Friday 4 November 2011

Friday Feature: Interview with Keren David

It's been a while since I've had an author interview, but am thrilled to present this one, with the superb Keren David - who wrote three of my favourites of the past couple of years, the outstanding When I Was Joe and its equally brilliant sequel Almost True, plus the excellent standalone Lia's Guide To Winning The Lottery.

Many thanks to Keren for agreeing to do this.

1. When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

I'm not sure, because I never do that. I started off writing for myself as I was at about 13, but now I suppose I see a load of assorted teens.

2. I got hooked on your writing after reading When I Was Joe and Almost True, hugely exciting thrillers. While I enjoyed Lia's Guide just as much, it's a big change in style for you. Which ones did you prefer writing?

I think there are quite a lot of similarities - all the books are about contemporary teens in extraordinary circumstances, they all examine big questions and are character-driven. I suppose the Ty books are thrillers with an element of humour and Lia is romantic comedy with a dash of darkness. I found the Ty books easier to write, I seem to prefer writing as a boy.

3. Do you listen to music when writing? If so, could you share with us the soundtrack to any of your books?

I don't, sorry to say - I'd love to, but the words of songs distract me when I'm writing. I had a Ty soundtrack for the gym full of commercial hip hop to get me in the mood for writing as Ty - Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, Chipmunk and Tinie Tempah. Claire and Ty's song is 'You Make it Real' by James Morrison - I think Claire would listen to it a lot, and Ty not at all.

4. What did you write in your current manuscript to make your daughter call you a 'pervert'? I took a quick look at your blog and I'm intrigued!

Haha...she didn't approve of a 15-year-old boy eyeing up a much older woman. One who is related to him. She has a point, I suppose.

5. Again, looking at your blog, I see that you let a young girl shadow you at work recently. If you had the chance to shadow anyone doing their job, who would you choose?

Oh my lord. I think if I spent a day shadowing Prince Harry I could get a novel out of it. Or Rafael Nadal. Or Jon Hamm from Mad Men. Or Ryan Gosling...Johnny Depp....mmm...George Clooney...

6. If you could collaborate with another author on a novel, who would you choose and why?

J K Rowling. I can add urban edginess and she can boost my bank balance.

7. Having mentioned your blog a couple of times, and seen you on Twitter a lot, how important do you think the internet is to an author today?

From a hard-headed marketing point of view, the internet offers fantastic opportunities to network and promote yourself and your books. From a human point of view, I've met wonderful people, been informed and entertained and - with the blog - had tremendous freedom to develop as a writer and journalist. But as a writer it is a massive distraction and I need to disable it to be able to write.

8. Which book would you recommend to people who enjoyed Lia's Guide while they're eagerly waiting for your next novel?

I loved Bumped by Megan McCafferty, a witty clever dystopia which imagnes a world where only teenagers can get pregnant. Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant is thrilling - and also features a girl in line to inherit the family bakery.

9. What do you enjoy most about writing? What would you rather not do at all?

I love it when all the bits are falling into place and I'm in love with the characters and the writing comes easily and quickly. I hate writing outlines and synopses.

10. What's next for Keren David?

Yesterday I started work on a new book - no idea if it will work or not. From January I'm going to be teaching the Writing for Children course of evening classes at City University.

Sounds fabulous! Good luck with the book, and I'm very jealous of those people lucky enough to be learning from you - I wish I lived in or near London!

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