I didn’t purposely set out to write YA. I had the basic story and theme and when you look at the concept of a wronged woman… it can sorta be told by anyone across a broad age group, in any genre for that matter of fact. I thought I was going to write an adult fiction. It’s only when I started writing and the narrator came to me that I realised how young the voice was! And because the first chapter was so much fun to write (seriously – who doesn’t like being a teen bitch) I knew I had to finish the whole novel like this.
Although mind you, Fury as an adult pirate fiction would be kinda awesome.
2. What were your inspirations for Fury?
I wanted to write something really angry and mad. I guess at that time all the books I were reading had really feminine and somewhat passive heroines and I just wanted to go against the grain and do something completely different. I wanted to write from the point of view of a villain and have it OTT dramatic. That sounded like fun. As you can tell, I only write stuff I really love. The theme “Fury” came to me first and I explored it from all the different angles – as an emotion and also as a personification – I looked at the Greek mythology of the three “Furies” – Goddesses of Vengeance. And it all fell really nicely into place!
3. Eliza is an unforgettable character. Describe her in three words.
Furious, Fearless and also quite Fabulous!
4. In the first sentence of the book we find out Eliza is a murderer and from therefore she tells her story. Was this always the plan or did you intend to tell the story a different way?
You know what, Fury went through four drafts with my editor Melissa Keil from black dog books and looking through all of them, huge changes happened in each one – but the one thing that has remained exactly the same is the opening sentence! Melissa loved the opener both in terms of impact and the place in the novel the story starts. I never considered telling the story any other way – I like a story actually that just admits from the onset what it’s about!
5. What was the most challenging part of writing Fury?
Having to change the ending for sure! I actually had an entire chapter that said a lot more and had more of a sense of resolution. Me and Melissa agreed that a quick and hanging ending would be much better. It just took me a while to get used to because in my head the story played out (and still does sometimes) the way I had originally planned. It was a hard decision to make, Melissa was a bit gutted to change it because Eliza does something funny and cute in the original ... but you have to sometimes Kill Your Darlings.
6. If Fury had a soundtrack name one song that would be on it?
“You Stole the Sun From My Heart” by the Manic Street Preachers (I think this answer might please Nomes from Inkcrush ‘cos Nomes used to love the MSP). For the line “But there’s no real truce with my Furies/You don’t have to believe me/I love you all the same”. I think that’s a song Neil would dedicate to Eliza.
7. What are some of your favourite Aussie YA titles?
I love “Letters From the Inside” and “So Much to Tell You” by John Marsden and “The Changeover” by Margaret Mahey because those are the ones I grew up with. I think I decided I definitely wanted to become a writer after reading Letters – in much the same way a kid listens to a particular album and decide they’re going to be a rock star. Recently I’ve been reading some great stuff by debut Aussies writers – Steph Bowe’s Girl Saves Boy and Rebecca James’ Beautiful Malice in particular.
8. What are you working on next? Can you tell us anything about it?
At the moment I am working on about three or four different projects! And I seriously have no idea which one is going to happen first! It’s like someone has finally let me officially into the dress up box known as the publishing world and there’s a billion outfits I want to try on – YA romance, YA comedy, middle grade fantasy, YA-Adult crossover. Yes. I said that right… I may attempt to write a YA romance. Please don’t laugh.