Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Author Interview - Steph Bowe

Steph Bowe is a sixteen-year-old YA author. Her debut novel, Girl Saves Boy, was published by Text Publishing in September 2010. She writes a blog called Hey! Teenager of the Year and lives in Victoria with her family. You can read a short review of Girl Saves Boy here.

What authors/books did you read as a child? When did you first discover your love of books?

I've always had books around me - my parents read to me a lot when I was young, and I've devoured books for as long as I can remember. I remember as a very young child my favourite books were The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and a book called The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch, both of which contained drawings of food, which were my favourite parts. I've always been a big fan of food, as well as books.

When did you first realise you were a writer? What do you hope your readers will take away with them from reading your books?

I don't think I realised I was a writing. I've just always loved writing. I can remember typing out stories on an old computer when I was five, and even before I could write drawing pictures and telling involved stories to accompany them. I hope that people reading my books will enjoy them, feel as if reading my book is time well-spent. With a lot of what I write, isolation and loneliness are big themes, and I hope if someone reading is experiencing similar emotions to my characters, they feel a little less alone. I want my books to be ultimately hopeful.

Do you find it difficult to read purely for pleasure? Does everything you read come under your ‘writer’ microscope?

I do, but mainly because I also mainly read books I receive for review on my blog, so I always read with a critical eye. I do always compare that writer to myself, which is never good. I'd love to be able to just read books and not constantly think 'I wish I could write like that!' just think 'Wow, this is great.'

Do you have to avoid reading certain types of fiction while writing your own? Does what you read while writ
ing have an effect on what you write? In what way?

I read everything, and so far what I'm reading doesn't seem to affect what I'm writing.

Name five authors or books that have influenced or inspired your own writing in some way?

I don't think there are any particular authors or books that have had a masive effect on me - there are a lot that have inspired me, though. Five authors whose work inspires me would probably be Simmone Howell, Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley, J.D. Salinger and John Green.

If you were travelling and were told you could only take one book with you, what book would it be and why?

A book I've not yet read, but that I know will be great. And then, during my travels, I'll probably end up buying more books. Hopefully interesting second-hand ones.

What makes a book ‘too good to put down’?

I don't think it's one particular thing you can put your finger on - it's many things, it's an unnameable magic. Beautiful writing and characters so real you can imagine bumping into them down the shops and emotional depth are all qualities of books I have difficulty putting down.

What makes you put down a book without finishing it?

False characters and plotlines and no emotional involvement. I usually keep reading in the hopes a book will improve, and very rarely will I abandon a book, half-read.

Do you have a favourite author? Who is it and what is it about their writing that draws you to them?

I can't name one favourite author! Though I do love the authors I named in above, and many more. I think what I love about their writing is the believability of it - the characters become real to me, and I really care about them.

If you had to list them, what would be your ‘top ten’ reads of all time (excluding the classics) and why?

This is impossible. But I will try. I would probably have a different list next week. All of these I chose because they are wonderfully written, and they made me think about things differently than before, and they are the kind of books I wish I'd written.

On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
After January by Nick Earls
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Your Skirt's Too Short by Emily Maguire
Town by James Roy
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell
King Dork by Frank Portman

What was your 2010 ‘best read’? What was it that made it number one?

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Beautifully written and wonderful characters and just absolutely magic.

What do you think of the non-traditional publishing methods – eBooks etc? Do you think the new technology will encourage more people to read? Do you think there’s a future for print books?

I can see a future world where people read both print books and ebooks. I hope more people will read. I think the line between books and other forms of media will blur more. I don't mind ebooks - I already do a lot of reading off a screen - but the feel and lendability of a print book isn't something I want to give up.

Find out more about Steph at www.stephbowe.com


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