Q&A with Amie Kaufman & Garth Nix

May 26, 2017 by Jenna | Author Interviews, Books

I have a really exciting post today. I got the chance to interview Amie Kaufman and Garth Nix, who will both be at All Day YA at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Without further ado…

Amie Kaufman

1. Can you tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it?

My most recent release is my short story, ONE SMALL STEP…, which is in the BEGIN, END, BEGIN #LOVEOZYA anthology. It’s about the first girl born on Mars. It was inspired by a lot of things — by my memories of seeing the first ever IVF baby in the newspaper when I was growing up, by my fascination with Mars itself, and by conversations with teens I know about the pressure of deciding what to do after you leave school.

2. What is the best/most rewarding thing about writing for teens and young adults?

I love how open-minded they are about trying all kinds of books — you never hear a teen say ‘I only read crime novels’ the way you sometimes do with adult readers. They’re adventurous and enthusiastic, they try everything, and they’re just plain awesome to talk books with. I always come home from tours and events with so many great book recs!

3. What are you most looking forward to at the Sydney Writers’ Festival?

What’s not to look forward to? I can’t wait to see the awesome Sydney crowd, who I generally only get to hang out with once a year, and I can’t wait to see all my author friends as well! The panels for the All Day YA session look amaaaaazing!

4. What are some of your recent favourite YA reads that you want to recommend?

Oh gosh, where to start? A SHADOW’S BREATH by the amazing Nicole Hayes is a really obvious place to start. I adored it. I don’t want to tell you too much about it — just grab a copy! And HUNTED, of course, by honourary Aussie Meagan Spooner, the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I’ve ever read.

5. Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’ve got three books coming out at the end of 2017/start of 2018: Unearthed with Meagan Spooner (think Indiana Jones in space!), Obsidio with Jay Kristoff (book three of the Illuminae Files) and the first book in my Elementals trilogy, which is for middle grade readers — it’s got shapeshifters, wolves, dragons, magic, twins, quests, all kinds of stuff I love.

So right now I’m working on the sequel to Unearthed, book two in the Elementals series, and Jay and I are working on book one of our new series. And it’s possible I have a secret project or two in the wings as well.

6. What is your favourite thing about writing in the sci-fi genre?

The explosions. Hands down, the explosions.

7. What do you think is one thing that is unique to the OzYA community?

There’s so much to love, but one thing I think is really special about us is that we’re at this size and stage where you’re always meeting awesome new people, and there’s always someone to talk to about a book or recommend a title, but we’re not so big you get lost in the crowd. We’re really inclusive, and even when we don’t agree, we talk about things constructively. When I’m overseas people are always saying there must be something in the water here, because Australia produces so many, varied, awesome books, and I totally agree — I think it affects the fans as well!

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of young adult fiction. Her multi-award winning work has been published in 30 countries, and described as “a game-changer” (Shelf Awareness), “stylistically mesmerising” (Publishers Weekly) and “out-of-this-world awesome” (Kirkus). The Starbound Trilogy, co-authored with Meagan Spooner, began with These Broken Stars. Her latest series, co-authored with Jay Kristoff, began in 2015 with the international bestseller Illuminae. Raised in Australia and Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads


Garth Nix

1. Can you tell us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it?

My most recent book is FROGKISSER! the story of a princess who has to go on a quest to get the ingredients for a transmogrification reversal lip balm in order to return her sister’s prince from frog to human form, with many complications and other transformations along the way. It’s always hard to identify inspirations, or it is for me. This particularly story just demanded to be told, I wrote it quite quickly while I was supposed to be writing something else. I guess it comes from a deep and abiding interest in all kinds of fairy tales and fables, and how they are told.

2. What is the best/most rewarding thing about writing for teens and young adults?

Often the books you read as a child or teenager are the most formative and influential books you will ever read, and they stay with you the longest. I am always delighted (and amazed) when readers tell me my books had a positive influence on their childhood and growing up, and even more so when they are still reading them years later. It is also particularly rewarding when writers tell me that my books influenced them to become the kind of writer they are, I feel like I have successfully passed a torch that was passed to me by all the writers I loved when I was growing up.

3. What are you most looking forward to at the Sydney Writers’ Festival?

It’s great to have so many writers in town, I get to catch up with old friends and make new friends. I also invariably discover not just  a new book or two, but typically will discover and go on to read the entire oeuvre of an author I didn’t know about before. This may be in non-fiction or fiction, in any genre or category. I never know what will grip my attention, but every SWF always provides new authors, new topics, new books that will keep me reading for months past the festival.

4. What are some of your recent favourite YA reads that you want to recommend?

I’m really out of touch with current YA reads, I’ve been on a non-fiction reading streak for months. However, i can recommend THE SLENT INVASION by James Bradley, a near-future, “slow apocalypse” novel set in an Australia being transformed by alien life.

5. Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m working on a few different things. The main one is a high fantasy set in a kind of alternative 17th century Europe, with magic.

6. What have been the main influences on your writing over the years?

There are so many influences, from life, history, the natural world, fiction. Everything you live through, read, watch, experience . . . it all goes into the reservoir from which stories are drawn.

7. What do you think is one thing that is unique to the OzYA community?

I don’t think it is unique to the OzYA community, but worldwide YA authors and readers are generally very thoughtful, curious about others and supportive of each other’s writing and reading. More so, at least to my observation, than the wider writing and reading community.

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he previously worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s books include the award-winning young adult fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen; the dystopian novel Shade’s Children; the space opera A Confusion of Princes; and a Regency romance with magic, Newt’s Emerald.

His fantasy novels for children include The Ragwitch; the six books of The Seventh Tower sequence; The Keys to the Kingdom series; and the Troubletwisters series and Spirit Animals: Blood Ties (co-written with Sean Williams). Garth’s next book, Clariel, is a prequel to the Old Kingdom trilogy, to be released in October 2014.

More than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world, his books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 40 languages.

He lives in a Sydney beach suburb with his wife and two children.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

I hope to see some of you at SWF!

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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2 responses to “Q&A with Amie Kaufman & Garth Nix

  1. Braine

    Love this interview esp their answers to Q2! Unfortunately I've become a genre snob and I wish I'm more of a sponge when it comes to reading. It not really the themes that I shy away from, there are just styles that I can't appreciate anymore. Yup, I'm showing my age lol

    • I loved their answers to Q2 as well, especially how different their answers were! I completely feel the same way about being a genre snob too haha. I've been reading a lot less fantasy and other genres besides contemporaries these days. But I also feel like I've always been that way HAHA.

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