#LoveOzYA Author Q&A With Kristy Fairlamb
Kristy Fairlamb is an Australian author Young Adult novels with high stakes and heart.
She spends her days drinking coffee and torturing her characters with loads of tension – both love related and the nail biting kind.
She lives with her husband, teenage daughter, two sons, and cat, Loki, in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.
She’s terrible at gardening, likes her bookshelves sorted by colour, and recently checked off a lifelong dream of jumping from a plane.
When she’s not writing or daydreaming about her stories you’ll find her reading, cooking for her family, or doing anything to avoid the housework.
Welcome to the LoveOzYA blog, we’re so happy to have you here!
Thank you so much for having me.
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?
Reading was a challenge for me as a child and during a lot of primary school, so no writing from me. I loved stories, and I often thought about writing them, but I didn’t think it was something I was capable of doing.
In high school I wrote a lot of poems, but I was much older when the dream of writing a novel came to me. I was 34 when I first began writing what became my debut novel released last year. And yes, I fell deeply in love and haven’t stopped since.
Tell us about your new book.
My new book, Luminous, is the sequel and conclusion to my supernatural thriller/romance duology, which began with Lucid.
In Lucid, we’re introduced to 16-year-old Lucy, who is cursed with the ability to relive real life tragic events through her nightmares. The story begins when she meets Tyler, the new boy at her school, who she recognises from one of her dreams. Through the course of the book Lucy and Tyler grow close, she discovers more about her dreams – that they’re even more powerful than she always believed – and her compassion and empathy for those she sees die in her dreams forces her to make the ultimate life-altering decision.
Luminous is all about the impact that decision has had on her life, especially when she discovers the consequences her actions have had. Did she make the right choice? Can she make things right without causing more damage? It’s a little bit scary and a little bit heart-stopping – just make sure you’ve read Lucid before you pick up Luminous.
Did you have a favourite OzYA book when you were growing up?
No I didn’t, and I hate saying that! I feel like I missed the whole teen book thing when I was an actual teen, maybe that’s why I’ve fallen in love with them as an adult! When I was younger, I seemed to go straight from children’s books to the adult books my mum had on the bookshelf at home. As a teen I read a lot of historical romance novels set in the American west, ancient Rome, and war-torn Europe. It was all very tame, but I fell in love with epic love stories and the world outside of the little town I grew up in.
Did you have anyone that encouraged your love of books, reading and writing when you were younger?
Oh yes. My year 6 teacher, Ms Kuchel, so I was about 11. She read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to us, giving different accents to all the characters. The beavers were Scottish from memory. I can still recall sitting on the carpet and being transfixed. Hearing that story showed me just how wonderful written stories could be.
Reading big novels was slow going for me, but I loved the stories so much that it was worth pushing through until it wasn’t.
What do you think sets Australian YA stories apart from those set internationally?
It’s so many things, the setting, the language, the familiarity. There’s something magical about reading a story set in foreign lands far from home. Learning how other school systems work, how different holidays are celebrated, and the different use of words. But there’s also something magical about settling into a story that sounds and feels like home. When so much of our lives is Americanised, it’s nice to have something that belongs to us, and also a little something we can share with the rest of the world.
Do you have a favourite bookshop or library?
I love reading Ebooks and listening to audiobooks, so I’m going to say the library app, haha. I love Libby. I can visit anytime of the day or night.
But if I had to pick a bricks and mortar place, I’d definitely choose the Stirling Library. It’s not my local, but it’s not far from me. Its Adelaide hills location is stunning, and the floor to ceiling walls of glass mean you get to enjoy the setting while also being surrounded by all its wonderful books.
What was the last book you read and enjoyed?
I just finished Neverland by our very own #loveozya author Margot McGovern. I may be a bit late to the party, but it was worth the wait. The writing was beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes in the final pages.
Aside from writing, what else do you like to do to explore your creativity?
I like to cook. What’s coming out of the kitchen these days looks a bit different to what I used to make. My son has been vegetarian for about 3 years, myself for the last 18 months and my daughter has been vegan for 9 months. This means I’m trying to create meals the whole family can enjoy. I love making food that’s so full of flavour that even the meat eaters don’t feel like they’re missing out, which I’m happy to say is more often than not.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you’ve received?
Best: After I attended a pitch conference through Writers SA in which we were all hopeful and waiting for requests from the publishers we pitched to, we were advised to keep writing no matter what news we received. To not put everything on this one manuscript that we failed to move forward. I went on and wrote Luminous the following month and two more manuscripts in the years to follow.
Worst: I’d just finished the manuscript of my first novel and I’d barely done any editing when someone told me I should submit it to a publishing house that was open to submissions. It was as if there was some great urgency to do it now, but I knew I only had one chance to impress and I wasn’t going to do that with a first draft. Thankfully, I knew to ignore that advice.
What do you love about OzYA?
Definitely the community. I love the way the writers come together to support each other. There’s no feeling of competition, just a ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe and that’s really refreshing.
To find out more about Kristy and her writing, visit her website, give her a follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tune in for the online Luminous launch this weekend! Celebrations kick off on Friday 29th of May at 7pm (ACST) with a FB live Q & A, followed by ‘parties at home’ all weekend. Follow along using #luminouslaunchparty