Thank you so much to Cath Crowley and the team at Pan Macmillan YA for allowing me to be part of the official blog tour for Words in Deep Blue. Please welcome the author herself, Cath Crowley!
Q: For those who have yet to hear about Words in Deep Blue, how would you pitch it to them?
This is hard but I’d say it’s a love story, set in a second-hand bookstore, and set across time. I’d say it’s about Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie, who get a second chance to fall in love. And I’d say it’s about the stories that we find in second-hand books.
Q: The cover for Words in Deep Blue is absolutely stunning! Is there a story behind it? Do you feel it reflects the story inside?
It is, isn’t it? I love it too. All the credit goes to Melanie Feddersen at Pan Macmillan. She designed the cover for the Australian edition of Graffiti Moon and won Best Designed Young Adult Book in 2011. There’s not a story, really. Except that Mel was brilliant and willing to offer a lot of great ideas so I’d be happy with the cover. I’ve been incredibly lucky with the covers of Words in Deep Blue. The US edition of the book, published by Knopf, has an equally stunning cover.
Q: How was Words in Deep Blue to write compared to your earlier books, such as Grafitti Moon? Were there any particular struggles you had to overcome to get the story told?
All my books were hard to write, but Words in Deep Blue did take much longer to finish than the others – about six years. I wasn’t confident that I’d captured Rachel’s grief. And I wasn’t sure that finding things in books could help someone get over loss. But then my father passed away. Although I was too sad for a long time to look through his books, when I did, I found that it helped me. There were so many memories of him trapped in the pages. Rachel became easier to write when I came to understand that grief is particular to the person experiencing it.
Q: Will Words in Deep Blue be available in other countries? How tough is it being an Australian YA writer getting your book to a wider audience?
Words in Deep Blue will be available in The United States, The United Kingdom and New Zealand. At the moment it’s being translated into German and Italian. I’ve got wonderful publishers, a brilliant agent in Catherine Drayton and Inkwell. But yes, it’s tough getting work out there to a wider audience. I think it takes talent but also determination and luck. An alternative income helps, as does a supportive government. I was able write Words in Deep Blue because I was lucky enough to win some prizes.
Q: Can you share with us your writing process? How do you keep yourself motivated and what does an average writing day for you entail?
When I was writing Words in Deep Blue, I was up every morning by four, and writing by five a.m. I’d work until about 2p.m. and then go walking. Then I’d come back and write again. Some times I’d wake and think, I have to write some place else, and I’d disappear up the coast for a month. It was hard to write and I needed lots of quiet. I was motivated by a need to get the story right. Even when the manuscript was at its worst, and I was stuck, I’d still sit there at the computer. I’m not sure that my process for Words was a good thing. But some books are slogs. It stopped being a slog at a certain point, thank goodness.
For my next book, I think I’ll try writing three days a week, and then taking time off to do something else – have a life, read, do another job. I’ll see how that goes.
Q: And finally, what can we expect next from Cath Crowley? I’m sure there are more stories in the works.
I’m working on a book with Fiona Wood and Simmone Howell – out next year. I’m very excited about it. The process for that is very different. There’s group planning, plotting and dreaming. There’s food and great conversation. And there’s support. I’m loving it.
About the Book
Words in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley
Published 30th August, 2016 by Pan MacMillan
This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.
Visit Cath Crowley