#LoveOzYA Interview: Christopher Currie
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.
First week I interview Sarah Ayoub, then Fleur Ferris, followed by Will Kostakis, then Shivaun Plozza, and Gabrielle Tozer, followed by Jay Kristoff and Kylie Fornasier. A.J Betts was next and then last week we had Megan Jacobson.
This week we have Christopher Currie author of young adult novel Clancy of the Undertow (2014, Text Publishing).
Hi Christopher, and welcome to Angel Reads. First can you introduce yourself to everyone? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Chris. I’m a 34 year-old writer from Brisbane. I grew up in a small country town called Warwick. I work at the wonderful Avid Reader Bookshop as its social media manager (and sell books to people as well!).
What has your writing journey been like? Where did you start? Why?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but never gave it serious thought as a vocation until I left school. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at Queensland Institute of Technology (QUT) and have been plugging away ever since. My parents are both big readers, and they instilled in me the same love. In fact, I was just in a suburban library today to do some work, and remembered again how wonderful they are!
I don’t have much occasion to go to libraries these days (as I’m surrounded by books at work anyway!) but when I was little I feel like I checked out nearly every book from the Warwick Council Library. I was very lucky that my parents didn’t really tell me what I could and couldn’t read. This was so important in teaching me the pleasure of the written word in all its forms, I think.
What was the process of getting your first book published?
A long one! I submitted what would eventually become my first novel, The Ottoman Motel (an adult literary mystery story), to Text Publishing through an informal callout they sent out in 2009 (side note: be nice to everyone in the industry; this came about because I heard about it from a friend of a friend). The book went through three major rewrites and some rigorous editing before it was published in 2011. This process was a real eye-opener for me. It was painful, yes, but getting to work with a professional editor was an insanely useful experience.
Was it different when getting your subsequent books published?
Text Publishing are wonderful, because they really believe in developing a relationship with an author, one that (thankfully for me) doesn’t simply rely on a certain number of book sales to continue. Despite promising at least three other adult fiction manuscripts to my editor, I ended up writing the first draft of a YA novel, Clancy of the Undertow.
My editor, to her credit, took the project on (thankfully Text have a burgeoning YA arm of their business) and it went from there. I had to basically double the word count from the original version, but the whole process was much quicker the second time around!
You are an OZYA author, what are some of your favourite Aussie YA books?
I adored booked by Victor Kelleher when I was growing up, which perhaps betrays my age somewhat, and then when I got a little writers such as Sonya Hartnett (her novel Of a Boy was a huge inspiration to me when writing my first book). As I mentioned, I tended to read quite widely so I’m not sure all of what I read was “age appropriate”.
I’ve tried to read more contemporary Oz YA since my book has come out (Avid Reader recently moved its kids and YA books into a new shop so I am far less aware of that side of publishing now!) and I’ve been really pleased that so much of it is so good! I loved Fleur Ferris’ Risk and Trinity Doyle’s Pieces of Sky and am just about to start Dave Burton’s How to be Happy.
Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie
In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.
As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.
In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.
Thank you Chistopher for joining me at Angel Reads. That is it for this week’s #LoveOZYA Interview. What did you think of Christopher and his books? 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. Also if you have any Australian YA authors that you would like to see me interview, just let me know and I can see what I can do.