Posted by: Natalie Hatch | April 13, 2009

And then some…

So this week is all about us as writers, why we write, when, where, and how. I’m first up – I’d better invent something really amazing so that the other girls will just sit back and go “wow that was amazing, how can we top that?” and I’ll just look nonchalant and then run around in a panic in case they find out I’m a fraud.  Now how the heck can I do that?

I don’t have a novel published as yet, though I have written a few. I tried my hand at an adult romance (without the really hot stuff), but *cough* I’m not that good at romance. Then I tried a thriller/serial killer thing, which will remain under my bed and never see the light of day again (luckily I’m not like Michael Pryor and act out my scenes – especially the serial killer thing).

As a teacher of Marine Science I love the sea. I grew up at the beach and would live on an island paradise if I could A) afford it, B) find someone to stop my kids from drowning while I’m snorkelling all day, and  C) get fit enough to snorkel all day. So it wasn’t a surprise when I started writing what I thought would be a middle grade boys tale of school with vampires, demons, and werewolves turned into a Young Adult girls tale of discovering she’s a Selkie.

Selkies are shape shifting seals who have control of the sea, they’re guardians of the seaward realms and tricksters. I wrote the book in nine days and then spent the next four months re-writing. I fell in love with the Irish/Scottish mythology of people turning into seals when they were taken at sea. The idea that children would grow up wondering if their dad was a seal seemed a great way to deal with death. When I found out that Mallacoota, Victoria has a seal colony just off the coast it all clicked into place. And then came Ronan… I found a pic of the guy who plays Jasper Hale when he was young and he’s perfect. Hang on will put him up for you to have a squiz at.

Well anyway I saw this photo and thought, hey he looks like Ronan. My teens think he’s “hawt”. So he must be okay then.  And then there was Jane Evans, my heroine, I liked this girls smile. She fit in nicely as Jane.

This is the premise for The Same Skin:
What could possibly cause a former semi-pro surfer to renounce the sea and never let her daughter near it? Jane Evans doesn’t know the answer to this question, but she does know that her mother has been keeping secrets and she’s determined to find out what they are. Jane’s mum has dragged her to Mallacoota, Victoria, for a fresh start at life away from the stresses of city living. Jane’s having a hard time making friends, adjusting to a new school and living up to the local’s expectations of being a surfing legend’s daughter. It’s not until she catches the eye of the school hunk that she starts to see the upside of moving to the secluded surf mad community.
Jane’s always believed that a girls first kiss should be memorable, full of passion and knee burning delights. It should never, ever end with whiskers growing out the side of her face and turning into a total freak show. When Jane stumbles across the Selkie, guardians of the sea, she learns the truth about herself and her heritage. Jane finds that turning into a seal isn’t all fun and games, and being a part of that world could cost her more than she bargained for.

I’m currently working on two books (not being an overachiever or anything), a futuristic save the world thing and a Girl Space Pirate story (that’s the working title – I’m not good at titles at all). Um that’s about it for me, but I did ask Adele Walsh, from Persnickety Snark to help me out and she has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me.

Adele, as the infamous Persnickety Snark, book reviewer extraordinaire, I’d like to know how and when you started getting into the bloggosphere.

Infamous extraordinaire? You sure know how to make a girl giggle. I started blogging last year in as The Sarah Dessen Diarist, a blog where I’d post my reactions to a chapter of a Sarah Dessen novel, chapter by chapter. I was completely oblivious to the entire blogosphere community and didn’t even realise there were YA bloggers. (Yes, I was that clueless). It took awhile but I found the YA community and decided it would be a great way to get my year eight class into reading books while building the school’s resources. So in January of this year I started Persnickety Snark with the intent of reviewing YA with a focus on Australian authors. The rest is history (well three months of it anyway). Two of my student’s posted reviews on PSnark this week and will be launching their own class blog very soon.

Have you always loved Young Adult books?

Yes! I started reading early and then took off running. I was reading YA books before I should have and before they were even entitled “YA”. My initiation was discovering Looking for Alibrandi (Melina Marchetta’s debut novel) when I was eleven, my world literally opened up. I am well into my twenties now and have continued to read YA because it’s darn good writing. Most people think I should be embarrassed to go straight to the ‘teen’ section for books, but I’m not. Now I haunt that area and recommend titles to people who want me to shut up.

How does one become a book reviewer?

I think readers are all book reviewers, whether or not we write an actual review. I have always been someone who likes analysing most things to death, so reviewing is a positive outlet for that particular personality quirk. I contacted Australian publishers, explained what I hoped to achieve and they were very generous in response. I generally read a book every day or two, review a huge amount on Sunday and post them throughout the week. Ta da – that’s how I became a book reviewer!

Now this will be a tough one to answer, in your honest opinion, what is the best book you’ve read in the last year?

Yikes. I think most PSnark regulars know that I fell in love with If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I think it’s a wonderful novel about tragic circumstances, life choices and hope. It was the first ARC I received and I will always remember emailing Gayle to tell her how much I respected her work while my eyes were still stinging from the tears. I am just about to read her debut novel, Sisters in Sanity and I really excited to delve into it. With an overwhelming amount of vampire and “orphan” books in the market, I was delighted to read my other faves, Jennifer Echols’ Going Too Far and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. If you haven’t read any of these titles, do so immediately!

Which book/storyline do you think is most deserving of becoming a movie and who would be the leads?

Two of my above favourites are already in the film development process so I’ll bite with Going Too Far. John After would be played by Channing Tatum because that boy is delicious (and if you’ve seen A Guide to Recognising Your Saints you’d know he can act too). As for Meg, I could definitely see Ellen Page (Juno) as the snarky protagonist but that could be too close to her previous roles. Call me unoriginal. If there was one book I’d be dying to see on the screen it would probably be Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce or Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Both would probably be more suited to a mini-series. To put a further two cents in, I would suggest Emily Browning (Lemony Snicket) would make an awesome Taylor Markham.

What type of book would you most like to read (other than the Cyborg coming of age book?)

I have a liking for post-apocalyptic themes so perhaps the world regrouping from a clown apocalypse? With a contemporary Lizzie Bennett running Bozos (literally) down with a clown car? Or to be serious, a teen take on a situation like Stephen King’s The Stand (one of my favourite books ever). It’s probably already been done and I just haven’t found it.

It’s Easter, lots of chocolate overdosage around, what’s one of your most favourite Easter traditions in your neck of the woods?

Unfortunately Easter isn’t huge in my family as we’re at that time in life where my siblings and I are adults but not yet procreating. There are no kids to plot Easter egg hunts for 😦 We always have a big breakfast together – bacon, eggs, croissants, etc. But the last few years we’ve been watching Monty Python’s The Life of Brian together after the clean up. Some people might consider that sacrilegious but to our family it’s an opportunity for togetherness and bucket loads of shared laughter.



  1. Nat, your selkie story sounds fascinating and well layered. Imagine being a teenage girl battling the onset of whiskers!

    Adele, I love your review site. I’m not ashamed of browsing in the teen section either. And I know this sounds creepy, but you overhear the most amazing conversations there. They’ve sparked a storyline or two for me. 😉

  2. Vanessa as we age the onset of whiskers is almost guaranteed! I know what you mean about teen talk, my teens come out with some very interesting ideas/conversations. I just sit back and slowly take mental notes. Hubby is forever asking me what they were talking about. Apparently men can’t interpret teenage girl speak because it’s too fast for them.

  3. Nat, as an author you’re lucky to have the teenagers in your sphere to eavesdrop though I certainly don’t envy you having to live with the teen hormones.

    I have a favourite teenager I can turn to for advice, but she lives a 7 hour drive away so we don’t spend as much time together as I’d like. Thank god for instant messaging though.

  4. Vanessa – Thank you so much, it means a lot that you like my blog. I know what you mean about conversations, it’s so fun eavesdropping 🙂

    Natalie – Thanks for interviewing me. Love the sound of your Selkie story. Whiskers are something that non-Selkie women have to worry about too lol

    Diane – I have a step-sister who unfailingly honest…sometimes brutally so. It’s great to have a teen to keep you in touch with teenworld for sure.

  5. Nat, I adore your seklie story, and I would absolutely go and buy something billed as a girl space pirate story for sure!

    Also loved the interview. yay for proud teen readers beyond their actual teen years!

    You were right in your outset. you’re a tough act to follow.

  6. Did I send it to you Kiki? I’ve had a major edit since then on the advice of a copy editor. So it’s all good. And the Girl Space Pirate is turning out a bit darker than I thought it would. Love it when the characters take control. But I am changing it to 3rd POV, the 1st POV isn’t working as well.

  7. Natalie- ooh selkie story! Yay, I love stuff about selkies (and space pirates for that matter!!!)

    And great interview with Adele – I’m in my 40s and am an unashamed ya reader, plus the other day when I was working in the library (in the teen section) I met one of the weekday regulars and she was well over 80 but she loved the ya and midgrade books better than the boring adult ones. Gotta love it!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: