'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 7 September 2015

#LoveOzYA September Update Marianne Curley

To support the #LoveOzYA initiative, each month Kids' Book Review will ask an Australian YA author to share their favourite Australian young adult titles - what they are reading, what they've read and what books are on their TBR pile. We'll also include a list of Australian author YA new releases for the month. Our guest author for September is Marianne Curley, author of the Avena Series: Hidden, Broken and Fearless.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The World Without Us by Mireille Luchau, a gripping story of survival that’s honest and beautifully written.

What are your recent OzYA favourites?
Paula Weston’s Rephaim Series - Shadow, Haze, Shimmer and Burn.
Brian Caswell’s The Dreams of the Chosen, the final chapter of his Deucalion Sequence.
Jessica Shirvington’s Violet Eden Chronicles - Embrace, Emblaze, Empower, Entice and Endless.
Rebecca Lim’s Mercy Series - Mercy, Exile, Muse and Fury.
Marianne de Pierres’ Burn Bright Series.

What 5 OzYA titles are currently in your TBR pile?
Risk by Fleur Ferris
Nanberry, Black Brother White by Jackie French
In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker
Stay With Me by Maureen McCarthy
The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody

What advice would you give to aspiring YA authors?
YA writing is exciting because it pushes boundaries. Your themes can be about almost any topic whether contemporary or fantasy, but the one thing that assures success is a well-written novel.

To achieve this, one of the most important things to understand is that books are about people and what they do to solve their problems in order to achieve their goals. So knowing your characters is a vital first step. To do this effectively, a writer has to spend time getting to know their characters, learning how they will react in situations, and what they’re capable of doing when everything is against them succeeding.

And remember that your characters are never all good or all bad – heroes and villains included. Give them strengths but also faults, figure out what drives them to act the way they do in your story,inject secrets into their childhoods that will hinder their futures, and know what triggers them to fulfill their hearts’ desires.

To help with this, create in-depth character profiles, starting with their physical appearances, likes and dislikes, their dreams and inner demons, and then ask why, and how. Answering these questions will help you create realistic characters who will drive your story from beginning to end.

Do you have any advice for teenagers who are finding their teen years difficult?
Never give up! There are two reasons why you should never give up. The first is that whatever craziness or darkness is presently in your life, one day I promise you it will pass. Time is a miracle healer. It cures, it forgets, it releases, it makes problems disappear. And the second thing is that you just don’t know what’s around the corner. It could be today or tomorrow that your life suddenly changes. It will happen; especially if there is something you can do for yourself to improve your situation. That could mean talking to someone you trust, or finding a part time job, or enrolling in an art course, or music, join a writer’s group, or volunteer at the homeless shelter, or pet recovery centre, or a hospital.

It all comes down to keeping your dream going, whatever your dream might be. It’s the dreams that give us hope and pull us out of bed in the mornings. Whatever is happening in your life today, don’t ever give up, it could be tomorrow that your situation changes.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current writing project?
My current writing project is a move away from YA paranormal fantasy to YA contemporary fiction. It’s a story about brothers in a close-knit family living in the western suburbs of Sydney. The only world they know shatters with the death of their mother, and the brothers tell the story of their struggle to find their way to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Visit Marianne Curley's website for more information about her books and author events.

September YA New Releases