Hey, Teenager Of The Year!

Posted: April 30, 2009 in Writing, YA Fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

The blogosphere is a wild and wonderful place for writers, full of surprises and extraordinary souls. One of them is fifteen-year-old Steph Bowe who is writing two novels, running the YA Blogosphere (see Favourite Links) and interviewing authors like me at Hey, Teenager Of The Year. And she still eats off the kids menu at restaurants!

Any teenager who can pack that much into a day is gold. I just had to interview her to discover her secrets.

Q. How long have you been burning up the blogosphere, Steph?

I started Hey, Teenager of the Year in March. Before then, I’d had a few unsuccessful blogs (All of which are now in the Blog Memorial section of the Cyberspace Graveyard, may their bloggy souls rest in peace), but the entire time I’d be reading blogs and seeing what worked and what didn’t, and figuring out what I wanted to achieve with my blog.

The YA Blogosphere was inspired by the YA Book Blog Directory, an alphabetised list made by an American book blogger, The Story Siren. I emailed her, and she worked with me in setting up the Blogosphere. The difference between the two databases is that mine offers more information, though it isn’t quite as comprehensive (yet). I’ve compiled a list of almost one hundred blogs in the past few weeks from her database. The help of many YA authors has also been invaluable, particularly Susanne Gervay and William Kostakis.

Developing the Blogosphere has been very time consuming, and there is still a long way to go, but I’m hoping that it will eventually become a reference site for high school teachers, librarians, teenaged readers and maybe even authors and publishers looking to promote books.

Q. How did you get into blogging in the first place? And why?

I was inspired by Penni Russon’s blog (http://eglantinescake.blogspot.com). Hers was the first blog I ever read. That was at a point when I was very disenchanted with the internet, and how all the bad people in the world had ruined something that could be so fantastic and help people learn so much (I can’t remember now why I felt this way – I think I was going through a stage where I was disenchanted with everything) and then I found her blog, and I went “Wow, this is beautiful.” (I went and read her books after that – she wrote the Undine trilogy – and they were beautiful too). From there, I discovered many more author blogs, before stumbling across a blog of book reviews, author interviews, and giveaways. That made my mind up.

I wanted to get in touch with the YA blogging community. I wanted to get to know published and aspiring authors. I wanted to learn from others, and I wanted to share what I had already learnt. I think, so far, I’ve done most of those things.

It’s very rewarding when people enjoy my posts, and it makes the effort I put in worthwhile. I’ve also met some fantastic people – my blog has allowed me to get in touch with lots of wonderful authors, as well as other book bloggers, in Australia and abroad.

Q. Tell me five fantastic facts about you?

1. I shaved my head in October of last year. It grew back slower than I thought it would, and I now look like a cross between 1983 era Jamie Lee Curtis and the middle Jonas Brother.

2. I do school by correspondence, which may explain how I manage to spend so much time on my blog.

3.. I have an imaginary friend/alter-ego called Gracie Dove. She is the brave and unselfconscious part of me. She was also the star of my first novel.

4. I have written two YA novels, and I’m working on a third. The first one, Gracie’s List, can be read on my blog. I’ve heard that first novels are always a bit autobiographical, so I got that out of system before I started writing seriously. The second one is with a publisher at the moment..

5. I love B-grade zombie movies which somehow involve flesh-eating exotic dancers. Quite a few of them do.

Q. How do you combine your hectic online life with real life?

I do school by correspondence, which gives me a lot more time for writing and blogging. Schoolwork, family and responsibilities come first, and my mum keeps me balanced. I’m online for about an hour each weekday morning and I spend a bit longer on weekends.

Q. Are you goal or fantasy oriented? Most important goal? Most fabulous fantasy?

I suppose I’m goal oriented, though a lot of my goals are pretty fantastic. My most important goal is to become a published author, and to be able to support myself financially by writing alone. That’s a twenty-years-down-the-track sort of goal, though.

My most fabulous fantasy is to live to see complete racial, social and sexual equality. I’d like someday for gender, race, class and sexual orientation to have no effect on the way people are viewed, and to live in a world everyone is considered equal.

Q. Any advice for readers/fans?

I have fans? New bloggers: don’t let a couple of bad remarks get you down. I guarantee the majority of people will love your blog, and you just have to keep at it. Almost everyone who blogs about YA here or abroad loves making new friends, and it’s a fantastic network to be involved in; you’ll always be up to date on latest books and authors and you’ll also have a lot of fun.

For teenagers who write: you’ve got an advantage over people who discover writing later in life. Use it! Write all you can. Learn everything about writing and publishing. Jump at every opportunity. If you do those things, it’s only a matter of time and perseverance until you achieve your goals.

Q. Pitch me your novel in 25 words or less!

That’s incredibly hard. There are two. Alright, here goes…

Running With Scissors: Raphael awakens from a coma with total memory loss, reconstructing his life as he is swept into his girlfriend’s plight to find her estranged father. (This one is far, far better in 100 words – I barely made it in 25)

These Bones: Jewel saves the life of a boy who later dies anyway, but this chance encounter still drastically changes both of their lives. (Hopefully that’s kind of mysterious and leaves you wondering more… this book is a lot funnier than this seems to suggest.

[Editor: Like I said, pure gold. Pay her a visit and help her rocket up the Writing Blog Charts. She’s Number 80 on CopyWrite’s Top 50 Aussie Writer Blogs at the moment. Check it out here.

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Comments
  1. Steph says:

    Thank you for a fabulous interview!

  2. She’s an absolute gem! Thanks for the introduction Chris, I’m going to go stalk her blog now 😀

  3. chrisbongers says:

    And I should thank James Roy at http://headvsdesk.blogspot.com where I came across Steph for the first time!

  4. Steph Bowe is a Powerhouse of creative energy.
    Thanx for the interview, Chris.

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