This will appear on the Interviews Gals tab also. This young 24-year-old has already written three great books YA novels NIGHT SWIMMING (Text Publishing, April 2017), ALL THIS COULD END and GIRL SAVES BOY. What an inspiration to writers who think they can’t get published. I’ve read ALL THIS COULD END and can only say that Steph has a unique and fresh approach that I loved. http://www.stephbowe.com
Q 1 When did you start writing?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember – before I actually knew how to write words I scribbled nonsense into notebooks. I decided I wanted to be an author when I was 7 – I was a pretty serious 7-year-old.
Q 2 What were your first writing efforts?
I first tried writing a novel when I was 7 and enamoured with Enid Blyton books – my first? novel? was a very thinly-veiled Magic Faraway Tree-inspired story that was essentially about a magic faraway escalator.
Q3 Your blog says you write for young adults? Have you written children’s or any other genre?
I’ve been writing (or trying to write) Young Adult fiction since I first started reading it when I was around 11. I think my earlier efforts would have been more like children’s fiction. I have yet to branch out into other genres, though I would like to at some stage.
Q4 At Somerset you said you started with your blog, then you wrote your book. Did you get an agent because you had a blog?
I think that the contacts I made through my blog and the fact that I could demonstrate my passion for YA and my ability to promote my work both worked in my favour – but I don’t think I would have been able to find representation had the book not been good enough. The work itself is what really matters.
Q5 What do you gain most out of attending writing festivals?
Writing is an isolating profession and you rarely get to speak to your audience directly, so actually getting to present to kids and talk about books and literature is a lot of fun, and I think helps to remind me why I write the kind of books I do. (Plus it is awesome to meet kids who have actually read my books, and getting to sign books remains a really terrific – and surreal – highlight.)
Q6 Do you draw from your own life experiences/family/places to write?
Absolutely! Sometimes in quite direct ways – in Night Swimming, the character of Kirby’s grandfather is heavily based on someone in my family who has dementia – and sometimes more indirectly – in All This Could End, Nina’s parents are bank robbers, which is not from my own life, but I drew on my own feelings of being loyal to family, as well as that process of growing up and realising that your parents aren’t perfect and that adults don’t know everything. (It’s a little more extreme for Nina but it’s still essentially the same emotional experience.)
Q7 When you wrote Girl Saves Boy did you approach an agent?
When I finished writing Girl Saves Boy, I queried a few agents based on recommendations from another writer and ended up signing with an agent who had requested my manuscript through a contest on a blog. With a previous novel, I had submitted to a few publishers and had received some very kind rejection letters.
Q8 How long after Girl Saves Boy did you write All this Could End and Night Swimming?
I wrote Girl Saves Boy when I was 15, and All This Could End and Night Swimming was predominantly written when I was 17 and 21, respectively.
Q8 Do you think of your audience when you write or do you write for your teenage self?
It’s a mix of both for me and it also depends on the novel – when I wrote Night Swimming I very much had my teenage self in mind, but with my other novels, I wasn’t as specific. I think tapping into the things I experienced as a teenager is useful for those universal experiences, but it’s important not to be too centred on my own experience, I think – and working with teenagers helps with having a sense of what they’re looking for in books and what is relevant to their lives.
Q9 Do you write short stories or articles?
I have always tried to write short stories but I don’t think I am succinct enough – they always turn into novels. I have written plenty of articles, though – writing about YA literature and youth issues. I also had an essay on feminism in Destroying the Joint: Why Women Have to Change the World (UQP, 2013).
Q10 Where do you see your writing career taking you?
I’m very much at a stage now, where I’m focused on the process of writing and enjoying that as much as I can and not really thinking about my goals down the line! I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities – to visit schools and libraries and festivals, and travel and meet awesome readers and writers and teachers and librarians – so it’s been terrific so far.