Claire Zorn’s first young adult novel The Sky So Heavy (UQP) was published to critical acclaim in 2013. It has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards and the Children’s Book Council Australia Book of the Year (Older Readers) Her second novel The Protected (UQP) was released July 2014. Claire studied creative writing at UTS and has been published by Wet Ink, Overland and Peppermint. She lives on the south coast of NSW with her husband and two young children.
1. Just days ago your second novel, The Protected, was published and released into the world. Could you tell us a bit about it?
The Protected tells the story of fifteen year-old Hannah. She is dealing with the aftermath of her sister’s tragic death, shunted from counsellor to counsellor by parents who are emotionally absent and lost in their own grief. For Hannah life was tough enough before her sister died as she was relentlessly victimised and bullied at high school. Now the bullying has stopped, only adding a layer of guilt to the muddled grief she feels for a sister she loved but did not like. Through all of this comes a glimmer of hope offered by the friendship of the cheeky, elusive, cross-word addicted Josh.
2. The Sky So Heavy is your first book, and it was shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Award in the Older Reader category! Would you like to tell us a bit about the book, and how did that make you feel?
Surreal is a word I find myself using a lot! It’s amazing. I can’t quite believe it and I’m not sure exactly when it will sink in. It is an absolute honor.
3. So far you’ve written YA dystopian and contemporary, where do you feel you’ll go next?
Honestly, I don’t set out to write a particular type of story, it’s usually afterwards that they are put in categories. I naturally stick to narratives very anchored in reality though, The Sky So Heavy is probably as far from reality as I’ll ever stray.
I’m always reluctant to talk about projects that are in the works, but I will say that I will be revisiting 1997 and it’s a coastal setting.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield is totally captivating and very unique. Also, of course, Eyrie by Tim Winton. He is a master storyteller and I would read his shopping lists if he were to ever publish them.
5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
I don’t really think about that stuff when I’m writing. It gets in the way too much. I just try and focus on telling a good story. That said, I would like to explore the visual interdisciplinary potential of ebooks. My background is in video art and it would be cool to find a way to interweave a visual filmic element with the text.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:
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