In this week's Undiscovered Voices writer interview, we're delighted to introduce Kathryn Kettle.

Tell us what you write

Novels, short and flash fiction. My novels tend to be in a YA voice. Since I began writing at 15, the books I’ve written have been across several genres but tend towards thriller/action. My books tend to be political, social speculative and I love a scary story and the challenge of creating tension.

Why did you enter Undiscovered Voices?

Entering UV was something I'd considered as soon as I heard about it in 2016, but I knew my work wasn't ready. I sent my excerpt in 2018 after intensive work with friends, crit groups and an editor at Golden Egg Academy.

Tell us about the book you submitted.

The Boy I Am is a pacey speculative fiction thriller for young adults, that tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jude, brought up in ‘The House of Boys’, who has to primp and pose his way into the corrupt Chancellor’s affections, so that he can assassinate her. The UV judges likened it to The Power but for teens.

How did you feel about winning Undiscovered Voices?

Indescribably grateful. Unbounded joy. Astonished and often speechless.

In what ways was the feedback from Undiscovered Voices useful?

Incredibly useful. The judges notes alone led to a lot of edits before I submitted to agents, and then the agents' feedback after that led to another round of edits. The value of their comments is worth it's weight in gold.

Have you had any success with your book as a result of Undiscovered Voices?

I am blessed to be represented by the formidable Alice Sutherland-Hawes of Madeleine Milburn Literary. Stripes will publish The Boy I Am in 2020 with a sequel to follow. Signing a two-book deal with a publisher that is passionate about diversity and change in the YA market is so exciting.

Tell us about about yourself

Made in Birmingham, I now live, work and write in London. Apart from being shortlisted for UV18, I have won competitions and been highly commended for my flash fiction, including being longlisted as part of the 2017 Bath Flash Fiction Award.

You can download the Undiscovered Voices 2018 anthology here to read an extract from Kathryn's book.

Undiscovered Voices is an anthology published every other year by the British SCBWI and aims to help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers. Undiscovered Voices has launched the careers of writers and illustrators, who have gone on to publish more than 200 books. These authors have been nominated for, and won, an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and nearly 30 regional awards. Visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com for all the details and news when submissions will open for the next anthology.

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