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Tess of the D'UrbervillesThe AwakeningSome Girls BiteGirls Like Funny BoysKissed by an Angel Collector's Edition: Kissed by an Angel; the Power of Love; SoulmatesCity of Glass

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Author Interview + Giveaway: Fiona Wood

Fiona Wood is the author of the very funny Six Impossible Things. If you want to read my review of Six Impossible Things simply click HERE.

Fiona allowed me to ask her a few questions about her novel and her writing in general, so enjoy. Giveaway info is detailed below.

How would you describe Six Impossible Things for those who have not read the book yet?

Six Impossible Things' is the story of Dan Cereill, a wry, angsty fourteen year old whose life is tipped sideways when he finds out that his father is gay and leaving home, and the family business has gone under. Dan makes a list of the six things he thinks necessary in order to adjust to these changes - but they all seem impossible. Top of the list is: Kiss Estelle. A girl he hasn't actually met, but somehow knows an awful lot about.

Where did the inspiration for Six Impossible Things come from?

There are so many elements that combine to send you in a particular direction. In the case of 'Six Impossible Things' a few of those are: the title - that evocative phrase from Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass', the idea of two houses side by side - identical from the outside but completely different inside with a shared attic space, the idea of a woman disheartened by her own failed relationship, talking her prospective wedding-cake clients out of getting married, the Cinderella story - a boy who gets to go to the ball (year nine social), but first of all, and most of all it was Dan himself. He was a very insistent and likeable character, definitely someone I could spend time with.

Most of the books I have read have been written from the female characters point of view, was it a conscious decision to write in the male point of view?

It wasn't a case of 'I want to write a book from a boy's point of view', it was more a case of Dan being there, and needing a story. The manuscript I'm working on now has a female protagonist, and it was the same thing - it was like - so here is Sibylla, what is her story going to be? I think for me the main point of departure is always going to be a character with whom I feel a strong engagement.

Did you encounter any difficulties writing from a teenage boy’s point of view?

That was made a bit easier by the fact that I have a son not long out of the age group, so I've had plenty of contact with teenage boys in recent years. The real difficulty was making sure that I could give a fair representation of the Dan I had in my head. I could have written three books about him, but you have to try to write a character with some concision and keep the narrative flowing, so you're always juggling what to include and what to leave out. It's the iceberg principle of trying to show the tip, but suggest the greater mass.

What was your journey to publication like?

It was long and slow but fairly direct. I'd met Simmone Howell ('Notes from the teenage underground', 'Everything Beautiful') when we both worked on the TV show 'The Secret Life of Us' years ago, and she very kindly read my manuscript and suggested to her publisher that they might like to read it. They loved Dan, but thought the ms needed some more work. So I went away and - between writing more TV scripts - did a big rewrite, with some notes from Pan Macmillan and some notes of my own, and when I gave the next draft to them a year later, they offered me a contract. But then it was nearly two years between signing and the book being published.

I just adored poor old Howard, do you have a Howard in your life?

I have a gorgeous old dog who thinks he owns me. The Fauves were definitely onto something with their song, 'Dogs are the best people'. When I wrote Howard, I knew it would be no great stretch for him to be Dan's enigmatic sounding board - part shrink, part conscience. Nor would it be hard to see why Dan would be so concerned about Howard's health problems. And because Dan was having such a hard time himself, it was good to give him a creature whose welfare he was responsible for - nothing puts your own problems in perspective like having to think about someone else.

What has been the response to Six Impossible Things?

It's very early days, but there have been some lovely reviews around the blogs and in some mainstream media. The booksellers have been terrific, too. And just before the book's release in Australia and New Zealand I was offered representation by a New York-based agency - Jill Grinberg Literary Management -
which was also very exciting. I'm really looking forward to getting out into schools a bit and talking to readers.

You’ve been a successful scriptwriter for many years, how different is writing a novel compared to script writing?

So different. They're both great fun to work on, but a novel ends up being a longer-term, and therefore more absorbing project. Scriptwriting is often done at a pretty fast and furious pace, which is good in its own way. Scriptwriting craft elements such as dialogue writing and story structure are really helpful to take into writing fiction.

I know when I’m writing an essay for uni I have a whole routine I must follow, do you have a writing routine that you follow?

I'm the same. The big thing for me is to write every day - I find it easier to stay in the rhythm of the work if I don't have big breaks from it. There's also coffee involved. The other crucial element for me is to have a plan. If I'm writing a script, I do a scene breakdown, for a book, I need a detailed plot before I start.

Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself that most people would be surprised to know?

I can wiggle my ears. Without touching them.

What are your favourite YA novels?

This is a truly impossible question! In mentioning these wonderful four books, I'm leaving out so many for which I have an equal affection and regard - 'Speak' Laurie Halse Anderson, 'I Capture the Castle' Dodie Smith, 'Notes from the teenage underground' Simmone Howell, and 'The Messenger' Marcus Zusak.

Two titles published very recently which I love are 'This Is Shyness' Leanne Hall, and 'Graffiti Moon' Cath Crowley.

Are you currently working on anything, can you tell us anything about it?

I'm writing another YA novel, 'Pulchritude' - what an ugly word for beauty - which is a story about friendship and betrayal. And I have done some very early work on a middle-grade novel.

I’d like to thank Fiona for taking the time to answer these questions.

For more information on Fiona and her books check out Fiona’s website HERE.

Six Impossible Things is available now from all good bookstores.

Fiona and Pan Macmillan Australia have graciously offered to give one lucky winner a copy of Fiona's debut novel.

A funny, emotionally honest story of first love, with a fairytale backbeat.

Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

Does this sound like a novel you’d love to read if so why not enter the giveaway you’ve got nothing to loose all you have to do is fill out the form. Good luck!


This giveaway is only open to Australian and New Zealand residents and ends on the 16th October 2010.


Nomes said...

loved this interview. I loved the secret life of us :) i loved the differences between approaching writing a novel and writing a script, really interesting.

i love all Fiona's favourite YA books too - recently read Graffiti Moon and it was soooooo good. I'm absolutely in love with it.

Thanks for the giveaway too. Fingers crossed, hey?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun read, thanks for the chance to win it.

Kare said...

I'll have to check this book out. It sounds pretty good.

mohandaas said...


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Romy @
Greetings fellow blog readers, welcome to my blog and thank you for stopping by. Now you may be wondering who is Well is also known as Romy, a 23 year old graduate student from Australia who loves to read. I read (maybe devour would be a more appropriate word) largely young adult novels, with a particular love of fantasy and paranormal novels, however I am also a sucker for a good romance.
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