Anna Morgan, author of Before the Beginning and All That Impossible Space takes five minutes to chat with us about her new book and the moment inspiration hit.
What is your book Before the Beginning about?
It's a dark mystery set on schoolies week, and follows four characters who abandon their holiday plans to camp on an uninhabited island with a mysterious stranger, Sierra. Over the week it becomes clear all four have reasons for being anxious about their future beyond school, and that the Sierra may have her own reasons for bringing them to the island.
Where were you when the idea for Before the Beginning hit?
I was on holiday between finishing my creative writing MA in the UK and coming home to Melbourne when I woke up at 6am with the story in my head. It makes sense to me that I suddenly wanted to write about schoolies week, transformation, and change when I was in that point of transition myself.
Do you have a specific routine when writing your books?
It's quite messy! I write lots of scenes that aren't necessarily in order, then move them around like giant puzzle pieces and fill in the gaps.
What is the best thing about being a YA author? What is the hardest?
The best thing is meeting or hearing from readers who have connected with my characters, which is truly magic. The most frustrating is when some people assume YA books are simplistic or badly written - they don't know what they're missing!
What did you enjoy reading as a teenager?
My favourites were everything by Jaclyn Moriarty and Melina Marchetta - their characters felt like my friends growing up. I also read very widely - I loved classics like Austen and Nabokov and the next week I would read Star Wars novelisations. I'm very grateful for that openess I had as a young reader.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I always loved reading, but it took until my mid twenties before I thought of writing as a career I could actually pursue. Although I did recently find my diary from when I was eleven where I said I would be an author when I grew up, so maybe I always knew and just forgot for a little while.
Anna Morgan was born in Sydney, but spent most of her childhood surrounded by mountains in Nepal and Tibet while her parents were part of an international community of health professionals. Navigating this cross-cultural life made her a curious observer of people, although most of her time was spent reading Enid Blyton and dreaming of going to boarding school. This did not cushion the shock of shifting from home-school in Tibet to an all-girls high school in Melbourne when her family returned to Australia. ALL THAT IMPOSSIBLE SPACE explores some of the intense and convoluted friendships that thrive in this setting. Anna completed a MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in 2015, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband. She works as a bookseller.