This week I got to ask this talented writer a few questions....
Your latest novel, Dark Poppy's Demise, has just been released in South Africa. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Dark Poppy’s Demise is my third published novel for teen readers. Sixteen year old Jenna Brooks is your average teen trying to get through high school without making too many waves, crushing after the class hunk, and living vicariously through her best friend’s love life. When Jenna meets a guy online she believes her greatest wish has finally come true: to be loved. But anyone who’s read my previous two novels will know that I don’t do happily ever after and terrible things tend to happen to my characters. Long story short: meeting strangers online is a bad idea. Full stop.
How long did it take you to write this book?
This book took an inordinately long time. After I had finished it in third person I then decided to re-write the entire thing in first person. I’d say it took me about six to eight months before I finally let go.
What mainly inspires and influences your writing?
Anything and everything. Here’s a list: Karen Russell’s short stories, Winter, Overcast days, The White Stripes, The smell of second hand books, Chapman’s Peak, The little streets in Noordhoek that abound with gnarled trees, Ivy covered houses, De Waal Drive at twilight, The ocean, Mountain drives, The X-Men cartoon series, Roman Polanski movies, Tom Waits, Abandoned houses, Dub step (don’t ask me why), The TV series 'Skins', Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Are your characters ever based on people you actually know?
I always joke that Principle Crabtree from The Goblet Club was based on my own high school principle who used to make us sing hymns over and over again until he was satisfied but usually I stay clear of basing characters on people I know. That said I can safely say that Jenna in Dark Poppy’s Demise has a little bit of me in her.
Have you already started work on your next novel?
I’m generally busy with at least two projects at any given time, but its not like I slave away day and night writing novels. I have a full time job so what generally happens is I’ll lie in bed jotting down thoughts in a notebook or if I have a spare Saturday I’ll write a few chapters. I do have a completed manuscript waiting in the works so hopefully something will happen with that.
So far all your books have been young adult fiction, would you ever write in another genre?
I never set out to write for the youth. I enjoy writing about young people. They tend to experience life on a much grander scale than the rest of us. (Plus I enjoy doing terrible things to them ala Christopher Pike) I wouldn't want to change.
Who is your favourite author?
I have several authors that I really enjoy. Growing up I devoured anything and everything by K.A. Applegate, Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight and Harry Potter series (even though by that stage I was well into my adulthood). I also read a lot of South African fiction.
Do you have any advice for writers who are struggling to finish their first novel?
Just finish it. When you get halfway you’ll probably start to lose interest and write less and less. Push through that. It’ll be worth it at the end when you have a completed manuscript.
Where can people buy your books?
Exclusive Books, Wordsworths, Kalahari, Loot.
You can follow Sally on Twitter @Sapartridge
and can visit her blog here