As you know, last year, we launched the very first Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize, looking for new unpublished talent aged 18 – 25. And this week, the two winners of that prize have been published!

Now that THE RIG by Joe Ducie and VIVIAN VERSUS THE APOCALYPSE by Katie Coyle are ready to be bought in shops and online, it’s time to take a look behind the scenes and see what the authors have to say about their adventure. Below you will find a blog post by Joe and a video by Katie!

THE RIG

So today I did something brand new and exciting. Something two parts surreal to every part awesome. I went to a bookshop looking for, would you believe, a book. Not just any old book, mind, but one with my name on the cover in bold, blue letters. Today The Rig, after long, anxious months, was to be loosed upon an unsuspecting public.

I sauntered into the bookshop as cool as a cucumber—as cool as a bushel of cucumbers sipping frozen margaritas in a blizzard, even—and gave the lady at the counter a smile and a nod as I headed over to Teen Fiction, not quite ready to believe I’d find what I’d come looking for. But there on the shelf, even looking as if it belonged on the shelf, was my story.

I’d like to tell you that I kept my cool, but at the sight of those lovely little volumes, front-facing and all shiny and new, I pointed at the shelf and exclaimed, “That’s my book!”

Now, having spent some time in bookshops, I am aware of a certain etiquette, much like libraries, regarding acceptable levels of noise. Needless to say, my exclamation brought the lady at the counter over to see if she could be of any help, perhaps show me the door… After I explained, with no small amount of trepidation, that I was the author of the book sitting on the shelf right there, yes, that one right there with the awesome cover and my name and words on the pages and everything, a marvellous thing happened.

She asked me to sign them.

We headed back to the counter with a stack of The Rig and as I signed each once—upside down as I’m left-handed and I didn’t want to bend the covers—the lady placed a special ‘Autographed Copy’ sticker on the cover. A strange urge to buy a copy came over me, but no, I placed them back on the shelf, took a picture, and went in search of celebratory pretzels and something bubbly.

So that was today. My 1st bookday. As for tomorrow, well I’m already half a ream of paper deep into the next adventure. Now that I’ve made it on to the hallowed shelves of the bookshops, for my next trick, I’m going to stay there.

I can’t thank the wonderful staff at Hot Key enough for putting together such a great lookin’ book. I will descend upon London in the near future with cakes and all manner of bubbles to settle, perhaps just the interest, the debt I owe them.

You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeDucie or on his website.

VIVIAN VERSUS THE APOCALYPSE

You can follow Katie on Twitter @krcoyle or her Tumblr.

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We are currently reading all the entries from this year’s Young Writer’s Prize – and there are some fantastic entries! It’s not long until we will select the longlist (by end of October) and shortlist (in January) – and we can’t wait to see what talented young writers we can bring out for you next year. Watch this space!