Interviewing M.A. Bennett and giving away a copy of new release S.T.A.G.S.!

Thank you to Penguin Random House for having us on tour to celebrate the U.S. release of S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett, a thriller out this coming Tuesday, January 30th!


 An Interview With


M. A. Bennett is half Venetian and was born in Manchester, England, and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as a historical source. After university she studied art and has since worked as an illustrator, an actress, and a film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands, including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in north London with her husband, son, and daughter.

You can find her on:

Pick 5 words to describe S.T.A.G.S. to potential readers.


What would you say are the most important themes present in this story?

Bullying, Tech vs Real Life, Present vs Past, Class. 

Do you write your scenes in chronological order or jump around as your muse gets inspired?

S.T.A.G.S. was written in chronological order. I specifically wanted to do it in the order of Huntin' Shootin' Fishin'. I also wanted the tone to get darker as the book went on, and I think I would have got muddled if I'd jumped about!

S.T.A.G.S. UK Cover!

How much research went into bringing to life the medieval elements of blood sports?

I was brought up in a cottage on a vast country estate where my grandmother was the housekeeper. At the big house, they had lots of shooting parties just like the one I describe in S.T.A.G.S.  So a lot of it I knew from my own childhood.    

If you were invited to Longcross Hall for a weekend how do you think you'd fair?

I used to help my grandmother do the housekeeping, including getting the house ready for big dinner parties. So at least I would know which fork to use!

What were the benefits and challenges of writing this story in first person?

The challenge was channelling my own teenage years, which are rapidly receding in the rear view mirror! The benefit of first person is undoubtedly the immediacy - you speak directly to the reader with no filter. It's a style that is very familiar to everybody nowadays -- all social media is in first person if you think about it.

Is S.T.A.G.S. a book you would have read and enjoyed as a teen? Is the psychological thriller genre one you enjoy?

Yes! I love a good psychological thriller. I'm in awe of writers like Gillian Flynn, Donna Tartt and Patricia Highsmith, who can make you feel that you just HAVE to keep reading. 

Was there a scene that challenged you most as an author?

I guess the toughest scene - without giving away any spoilers! - was the denouement. It was quite hard to pace Greer's realisation of the big reveal - the challenge is not to be so subtle that you leave the reader behind, nor so obvious that they are way ahead of you.

Any standout songs or musical artists you listened to while writing?

The track I kept coming back to was the theme tune to Brideshead Revisited. It features a treble trumpet at the end with such a sweet tone it penetrates your blood, but at the same time it has a chilly impersonal tone which speaks of the British upper class. 

 Do you have plans to write more YA novels in the future?

Yes! I have just finished one, a standalone called THE ISLAND, which has nothing to do with the world of S.T.A.G.S.  But I'm now starting to write the second book in what I'm happy to say will be a S.T.A.G.S. trilogy!


O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: S.T.A.G.S.
Author: M.A. Bennett
Release Date: Jan. 30, 2018 (US)
Aug. 10, 2017 (UK)
Publisher: Penguin Random House


Seventeen-year-old Greer, a scholarship girl at a prestigious private school, St Aidan the Great School (known as S.T.A.G.S.), soon realizes that the school is full of snobs and spoilt rich brats, many of whom come from aristocratic families who have attended the institute throughout the centuries. 

She's immediately ignored by her classmates. All the teachers are referred to as Friars (even the female ones), but the real driving force behind the school is a group of prefects known as the Medievals, whose leader, Henry de Warlencourt, Greer finds both strangely intriguing as well as attractive. 

The Medievals are all good-looking, clever and everyone wants to be among their circle of friends. Greer is therefore surprised when she receives an invitation from Henry to spend a long weekend with him and his friends at his family house in the Lake District, especially when she learns that two other "outsiders" have also been invited: Shafeen and Chanel. 

As the weekend unfolds, Greer comes to the chilling realization that she and two other "losers" were invited only because they were chosen to become prey in a mad game of manhunt.



Thanks to Penguin Random House putting together this blog tour, you have a chance to win a finished copy of S.T.A.G.S.! 

This giveaway is US Only!

You must be at least 13 years old to enter or have a parent's permission!

Enter now! 

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