James Dawson - Author

About the Author

For eight years, James Dawson was a teacher specialising in Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE). His main remit was ensuring that these subjects were taught to a high standard across several schools. He collaborated on projects involving bullying, sex education, drugs and alcohol education and family diversity. He now writes full-time and lives in London.

 

His debut, best-selling YA novel Hollow Pike was nominated for the prestigious Queen of Teen prize, and was followed by publication of the YA thriller Cruel Summer in 2013.

When he's not writing books to scare teenagers in a variety of different ways, James is busy listening to pop music and watching Doctor Who and horror movies.

Here is James talking about his book, Being a Boy

 

 

A Q&A with James about Say Her Name...

 

What inspired this book in particular? People told me that Hollow Pike was scary and I wasn’t even trying so I thought it would be fun to write a book where I was actually trying to terrify the reader.

What was the toughest part to write? When writing horror, I found you can’t rely on ‘jumps’ or loud noises the way they do in films. The fear has to come from a more psychological place; it has to get under your skin. The only way I knew it’d scare readers was if I scared myself. While writing Say Her Name I was plagued by Mary-related nightmares.

What was the most exciting thing about writing this book? (No spoilers please!) I loved adding to that oral tradition of ghost stories. What’s really fun is when I go into schools and ask who’s heard of Bloody Mary, all the hands go up and everyone has their own version. Say Her Name is just my retelling of a dark fairy tale really.

What advice would you give to writers struggling with a second (or third, fourth or fifth!) book? This isn’t my advice, it’s Patrick Ness’s, but he just told me to write the book you want to write. If you start worrying about the expectations of your readers or editors there won’t be any joy on the page. I adored writing Say Her Name, I hope it shows.

How do you come up with ideas for all of your books? It’s almost always something that intrigued me when I was young. That period from about ten-twenty years-old, I just soaked up pop culture like a sponge and now it’s finding it’s way out in my writing.

Has the way you write changed since your previous book? Do you/did you do anything differently? With my second novel, Cruel Summer, I felt like I proved myself as a writer, that I wasn’t a one-hit wonder so to speak. That meant there was no pressure on Say Her Name to be anything other than hugely enjoyable and hugely scary. Of all my novels, this was the easiest to write. I’m also hugely proud of Bobbie in that she’s my first creation who isn’t, at least in part, based on someone I knew.

Have you got an idea for your next book? Or would you like to write something completely different? My next book is already done! I write fast – in fact I’ve done two! Such is publishing! My next book is another horror, but tonally VERY different from Say Her Name. It’ll be out in 2015, all being well, and it’s a much stranger, more psychological horror. Before that there will be my second non-fiction title, This Book Is Gay, a guide to identity, sex and relationships for young LGBT people.

We’d like to update readers on what you’ve been doing since your previous book came was published – would you mind filling us in a little? Clearly doing lots of writing! Since Cruel Summer came out, I’ve also become a Stonewall Schools Role Model, a role I’m very proud of. I’ve also been enjoying my stint as a ‘sexpert’ alongside the release of Being A Boy.

Featured books by James Dawson

Other books by James Dawson

Cultures of Democracy in Serbia and Bulgaria How Ideas Shape Publics

Cultures of Democracy in Serbia and Bulgaria How Ideas Shape Publics

Author: James Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/11/2016

At a time when some EU member states are attracting attention for the rise to power of illiberal, anti-democratic political movements, this book's analytical focus on ideas and identities helps explain why institutional progress is not necessarily reflected in the formation of liberal, democratic publics. Starting from the premise that citizens can only uphold the institutions of liberal democracy when they understand and identify with the principles enshrined in them, the author applies normative public sphere theory to the analysis of political discourse and everyday discussion in Serbia and Bulgaria. From this perspective, the Serbian public sphere is observed to be more contested, pluralist and, at the margins, liberal than that of Bulgaria. Considering that Bulgaria has been a full EU member since 2007 while Serbia remains stuck in the waiting room, it is argued that democratic cultures are not shaped by elite-led drives to meet institutional criteria but rather by the spread of ideas through politics, the media and the discussions of citizens. Moving beyond the narrow focus on institutions that currently prevails in studies of democratization, this book demonstrates the value of a more ethnographic and society-oriented approach.

100 Years of Change On the Eastern Shore: The Willis Family Journals 1847-1951

100 Years of Change On the Eastern Shore: The Willis Family Journals 1847-1951

Author: James Dawson, Nick Willis Format: eBook Release Date: 03/03/2015

A rare chronicle of daily life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, 1847-1951"e;So rare, so historically valuable - - -The only daily account of its kind in the state."e;-Brice Stump, Salisbury (Maryland) Daily Times"e;Unique among farm journalsa wide range of observations"e;-Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist, Maryland State Archives"e;Documentation of an uninterrupted single-family-owned farm located in Talbot County for over 100 yearsSlave holdings, conflicts, introduction of mechanized farm equipment, local & state political/economic material"e;-Allan J. Stypeck, Accredited Senior Appraiser, American Society of Appraisers.

Cultures of Democracy in Serbia and Bulgaria How Ideas Shape Publics

Cultures of Democracy in Serbia and Bulgaria How Ideas Shape Publics

Author: James Dawson Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/11/2014

At a time when some EU member states are attracting attention for the rise to power of illiberal, anti-democratic political movements, this book's analytical focus on ideas and identities helps explain why institutional progress is not necessarily reflected in the formation of liberal, democratic publics. Starting from the premise that citizens can only uphold the institutions of liberal democracy when they understand and identify with the principles enshrined in them, the author applies normative public sphere theory to the analysis of political discourse and everyday discussion in Serbia and Bulgaria. From this perspective, the Serbian public sphere is observed to be more contested, pluralist and, at the margins, liberal than that of Bulgaria. Considering that Bulgaria has been a full EU member since 2007 while Serbia remains stuck in the waiting room, it is argued that democratic cultures are not shaped by elite-led drives to meet institutional criteria but rather by the spread of ideas through politics, the media and the discussions of citizens. Moving beyond the narrow focus on institutions that currently prevails in studies of democratization, this book demonstrates the value of a more ethnographic and society-oriented approach.

Australian Aborigines The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia

Australian Aborigines The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia

Author: James Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/11/2009

James Dawson first published Australian Aborigines in 1881, after deciding that his careful description of the tribes, languages, customs, and characteristics of the indigenous peoples of the western district of Victoria was too bulky for its originally intended publication in a newspaper. Essentially a field-inspired anthropological account of the dwindling Aboriginal population, written before the emergence of anthropology as a formal discipline, Dawson's book draws on his daughter's ability to speak the local languages and attempts a balanced description of a culture he considered ill-used and under-appreciated by white settlers. Minute details about clothing, tools, settlement and beliefs combine to depict a complex society that possessed highly ritualised customs deserving of respect. Dawson also included an extensive vocabulary of words in three indigenous languages that he hoped would facilitate further cross-cultural understanding. His work provides valuable source material for modern researchers in anthropology and linguistics.

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