I am so happy to have one of my all time favourite authors Cath Crowley stopping by for an interview. Seriously I am jumping up and down with excitement. Cath Crowley is an Aussie author of A Little Wanting Song (known in Australia also as Chasing Charlie Duskin), Graffiti Moon and the Gracie Faltrain series.
I like writing about firsts – first dates, first loves, first longings. In Graffiti Moon Lucy says that she feels like bare skin shining in darkness. I remember feeling like that when I was a teenager, as though great and terrible things could happen at any moment.
What is your typical writing day/night like?
It varies. Once I have my plot mapped out and I know my characters I write from about five in the morning until about two in the afternoon. I don’t have a set routine when I’m still working on the idea. I might go for a walk or see a film. I’m still working but it’s mostly not in front of the computer.
What were your inspirations for Graffiti Moon?
Ed and Lucy, the main characters, connect through art. So their conversations are inspired by the artists that I love - Mark Rothko, Sam Leach, Rosemary Laing, Jeffrey Smart, Pablo Picasso, Johannes Vermeer, Michael Zavros, Rosalie Gascoigne, Bethany Wheeler, Ghostpatrol and Miso. I wanted to write about people who speak through images as well as words.
The characters are all fictional, but they were inspired a little from people I met. A girl with long plaits told me she was psychic. A tattooed guy read me a line of his poetry. A glass artist told me stories about taking lessons when she was in Year 12. Ed reminds me of teenagers that I’ve taught over the years. He’s smart but he doesn’t realise it because he learns in a different way to most of the kids he knows.
A Little Wanting Song and Graffiti Moon are both written in dual narrations. Was that the original plan or did you ever consider tell either story a different way? And were any of the characters easier to write than others?
I had always planned to write both books as dual narratives.
I love writing characters that bounce off one another.
In the first draft of Graffiti Moon Lucy was an angry character and Ed was quite playful. It wasn’t working, though, so I switched their characters. One I did that they were easy to write. The second draft rolled out pretty quickly.
Charlie Duskin was a hard character to write. My editor at Pan Macmillan, Brianne Tunnicliffe, helped me a lot.
Charlie changed again when I rewrote her for the US version. Allison Wortche edited that version and her help was invaluable. I like that Charlie became more upbeat with every draft. I was lucky to have two brilliant editors.
Music is a big part of the story in a Little Wanting Song. If it had a soundtrack name one song that would be on it?
Galaxies by Laura Veirs.
And maybe A Little Bit of Sunshine by Reamon
What was your journey to publication like?
I studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT in 2001, when I was about twenty-nine. I loved the subjects Literary Non-fiction and Writing for Young Adults. Some of the articles and short stories that I wrote in class were published in newspapers and magazines.
While I was writing those smaller pieces I finished my novel and in 2003, Pan Macmillan published The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain. I’ve been published with them since then.
After I was published I had to work hard to get better – I’m still working hard at this. And it took me a while to find my style. I think I’m getting close to that in Graffiti Moon. That book has sold overseas, as has A Little Wanting Song (Chasing Charlie Duskin), which is great.
What are some of your favourite Aussie YA titles?
Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Five Parts Dead by Tim Pegler
When Dogs Cry by Markus Zusak
Little Paradise by Gabrielle Wang
Are you working on another book? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’m working on a book called The Howling Boy. It’s a dual narrative, told from the perspectives of Audrey and Crow. It’s a mystery and a love story. I’m preoccupied with the same themes – teenagers on the fringe and how they find a way to fit in.
A BIG thank you to Cath Crowley for stopping by my blog and answering my questions. I am so thrilled that she is writing another dual narrative book. I will be eagerly awaiting The Howling Boy's release.