interview with an author: steph bowe
To say that Steph Bowe is one busy writer doesn’t quite express the unique situation that she finds herself in. At sixteen years old, not only is her debut Young Adult novel Girl Saves Boy due for release in September, with an American release following in 2011 but she’s also being kept on her toes with a multitude of other commitments, such as completing high school via correspondence. Steph recently took the time to take a few well deserved breaths and answer some of my questions.
Firstly, can you explain a little about what your novel, Girl Saves Boy is about?
I can sum it up in one sentence, if you like: When Jewel saves Sacha from drowning, they are both forced to confront pasts they’ve so carefully concealed – a lost brother, an empty space where a mother should be, a debilitating illness, fractured families and buried secrets.
Did your friends and family know that you had written a novel? If so, what was their reaction?
They did know I had written a novel, and they were very happy for me when I got a book deal – everyone knew that writing was something that was very important to me and a big part of my life, so they weren’t massively surprised.
How are you feeling in the lead up to the release of Girl Saves Boy in Australia and how do you think you will feel on the day the book is released?
I feel incredibly nervous and excited! I think I’ll probably still be feeling that on the day the book’s released. I think I’ll be doing promotional stuff for the book that day, though, so I’ll probably be pretty distracted by that, as well! I’m sure it’ll be very nerve-wracking.
You have received some great blurbs by authors for Girl Saves Boy. What has the experience of being able to communicate and meet with other authors been like?
It’s been amazing. It’s strange to think that the people I idolise are now my peers.
What has surprised you about the publication process so far?
How time-consuming it all is! Multiple rounds of intense editing, meetings, publicity stuff… I have no free time anymore! But it’s alright; I’m doing what I love.
Do you think completing high school by correspondence has helped your writing in any way?
It’s given me the flexibility I needed to put that time into writing a book and starting my career. I think if I were attending school every weekday I probably wouldn’t have managed to also fit the whole writing thing in.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Photography! I love taking photos. And I love to sing and dance and spend time with my family. And other stuff but if I talk about everything I’ll be going on about it all day and I don’t think anyone really wants that.
You provide a lot of writing advice on your blog and so I was wondering whether you have a favourite quote or phrase about writing that inspires you?
‘It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.’ – Will Shetterly. It reminds me I don’t have to write a perfect first draft!
Who are some of your favourite authors? Do you have any favourite novels?
I love Melina Marchetta, John Green, Simmone Howell, James Roy… I have lots of favourite authors, mostly contemporary YA writers. My favourite books are probably Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell and The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
Who is your favourite literary, or film character and why? It’s always changing… I love Alaska from Looking For Alaska by John Green, though.
Other than continuing with your writing, do you have other career paths or occupations that you would like to explore?
I’d love to go into the publishing industry!
Do you have any lessons you have learnt from your experiences of writing and the publication process that you could offer to other aspiring writers?
To use that really, really overused saying: You have to be in it to win it! Seriously, send your work out there. You have nothing to lose. You can achieve your ‘writerly’ dreams if you persevere.
Apart from editing Girl Saves Boy, have you got any future pieces on the go that you can tell me about?
I’ll be handing over book two to my publisher soon, and I’m starting the next book at the moment. But I can’t talk about it! I’ll jinx it.
Finally, what are some of your hopes for your future?
I just hope to be able to continue to write and publish books into the future! And be happy. That’s another important thing.
Steph’s blog: ‘Steph Bowe’s Hey! Teenager of the Year’ can be found here.