Questions with Nadia King

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N.L.King was born in Dublin, Ireland and now calls Australia home. Nadia is an author, blogger, and presenter.

Her debut book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by boutique small press, Serenity Press based in Western Australia. Nadia is passionate about using stories to reflect a diversity of realities in order to positively impact teen lives. Nadia’s short fiction has been published by Write Out Publishing, and has appeared in The Draft Collective, The Regal Fox, The Sunlight Press, Other Terrain Journal, and Tulpa Magazine. Nadia enjoys writing contemporary young adult fiction and short fiction, and lives in Western Australia with her family.

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Tell us a bit about your latest book.
My book, Jenna’s Truth, is a novella designed to be used in schools to engage students in discussion about cyberbullying, and ultimately, to leave them with a message of hope. It’s nice and short, and is being used in some WA high schools, particularly with reluctant readers. The story has also been dramatised by a number of schools and it’s very rewarding for me to see the book being used the way I hoped it would be.
What was the inspiration for the story?
Sadly in 2012, Amanda Todd, a Canadian teen, committed suicide after having a horrific time being cyberbullied. Her story went viral on Youtube and I was absolutely gutted when I saw it. I was so disturbed by Amanda’s story that I decided to write a different ending: one where the bullies didn’t win and where the girl didn’t die (sorry, spoiler alert!). (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gycqAJcDFM)
Tell us about your main character. Why should we fall in love with them?
You should love Jenna Wilson because she is you or I. She’s an ordinary girl who makes one stupid mistake with catastrophic consequences. I tried to make Jenna almost invisible so that the reader could slip seamlessly into her skin.
 
Have you always written, or is writing something you’ve come to in adulthood?
I’ve always wanted to write, but it took me until my 40s to do something about it! It felt very much like the proverbial biological clock except it was ticking for my last chance to embrace creativity. When I first left school, I worked as a journalist. After a short stint in a newspaper, I went onto uni and came out armed with a business degree and then I headed into the world of corporate communications. I’ve been very lucky because I’ve worked in many different industries which is a great background for storytelling.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton was my favourite book when I was young. I still want to slide down the slippery-slip and meet Moonface and Silky, and I’d love to climb up to the top of the tree to see what land is visiting today. When I got a little older, I became obsessed with the Hardy Boys! After that, I was an avid collector of the Sweet Dream books and read everything by Judy Blume. Today, I’m rather an eclectic reader and I’m always on the lookout for another great author to try.
Can you recommend another female author we should read?
I absolutely love Favel Parrett’s work (http://www.favelparrett.com.au). Her books, Past the Shallows and When the Night Comes, are gorgeous. For a book that keeps you guessing, I recommend Sarah Ridout’s modern gothic novel, Le Chateau (http://www.sarahridout.com.au). There are so many brilliant books by Australian women writers that we don’t need to look too far for great stories.
What was the last book you read and loved?
I recently read Anthea Hodgson’s The Drifter which is a rural romance but it’s much more than just a romance. Anthea has the most delicious sense of humour and there were some very funny, witty one-liners in The Drifter. Her male hero was a heavily bearded itinerant guy squatting in an outbuilding on a farm—she totally broke the mould with that one, but yet the story works perfectly. (http://www.antheahodgson.com)
Do you have a favourite quote by a female author?
I absolutely adore Margaret Atwood. Margaret Atwood: I think the main thing is: Just do it. Plunge in! Being Canadian, I go swimming in icy cold lakes, and there is always that dithering moment. “Am I really going to do this? Won’t it hurt?” And at some point you just have to flop int there and scream. Once you’re in, keep going. You may have to crumple and toss, but we all do that. Courage! I think that is what’s most required. (https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2qprzk/i_am_margaret_atwood_author_of_the_handmaids_tale/)
Tell us three fun facts about yourself, that other people might not know?
  • I rode an ostrich as a child despite my terror that the damn thing would turn around and look me in the eye.
  • My family has been involved with circuses for a very long time and my Nana was once a Ringmaster. Yes, I realise I am very lucky.
  • I’m superstitious about numbers and for some reason I really like (and trust) prime numbers.
Do you have a favourite illustrator of children’s books? Why?
I know quite a few illustrators because I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In particular, I really enjoy the work of Kelly Canby (https://kellycanby.com), France Lessac (https://www.franelessac.com), Cindy Lane (https://cindylane.com.au) and Fiona Burrows (http://www.fionaburrows.com).
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice I ever received was: “Just bloody write.”
And the worst piece of advice I’ve ever heard was: “Write what you know.” I’m researching a Western Australian historical event for a manuscript and I know next to nothing about that time period, but there’s no way in the world I’m going to let that stop me.
What is your favourite song by a female singer, and why?
I love ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Australian artist, Sia because I dare you to listen to it and not tap along or start belting out the lyrics. It’s the perfect song to sing while you’re cooking, showering, driving etc. In fact, it’s the perfect song for almost anything. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31crA53Dgu0)
Nadia-L-King

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