1. Describe your book to us in one sentence?
Finding a Voice is about how meeting someone who really understands you can change your life in ways you never anticipated.
2. What does it mean to be on the first YA Book Prize shortlist?
It is an incredible honour to be on the first YA Book Prize shortlist with such talented writers. It also means that so many more people know about Finding a Voice than ever would have without being on the list. It doesn't mean everyone will love it, but at least they know about it. For that, I am eternally grateful.
3. Why do you think your book should win?
Listen, I am still in shock at my book being on the list at all! I'm working my way through the other books on the list, and after each one I think, "Well that should be the winner!" Honestly, I wrote a debut that was the right book for me to write, and I wrote it in the very best way that I could write it. After that, the rest is largely out of my hands.
4. What is your all-time favourite YA book?
I think Keren and I must have similar tastes in books; The Outsiders is one of my all-time favourites too. I have so many favourites though, and so I'll pick The Pigman and Me by Paul Zindel. Above all else, I have always loved characters who feel real.
5. What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
I think in general, writers and publishers are more willing to be really truthful in portraying teen life, not for any shock value, but just to get it right. There also seems to be fewer "beautiful people", and more real people instead in UK and Irish YA (except Louise's book of course, which brilliantly tackles this topic head on with her excessively beautiful people).
Next Week: Louise O'Neill