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Author Interview - Kim Curran

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Kim's debut book Shift has just been released, and you can read my review here. I've chatted to her on Twitter and met her at a signing, and she's kindly answered a few of my questions.



Q. Let’s start with your book, which has just been published, what’s it about?


A. My book is called, Shift, and it’s about a 16-year old boy called Scott Tyler who realises he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first he thinks that’s going to be pretty awesome. But as his undone decisions start to unravel his world he realises that it might just get him killed.

It’s got action, secret government divisions, brain-eating nut jobs, exploding trains, exploding brains!, a touch of romance and, I hope, a lot of fun!


Q. It’s a fascinating idea - where did the inspiration for shifting come from?


A. Thank you! I can track the exact moment when the idea came to me. I was on a bus on my way home from work, looking at everyone scurrying around, and thinking about all the decisions we make and where they lead us. At the same time, I was thinking about a book I’d just read about quantum physics, in particular something called the double slit experiment. And BAM! The idea hit me. What if we could undo our decisions the way light changes from wave to particle? Everything else came out of that one thought.


Q. Did you always intend to write it as a YA book, or did it just evolve that way?


A. When I first started to write I hadn’t heard the term YA. But I did always want to write for, or rather about, teens. For me, those teenage years, where you’re caught between two worlds, is rich with possibility. And so that’s why I was drawn to it.


Q. Shift is your debut book, what was your road to publication like?


A. Mine was a pretty standard journey, in that it was a crazy rollercoaster! I had written one book, also for teens, which got a fair amount of attention but was never loved quite enough to get me a publishing deal. Dealing with rejections with that book was both crushing and toughening. After I finally decided to put that aside, I wrote Shift in about 5 months, it was picked up by the first agent who read it, and it was out within 8 months of me getting the book deal. So it went from lots of slow noes, to lots of very, very fast YESSES!


Q. Have you always enjoyed writing?


A. I have. And equally, I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. I loved nothing more as a kid that holding the attention of my family with a puppet show or the like. As I got older, the writing became more private, and in my teens I mostly wrote terrible poetry about heartbreak! I’ve been a copywriter for 15 years and I love that sort of writing too.

I’m really faddy and I have a new favourite interest each month. But writing is the one thing that hasn’t lost its shine for me. I’m going to quote Gloria Steinem on this: “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”


Q. How does it feel now it’s actually sitting on the shelves?


A. I don’t actually know how to express it. Amazing, weird, wonderful, terrifying. It’s sort of everything at once. But I’ll say this much, I know now that I don’t want to do anything else with my life!

Early review copies are quite common now, how did it feel to start getting reviews in before the book was officially published?

That was tough, actually. Not so much the reviews as my terror of them. Especially as I was in the middle of writing the sequel as they started to come through. The idea that my baby was out there being picked over by reviewers who really knew what they were talking about… well, it gave me a few sleepless nights!


Q. You’ve said you’re going to avoid looking for reviews because you worry about the bad ones.. are you sticking to that, or giving in to curiosity?


A. I’m still sticking to that. I just haven’t developed a thick enough skin yet to let the bad ones wash over me! The deal is that my editor sends me the good ones. Which is sneaky, I know, but I really just have to focus on the writing for the moment. Perhaps when book two is out I’ll look back over the comments for book one!


Q. What lies ahead for you, is there going to be more books about shifting and/or are you working on something else?


A. Yes, as I’ve hinted above, I’ve already written Shift 2, which is called Control. And hopefully, there will also be Shift 3, which – if things go to plan – will be called Delete. I am also just about to finish writing another YA book, currently called The Network, which is sort of about our desire to belong and the insidious powers of social networks. It’s still action-packed though.


Q. Finally, tell us a little bit about you as a reader, what do you like, and what are you reading at the moment?


A. I’m a very varied reader. I leap from genre to genre and even from medium to medium, as I love comic books as much as books. I love gripping stories with exciting characters, and I also love books that make me think and gasp at the beauty of the language. Sci-fi, fantasy, history, crime, thrillers, romantic comedy: I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s good! In fact, the only thing I won’t read is misery memoirs, as it just doesn’t do it for me.

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