guest blogger

Guest Blogger: A J Grainger

Our guest blogger this week is A. J. Grainger. A.J. lives in London, where she works as a children’s books editor. Her first novel, Captive, was named ‘One to Watch’ by The Bookseller and was listed as one of The Telegraph’s best YA books of 2015.

Welcome to GHB, A.J.

Writing: why do it?

It occurred to me recently that people might read my book.

‘Isn’t that why you wrote it?’ my friend asked when I told her.

‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Maybe. But also because I enjoy writing.’

‘No, you don’t,’ she replied. ‘It makes you cry’ ? she eyeballed me – ‘often.’

I couldn’t get that conversation out of my head. And I knew other people would ask me the same thing ? so I did what everyone does when they have a question they can’t answer:

I Googled it.

‘Why write?’ I typed.

A lot of results came up, most about how hard writing is and how frustrating it can be, but also how compulsive. One author wrote, ‘I write because I can’t help it. I write because, if I can’t not write then I ought to be as good as possible, and skill grows with practice.’

And for me, that’s the reason. Yes, writing is hard and it (occasionally) makes me cry. But I can’t not do it and so I want to be the best I can be at it. (Note the ‘I’, because this competition is only against myself.) As Henry Moore said, ‘The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.

’ Do I want people to read my book? Well, that would be very nice. But I honestly don’t think that is why I write. For starters the idea of people reading my book terrifies me. (What if they hate it?)

captive high-res

But now whenever I get nervous about that, I come back to the above quotes. Then writing doesn’t feel so scary because I remember that I am just me in a room with a computer trying to do the best I can at something that is challenging and exhilarating at the same time. And I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

To find out more about A. J. and her writing, find her on Twitter (@_AJGrainger) and Facebook. Her website is at

Thanks for stopping by A.J. to tell us about your writing. Captive looks a thrilling read. Definitely one to add to the ‘must read’ pile. Better still, A.J and her publisher are giving away 3 copies of Captive here at GHB.

Enter the giveaway right HERE.

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