Frances Hardinge, author of The Lie Tree (Macmillan Children's Books), answers five questions about her book and YA.
What is The Lie Tree about?
My usual potted summary is 'Victorian gothic murder mystery, but with extra palaeontology, post mortem photography, feminism and blasting powder'.
What does it mean to be on the YA Book Prize shortlist?
It's very exciting! For one thing, the other titles are outstanding, so I'm extremely proud to have infiltrated their ranks.
Why do you think your book should win?
I assume 'because I really like prizes' isn't a legitimate reason? How about: 'because if it doesn't win, I'll set my eerie, shadow-loving, lie-munching tree on everyone'?
What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
To be honest, I still don't know enough about YA outside UK and Ireland to make informed comparisons, although I'm working on learning more. However, I can testify to the fact that writing YA in the UK and Ireland is very exciting right now. Prizes like this one do a great deal to support YA writers, increase exposure and bring their names and books to a wider market.
What kind of YA books do you like to read?
I have a particular soft spot for YA genre fiction, but I enjoy all sorts! As with adult fiction, I like protagonists who carve their own destiny, rather than having one delivered to them, pre-wrapped.