photo credit: Linda Woodard 2019
Today I bring to you a very exciting post! I’ve been very lucky and had the opportunity to ask the wonderful Eve Ainsworth some questions about her writing and, in particular, her new release Because of You, which is out this month with Barrington Stoke. I raced through this one and, even though it’s a lot shorter than her other books, it was packed with such important themes and still felt like it explored those topics so well and I loved reading it!
For those who haven’t had a chance to read Because of You yet, how would you sum it up?
Because of You is about a young girl, Poppy, who is struggling with some huge changes in her life. Her mum is moving her new boyfriend into her house, her Dad is becoming more unreliable and school life is both challenging and unpredictable. Poppy is juggling lots of things all at once and suddenly they all seem to be crashing down around her.
Your books cover such important topics that can be quite hard-hitting, and Because of You is no exception. As a reader who’s been affected by a few of these issues but has felt that you’ve hit the nail on the head with how you’ve tackled them, I’m interested to know how do you go about “getting it right”?
That’s quite hard to answer as I don’t always know! I’m just glad to hear that I am getting it right, as that’s all that matters to me. I guess I didn’t have an easy time of it growing up, which is something I’ve never forgotten and is often reflected in my books. I also spent many years working closely with teenagers who were struggling with various issues, so I hope that this has helped me to keep my books authentic and fresh.
How do you choose the topics that you write about?
I usually come up with a character first and weirdly that character will often ‘tell’ me what it is that is troubling them. It’s a very strange process!
Because of You was slightly different because I knew I wanted to focus on blended families, as I know it’s something a lot of young people experience and can have difficulties with and I like my books to be reflective. It was only while writing the book that I realised Poppy was going to be bullied too. Often my writing is very instinctive and character-driven and takes me on quite an exciting journey while I’m writing!
I really understood how Poppy was feeling throughout Because of You and I think she handles everything in such a mature way and is really a character to look up to! Where do you get your inspiration from for your characters, and how do you manage to get them to reflect how real teens and young adults feel in such an accurate way?
Again I think that it helped that I worked with teenagers for quite a long time in a very direct job – so they would talk to me in an open and honest way. I also have a big family, so have a lot of young people around me. I find it hard to tell you where my characters come from, because they just evolve in my mind over time. I’m not even quite sure how it happens! I’m just glad that my brain manages to create them for me.
Barrington Stoke do an amazing job of bringing engaging stories to a wider audience by producing dyslexia friendly books – was the process of writing a novella specifically for Barrington Stoke a challenge compared to writing a novel?
Not at all. To be honest, it’s been an amazing experience. I had to make sure that I kept the story and plot tight, because the books are much shorter, but I found that to be an exciting challenge. Barrington Stoke focus on the editing to ensure that the book is dyslexic friendly, so I don’t have to worry about that part, they just want me to focus on the story. This mean the book is specifically edited, and goes through a few more ‘editing stages’ but it is a fascinating process and one I loved being part of.
There’s been a lot of discussion since I started blogging about the decline of sales of UKYA, but at the same time there’s been such a lot of support shown towards authors because it’s such a vital category. As a leading author of UKYA, what’s your take on this and what can we all (authors, publishers, readers etc) do to encourage UKYA?
I think we all just need to continue what we are doing already – but perhaps a little louder and prouder. We need to shout loud about those amazing YA books that have been read, promote authors who might not be as visible and keep being champions of this wonderful eclectic, diverse and exciting genre.
Wow – what wonderful answers! Thank you so much to Eve for taking the time to answer my questions, and to Kristin at Barrington Stoke for arranging this for me! Because of You is out today from Barrington Stoke, and I’d highly recommend getting a copy!