Sarah Hagger-Holt’s debut children’s novel, Nothing Ever Happens Here, was released last year to great acclaim and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

Holt’s new book, Proud of Me, is out next month and we sat down to discuss the upcoming release.

Can you tell us a bit about your new book Proud of Me?

I’d love to. It’s the story of Josh and Becky, thirteen-year-old ‘almost twins’ who live with their two mums and both share the same donor dad. Josh and Becky have always been close, but now they have secrets. Josh is looking for their donor dad, and Becky is falling in love for the first time – with the new girl in her class.

How did your writing process differ between this book and your debut Nothing Ever Happens Here?

Writing process sounds very grand. The reality of my writing process is balancing a laptop on my knees on my commute or cramming in a couple of hours writing once my kids have gone to bed. I guess the main difference with Proud of Me was knowing that I could reach the finish line, after all, I’d done it once before.

What was an early experience where you learned that language has power? 

As a child, I went to a very traditional church where only men were allowed to speak from the front. It was obvious that language had power. The first time I heard a woman speak in church and the first time I heard God referred to as ‘she’ – wow, that was powerful for me.

If you could have a dinner party with three other authors, alive or dead, who would they be and why?

Caitlin Moran, Rainbow Rowell and David Sedaris – all authors that make me laugh out loud. I’d just sit back, enjoy my dinner and listen to them spark off each other.

What book have you read most often?

Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones is my ultimate comfort read. It’s part school story, part magical adventure. It can also be read as a story of queer kids finding their path and their community, themes very close to my heart.

Is there a question you wish authors were asked but rarely are?

We get asked about what books we like, but less often about how we got into reading in the first place. For many authors, access to public libraries and school libraries got us started. I’d love for more opportunities to shout about how important it is to value and protect our libraries.

Proud of Me is released on 4 February. You can pre-order it from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here and all good bookshops and online retailers.