BCM: As someone who has tried acting and is now an author, do you believe that you have always been a creative person, looking for the right outlet?
LC: Yes, I’ve always been a little on the creative side. At school, I adored anything that let me think outside the box - English, Drama, Music. I was always terribly ordinary at anything logical like Maths and Science (though I really really really wanted to be good at Biology!). I think if I hadn’t become an author, I would have continued being creative in a different way...perhaps in the film world or in the teaching world. There are lots of different ways to be successfully creative in this life!
BCM: Stolen is written as a letter from Gemma to her abductor, Ty. Did you intend to write the book this way from the beginning or was it something that came about later?
LC: I was lucky, I guess. The first line of the book came to me one day - “You saw me before I saw you.” I went with it, just free writing on from there to see where it went. I got a little buzz of excitement when I realised that I was writing in the letter format. I’ve always wanted to write a book in the letter format. This book in particular needed a narrative style that was intimate and emotional, and the letter format suited perfectly. I also have had years of experience in writing letters, courtesy of growing up with a split life between the UK and Australia, so writing in a letter style came pretty naturally. Through writing in the style of a letter, I could get right up close to Gemma’s thoughts and feelings. And by doing so, I felt I could bring the reader straight into my protagonist’s emotional world. I wanted readers to go on the same emotional journey as Gemma does.
BCM: What made you choose the Australian outback as your location for Stolen?
LC: I’ve always wanted to write a book set in the Australian Outback. I’ve been obsessed with this landscape for as long as I can remember! I’ve travelled there quite a few times, first on camping trips when I was a young person, then on a camel expedition when I finished school, and later, as an adult when I was researching this book. I’ve always been simultaneously terrified by this land, but also hopelessly in love with it. These are two powerful emotions to play with in writing - fear and love. I tried to echo these emotions when I wrote about Gemma’s feelings about Ty too. For me the outback is a ‘charged landscape’, and these things are always good to write about.
BCM: Even though Ty has kidnapped Gemma and we know that is wrong, it's hard to believe that he's entirely evil. What do you believe it is that has brought Ty to this point?
LC: There is no doubt that Ty is a troubled individual. He is not an intrinsically evil person, however, and I believe that it is his life experiences that have caused him to become who he is. He is essentially a character who yearns for a sense of belonging and connection. I think this stems from his traumatic upbringing of being forcibly removed from his home and in not having any meaningful and loving relationships at an early age. He is trying to find belonging and meaning in his life in whatever way he can. The only belonging and meaning he seems to be able to find in his life is in his connection to land. The desert was the only place he ever felt comfortable, happy and free as a child. The desert is his escape, his safe place ... the place that made him feel free instead of confined. Rather ironically, when he forces Gemma into this place he is trying to impart upon her its sense of freedom and safety that he feels there.
BCM: Do you believe Gemma has Stockholm Syndrome in the end or is she seeing Ty as he really is?
LC: Aaah, I can’t answer that! That’s for the reader to decide!
BCM: Is there any one part of Stolen that was particularly difficult for you to write?
LC: Yes, the ending! I rewrote it ten times! I just couldn’t work out what would be the best thing for Gemma to do. In the end I just decided to try to be as honest as I could to what I imagined Gemma might be feeling.
BCM: The lines of love and obsession are extremely thin in Stolen. We especially see this in Gemma's physical attraction to Ty. Did you intend for your readers to feel just as confused about Ty as Gemma was?
LC: I certainly did! I was confused as the writer when I wrote it, at times falling a little in love with Ty myself. I wanted the reader to be confused too. I also wanted to connect the reader as emotionally as I could to the book, and that meant trying to make them confused...just like Gemma was. Ty is not a clear cut character, just as the desert is not a clear cut setting...it was important for the reader to think about that.
BCM: Can you tell us a little bit about what you are working on now and what we should expect from you next?
LC: My next novel to come out in the US is a novel called Flyaway. It’s a really different book to Stolen. It’s aimed at slightly younger teenagers and follows Isla, who has a really strong bond with her dad. Together, every year, the two of them watch the migrating wild swans arrive in their local nature reserve. But this year is different. There are new power-lines up at the nature reserve, and the swan flock crash into them. Then her dad gets sick, really sick, and goes into hospital. But in the hospital Isla meets Harry, with his wild smile and scruffy hair, and together they discover a flightless swan on a lake. Isla decides that if they can help this swan to fly again, then perhaps she can help her dad, and Harry, to heal again too. So she teaches the swan, and herself, to fly.
It’s a book about healing and finding the flock around you and ultimately, learning to fly. It feels like it’s the bright and happy younger cousin of the older and darker Stolen.
The book after Flyaway is another darker thriller for older teens, and I’m writing that one now!
**Huge thanks to Lucy for the interview and to Becky from Scholastic for providing the goodies to give away!
Now it's time for the giveaway! One lucky follower will win a copy of Stolen and a signed bookplate from Lucy Christopher.
You must be a BCM blog follower to enter. You can earn 1 extra point/entry for tweeting and/or facebooking this giveaway. If you put our button on your sidebar you will receive 3 extra points and if you blog about this giveaway you will receive 5 extra points. You MUST include links to each of your entries to receive credit for them. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only unless you have someone in the U.S. who will ship the prize to you. Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, August 22, 2010, pacific.