Q&A with Mark Smith

Today we have another excellent #LoveOzYA interview with an author we love – Mark Smith! Read all about his recent YA release, how he writes, and what some of his favourite #LoveOzYA novels are. We hope you enjoy!

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We loved you novel, The Road To Winter, and it’s sequel. Why did you decide to focus your novel on such a serious topic?

I didn’t really set out to write a serious book. First and foremost I wanted to tell a gripping story because, as a reader, that’s what I look for in fiction. The development of the characters in the dystopian setting I create allows me to explore some deeper issues around violence, the treatment of asylum seekers and climate change. Being an educator, I know one of the best ways of engaging young people in an issue is to personalise it – create characters they feel a deep empathy for, then look at the way they deal with conflict, cruelty and a changed world. Younger readers will relate to them by putting themselves in the characters’ shoes and thinking about how they would deal with such a situation.

What type of research did you have to undertake to ensure that your novels were received well?

I work principally with fifteen year old boys, many of them reluctant readers. So I began by surveying them about their reading habits and putting together a list of what they look for in a novel. Not surprisingly, they wanted suspense, humour, a twist (or three), unpredictability, mystery, a deeper story, thrills, action, a strong climax and not too much description. I added strong female characters, a sixteen year old protagonist and a blooming romance – and I had the framing for the Winter series.Read More »

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Q&A with Sarah Epstein

Sarah Epstein’s Small Spaces is one of the #LoveOzYA debuts coming out next year that we can’t wait to get our hands on, so we couldn’t resist asking her a few questions for our #LoveOzYA Month to learn more about it! This is an interview you don’t want to miss – and you’ll be adding a ton of awesome #LoveOzYA novels to your TBR as well!

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We’re so excited that your debut YA novel, Small Spaces, is being released next year! What was your path to publication like?

Thank you! I’m so excited too! I’d like to say my path to publication was relatively straightforward, but the truth is it took several years of submitting three different manuscripts to agents and editors before Small Spaces found a home. I started writing YA around a decade ago and it took me a few years to finish my first manuscript because I was bringing up babies and running a small business at the same time. I ended up shelving that manuscript after its first round of submissions because I realised it had a couple of major plot issues. But my second manuscript snagged me a US agent and was shopped around to US publishers for the best part of a year, resulting in a disappointingly close call at acquisitions and loads of rejections. I’d started writing Small Spaces by that stage, but ended up parting ways with my agent. It was a really challenging time because I felt like I’d tumbled to the bottom of the heap again, and I really had to pick myself up and keep going. Nicola, my editor from Walker Books, stumbled across my website after I’d just started querying Small Spaces, and after reading a short synopsis on my site, she requested my manuscript the same day. From there it took another nine months of back and forth with Walker, including another revision of the manuscript, before I was offered a contract.Read More »

Q&A with Cait Drews (AKA Paper Fury)

Hello again, everyone! Today we have a very special Q&A with Cait AKA Paper Fury AKA C.G. Drews! ALL THREE OF THEM. They might all be the same person, but that’s highly unlikely considering Cait is the queen of Twitter and Instagram and blogging and she’s an author so… I reckon she’s actually multiple beings ruling over different dominions.

Ever since we heard that Cait’s debut novel is being published, we haven’t stopped squealing about it! We’re so happy for her, and as a #LoveOzYA author, we just had to ask her a few questions for our #LoveOzYA Month! We hope you enjoy!

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If you had to describe yourself by naming three bookish characters, which characters would you choose?

Ooh I love this question! So I’d love to say Cath from Fangirl who is a writer and huge booknerd, and Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races who is quiet and probably likes magical creatures better than anything else, and also Lazlo Strange from Strange The Dreamer who fell into a book and can’t get up.

Ooh such great choices! As bloggers and readers, all of us must have a piece of Cath within us. And yes, we can definitely relate to falling into a book and not being able to get up.

As a blogger and a writer, what does #LoveOzYA mean to you? Why is it important?  

It’s important to me because it’s my country and people! As a bookworm, my life is pretty flooded with American and British books, so it’s always super amazing to read a book that has Aussie slang and culture and humour woven into it, and I hope to do that with my writing too.Read More »

Q&A with Gabrielle Tozer

Gabrielle Tozer is one of our favourite #LoveOzYA authors (not that we pick favourites, but if we did, she would be one of them… shhh), and we’re so excited to share this little Q&A with you for #LoveOzYA Month! We hope you like it!

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Why is #LoveOzYA important to you?

Australia is brimming with creative writing talent – and it’s important to support local industries! We have a wonderful #LoveOzYA community filled with authors, bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, editors, publishers, publicists, agents, designers – and everyone else who toils passionately behind the scenes – and I want to do my tiny bit to help keep this hardworking and essential corner of the literary community thriving. If we want local stories to keep being published for all audiences, then it’s not just important to elevate Australian voices – it’s essential.

Absolutely! There’s so many talented people in the #LoveOzYA community, and we’re so thankful for all the work they do. Our community wouldn’t be the same without everyone’s spectacular contributions, no matter how small they may seem!

What are some of your favourite Aussie books at the moment?

I’m pregnant and close to popping so my reading list has been waaay more non-fiction-based and medical than usual. However, in between all the baby-prepping, I really enjoyed Pip Harry’s Because of You. It tackles such tough issues in a sensitive and beautiful way, plus its based in an area of Sydney that I’ve spent a lot of time and she nailed it. The mood, the feel, all of it. Eliza Henry-Jones’ YA newbie P Is For Pearl (which comes out in 2018) is next on my bedside table TBR list! Read More »