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Interview With Steph Bowe!

May 25, 2010

The lovely and talented Steph Bowe, who’s recently been the subject of entries both here and over at Jezebel, was kind enough to make time for a few of my questions. Steph is a 16-year-old author and blogger who lives in Victoria, Australia. Her debut novel, Girl Saves Boy, comes out in Australia and New Zealand this September and in the US in 2011. “Life, death, love…and garden gnomes”? Sign me up!

I was delighted to have the chance to interview Steph — so without further ado, here’s what she had to say!

1. Your age has obviously become a fairly significant topic of discussion, starting with your “Does age matter in publishing?” entry, continuing on to Jezebel’s article about “teen phenoms,” and coming full circle with your post in response to Jezebel. When you began heading down the road to publication, did you expect your age to be such a talking point? Does it bother you to have it brought up so frequently?
I knew it would be such a talking point, and it only bothers me occasionally – like when people tell me I was only published because of my age. But this is the sort of stuff you have to deal with as a young person doing anything – people will make a lot of assumptions, and you just have to ignore most of them. Personally, I’ve never really felt like a teenager or a sixteen-year-old or anything – I’m just Steph Bowe, an individual like everybody else is. My age is not the most important part of my identity.

2. In your entry responding to Jezebel’s article, you describe the experience of being published as “massively stressful.” Can you expand on that a bit?
Well, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that the hard part is writing the book and getting the book deal, and then you hand over the book and that’s that. Well, that’s not it at all. There are months and months of revisions, meetings with editors and publicists, a lot of pressure to write the next book, appearances and scheduling of tours when the book comes out. And there’s no guarantee the book will sell or that you’ll ever be published again, and everyone you know starts to resent you because you’ve got a bit of success. I totally wasn’t prepared for the stress of it, because no one told me there’d be so much involved! I don’t really have time for a life anymore, between writing and schoolwork.

3. As you mention on your blog, young writers are often particularly pressed for time, as they’re still tackling schoolwork on top of everything else. How do you balance being a student, an author, and a blogger? (i.e. do you drink some sort of super-powered soda that the rest of us should be made aware of?)
Well, studying, writing and the related responsibilities, and blogging are pretty much the only things I do. I’m not sure how I manage it either. There’s a lot of late-night schoolwork, crazy bursts of writing and blogging is just something I do to keep me sane. I’m hoping soon I’ll figure out how to also fit in sleeping, eating and a social life. I think adult writers are pretty pressed for time, too, though – I’ve no idea how people manage to work full-time jobs or raise children and still write.

4. I’d love to know more about your book-writing process as compared to your blogging process. Do you find yourself brainstorming/crafting blog entries the same way you do your other writing?
I tend to just think of a topic for a blog post that’s on my mind at that moment, and then write out a few hundred words on the topic. Most of my book-writing tends to be a lot more involved – I don’t write a whole ton of short stories, either – so it requires a lot moe planning before I can dive right into writing. The ideas need a while to percolate in my head. I’d liken blogging more to writing articles for a newspaper or magazine, but maybe a little more informal. I can just write about what I want to write about at that moment. Writing a novel is something where you have to sit down and think, what do I want to write for the next six months? I find blogging a whole lot easier than novel writing!

5. Girl Saves Boy comes out excitingly soon! Do you have plans for your next project?
I’m revising book two at the moment, and have ideas burbling for book three. But I can’t talk about either, just in case I jinx them!

Thanks so much, Steph!

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 27, 2010 12:39 am

    Thanks for sharing this. It is impressive finding the time to write and deal with school and everything else.

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