Friday, 23 September 2016

YA SHOT : Blog Tour with Catherine Johnson!

Hello! Catherine and Faridah’s YA Shot blog here!
Welcome to our blog post!

I’m Catherine, a writer who’s written loads of novels for teens and YA, including The Curious Tale of The Lady Caraboo and Sawbones, as well as for TV and film.

And I'm Faridah, a student, a blogger and a Ravenclaw!

When we were matched and first started talking one of the topics that came up was diversity. And of course, there is loads of work to be done but to be honest it’s usually the only thing I am asked about and while I agree it is important I rather wish and hope that within my lifetime this becomes normal in publishing and the book world  just as it is in life.

And I could drone on and on about my latest book – Blade and Bone since you ask - but that wouldn’t be surprising.

So we’re turning things on their heads a bit. Instead of Faridah interviewing me I thought I’d ask Faridah some questions.  It’s undoubtedly harder and harder for any writer in today’s climate and I am always interested in what readers – that vanishing breed – think.  So I’d like to thank Faridah for her thoughtful and interesting answers.

My first question is about reading, as a reader with your finger on the pulse, I’d like to ask you what books have blown you away this year? Is there any genre that you think is delivering beyond expectations?
For the first time ever I haven’t had a book that has blown me away this year – which is really weird. I guess this is due to me not reading as much as I usually do. I have been really inspired this year through reading Malcolm X’s Autobiography because he really speaks and thinks in a way that I hadn’t dared to do before.
A genre that has delivered beyond my expectation would be literature classics – which I have been reading a lot more of for uni. I honestly expected to be bored, but instead I found myself loving these books more than the books I usually read published/written post 2000’s.

It seems to me like there are trillions of interesting books out almost every month. As a writer I’d like to know what influences your decision to pick up a book. Word of mouth? A good friend’s rec? How much does a cover speak to you? Is hype a good or bad thing?
I used to really rely on booktube for recommendations, as well as friends and their recs but as of this year I have been searching for books with more diverse characters.
I remember when I first joined the world of YA, I hated book covers that had real human beings on them. Now if the cover is pretty, it’s a bonus. I think I have become less superficial about my cover choice!
Hype is something that I tend not to notice until after I have read the book. I have read a few books with hype surrounding it, and it has honestly made me dislike the book more than I would have without the hype. I read a certain book in early August that had been hyped up constantly over the year and I didn’t understand the hype at all. Then again I have read amazing books such as Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, where I was aware of the hype and I honestly agreed with the hype it received. Therefore I think that hype can put too much of a pedestal on a book before a reader has even had the opportunity to judge it.

I’ve seen the blogging world begin to change YA for the good most especially in regards to sexuality and gender. There’s been a massive shift in a comparatively short amount of time, what do you see as the important issues for the book community in future? 

The growth in this community has been fantastic. I am so pleased with how sexuality and gender has been received and celebrated. I do think some area’s of LGBT plus are lacking in novels, and I hope to see a difference in the future.
I however think that now we need to discuss race and culture more in books. We need to understand different people's walks of life and how it feels, for example, to be gay in a different culture or even to suffer from a mental illness in a different culture as there are big differences.
I look forward to seeing race and culture being discussed a lot more.

And finally what sort of book would you like to read that you haven’t?
(and when are you going to write it!)

I would love to read a book about people of colour and their experiences with mental health – given their backgrounds. If I were to write a book like this, I think it would help so many people. Maybe I’ll give it a try!

Faridah I look forward to it!

Thank you for reading our blog post! I hope you all enjoyed it :-)

(Disclaimer: The images used in this post are not mine)

Catherine’s latest book Blade and Bone is out on October 6th from Walker Books

Yours Faithfully, 

~ Literature and Tea

No comments:

Post a Comment