I’ve released in the past like An Interview with Kate, Locations of The Next Together and more.

Today I’m going to introduce my darling characters, Kate and Matt.

I always say that both Matthew and Katherine are me. Both of them, at the same time, in different ways.

Art by the most wonderful Alice Oseman (click for source)

SAYING THAT, Matthew Galloway is totally based a little on Char, from Ella Enchanted*.  Char is a wonderful character who just thinks the protagonist of the book is hilarious and incredible. He’s quite shy and quiet and serious until she brings out the fun and jokes from him.

“That’s funny, you’re funny. I like you, I’m quite taken by you.”

Char had freckles, and slid down the castle banisters. I had a lot of feelings about that character. So a lot of Matthew is based on my residual childhood crush on Char (I would have taken a bullet for Char when I was thirteen) but I didn’t realise that at all until recently.

*The book, not the film. The film….let’s not talk about what they did to Char in the film. 

Matt is cautious and sweet, with a dry sense of humour, and he’s completely overwhelmed with admiration for Kate.

Katherine Finchley is probably more based on just who I would like to be as a person. She’s also based on……………………do I want to say this?



Okay I’ll say it. She’s probably a little bit of Jim Kirk from the Star Trek reboot. THAT SOUNDS WEIRD, OKAY, BUT SHE TOTALLY IS.

She’s sassy, ginger, with a lewd and silly sense of humour.

My favourite description of Kate and Matt is actually from a review by Shinra Alpha, who said:

Kate is beautifully quirky and unashamedly funny and deliberately irritating in a way that so few authors ever let their characters be – which is a shame, because it’s so endearing to have her be so silly and fun with Matt, who is much drier and more serious, meaning they play off each other perfectly.

I thought that was really lovely, and captures something about the relationship between Kate and Matt which I wasn’t able to put into words. They both have flaws and strengths, but compliment each other and work best together than individually.

Picture of Kate and Matt being cuties by Rosy @ the Review Diaries.

The book takes place in several different lifetimes throughout, where Kate and Matt have different social positions and upbringings.  In the earliest, Matthew is a servant in Katherine’s family home. In another, Katy is Matthew’s servant instead, in disguise as a boy (illustrated below).

Art by Alice Oseman!

In every life they meet and fall in love. I really loved exploring the way their different lives changed their relationship, but also what stayed the same – the chemistry and connection between them.

I’m going to be doing a fancast of Kate and Matt soon, but for now here’s a gifset of them, made by the lovely Arianne. It is so perfect it actually made me cry (especially the eighth gif, which is of Matt’s brother Tom, and is LITERALLY HIM. Like, Arianne, did you jump inside my brain and magic that gifset out?)


You NEED to click the link and see this gifset in all it’s moving glory. It’s honestly like watching a film of my book.

Because I’ve been thinking about these characters for over five years now (I started writing the book when I was eighteen, and I’m now twenty-three!) here are some other bits and pieces to help you get to know them.


Kate is Chaotic Good and Matt is Lawful Good, which I think is basically a more formal way of saying that:

Hogwarts Houses

Kate is definitely a Gryffindor, because she’s an idiot. Kate is always running off into danger and Matt expends a significant amount of energy into trying to stop her.

Matt is a Hufflepuff. He thinks a lot before he acts (Kate doesn’t think at all, ever.)


A daemon is an animal which takes the physical form of your soul in the world of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. The kind of animal they become represents your personality. Kate’s daemon would be a bouncy, ridiculous ginger fox.


Matt would have a shy little vole that hides in his sleeve. Kate will never even see his daemon until they’ve known each other for six months.


It is totally intentional that Kate’s daemon would eat Matt’s alive.


Most of their interactions look exactly like this.


I think Matt would be really confused by the concept of OTPs, but when Kate had explained it to him, he would realise he has very strong feelings about Amy/Rory from Doctor Who – mainly because of Rory being referred to as Mr Pond because….yeah. He’s totally Mr Finchley. He would also be into Simon/Kaylee from Firefly for pretty much the same reason.

(He just has a thing for confident women, okay? It’s totally not even worth thinking about. CAN WE NOT TALK ABOUT THIS, PLEASE, KATE.)

Kate is a big fan of Orange is the New Black, so her OTP would probably be …. any and all  ships in that show. She isn’t a very discriminate shipper.

Wedding Song

Their first wedding dance it would start with a really romantic waltz, strings and gazing lovingly into each others eyes, and then after a minute it would transition into THIS

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

At this moment, you mean everything. With you in that dress, my thoughts I confess turn dirty.

They’d go MENTAL and start dancing like crazies and it would be the best thing ever. (I’ve thought about this too much.)

So, that gives you a little introduction to the characters of my book! Tomorrow I’ve got a very special treat to celebrate the eBook release, so watch out for that!

If you want to know more about Kate and Matt, you can read the first chapter of The Next Together here, and buy the book in the following places:

Amazon UK | Waterstones | Amazon US | The Book Depository (free international shipping)| Wordery | Foyles | Kobo | iBooks |  Goodreads

In other news: Tickets for YA Shot, which I’m appearing at, are now on sale! They’re expected to sell out quickly so buy them here now!

Also, this weekend I finished writing the first draft on my third novel, a day before I turned 23! The process turned me a little insane, which tumblr seemed to enjoy.

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here.