May Day Mine | Verity Croker

Today we have a piece by Verity about her #LoveOzYA novel, May Day Mine! Although we haven’t read this one yet, we’re eager to pick it up soon – maybe even for one of the squares on our Bingo Challenge!

Thank you, Verity!

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Even though May Day Mine is published by Harmony Ink Press in the US, it is a #LoveOzYA title as the author, me, is Australian, and the book is set in Australia, based on the Beaconsfield mine disaster. I was inspired by the event to create a fictional account, with a fictional family, as I was trying to imagine what it would have been like to live in that small town at that time. I started writing it ages ago, and spent a lot of time on it during my Master of Arts in Creative Writing course at the University of Tasmania. The other students in the class and the tutor gave me lots of helpful input to try to bring my fictional family to life. I didn’t want it to be a realistic version of exactly what happened, as I felt a responsibility to the real families who were involved and I didn’t want to upset them. So I changed the number of men who died in the rock fall, and changed the number of men trapped, so no one character would represent a real person.Read More »

Q&A with Mark Smith

Today we have another excellent #LoveOzYA interview with an author we love – Mark Smith! Read all about his recent YA release, how he writes, and what some of his favourite #LoveOzYA novels are. We hope you enjoy!

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We loved you novel, The Road To Winter, and it’s sequel. Why did you decide to focus your novel on such a serious topic?

I didn’t really set out to write a serious book. First and foremost I wanted to tell a gripping story because, as a reader, that’s what I look for in fiction. The development of the characters in the dystopian setting I create allows me to explore some deeper issues around violence, the treatment of asylum seekers and climate change. Being an educator, I know one of the best ways of engaging young people in an issue is to personalise it – create characters they feel a deep empathy for, then look at the way they deal with conflict, cruelty and a changed world. Younger readers will relate to them by putting themselves in the characters’ shoes and thinking about how they would deal with such a situation.

What type of research did you have to undertake to ensure that your novels were received well?

I work principally with fifteen year old boys, many of them reluctant readers. So I began by surveying them about their reading habits and putting together a list of what they look for in a novel. Not surprisingly, they wanted suspense, humour, a twist (or three), unpredictability, mystery, a deeper story, thrills, action, a strong climax and not too much description. I added strong female characters, a sixteen year old protagonist and a blooming romance – and I had the framing for the Winter series.Read More »

Q&A with Sarah Epstein

Sarah Epstein’s Small Spaces is one of the #LoveOzYA debuts coming out next year that we can’t wait to get our hands on, so we couldn’t resist asking her a few questions for our #LoveOzYA Month to learn more about it! This is an interview you don’t want to miss – and you’ll be adding a ton of awesome #LoveOzYA novels to your TBR as well!

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We’re so excited that your debut YA novel, Small Spaces, is being released next year! What was your path to publication like?

Thank you! I’m so excited too! I’d like to say my path to publication was relatively straightforward, but the truth is it took several years of submitting three different manuscripts to agents and editors before Small Spaces found a home. I started writing YA around a decade ago and it took me a few years to finish my first manuscript because I was bringing up babies and running a small business at the same time. I ended up shelving that manuscript after its first round of submissions because I realised it had a couple of major plot issues. But my second manuscript snagged me a US agent and was shopped around to US publishers for the best part of a year, resulting in a disappointingly close call at acquisitions and loads of rejections. I’d started writing Small Spaces by that stage, but ended up parting ways with my agent. It was a really challenging time because I felt like I’d tumbled to the bottom of the heap again, and I really had to pick myself up and keep going. Nicola, my editor from Walker Books, stumbled across my website after I’d just started querying Small Spaces, and after reading a short synopsis on my site, she requested my manuscript the same day. From there it took another nine months of back and forth with Walker, including another revision of the manuscript, before I was offered a contract.Read More »

A Month of #LoveOzYA Goodness

Next month, we’re celebrating all things #LoveOzYA! As The YA Room is coming up to its first birthday, we want to spread the love for the community that welcomed us with open arms. Twelve months ago, The YA Room was just a hopeful experiment, created by two girls that met at a book launch and share the same passion for reading. We both wanted to create a space for Melbourne YA book lovers to come together on a monthly basis and talk books.

As everyone in the #LoveOzYA community helped to spread the word, we went from being a book club with less than ten people at a couple of our initial Book Meets, to hosting Q&As with authors at the Wheeler Centre. We know that The YA Room will only continue to grow, and we have the #LoveOzYA community to thank for that. The authors, bloggers, readers, and industry professionals who come together to form this community are the most welcoming, kind, and passionate people we’ve ever come across, and we’re eternally grateful for all of you. We wouldn’t exist without you.

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We know that next year will be an even bigger and better year, and we’re excited to plan more Book Meets, host some bigger events, and continue to spread the love of YA. But we want to finish off the year with a bang. So in December, please join us in celebrating all things #LoveOzYA by participating in our Bingo Challenge and sharing the content that Aussie bloggers, authors, and booktubers, will be contributing to our blog and YouTube channel across December.

Towards the end of this month, we’ll be releasing the schedule for all the #LoveOzYA content that we’ll be sharing across our various social media platforms. We have so many exciting contributors, and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s pitching in. In conjunction with these amazing Aussie content creators, we’re going to be sharing our favourite #LoveOzYA novels, what the #LoveOzYA community means to us, and what upcoming releases we’re most looking forward to.

We’d like you to take this time in December to think about the impact the #LoveOzYA community has had on you and what your favourite #LoveOzYA novels are, and we’d love to see you sharing your thoughts across social media. Remember to tag us so we can share your insights!

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But what’s undeniably going to be the most fun aspect of our month of #LoveOzYA goodness is the #LoveOzYA Bingo Challenge we’ve created! This is the first bingo challenge we’ve made, and we hope you’ll get involved. Plus, there are some epic prizes to be won! Scroll down to learn more.Read More »

WRECK Book Meet + other events!

Hi friends! Wow, we can’t believe that it’s already halfway through the year! We’ve had an amazing first half of 2017, and we can’t wait to continue to hold great events and meet even greater bookish people in the remaining months of the year! We have some exciting things planned, and we can’t wait to share them with you soon.

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The first event we have coming up this month is our Twitter chat – #YARoomChat! We hold this online chat every month and discuss about some of the themes and questions raised by out Book of the Month, which is Wreck. We absolutely loved reading this #LoveOzYA novel, and we can’t wait to talk all about it with you!

Find us on Twitter @TheYARoom_MELB.

Wreck Twitter Chat

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Following our Twitter chat, Thursday of that same week we have one of the most anticipated bookish events of this year – #YAFanFest17, hosted by Allen & Unwin! Last year, only people in Sydney were lucky enough to attend, but this year we’ve joined forces with Allen & Unwin to make the first ever Melbourne event for the #YAFanFest possible! We’re lucky enough to be joined by the lovely Lili Wilkinson, where she’ll be talking about everything bookish, answering questions, and having a live-stream with the Sydney event! There might even be some bookish games and awesome prizes. Tickets are limited, so don’t miss out! We hope to see you there.

Grab your tickets here.

YAFanFest YA Room

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And then, on the last Sunday of the month, we have our Wreck Book Meet at Dymocks! We can’t wait to talk all about this awesome #LoveOzYA novel, so if you love YA, come along! We’re always thrilled to see some new faces. We meet in the upstairs section of the cafe at Dymocks, so you can treat yourself to a hot drink or some cake! It’s bound to be a lovely afternoon surrounded by bookish people.

Get your tickets here.

Wreck Book Meet

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Well, it looks like this month is going to be another busy one! We’re looking forward to all of our upcoming events and we hope to see you there. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Sarah and Alex ❤️