Writes: YA Fiction
Represented by: Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown.
Debut novel will be published by: Text Publishing
Release Date: September 2010.
Writes the popular blog: Hey! Teenager of the Year
Resides in: Victoria, Australia
Jody: You are fifteen. Is this true or false?
Jody: I still can’t believe it. A book deal at 15! I did not have the confidence in myself to think of beginning an actual writing career or the patience to write a novel at fifteen. I’m impressed, to say the least. How did you get so involved in reading, writing, and blogging?
Steph: Even though my parents aren’t fiction readers themselves, they read to me a lot when I was young, and when I was little my mum worked in computers, so I’ve always had lots of books and new technology around me. I’ve been writing since I was very young, and everyone has always encouraged me, though it’s something I’ve done totally independently.
Jody: I’ll be honest; it’s kind of confusing to think of you as fifteen and as a professional YA writer. I don’t mean that to sound negative at all–It’s just rare and fascinating. How does it feel? Is it annoying when people make a “thing” of your age? Or, is it kind of confusing for you too?
Steph: To be entirely honest, I don’t really act my age. I do school by correspondence, and I’m very independent and self-driven. I don’t really tend to drink alco-pops at parties or upload unattractive photos to Myspace or do other fifteen-year-old things. It probably is confusing for other people, but it isn’t for me – I’m just me! And this is something I’ve been working towards for a long time, so none of my family or friends were particularly surprised, though new people I meet are.
Jody: Can you tell us about your journey to getting an agent/book deal? I understand you had not one, not two, but three agents vying for your manuscript.
Steph: An author friend who I got to know through my blog, Sara Henry, read my manuscript and encouraged me to contact agents she knew in the US. I queried three, and entered a Secret Agent contest on a blog as well. From that, I had three offers of representation. I spoke to all of the agents on the phone, and eventually signed with Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown. After doing a revision with Ginger, she sent my novel out on submission in Australia & the US. I got to meet a few of the Australian publishers who were interested, and then the ANZ rights went to auction. (Me through the entire process: Stress, stress, worry, stress.) Then I signed with Text Publishing.
When it’s distilled like that it seems very easy and quick and painless, and I assure you, it was not.
Jody: Okay, so about this book. Congratulations on this huge accomplishment. Can you blurb us a little? What is it about and is there a title yet?
Steph: It isn’t properly titled yet – still working that bit out! And a blurb isn’t quite ready yet, but I will tell you three things:
1) It begins with a girl saving a boy from drowning
2) It features a garden gnome thief and two ridiculously tall child prodigies
3) It is hopelessly romantic. It’s so unlike me that it’s kind of stupendous that I managed to write something so romantic.
Jody: Do you have any writing routines or rituals?
Steph: I write on my laptop, in my room, late at night. I need a bottle of water, have a piece of toast and a cup of tea before I start, and my novel soundtrack playing. Then I’m in my writing zone!
Jody: What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite part?
Steph: I love all parts of the writing process, though revisions and edits are easiest for me, because I know where the story is going (I usually don’t when I’m writing the first draft). My least favorite part is probably when I’m in the middle of a first draft and start freaking out because I don’ t know what to write next and I’m thinking, “Why on earth did I want to be a writer in the first place?”
Jody: Here’s a hard one: What makes you fall in love with a story?
Steph: The characters. I love character-driven novels, and even the most brilliant plot doesn’t make up for a story with two-dimensional characters, for me at least.
Jody: Name three things you’d like to do before you die that don’t have anything to do with writing.
1. Travel. Widely. I want to go all over the world. I’ve never been outside of Australia.
2. Have a family of my own. Of course this isn’t something I’m going to do for years and years, but family is something really important to me.
3. Sing in public!
Jody: I hope I’m there when you sing in public! Awesome. Thanks so much for this interview, Steph. I’m a big fan of garden gnomes and I’m excited to read your book. Find out more information about Steph Bowe at her website.
8 thoughts on “Author Interview: Steph Bowe”
Steph Bowe is not fifteen. Believe me, I know; I have a fifteen year old living in my house — ok, she’s my daughter, but sometimes I’m not sure about that part. Steph Bowe is more like 45, or 46 maybe…
What a great interview. Steph, Your 3 hooks to your story are great. I definitely want to read it. Good luck.
Carrie, I know what you mean. I think I’d like to be Steph when I grow up.
Natalie, if you haven’t yet, make sure to look at Steph’s blog. It’s fantastic.
Great interview! Please to explain “alco-pops.”
According to wiseGeek: An alcopop is an alcoholic beverage made with fruit juices and other flavorings which tend to conceal the alcohol content of the drink behind a sweet, fruity flavor. Such drinks are made with a variety of alcohols and flavorings, and many liquor stores and large markets carry alcopops in their alcohol section, offering quite an array of choices. The proliferation of alcopop products has been a cause for concern for some people, who fear that they appeal to minors and that they are potentially dangerous even to adults, as they pack a hidden alcoholic punch.
I bet Steph drinks things like Old Fashioneds and Side Cars and Manhattans. (Just kidding, people. I’m sure she doesn’t drink. This is how rumors get started….)
Hey, I was just talking about Side Cars yesterday. Even though I have no idea what they are. I guess I could google stuff.
The part about the middle of the first draft, despairing, wondering why you thought you were a writer in the first place — yep, that’s definitely writer stuff that any of us can relate to, regardless of age. I feel that despair pretty regularly.
You’re set up for an impressive career, Steph, and it sounds like you know what’s best for you. Best wishes to you as you navigate your path.
Fun interview, Jody!
(I’m laughing at Carrie P’s assertion that this kid can’t possibly be 15. I know whereof Carrie speaks)