Thank you, Nadia, for your time and for sharing a bit about yourself & your writing. The very best of luck for your next piece and I hope we’ll get to read it soon 🙂
Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate? Milk
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Dog-ear or whatever else as bookmark? Envelopes and postcards
Plot or Character? Character
HEA or unexpected twist? Unexpected twist
Q: Could you please share with us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer?
A: Once I learnt to read I was one of those kids who always had her nose in a book. I had a short stint working as a journalist and a successful career in corporate communications. When my husband and I started a family I found my hands full raising our daughters. For years I read everything in sight without penning a single word. Then in 2015 after a case of extremely itchy fingers I started writing fiction. Finally in my forties I find myself working hard at a career in which I had always been drawn to but had never had the courage to pursue.
Q: Was there a lot of research involved in writing Jenna’s Truth? Was there a particular fact or 2 you found during research that surprised you? What were they?
A: The protagonist in Jenna’s Truth is a teenage girl who decides to end her life after being bullied. Because I was writing for a young adult audience I was very cognisant of not giving a how-to lesson in suicide. I decided on drowning and then researched what it feels like to drown, how difficult it is, the physical limitations of drowning, and the injuries that can be sustained. I had this rather romantic notion that you could just walk into a lake or something, take your last breath and die, but drowning isn’t like that and it’s quite difficult to do. Your body will fight drowning until the last moment and it’s an incredibly painful process.
Q: These are very difficult themes to tackle in such a short story! How did you feel about writing the things that happened to Jenna in the story? Was this story ever meant to be a longer one or how did you decide it to be a short story?
A: I feel as if the story of Jenna’s Truth chose me rather than the other way around. In the book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about stories finding their storytellers and Jenna’s Truth felt very much like that. I wanted the story to be as accessible to many as teens as possible so a novella seemed the perfect length. In a classroom context, the story can be read in one sitting. Jenna’s Truth has been positively received by school libraries who often use it with reluctant readers.
Q: It’s mentioned in the book that you actually learned of Amanda Todd from your own teenaged daughter. I must admit that I’ve been anxious about cyber safety for my son even when he was only 3… He’s 8 now and I’m ever more anxious! What are some practical tips you can share with us parents?
A: In my experience the most important thing you can do in parenting is to have an open and engaged relationship with your kids. Keeping the lines of communication open means being honest with your kids. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we’re perfect, so role modelling being open and authentic seems to me a good pathway to take. From a cyberbullying perspective, don’t be afraid to block the haters and trolls and to report any abusive social media posts. Retain evidence of cyberbullying and visit https://www.esafety.gov.au for the most up to date information and advice.
Q: What are your top reads for 2018 to date? And which book are you desperately waiting for publication?
A: Some of the great books I’ve read this year include:
- Ask the Passengers by A.S.King (2012, Little, Brown BFYR)
- Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster (Australian author, 2017, Odyssey Books)
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (originally published 1959)
- The Good People by Hannah Kent (Australian author, 2016,Pan Macmillan)
- The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan (Australian author, 2018, Harper Collins)
- Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women by Kate Forsyth (Australian author, 2017, Serenity Press)
- Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S.King (2010)
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (2013, Penguin Books)
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (originally published 1962)
Books I can’t wait to read:
Q: What are you working on now? Or what can we look for from you next?
A: Publication can be such a long road. I’ve written a young adult novel about a boy who loves manga and struggles against his abusive father. It has elements of magical realism to lighten the heavy subject matter. The manuscript is currently out on submission and I have no idea if a publisher will want it. I have started another young adult novel based in a small outback country town and have a few other projects on the go. Cross your fingers for me!
About the author
Australian author, Nadia L King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. Nadia is a YA author and short story writer. She is passionate about using stories to connect with teens. Nadia is a particularly hopeless horse rider but she enjoyed that one time she rode an ostrich. She also loves riding camels, and hopes to one day ride an elephant. Nadia lives in Western Australia with her family.