Ann Kelley interview


1.  Why did you
choose to write a dystopian novel?

I don’t think
I do choose to write a particular sort of book. If something is worrying me, a
big problem – climate change, for example, which does concern the whole world,
the subject matter can transpose into a work of fiction. Survival in a fast
changing landscape, and in a hostile environment, politically and physically,
has been a subject close to my heart for quite a while. I find that my
characters are survivors; they want to be in control of their lives, which is
possible to a certain extent, even if the odds are against them. The world is a
scary place to be at the moment – wars, disease, unrest, murderous pseudo-
religious armies at loose. My stories are about – what if? How would you cope
with the reality on your doorstep?

2. How do you get your ideas?
I read the
newspapers, Scientific American, New Scientist, novels old and new, look about
me, look into my heart to see what I want to say. Nature is a constant
character in my books. The weather, birds, my cats, friends, people I meet and
read about, anything can be a trigger to a story.

3. How important is it to have a strong protagonist in
a dystopian novel?
Is it any
different from another sort of novel? All novels need a strong protagonist, a
sympathetic person to root for, to empathise with, and to relate to.

4. What should the opening to a dystopian novel
That’s a
difficult one. I suppose the novelist has to introduce the atmosphere of the
story, certainly to show us the main characters, so that we are aware of what
the story is about.

5. What
writing tips can you give to our budding writers?        
Read, read,
read. Be observant; make notes of your thoughts and observations. You never
know when they might come in useful.

6. What other dystopian novels have caught your eye?
The John
Marsden series which starts with Tomorrow when the War Began. He’s an
Australian writer, who now runs survival camps for young people in the
Australian bush.

Here’s where
you can find Ann online:

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