I met Selena Silcox not long after I arrived in Australia. She friended me on FB and since then we’ve become pretty good mates. She’s definitely an Aussie you should meet.
1. Tell us a little about yourself – Can I change this to what five words/terms would you use to describe yourself? (much easier to answer!) Cricket nut, author, opinionated, reformed accountant, goalkeeper ☺
2. What area of Australia do you live in and what’s it like there? Currently I live out in Western Queensland smack bang in the middle of mining and agriculture country, about a half-day’s drive from good coffee. It’s been dry out here since we moved (about 2 years ago now), but we’ve just recently had a heap of rain in a short period of time so the grass is looking deceptively green. It’s been keeping my wife busy with mowing, and therefore out of my hair.
3. Tell us a bit about your book… how much of it is from real life experience? The book that’s coming out in May takes quite a fair bit from my childhood. I can’t say too much yet obviously because it’s not completely finalized (it’s going through final edits and waiting for its cover to be done), but it’s set in a small town based roughly on the town my family is from, and thought I’ve changed quite a few things, the main setting is based on my grandparent’s farm where I spent a lot of my school holidays. I’ll be happy to come back closer to the release date if you’ll have me to reveal the cover and more about the book and reveal some of the secrets I’m holding back 😉
4. Tell us a bit about your main characters… what makes them interesting or unique? When I started writing the book, my main goal was to write about young lesbian teenagers whose sexuality wasn’t the main focus. Remember those teen romances from the 1980s that were short and sweet? I wanted to use those as a basis and ‘lesbian’ them up. The two main characters in my story are polar opposites – one is a small-town girl who tells things as she sees it, and the other is a city girl with big ambition that finds herself in a small town for respite. (Again, I can’t say too much just yet! Sorry for being so cryptic).
5. What is your favorite part of the writing process? Working on the initial idea and chapter summaries – it’s the most exciting part for me. At that point, there are still enough unknowns to make the actual writing process interesting. On the flip-side, I hate the preparation for editing, especially the first and second passes. Teasing out the full story from the initial draft can sometimes be like pulling wool through the eye of a sewing needle.
6. What made you decide to write and what are your ambitions for your writing career? I started writing when I was at uni as a way to escape from the drudgery of accounting and business law. It was mostly wish-fulfillment type stuff and I never really understood structure back then. I started taking it seriously about ten years ago, and left my accounting job two years ago to pursue writing full-time. I love writing YA, and currently I’m concentrating on sweet romance YA with lesbian main characters. I want to write about teen lesbian characters whose main problems don’t centre on their sexuality. While I think it’s important that we have literature that deals with coming out and bullying and discrimination, I think it’s also important to have stories where the lesbian characters are just accepted for who they are. And the girl gets the girl in the end – my wife loves happy endings so I don’t think she’d forgive me if I didn’t write happy endings.
7. How much research did you have to do for your book? Outside of my own experience as a kid, not much except make sure my timing was right for the end of the cane crushing season and the end of school.
8. Anything in the works you can tell us about? Nothing substantial yet, but I’m working my way through two YA ideas that are wrestling for my attention. I’ll work on whichever one wins out. I’ve also started on a humorous urban fantasy novella series for adults under a pen name that I’m hoping to have completed by mid-year depending on how my next few months schedule turns out.
9. Is there anything I have not asked that you wish I had? What fuels my writing – skinny lattes and custard tarts from the local bakery/café. I go to the gym a couple times a week just so I can have those custard tarts.
10. Do you have any questions for me? What made you decide to come to our little island? Any plans to travel and see more of Australia? Australia has fascinated me since childhood. I went through a major life change and decided I’d take a chance and follow a dream. I plan on doing some extensive traveling later this year.
11. Can I come visit? ☺ Haha, always up for visitors, but all the interesting stuff ‘near’ us is hours away so I hope you like to travel.