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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Author Interview: Kirsty Eagar

Kirsty Eagar is the author of Raw Blue and Saltwater Vampires. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kirsty discussing a range of topics from her books to her writing routine.

How would you describe Saltwater Vampires for those who have not read the book yet?

The story takes place in a small Australian coastal town called Rocky Head, during the time of its annual music festival. The main character, fifteen-year-old surfer, Jamie Mackie, is one of those rare people in
life who gamble with all their chips. Four months ago, Jamie, and his friend Dale, nearly died in a boating accident, an incident which has had a huge impact on both of them. Jamie is hoping summer
holidays mean a chance to forget about it and have some fun. Instead, he's
brutally attacked in the surf
one night, and it's just the beginning of what will be the fight of his life.
Meanwhile, new girl Talia is causing friction between Jamie and his good mate, Tanner, and adds to his long-standing tension with Dale's girlfriend, Kelly. But the group quickly realise that romantic complications are the least of their worries when they find out the mutineers are in town - a band of ancient vampires whose beginnings can be traced back to the shipwreck of theBatavia off the West
Australian coastline in 1629.

I was fascinated in the intricate story you built around the Batavia
shipwreck could you explain a bit about how you came up with the concept.

I passed through Geraldton in 2002 and went to the museum there, which was when I first found out about the Batavia. The thought that you could survive a shipwreck and find yourself stranded on a barren island, only to discover that you're more likely to be murdered than die of hunger and thirst, was incredible to me. And I was fascinated by Jeronimus Cornelisz (the apothecary who plotted mutiny aboard the ship, and instigated the murders on the island).

Three years later I had the initial spark of an idea for Saltwater Vampires. I wanted my vampires to have a back story that was based in Australian history, and the Batavia was the story I most wanted to explore. Obviously, I've taken a huge leap with my plot (understatement!) but in many ways it was very
easy to use the facts. For example, there really were rumours that
Jeronimus had been involved with a
secret society back in Amsterdam; the mutineers really did redistribute the survivors between the small
group of islands so that they were easy to control and, eventually, murder; and Jeronimus was very taken with the beautiful Lucretia Jans. David Zeevanck really was a clerk on board the ship, Gerrit Haas was a sailor, and Jan Pelgrom was a cabin boy.

Surfing features prominently in your novels, your descriptions of the surf are just beautiful, how has your love of surfing influenced your writing?

Surfing is when I feel most alive, and it's given me a thousand and one little moments that I want to hold on to, so writing is a way of doing that. Apart from that, the people and the politics of a surf break fascinate me (in both good and bad ways). I explored that a bit in Raw Blueand I'll look at it again at some point.

Many vampire novels now seem to have strayed away from the original vampire lore giving their novels a lighter tone, was it intentional on you behalf to write your vampires in a more authentic
and darker tone?

No, is the short answer. I had the initial idea in 2005, at which time not too many of the current wave of vampire novels had hit Australia. It was more me wanting to write the vampire novel I'd like to read, because I'd loved that genre as a teenager - especially Anne Rice's novels. And one of my favourite movies is The Lost Boys, which was a huge influence - huge!

How did you find writing Saltwater Vampires compared to your first novel Raw Blue?

Totally different! I wrote the first draft of Raw Blue in two intense months. For most of that time I was obsessed and probably went a little bit nuts. Saltwater Vampires took a lot longer and was completely rewritten several times. There was so much I wanted to do in the story, and inspiration didn't always flow, so it became about building it in layers.

What has been the response to Saltwater Vampires?

Pretty good so far (touch wood). I guess I was worried because it is very different to Raw Blue, but what's lovely is that most people seem to be cool with that.

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?

To get it done, particularly when I'm in the first draft stage and don't know the story yet, I get up early (5am) and try to turn up regularly. That sounds very disciplined, but the reality is that I work in spurts. Eventually, I find a way into the story, and then turning up is a pleasure not a pain. I would love to pretend that it's always magical for me, but it's not. The ratio is something like 9 parts sludge: 1 part gold. I think the promise of gold is what keeps you going. What's interesting/frustrating is that the way I get into the story seems to change every time.

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

I'm fixated on the number 27.

What are your favourite YA novels?

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

Yes, I'm in the middle of a YA novel, but it's pretty slippery and hard to describe - art, some surfing and a lot of magic realism.

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

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

Raw Blue and Saltwater Vampires are available now from all good bookstores.


mummazappa said...

Great interview! I'm partway through Saltwater Vampires and am LOVING it. I grew up with The Lost Boys too, and am really enjoying the hark back to those good old days when Vamps were evil rather than sparkly (although I do quite like sparkly ones too :-))

Danielle said...

Great Interview! Thanks for sharing.

Nomes said...

great job on the interview. i loved reading it :)

i can't wait to see what Kirsty writes next.

Also, just love how the newest books she loves are all Australian! Yippee!

oh - and i love the banner thingy you made for the interview - so very very cool!

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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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