Interview with Shanta Everington, Author of XY
“A highly original and thought-provoking dystopian novel.
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it!”
Luisa Plaja, Chicklish, the UK’s Teen Fiction Site
About Shanta Everington
Shanta Everington is the author of seven books, including three young adult novels – Give Me a Sign, Boy Red and latest release XY (joint winner of the Red Telephone Books YA Novel Competition). She has had all sorts of jobs in the past, from baking vegan muffins and working as a private tutor to appearing as a guest agony aunt and running a teen sexual health helpline. With an MA in Creative Writing with distinction, Shanta currently teaches Creative Writing with The Open University. She lives in London, UK, with her husband and two children. Visit www.shantaeverington.co.uk
1) Do you plan first or just write and learn where your characters go?
I am definitely a character-led rather than plot-led writer. For me, a story always starts with a character in crisis and evolves from there. Having said that, I do appreciate the importance of a strong plot in YA fiction. Sometimes, if characters lead me astray, I have to step back and rework the story. With XY, I had a rough idea of where the story might go before I started. But the characters still had me jumping through hoops!
2) What inspires you most to write?
Voices in my head… Characters build up inside my mind, at first whispering, then chatting, and finally shouting!
3) Growing up what were your favorite authors/books?
The first books I remember owning are traditional fairy stories - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast. It amazes me how certain stories endure. As a teenager, I loved reading Judy Blume - her characters spoke to me as a girl going through adolescence.
4) Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
Read a lot and write the type of stories you like to read but don’t copy others or try too hard to follow trends. Find your own voice.
5) If you could be reborn in a different era when would you choose?
I don’t think I’d like to go backwards in time because, by and large, I think life has improved for women as time has gone by. Maybe I could be reborn in the future. I kind of like the idea of reincarnation actually. Maybe I’ll come back as a lizard or something!
6) What is your favorite line from the book?
‘If half of you dies, is there half a soul left floating somewhere?’
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.
Would it possible to live without gender?
Fifteen-year-old Jesse lives in a world where babies are born neither male nor female - Compulsory Gender Assignment is carried out at birth. Will the secret she closely guards be found out? Boyfriend Zeus, mother Ana's Natural Souls, and new friend Ork, leader of We Are One, pull Jesse in different directions, forcing her to make her own mind up about who she really is.
XY by Shanta Everington is out now in paperback or on Kindle
Author website: www.shantaeverington.co.uk
Hope you guys go and check this out. I shall be soon and will let you know what I think.