A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Happy Book Birthday to Emma Haughton and CRUEL HEART BROKEN – Emma Carroll finds out more

CHB cover


  1. Cruel Heart Broken is your 3rd YA novel – how different does it feel in terms of genre and subject matter to your previous books?


Hmm…good question. In some ways it feels similar, because I still plotted it as a kind of unravelling mystery, but it definitely tackles some thornier issues and is the first time I’ve put a teen relationship at the centre of the story. But I think I’m always going to be interested in suspense as the driver through a novel – suspense for the reader as well as the main character, Laurie, as she finds herself in an impossible and perplexing situation.


  1. I think you handle Laurie’s dilemma with great sensitivity. Without giving too much away, how did you go about writing such an emotional- and emotive- storyline?


I was very interested in the idea of a character who was convinced she was guilty of something terrible, and how only gradually the reader would come to understand that this was only her perspective – and a distorted perspective at that. And I wanted the events in the book to help her come to terms with what she has done, and see that her decisions were both understandable and inevitable.


  1. The final lines of the story are, for me, pitch perfect in what they say about friendship. Can you explain a little further who this theme plays out in Cruel Heart Broken?


Thank you! Yes, the idea of friendship and loyalty is central to the story, along with a recognition that sometimes things don’t last as long as we would like them to, but that doesn’t necessarily negate what went before. Maya is in many ways the perfect friend to Laurie – even when Laurie feels she can’t confide in her, and sometimes friendship presents itself in places you never thought to look, as with Tom. I’ve certainly found in times of crisis that those small considerations from people outside your ‘inner circle’ can have a huge impact on how you feel.


  1. Laurie keeps an incredible secret from her nearest and dearest for a long time. What’s the biggest secret you’ve ever kept? (which won’t be a secret anymore if you tell us- ha!)


Well, yes, that would be telling! But I will say that the secrets that most interest me are the ones we keep from ourselves. For many years I wouldn’t admit to myself that more than anything I wanted to be a writer, because I honestly thought it was an impossible ambition. So that was a big secret I kept from myself, until it got to the point where I had to face it and take action.


  1. The female characters are very strong in your story, whereas the male characters seem to be flawed in some way. Was this intentional?


No! But now you point it out, I can see what you mean. I guess as a woman, I tend to write from a female perspective, and in many ways the big issue Laurie has to deal with is one only girls and women have to face. Mind you, there’s always Nicole – she’s pretty flawed, I’d say!


  1. The two sisters in the story – Laurie and Katy – really don’t get along. Did you draw on any personal experiences/observations, as their sibling rivalry feels very realistic?


I’m glad you think so. I don’t have a sister, but I do have a brother, and yes, we didn’t get on very well. Although the reasons for that discord were very different to those that prevent Laurie and Katy being close, I guess the landscape is familiar. I know how easy it is for siblings to fall into roles – such as the ‘good child’ or the ‘bad child’ – that can damage relationships irreversibly.


  1. What are you writing next? (more books please!)


Thank you, Emma! I’ve got several ideas bubbling away, which I’m quite excited about, but I’m having a bit of a breather before I dive in!


UntitledEmma Haughton

Emma Haughton worked as a journalist writing for national newspapers and magazines before settling down to write YA fiction. She is the author of three books: NOW YOU SEE ME, BETTER LEFT BURIED and CRUEL HEART BROKEN, all published by Usborne.


attachmentEmma Carroll
Emma Carroll writes MG fiction. Her debut ‘Frost Hollow Hall’, a Victorian ghost story, won the North East Book Award 2013 and was longlisted for the Branford Boase. Her second novel ‘The Girl Who Walked On Air’ has been nominated for the CILIP medal. Her third book ‘In Darkling Wood’ is inspired by the Cottingley Fairies photographs, and her latest novel ‘Strange Star’ is out from Faber in autumn 2016. In another life she wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.





This entry was posted on June 30, 2016 by and tagged , , , .

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