Meet the 2017 #YA10 authors

Malorie Blackman

Can you sum up Chasing the Stars in one sentence?
Chasing The Stars is a story of love, jealousy, murder and betrayal set in space!
Why did you write Chasing the Stars?
I’d wanted to write a story inspired by Shakespeare’s “Othello” for quite some time. My main character Olivia is the captain of a ship who is desperately trying to make her way back home to Earth after a mysterious virus has wiped out her crew. She rescues some human refugees and falls in love with one of them, a guy called Nathan. But someone on board is intent on sabotaging Olivia’s new relationship.  And then the deaths start...
What does it mean to be on the YA Book Prize shortlist?
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of such an amazing shortlist which is truly diverse in subject matter. There is something for every reading taste here. I’m just thrilled to be a part of that.  
Which book made you a fan of YA?
Growing up, there were no books written specifically for YA to be honest. Yes, I’m that old!  The book that made me want to write YA was Melvin Burgess’s Junk (such a fantastic book). The books that switched me on to YA books were Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty and Fifteen by Beverly Cleary among others.
What is special about YA from the UK and Ireland?
While I love reading about experiences from around the world, there’s something about the familiarity of recognisable landscapes, people and places that is also incredibly enjoyable and satisfying. YA books from the UK and Ireland keep getting bolder and better. Long may it continue.

Sara Barnard

Can you sum up Beautiful Broken Things in one sentence?
Longtime best friends Caddy and Rosie learn about friendship, love and recovery when Suzanne hurricanes into their lives.

Why did you write Beautiful Broken Things?
Because it wouldn't let me go! The characters have been with me for a long time. I wanted to explore the "after" of a traumatic experience, the way the effects can linger and what the impact can be on a young person and their relationships.

What does it mean to be on the YA Book Prize shortlist?
A huge amount. This is *the* prize that honours and celebrates YA in all its variety and diversity. Just look at the list - there's such a range of genre, content and style, taking readers from the depths of space to inner London. There's something for everyone in YA, and this prize recognises that. I feel very honoured and proud to be on the list.

Which book made you a fan of YA?
It wasn't a single book, so I couldn't name just one. There wasn't much of what we now call YA around when I was actually a teenager, especially not from the UK, but I loved Sarra Manning and Malorie Blackman. Across the sea, I was a big fan of Jaclyn Moriarty in Australia and Sarah Dessen in the US.

What is special about YA from the UK and Ireland?
I think it's very honest - you don't see much romanticising, which is a great thing. It's down-to-earth and often quite unflinching. You can tell you're reading a British/Irish YA book from the first page.