I love Aussie YA. I love reading books from authors that live in the same country as me, that know things that people out of Australia might be so confused about. I love how sometimes they can incorporate this into their book and it is fabulous.
So I decided to created a feature where I interview Australian Young Adult authors about their craft, journey and some interesting facts. I thought it was a fun way of everyone around the world to get to know these authors and maybe make them want to pick up their books. And that is what I am aiming to do, spread the word about #LoveOZYA and get everyone reading it.
Hi Fiona, and welcome to Angel Reads. First can you introduce yourself to everyone? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, Angel, thanks for inviting me over. I write YA fiction. My books are Six Impossible Things, Wildlife and Cloudwish. One of my favourite things is reading in bed. I also like walking, cooking and eating, and visiting galleries and museums. I have two young adult children. I live in Melbourne. I’m an ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program, and for the Ardoch Youth Foundation ‘Own a Word’ program.
I despair of the political climate in Australia. The way we treat asylum seekers and refugees in off-shore detention, for example, is a disgrace. I needed to find ways to say I welcome refugees, beyond the rallies and petitions, so I’m in my eighth year as a volunteer tutor at Friday Night School, where I tutor the mothers of some of our students from Sudan and Somalia; and I’m on the leadership team of ‘Befriend a Child in Detention’, a project that sends books to children still living in detention-like conditions on Nauru, and in community detention in Australia, and raises awareness of the ongoing plight of the children and their families.
What has your writing journey been like? Where did you start? Why?
My journey looks like this: early start – first novel, Mystery at the Manor, written in year 8. Study. Work. Turn 30. Is it that time already? Children o’clock! Have two adorable babies. Not at the same time. Don’t forget writing. Quickly, start now. Freelance journalism. Study screenwriting at RMIT. Write TV scripts for twelve years. TV show cancelled. Uninvited character comes knocking at my brain. He’s a novel, not a script. Write a book now. NOW. Write Six Impossible Things. Phew. Finally. The difficult second novel. (It’s no Mystery at the Manor.) (Just as well.) Sell book. Write another book. Wildlife. Write another book. Cloudwish. Write another…
What was the process of getting your first book published?
I’d worked with Simmone Howell (Girl Defective) on a television show, The Secret Life of Us, and when our paths crossed again a few years later, she was kind enough to read a draft of Six Impossible Things and thought her publisher might like it. I sent it to Claire Craig at Pan Macmillan; she did like it, and offered me a contract – after I’d done another draft.
Was it different when getting your proceeding books published?
Once I had the contract for Six Impossible Things, I looked for representation. When I’d written my next manuscript, Wildlife, and a synopsis of Cloudwish, my agent negotiated a three-book deal for me in America, where I had offers from three of the ‘big five’ publishers. My books are published by Little, Brown in the US, and Pan Macmillan in Australia.
What was the difference between getting your books published here in Australia and internationally?
It’s equally exciting. It’s fun seeing different approaches to covers, and seeing your work in translation. And it is lovely to think that something you wrote from an Australian perspective resonates with readers in other countries.
You are an OZYA author, what are some of your favourite Aussie YA books?
Some of my favourite Australian YA writers are Jaclyn Moriarty, Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley and Simmone Howell. Some favourite books from the last year or so include The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale, The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and His Ex by Gabrielle Williams, The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.
There are piles of OzYA books I have yet to read, that I know I’ll love, but I mostly read old adult books, so I’m always behind with my young adult reading.
Publish date: September 1st 2016
Purchase: Book Depository – Amazon UK – Amazon US – Amazon AU – Dymocks
For Vân Uoc Phan, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar.
Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes.
But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight.
Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.
Wishes were not a thing.
They were not.
Wishes were a thing.
Wishes that came true were sometimes a thing.
Wishes that came true because of magic were not a thing!
Thank you Fiona for joining me at Angel Reads and sharing your journey. Have you read any of Fiona’s books? Did you like them? Are you going to read them? Let’s Chat!
Come back next week for some more Aussie fun. If you want to know more about the #LoveOZYA movement check out the website for all the details.