Monday, November 09, 2009

Author Interview: Steph Bowe

Steph Bowe is a fifteen year old YA writer. She is an extremely good author who got not only one, but three agents hoping to represent her. After some time, Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown became her agent. You can check out her blog Hey! Teenager of The Year. Her novel THESE BONES will be coming out soon. I was lucky enough to get an interview with her. Enjoy!:

1.Congrats on signing with Ginger! How did it all come about? How do you feel about it?

Well, let's start with: I feel great! It all came about because: An author friend, Sara Henry, who beta-read my novel encouraged me to query some US agents. I also entered in the Secret Agent competition on the Miss Snark's First Victim blog the month when Ginger Clark was the secret agent. I was incredibly lucky, and very quickly had three offers, including one from Ginger!

2. You had several agents vying for your novel - how did you decide on Ginger?

I spoke to each of the agents on the phone, and Ginger really seemed to 'get' the novel, was really nice and also a great business person. It was a really difficult decision - imagine the shock of three different literary agents (from America no less - when you're an Aussie, their accents make them seem like they've stepped out of a TV show) all suddenly wanting to work with you! You, little Steph Bowe (actually, I'm little Steph Bowe. This second-person thing I always do is a bit confusing). But I defintiely made the right choice - I've really enjoyed working with Ginger so far.

3. Now that you’ve got an agent, what's next?

Next, the novel goes out on submission to publishers! There is a lot of waiting, but hopefully it will find a publisher. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

4. How has your book changed from the first draft to the finished copy of the book?

It's nowhere near finished yet - when it finds a publishers, there will be a whole lot more revisions before it's ready for print (hopefully it reaches that point!). But it has changed hugely from that first draft, subsequent rewrites after critiques from beta-readers, and a rewrite with my agent - but it remains intrinsically the same. The bits I have rewritten have only strengthened the novel - and feedback from beta-readers has been invaluable to me!

5. Why do you write YA?

It's the only thing I know! I know very well what it's like to be a teenager, and even if I haven't experienced something myself, I can relate to the emotions. I love writing about teenaged characters - I'm pretty good at the dialogue, because I have so many conversations with teenagers! I might venture into another genre as I get older, but for now, it's YA for me!

6. What are you reading right now? What YA book have you read recently that you really enjoyed?

Right now I'm reading Gringolandia by Lynn Miller-Lachman. Recently I read both Split by a Kiss and Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja, and they were absolutely hilarious. It's always nice to read a more light-weight book to take a break from heavier, edgier stuff (see, sometimes fluff is good!).

7. Besides writing, what other things are you really passionate about?

I love singing, dancing (though I do neither of those in public), reading (no surprise there), blogging (shock!), cooking... apart from writing, I have heaps of interests, but I'm not super-passionate about anything else!

8. Do you listen to music when you write? What are your favorite bands and artists?

I do listen to music when I write! Usually I put my iPod on shuffle, or I make up a playlist for a specific story. Right now, I'm listening to a lot of Regina Spektor, Cobra Starship, The Killers, The Kinks, Coldplay and a bit of The Academy Is....

9. Where do you get your ideas?

I steal them from the dreams of legitimate authors! I am an idea-stealing super-ninja! Not really. Mainly, I'll see something - a film, a phrase, a blade of grass, pretty much anything - and then from there an idea will germinate in my head. Sometimes it'll extend to a character, a fully-formed plot, a story demanding to be written. Then I write it!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

1. Write. Write a lot. Writing comes before blogging about writing, talking about writing and reading about writing. You just have to write, else you aren't a writer.

2. Be willing to receive critiques on your work and revise. Recognise the difference between unhelpful and helpful advice. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

3. Don't be afraid of sending your work out. Just make your writing as ready as it can be, then send it off. It can't hurt. Be patient, and handle rejection well. Patience and a thick-skin are key (I still don't have either of these things, though!).

11. Finally, can you tell us a bit about the famous novel in question?!

I will be talking about this on my blog ( very, very soon, but for now, I'll tell you some things that are in my novel: A boy, a girl, a lake, Yum Cha, a ridiculously tall child prodigy (or two - yes, two), kissing (but not that much - ew), M&M's, hot chips, a stolen lobster, several stolen garden gnomes, some very inappropriate remarks, a funny-sad romance. (I know, you're absolutely bursting to find out what those inappropriate remarks are, aren't you?)

Thanks so much!


I want to thank Steph for the great interview. And best of luck to your book!


  1. I can tell you that Steph's book is fabulous, because I have read it in at least two incarnations - and she's right, it just gets better and better.

    And Steph's advice for aspiring authors is dead-on.

    I've chatted about her and her agent signing a bit over on my blog.

  2. Wonderful interview with a fantabulous writer. I heart Steph like WHOA (well, her writing, but you know...), and this is a great little window into who she is and what she does. Great stuff!