Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Kate McCaffrey

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Ten Questions with Kate McCaffrey

Open Book talks to Kate McCaffrey, author of the award-winning young adult novels, Destroying Avalon (Fremantle Press, 2006) and In Ecstasy (Annick Press, 2009).

OBT:

Tell us about your latest book, In Ecstasy.

KM:

In Ecstasy is about two girls Mia and Sophie who, on a whim, take ecstasy at a party. The story is told from alternating points of view and explores what happens when one continues in the drug scene and what happens to the one who does not. It focuses on the destruction of friendship - and the dance party culture.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

KM:

My readership has been so far the young adult group 13 to 18.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

KM:

I have a holiday house on an island down the south-west of WA. The island is treed and full of kangaroos. The house is a hexadome and has a spiral staircase to a mezzanine floor, which provides amazing views of the beautiful native bush. It is cold there - we often have a fire burning; that would be my ideal environment. The reality is, however, that when we go there, there are six adults and four children and lots of noise, laughter, screaming, playing. The tranquility somehow never survives!

OBT:

What was your first publication?

KM:

Destroying Avalon was my first young adult novel and focuses on the destructive phenomenon of cyber bullying. It was published by the Fremantle Arts Centre Press in September 2006.

Since its release Destroying Avalon won the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards 2007 for older readers, won the 2006 Western Australian Premier’s Award for Young Adult s, was selected as a Notable Book in the 2007 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards and was ‘highly commended’ in the Australian Family Therapists Children’s Literature Awards. It is listed on the West Australian Department of Education and Training’s website as a useful resource for dealing with cyber bullying and the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services are using two passages from Destroying Avalon in their new Child Protection curriculum for pre-school to Year 12 for 2008. It is being translated into both Korean and Hungarian, is an audio book and has a film option on it.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

KM:

I am embarrassed to say I’ve never been to Canada. But I work with a girl who is Canadian. She recently went home for a holiday and brought me back real maple syrup. Now, that was a Canadian experience I will use in my writing!

OBT:

What were the books that made a great impression on you when you were a child?

KM:

Three books that made a great impression on me as a child were: The Aztec Skull by Anthea Goddard, Searching for Shona by Margaret Jean Anderson and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (it was responsible for much of my childhood spent in cupboards looking for a doorway into a magical world).

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

KM:

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

KM:

The difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the published writer never gave up.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

KM:

It is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Develop a thick skin!

OBT:

What is your next project?

KM:

It’s something completely different - a book (possibly a trilogy) for a younger readership- that delves into dark mythology.


Kate McCaffrey was born in Liverpool and immigrated to Australia in 1972. Her first young adult novel, Destroying Avalon (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2006), focuses on the destructive phenomenon of cyber bullying. The award-winning novel has been used as a resource in Australian schools. Her second novel In Ecstasy is about teenage relationships and party drug culture and was released in April 2008 by the Fremantle Press. It has been described as "Monkey Grip for a new generation" and "the book every teenager will want to read – and every parent should read." It was released by Annick Press in North America in April 2009. It won the Australian Family Therapists Award for 2009.

Kate’s third YA novel will be released in April 2010.

Read more about In Ecstasy at the Annick Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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