In Nat Luurtsema’s ‘Girl Out of Water’, Lou has failed to qualify for an elite swim training camp, and her best friend has. Her future is in tatters and she’s also lost a friend. But this book is hilarious, and so is Nat.
As a teenager I knew I wanted to be a stand-up comedian and I knew I’d never have the guts to do it. Which is very depressing, no wonder I was so mopey as a youngster.
I was wrong, too. Because when I was 25, in a fit of boldness, I hopped up on stage and did a 5 minute stand-up set and was instantly hooked. The old stand-up wisdom is that you know you want to be a comedian after your first failure on stage. It’s easy to get on stage, make people laugh and stroll home with a bag of chips and a smile on your face. But if you can get on stage, and look at a sea of bored faces for 5-10 minutes, get off stage to applause that sounds sarcastic and you STILL want to be a comedian… then you’re in.
Stand-up comedy involves a lot of repeating the same jokes, night after night, and pretending you only just thought of them. Which is how you hone your jokes, polish them into little jewels and make them perfect. But can also make you feel like you’re going gently mad.
So to stave off madness, I formed a sketch group with my two friends Tom (Craine) and Dan (Antopolski) – we were called Jigsaw and performing on stage with them was so much fun. Way more fun than stand-up because everything is better when you do it with your mates. Which is why girls always go to the toilet together.
But being in a sketch group is very bad for your piggy bank. Because all the money you earn from gigs now has to be split between three of you, unless you can run faster than the other two, and I couldn’t, they always caught me and made me share the money.
And so I completely ran out of money and had to go and live with my mum and dad. I am the thing they find most annoying in the world and everywhere I go I leave a trail of toast crumbs. So they were always vacuuming and complaining.
While I was living with my parents I was bored and lonely, as I worked nights and they worked days, so I was often all by myself while they were at work. I started blogging about it, and soon people got in touch to say they were also following their dreams and earning 20p a year. It was lovely, I made friends all over the world and then several newspapers wrote articles about my blog and a publishers asked me to write a book about it, which I did. It’s called ‘Cuckoo In The Nest’ and I’m still really proud that such a bad year turned into a book.
Then I wrote a short film and made it with some mates. The film was called ‘Island Queen’ and it was nominated for a BAFTA in 2014 for Best Short Film and I thought ‘wahay! Everything I touch goes brilliant!’
So I wrote a feature film, about a girl who wakes up to find a dead body on her sofa. It’s called ‘Annie’s Got Body Issues’. Annie is sure she didn’t kill this person but it is someone she really hates, so she’s not sure enough to tell the police. A con-man tried to steal my script and I spent a year with lawyers making sure he couldn’t. Because a) it wasn’t his and b) he was as funny as flu and as clever as a tissue, so I knew he’d make a terrible film.
So I was a comedian, an author, a screenwriter, an actor, a sketch performer, and yet again I was sat on my mum and dad’s sofa because I had no money. I had nightmares about bumping into old teachers who’d say ‘and what are you doing now?’ The truth was too shameful, I’d have to tell them I was a spy. “Now no more questions if you value your life!”
And that’s when I decided to cheer myself up, by writing a funny book about making a mess, chasing your dreams and failing all over the place. And I’ll write it for teenagers as that’s when I could really have done with a book like that.
Read it already? Let us know what you thought at @maximumpopbooks!
- Cover reveal: Sophie McKenzie’s ‘Girl, Missing’ is 10 years old and it’s got a swanky new cover!
- Meredith Russo is straight up inspirational. Why? This is why…
- Win! 1 of 10 copies of ‘With Malice’ by Eileen Cook + a poster!
- Have you ever seen a book quite as flawless as this? Vivi Greene’s ‘Sing’ is owning the #shelfie
- Judge a Book By Its Cover: Rosalind Jana’s ‘Notes on Being Teenage’ is stand-out-on-the-shelf beautiful
- Not ready for ‘The Crown’ to end? Find out your Selection name!
- Struggling to pronounce the names in ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’? Sarah J Maas has got you covered
- Morgan Matson is the Queen of Summer and she’s sharing her summer essentials!