Nov 27, 2013

Interview with Shanta Everington

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I wrote a lot of stories as a child but it wasn’t until my mid twenties that I aspired to become a published author. I finished my ‘apprenticeship novel’ shortly before I turned thirty. It never got published but it was good practice!
Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
Like most aspiring authors, I dreamed of the Big Break and being taken on by a major publishing house (I still do lol). In reality, I found it very difficult to get published. I consider myself very fortunate to have had five books published by small presses, but, of course, I would like to reach a wider audience one day.
The best thing is receiving an email from a reader, telling me they were moved by something I wrote. The worst thing is the constant knock backs you have to get used to as a writer.
What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
Probably my name in nursery! My little sister and I used to make comics together when we were kids. We took it very seriously, sticking in photos for adverts and everything! I wonder what became of those old comics…
What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?
My latest book is YA novel, Boy Red, narrated by a sixteen-year-old boy called Red, who finds out that the man he calls Dad is not his biological father. He embarks on a quest to find his biological father and uncover family truths.
Red came to me soon after my first son was born. I became fascinated with what it meant to be a ‘boy’ and also the sanctity of the parent-child connection. Red used to speak to me in the night, whispering his story in my ear. I felt compelled to write it. I had written two novels with female protagonists and wanted to try something different by writing as a boy. I also tried to weave in a mystery element.
Who is your literary hero?
Gosh, too many to mention but I deeply admire Malorie Blackman for making socially committed YA fiction cool. J She has written more than 60 books, including the award-winning Noughts And Crosses series, has an OBE for services to children's literature, and is the current UK children's laureate. She’s quite something!
How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
My characters are composites of my own traits, people I observe and my imagination. I never base characters on people I know but can be inspired by certain characteristics or situations that people find themselves in.
Describe your main character in six words.
A sixteen-year-old boy with red hair!
Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Male teen angst in London, UK.
What scene was your favorite to write?
I liked writing the cheeky scenes between Red and his girlfriend, Ava.
What scene was the hardest for you to write?
I don’t know if I should give the story away but the scenes dealing with death had me crying over the keyboard.
What are you working on now?
I’m just finalizing the edits for XY, my dystopian novel coming out with UK publisher, The Red Telephone, next year.
Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
I want to do everything. J I’ve published poetry, short stories, novels, adult fiction, young adult fiction and non-fiction. I’ve yet to write a play or children’s book so I’d like to think I’ll do both one day.
Are there any authors or books you recommend?
Aside from Malorie Blackman, some of my other favourite YA authors are Louis Sachar, Meg Rosoff, Gemma Malley and Melvin Burgess.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Getting away from the laptop and spending time with my kids outdoors.

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