#LoveOzYA Author Q&A With Alicia Jasinska
Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop. Her debut novel The Dark Tide is out this month.
Welcome to the LoveOzYA blog, we’re so happy to have you here!
Let’s go back to the beginning…have you been telling stories since you were a kid or was writing something you fell in love with as an adult?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My mum still has the first “book” I ever wrote – which is basically just scribbles with stick figure illustrations that I stapled together when I was maybe five years old. Having a story published for real is definitely a dream come true!
Tell us about your new book.
The Dark Tide is a dark, fairytale fantasy about a girl who tries to save the boy she likes from being sacrificed by a wicked witch, only to fall in love with the wicked witch instead.
Did you have a favourite OzYA book when you were growing up?
Ooh! Probably Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. I’m a huge fan of her writing and read and reread her books over and over as a teen.
Did you have anyone who encouraged your love of books, reading and writing when you were younger?
My mum! She’s an English teacher and also an avid reader. I loved going hunting in second-hand bookshops together with her when I was younger and we still share books now.
What do you think sets Australian YA stories apart from those set internationally?
I’ve never read an OzYA story that didn’t at some point make me laugh. Even when we’re writing darker stories or tackling difficult issues a little bit of that amazing Aussie humour sneaks in and I absolutely love it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’re not afraid to poke fun at ourselves and by extension our characters.
Do you have a favourite bookshop or library?
I love Kinokuniya Sydney! I always drop in when I’m in the city and end up buying way too much. Also Galaxy Bookshop which is nearby, has an amazing Sci-Fi and Fantasy selection.
What was the last book you read and enjoyed?
I just finished The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski and it was incredible! The worldbuilding! The characters! The romance! Everyone needs to read it :)
Aside from writing, what else do you like to do to explore your creativity?
When I’m not writing I’m usually at the studio hanging upside down from the aerial hoop or trapeze. It’s a super fun way to get out of my head after all the writing. I do doubles with my sister and love trying out new moves and making up our own mini-routines.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you’ve received?
The best is definitely: “Eyes on your own page!” I need it on a poster to stick up above my desk. It’s so easy to get caught up comparing yourself with other writers. Kicking yourself because you’re not as good as them or you didn’t get as many words down today as they did, etc. Focus on your own work instead of making yourself feel miserable.
I don’t know if it’s the worst advice, but I really hate anything that sounds like an absolute rule: “Don’t use adverbs. Always show, don’t tell. Never start with a character waking up...” It just seems weird to decide all these rules for something that’s meant to be fun and freeing and creative.
What do you love about OzYA?
The community! Everyone I’ve been lucky enough to meet – writers, booksellers, bloggers, reviewers – has been so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic, and so generous with their time. I feel truly spoiled to be surrounded by so many lovely people who love books and YA as much as I do.
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