I'm sure a lot of you may have heard of Steph Bowe, the young Australian author of the book Girl Saves Boy. She's also quite well known for her blog, which you can find here. I love her blog posts, they always give me something to think about.
Anyway, guess what? Today I have an interview with her!
I've loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember, and I've wanted to be a published author since I was about seven. I was motivated to pursue that by my enjoyment of writing, and the need to finish stories and share them with people, in the hopes that they would be affected by my writing in the same way I am by the brilliant books I read. At the time I was completing high school by distance, so I had the time to work on my novel, and I was blogging and communicating with lots of writers and readers of YA fiction. Once I had finished my novel (my third novel was the first one published), I figured I had nothing to lose by sending out my work.
How were your parents involved in your journey to publication?
I asked my mum if she would mind if I tried to get an American agent. She has always been aware of my passion for writing, and I had sent a couple of submissions to publishers before (for a previous novel). Apart from that, my family was hardly involved at all - I had mum there to discuss things with, and she met with publishers with me (and of course, before I was eighteen, she had to sign contracts on my behalf) and went with me to interstate speaking appearances. My life as a writer is mainly my own, though, but the support of my family has been very important in giving me confidence to pursue writing professionally.
What have you experienced in the publishing world that adult authors might not have to deal with?
Criticism involving my age (for example 'You were only published because you are young, you're not actually a good writer', 'Teenagers can't write!', etc.), which overall has been quite minor. There is also an expectation from some agents and publishers that because of my young age I would lack professionalism.
How do you think being a teen affects or influences your writing?
I think I haven't had as much time and practice to improve my writing as, say, someone who started writing young and is now forty. But I think the fact that I am the same age as my characters, and often my readers, means I can relate to the emotions and experiences they're going through as teenagers much more keenly than someone who hasn't been a teenager for a decade or more. I hope that my youth makes my writing more honest.
What do you hope your readers get out of reading your book, Girl Saves Boy?
First and foremost, I hope that they enjoy it! There is lobster emancipation and garden gnome theft, and it's always nice to read a book that makes you laugh. I hope that my story is real enough for the reader to escape into for a few hours. It's ultimately a novel about the loneliness and uncertainty of being a teenager, and I hope if the reader relates to that, it helps them feel a little less alone. This is pretty much the goal of everything I write. There is an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that sums up what I love about reading and writing pretty succinctly: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
What does life look like for you in the near (or far) future? Any new projects?
I'm editing my second novel at the moment, have just finished high school, have a few festivals and school appearances ahead, and am working on first drafts of three more books (I am easily distracted!). Lots of writing and adventures ahead!
Thank you so much, Steph, for the interview!
You can find Steph Bowe at her website, Facebook and on Twitter @stephbowe. If you want to check out her book, you can find it here on Goodreads.