We were delighted to get the chance to ask Nat Luurtsema all the questions about her YA debut novel ‘Girl Out of Water’.
From finding the right audience, to untangling the timeline, we tried to leave no stone unturned.
Tell us the plot of ‘Girl Out of Water’ in the length of a tweet. Lanky failed swimmer Lou Brown finds unexpected triumph in an underwater synch swim team.
When did you decide you wanted to write YA? I knew I wanted to write a funny book – I love making people laugh and I always reread my favourite funny books, they’re great for escapism when life is a bit unamusing. I was talking to my agent, Hellie, about it and she said a YA book would be perfect as YA readers really appreciated comedy. From the response I’ve had so far, she was right!
Why is Lou’s story an important one to tell? I was just thinking about what I wish someone had told me when I was her age. And the one big thing was that life is not about being the best, the cleverest, the fastest. Competitiveness is such an ugly gnawing feeling and I’m much happier since I stopped comparing myself to other people and swim my own race!
What was the most difficult part of writing this? The timeline! I am so bad at keeping days and weeks straight in my head. In the first draft it always seemed to be Thursday and there was a day that lasted SO long. My editor, Emma, had to straighten me out! I’m writing the sequel now and I’m tempted just to buy Lou an old-fashioned paper calendar and fill it out with her year before I start writing!
Do you have any funny writers you look up to? I grew up loving Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett. He wrote so much that it’ll be a strange feeling the day I read the last of his books and I have no more left. I’ll have to read them slower now he’s gone. Neil Gaiman’s writing often makes me disgrace myself with laughing on the bus and I love David Sedaris – he’s a hilarious American short story writer and Jon Ronson’s books always make me laugh, especially the way he describes himself.
Any plans for a sequel, or just another YA? Yes! I’m writing the sequel right now – I’m curious to see what people think of the first one as I’m writing the second one. If there’s anything you love or feel strongly about, tweet me and it may well influence the next book!
Because we want to see where the magic happens, send us a pic of where you write! School desk I found in a skip, Little Ondine nail varnish to paint on and peel off when I’m thinking, view of the garden and very distracting kitten. (Bonus photos of the kitten – ARE YOU TRYING TO TAKE A PHOTO CAN I HELP? DOES IT HELP IF I PUT MY NOSE HERE??)
You can get your copy of ‘Girl Out of Water’ right here. Bosh!
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