#LoveOzYA Interview: Jay Kristoff
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 in saying that, I have decided to start a new feature on Angel Reads spotlighting Australian YA Authors. Each Friday for the next couple of months, I am going to interview an OZYA Author. I thought it would be a fun way to share my love for Australian Young Adult authors with not only fellow Aussies, but everyone around the world. I want more Australian YA books to be read, because they are amazing.
Jay is the author of The Lotus War Series (Pan MacMillian Aus, 2012), The Nevernight Chronicle triology (Harper Voyager, 2016), LIFEL1K3 (2018) and co author of The Illuminae Files (Allen and Unwin, 2015) and the Andromeda Cycle (2018).
Hi Jay, and welcome to Angel Reads. First can you introduce yourself to everyone? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jay. I’m the co-author of Illuminae, and author of The Lotus War and the upcoming Nevernight (aug 2016) and LIFEL1K3 (mid 2016). No, I do not sleep.
What has your writing journey been like? Where did you start? Why?
The trajectory has been wild one, but the journey itself is pretty stock. I wrote a book. Cold queried agents. Got rejected a lot. I wrote another book. Cold queried agents. Got an agent. Got a book deal. And that was it. So there was no secret handshake or magic moment or sacrifices to the Old Ones, just lots of writing and rejection. That’s par for the course in publishing. Rejection is good for the soul.
I started trying to get published about 2010. I’d always written for fun, but never imagined it might actually amount to anything. It was a hobby that, through a lot of work, became a paying gig. So, long, slightly uncomfortable hugs of thanks to everyone who buys my books!
What was the process of getting your first book published?
Well, after I signed with my agent, there was a round of internal edits, and then we went out on sub. Luckily, we had several houses interested, so the book went to auction. I wrote about the process here.
Stormdance was odd in that I signed a simultaneous deal with a US and UK publishing house. Which meant I had two editors, two rounds of copy edits, two rounds of proofing. I didn’t know better at the time, but this was kind of insane and I’d never do it again.
First book is a very steep learning curve. You’re a babe in the woods in so many respects. All you can do is trust your agent and write the best book you can. Jack Daniels helps. LOTS of Jack Daniels.
Was it different when getting your proceeding books published?
Definitely. Every book is a learning experience. I knew far more about publishing and marketing and the industry itself when Illuminae started gearing up for publication. So, I was far more intimately involved from a production standpoint as well as the actual writing. You’ve seen what works and what doesn’t in previous books, so you know what to ask for and what to aim for. Plus, you understand how much of a factor luck is in any book’s success, so you can relax a little (or get more uptight, depending on your personality.)
Again, Jack Daniels helps.
What was the difference between getting your books published here in Australia and internationally?
Australia tends to get a lot of its properties in conjunction with UK houses. So, on the Lotus War, Tor UK bought the rights and PanMac in Aus were part of that deal. Similarly, with Nevernight Harper Voyager in the UK bought the rights, so Harper here will be publishing the series in the ANZ market.
Illuminae was slightly different, in that Amie had such a great experience with Allen & Unwin on Starbound, she wanted them to get first slice. So we negotiated a separate deal from the UK. A&U are fantastic – couldn’t be happier with the work they’ve done on Illuminae.
Australia tends to take its cues from larger markets – the US has much larger budgets and a much larger population, so typically, Australian publishers will try to leverage that overseas buzz into their efforts here. Which makes perfect sense. We’re crafty little buggers down here, and Australian publishers do an incredible job with what is typically very scarce resources.
You are an OZYA author, what are some of your favourite Aussie YA books?
Ellie Marney’s Every series is simply brill – Ellie is auto-buy for me. Anything by Garth Nix, although I’ll always have a soft spot for Shade’s Children. Justine Larbalestier’s new book, My Sister Rosa is wonderfully chilling. The Starbound series by my co-author Amie Kaufman and her other partner in crime Meg Spooner is fantastic. I’ve just started reading Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson and even though I suspect I am so NOT the target market, I’m loving it. Very bright, very funny.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
Thank you Jay for joining me at Angel Reads. That is it for this week’s #LoveOZYA Interview. What did you think of Jay and his books? I have seen Jay talk and have met him a couple of times now and he is quite the nice guy.
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.