Q/A with YA author Andy Conway

What’s the hardest part about writing YA lit?:

I guess the hardest part of writing YA lit is not actually writing YA lit.

That is, I’ve never consciously sat down and tried to write for that market. My Touchstone series began as an idea for a cool teenage time travel drama series for TV, but the concept was so expensive (“A different historical period every week? Really?) that I decided to pursue it as a series of novels.

I’ve always kept it reasonably ‘clean’, so that it’s suitable for a YA audience, but I get a lot of older fans of the series who love the historical detail.

To me, it was always just about being true to my heroine, Rachel, and her story. And now that I’m writing spin offs, it’s about being true to all the other characters. And to the history they explore.

When exactly did you know you wanted to be a writer?:

Always. I was the kid at school who always won the short story prize and one teacher told my mother, when I was eight, that I was destined to be a writer.

I dedicated the Touchstone Season One Box Set to him. Mr O’Reilly. I’ve never forgotten that moment. Not just because he made a child see that it was something to be, but because he also admitted it was what he’d always wanted to be but hadn’t.

Have you found any clever ways to market your books to YA readers?:

At the moment I’m talking to a History teacher at a local school. He’s interested in the fact that I’ve written eight books about our city’s history and that it’s an exciting way to get young kids to start exploring their local history and seeing that historical research can be cool.

It’s also pretty useful that I’m now going beyond our city’s history and beginning to explore the history of the wider world, the Touchstone story I’m writing now being an epic saga about the life of the Lakota Indians leading to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

What YA books have had the biggest influence on your writing?:

None. For me it’s all about time travel and it’s the classic time travel tales that have always influenced me. And those are from screenwriters as well as fiction authors.

If you don’t mind me linking to a page on my site, about 8 years ago I wrote about my favourite time travel books and films – http://andyconway.net/articles/timetravel.html – and I’ve recently decided to start adding to this, because I’m still seeing new ones that excite me all the time.
Short author bio: Andy Conway is a prolific novelist, screenwriter and indie-publisher who secretly time travels to mine story ideas for his Touchstone series.
Twitter: @itsandyconway

Website: http://andyconway.net/

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