Some of you may be reading this as you know I'm on the Countdown to 5th June YA tour! I not, then thank you for reading my blog post today anyway! You can check out more of the countdown tour there. Only 3 days left til'... Authors are getting very excited as most have still got a lovely publication date of June 5th! Congrats to them & any authors publishing soon anyway...
What am I doing for the tour, the less prepared (for this post) might be wondering? I've got the pleasure of having Louisa Reid as my super special guest! She's answering my hard questions (apparently they're hard but as I haven't had to answer them I'm a bit more objective XD)
Asking Louisa...For the readers, what’s your name & where do you call home?
I live in a little village called Rampton on the Fen Edge, ie on the outskirts of Cambridge, just before you get into the fens proper. I love it.
What's your favourite literacy location?
East Egg - the glamour! (and the horror, of course)
If you had to read (and write) only one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?
YA contemporary fiction without a doubt! (Also, that's the only thing I reckon I can write so the answer is inevitable). It's always been my favourite genre, ever since my Deenie days, and still is. I spent this weekend engrossed in Looking for JJ and Finding Jennifer Jones. Totally immersed. It was wonderful.
I'm pretty sure you could write other contemporary or YA... considering your YA often crosses over how hard could NA or Adult be for you? :P Anyway, you may be great at writing full stop but you are SUPER great at writing antagonists... How do you get into their head & decide on how much ‘evil’ is enough?
I don't know if I do get into their head. Because I narrate from the perspective of the heroine, the access to the villain's psychology is necessarily more limited. Of course I try and imply what makes my antagonists tick through showing their actions and their relationships with my protagonists, how successfully I'm not sure. I suppose reading a lot, researching and thinking about what drives different kinds of people helps to establish some idea of their motivation. In Lies Like Love the "villain" is clearly a very damaged person herself, which is not to excuse her behaviour, but perhaps explains it a little.
Sometimes I do cross a line in the inclusion of "evil" characters in my writing and have to pull back. I know when I've gone too far when a certain detail or character trait really nags at me until I delete it and then I can breathe a sigh of relief. It's an instinctive thing, really, and if something is making me too uncomfortable as the writer, then it's probably going to have the same impact on the reader. The question of how much is too much is a really interesting moral question and an important one.
It is good when the villians are seen as human as well, with their own problems. What can you tell us about The Thing, the presence which haunts Audrey in Lies Like Love? Is it designed to be an antagonist?
I have to be careful not to give too much away here! The Thing is something that I hope readers will interpret for themselves and is part of the way Audrey presents her problems to the reader. When she's really having difficulties, The Thing always seems to be there, waiting to drag her deeper into depression. It isn't necessarily an antagonist, perhaps, but rather the manifestation of one.
You didn't give too much away but maybe that was a tad of the idea ;) I personally love reading about the relationships between siblings in books. You wrote about siblings in Lies Like Love, just as you did in Black Heart Blue, so how do form these interesting sibling relationships? Why have you chosen to include them in both books?
I think a lot of readers can empathise with the way siblings interact so it's an obvious way to engage your reader's sympathy and interest. I have lots of siblings and maybe that's why I include that particular family dynamic, although I never call directly on real life experience, rather reinterpreting and reinventing to suit the purposes of my fictional characters. In Lies Like Love, there's a big age gap between Audrey and Peter and she has a lot of maternal feelings for him, I think, which is something that's easy to write as I'm a mum myself! The sibling bond is such an important one that when it's put under stress, as it is in both books, then that pushes the characters to their limits which makes for interesting reading.
Lies Like Love has been described as heart-breaking & in many ways, Black Heart Blue was. Is it your intention to write books which are so sad?
Making Black Heart Blue sad wasn't my primary objective. I actually hoped that the story would make the reader sit back and think about society, hypocrisy and injustice. But I suppose the very nature of the subject matter means that the sadness in the stories is an inevitable part of the narrative. Lies Like Love does have some heart-breaking moments, I think, and even though I've read it through about a million times now, there are parts which still catch my breath and make me tear up a little. When I read I like to be emotionally engaged and I therefore that naturally comes through in my own writing.
On a lighter note, if you could have a dinner party with 5 other authors who would they be?
I'm going to choose dead authors as I would hate to offend anyone!
Shakespeare (my hero), F Scott Fitzgerald (he was wild) Tennessee Williams (also very wild), Emily Bronte and Mary Shelley - two incredible writers and incredible women.
True Or False:You are a cat person... 😻 FALSE - I can't betray Mabel my dog!
You’re a plotter... TRALSE - I do try!
You read the book before the movie. 📺 TRUE
You’re quite good at telling when somebody is lying... TRUE
You prefer teaching English students literature, not language. Not always TRUE
Coffee is better than tea! ☕ FALSE - both beverages are excellent! And I cannot live without caffeine.
You like Youtubers such as Thatcher Joe ;) Haha. TRUE, of course
You think the book trailer for Lies Like Love might intrigue some readers... 🔜 I certainly hope that's TRUE!!
What's up in the tour now?... Tomorrow Susie Day appears at Fluttering Butterflies, followed by, to round up the tour on the 4th, Sally Nicholls at Pretty Books. Then it's done! Wow, it seems it's gone so quick.
Thank you, Louisa, for visiting us here! It's been a great experience; I'm sure reading Lies Like Love will be too!
So, everybody, if you could have a dinner party with 5 other authors who would they be? :P