#LoveOZYA Interview: Steph Bowe
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, Megan Jacobson and last week Christopher Currie. This week we have Steph Bowe author of Girl Saves Boy (2010, Text) and All This Could End (2013, Text)
Hi Steph, and welcome to Angel Reads. First can you introduce yourself to everyone? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Steph Bowe! I’m the author of contemporary YA novels All This Could End and Girl Saves Boy! My first novel was published when I was sixteen, and I’m twenty-two now. I live in Queensland with my family. I’ve blogged about YA fiction for seven years. I speak in schools and deliver creative writing workshops. I read a lot. I am a big fan of tea and cake.
What has your writing journey been like? Where did you start? Why?
When I was seven years old, I vowed that I would become an author and buy a house. I was a very serious seven-year-old. I’ve written for as long as I can remember – when I was a tiny kid, I would type stories out on the computer, then erase them as soon as I was finished. Obviously, I don’t do that now. My love of writing was born out of my love of reading – the first book I remember loving was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I’ve loved escaping into stories ever since then. I think I started writing because I loved being able to create my own universes and having absolute control over what occurred – with limitless possibilities. I just kept writing, until the rambling, bizarre, always unresolved stories I wrote as a kid turned into the complete, resolved, still-a-bit-weird novels I wrote as a teenager.
What was the process of getting your first book published?
I finished writing GIRL SAVES BOY, completed a perfunctory edit (my skill as a self-editor is far better – and more in-depth – now!) and sent the manuscript to critique readers I had met through blogging. Based on recommendations from one of my critique readers, I sent queries to a few agents and entered into a first-page contest. I signed with my agent a few weeks later. After working on an edit with my agent, the manuscript was submitted to publishers here in Australia and I was fortunate enough to get a two-book deal. The process leading to publication involved several rounds of editing with an editor, input on the final title and cover design, and, at publication time, doing speaking appearances, attending festivals and being interviewed.
Was it different when getting your proceeding books published?
I got a two-book deal with my first novel, so the process of publishing my second novel was similar to the first – but without the uncertainty. It was easier in that I was familiar with the process (none of the mystery of the first time around!) and knew who I was working with. It was trickier in that once I’d had a novel published I had experienced criticism and perfected the voice of my inner critic, and the pressure to measure up to my first novel (even in my own head) made the process of writing the novel longer and more difficult than it might otherwise have been.
What was the difference between getting your books published here in Australia and internationally?
In publishing my novels here in Australia, I’ve gotten to work very intensively with an editor on the novels, as well as having some input on the cover, publicity, and so on. GIRL SAVES BOY was translated into Spanish (as LA CHICA DEL LAGO), Catalan (as LA NOIA DEL LLAC) and Dutch (as GERED DOOR EEN MEISJE). It’s very exciting to have my novel published in other languages and read internationally, and I get a lots of emails from readers overseas but I had very little involvement with getting the foreign editions ready for publication– each of the publishers employed a translator to translate the novel, and the deals were organised by foreign agents who work with my agent.
You are an OZYA author, what are some of your favourite Aussie YA books?
I especially love contemporary Australian YA fiction – I think it’s some of the best in the world. I love Melina Marchetta’s novels – On The Jellicoe Road is my absolute favourite. Fiona Wood’s work is amazing – Cloudwish, her latest, is (in my opinion) her best. Laurinda by Alice Pung is authentic and gorgeous. Simmone Howell’s novels are always honest and real and wonderful – I love Girl Defective. Kate Constable, Penni Russon, Vikki Wakefield and Cath Crowley are some more favourites. And I do love some more supernatural YA – Leanne Hall’s This is Shyness, Rebecca Lim’s The Astrologer’s Daughter and the Rephaim series by Paula Weston are all awesome.
Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe
The first time we met, Jewel Valentine saved my life.
Isn’t it enough having your very own terminal disease, without your mother dying? Or your father dating your Art teacher?
No wonder Sacha Thomas ends up in the lake that Saturday evening…
But the real question is: how does he end up in love with Jewel Valentine?
With the help of quirky teenage prodigies Little Al and True Grisham, Sacha and Jewel have a crazy adventure, with a little lobster emancipation along the way.
But Sacha’s running out of time, and Jewel has secrets of her own.
Girl Saves Boy is a hugely talented debut novel, funny and sad, silly and wise. It’s a story of life, death, love… and garden gnomes.
Thank you Steph for joining me at Angel Reads. That is it for this week’s #LoveOZYA Interview. What did you think of Steph and her 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.