Home Interviews Ebony McKenna for Lost in Young Adults

Ebony McKenna for Lost in Young Adults

by Louisa Klein

1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
Definitely the latter. I don’t think you can do it if your heart isn’t in it. It’s hard to examine one’s subconscious while writing, but I think I’m writing all the books I loved as a teenager. Adventures, and great laughs; romance with feisty girls and swoonworthy boys.
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
Plenty! The late Frank Muir was a fabulous mentor and he wrote hilarious children’s books about a barking mad dog called What-a-Mess. I wrote him a fan-letter when I was about 11 and he wrote back! So I kept writing to him . . . and he was polite enough to keep replying! Other authors who have been huge influences include William Goldman (The Princess Bride) and Douglas Adams (Hitch Hiker series) These days I am madly in awe of Philippa Gregory, Kate Noble, Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie. Hmmm, I’m sensing an historical theme here!
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future
My latest release is Ondine: The Autumn Palace. I had such a fun time taking Ondine and Hamish’s relationship further for book two. I didn’t want a love triangle or a break up, because that wouldn’t be true to them or fair to the readers. Instead I had them stealing kisses whenever possible, while trying to juggle the demands of busy lives and palace intrigue. Oh yes, and figuring out who wants the Duke of Brugel dead. I have written the third Ondine book, and many other stand-alone books as well, so I’m hoping great things happen with them in the future. They’re all for Young Adults with lashings of weird.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
Very difficult! I wrote six manuscripts in 12 years before something clicked and Ondine came along. My attitude has always been that I’m in this for the long haul, so there will be rejections along the way. I earned plenty. The thing authors never want to admit is that even after a publishing deal, there can still be rejections. It’s never plain sailing, although there are moments of supreme joy that make up for it.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
Oh my gosh, how many hours do I have? I love the immediacy of reading an ebook – I want it, I buy it, I have it inside a minute. For an impatient person like me, it’s wonderful. I am absolutely torn about ever doing it myself, though. I can’t help thinking the “traditional” path I’ve taken is the right one.
The book has already cleared several editorial hurdles before going public. It doesn’t mean it will please everyone (that is impossible) but it’s already appealed to many people. Ebooks are a sensational way for authors to release their backlist, or release titles in territories where the book hasn’t previously been available. Again, this feeds my bias towards books that have already received editorial validation. Not all self-published titles are automatically bad though. I’ve read some thoroughly entertaining self-published stories and I’ve read some utter tripe. I don’t think I’m alone there. Whatever route writers take, if they put the reader first, the reader wins.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to > write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
I love social media, but I try not to let it take over. My writing day begins with writing first, then tweet/blog/do interviews later. (Note to self, take my own advice). To me, social media is about being approachable and sharing a few jokes. I hardly ever talk directly about my books because that’s a surefire way to alienate people. My tweets are about the weird and wonderful. I guess if you like my tweets, there’s a high chance you’ll enjoy the books. I can understand why publishers want their authors to have some kind of public presence. It’s about connecting with readers. Some writers do it every day with social networks, others do it only every couple of years via their next book. In the end, aren’t all writers are trying to make a connection? Meanwhile, I’ll keep tweeting the the weird and wonderful. Like this sign I saw today at the bottom of a travelator.
Info about the author:
Ebony McKenna is the Australian author of the Ondine novels, published in the UK and Commonwealth by Egmont. She has worked as a journalist, market researcher, website editor, and company director.
She also waitressed, cleaned and prepared food in her family’s restaurant when she was a teenager.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and young son and is a mad devotee of
the Eurovision Song Contest.
To know more, please visit:
Twitter: @ebonymckenna

To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below:

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