Interview with Bridie Blake by Anniek
1. Could you tell a bit about yourself?
I live in Melbourne, Australia and am very lucky to have my friends and family live nearby, and even luckier to have my parents (and their fully stocked kitchen) within walking distance. I work five days a week in administration and the majority of my spare time is spent writing.
I have a dog, Poppy, and cat, Mac and until I have kids those two are my babies! And I’m one of those people who takes an insane number of photos of my animals and then forces people to look at how cute they are. If you meet me, you’ve been warned!
I hate to fly, but love to travel so I’m waiting on someone to invent a machine that transports me from one country to another in a flash. Fingers crossed.
2. How does it make you feel to learn that Violet is loved just as much by your readers as by you?
Ecstatic! As a writer, you spend so much time getting to know your characters, being inside their heads and feeling what they’re feeling, and when someone tells you they love your characters it’s a pretty special thing. That’s what you want. You want readers to identify and sympathize with them. You want them to finish the book and remember the characters you created. I was a little worried in creating Violet that some people might get frustrated with her and not see past some of her flaws, but so far the response to her has been great.
3. I love it that you tell on your website how A Distant Voice came to life: http://bridieblake.com/2015/10/01/a-distant-voice-the-idea/#read.
What made you write about this?
I love hearing where authors get their ideas from. Imaginations are a wonderful thing and I think it’s interesting to find out how people go from one simple thought to having a story, or a song or poem written.
I have a friend who is a fellow writer and we’re constantly having discussions about our story ideas and where they come from, and it’s something I like to share with people. Plus, I love talking about writing and every step of the process so I see it as another avenue to talk about what I love.
4. You have a large family. You are one of nine children. If we would ask one of your siblings to describe you what would they say?
I wish it were something cool like ‘she’s fearless’ or ‘she’s one of the smartest people I know’, but they’d be lying. If you asked my youngest brother he’d probably tell you that I’m boring. Or annoying. I live alone so when I go over to my parents’ place I do tend to talk a bit. And ask questions. Hey, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be inquisitive.
They’d probably say I’m a daydreamer. I’ve always been a daydreamer, and I always will be.
5. On your website you are introducing the characters of A Distant Voice to your readers. Did you have these images of them before you finished your book or did it come to you afterward?
I always have images in my head of my characters because it helps me form their personalities. I wish I had the ability to draw so I could paint them how they appear in my mind but sadly the best I can do is a stick figure. So, I go to the next best thing, which is the internet and celebrities. When I first came up with Violet, Hailee Steinfeld popped into my mind.
The images on my website I found after I’d finished the book and was working on my book trailer. Luckily they ended up being fairly spot on to what I had in my mind. Although I struggled to find the right Carter. When I first thought of him, I had Matt Lauria from Friday Night Lights in my head.
6. Who is your favorite character and why?
If I’m choosing one I’ve created, I pick Violet. She can annoy me at times but I love her. Flaws and all. I found it really easy to stay in her character while I wrote her and never felt the need to switch POVs at any time because I loved following her thought process and reactions to things. She’s impulsive with her words when she’s angry and then has to live with the consequences of them, and she’s very unsure of herself and awkward when offering a kind or supportive word.
My favourite book character of all time is Sirius Black (and coincidentally he’s Violet’s too). From the moment he appeared in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I was hooked. He suffered and lost so much, but his belief in what was right stayed with him to the end. His relationship with Harry was one of my favourite parts of the Harry Potter series.
7. What do you daydream about the most?
Story ideas, plot lines and character conversations take up about 90% of my daydreaming. They go through my head non-stop. When I’m not thinking about those things I daydream about anything and everything. Travelling, recipes I want to try, characters and storylines I wish had never been introduced into shows, books I want to read, books I wish were made into movies. Everything!
8. You love musicals. If you could be in one which one will you choose and why?
How do I choose?? I think I’d lean towards Wicked. I’ve seen the production a number of times, I listen to the soundtrack non-stop and dream of a movie version.
Telling such a well known and loved story from the perspective of the villain is such an interesting concept. I've read the book it's loosely based on and found that just as interesting. By the end of the book and show, you're rooting for the Wicked Witch over Dorothy. It's great!
I know the words to all the songs and have been known to belt them out with a friend of mine, who will probably hate me for mentioning that! ‘For Good’ is a favourite. And I love ‘No Good Deed’. Well, there’s not really a song I don’t love so yes, definitely Wicked. I wouldn’t even care what part I played. I’d happily stand there and pretend to be a tree.
9. On the first three places of your top five Contemporary Young Adult Books you have placed books from the author Melina Marchetta.
Could you tell us why she (and her books) are so amazing?
I’m a tad Melina Marchetta obsessed! Her books are incredible and if you love YA, you need to read her. She pulls you into her stories from page one and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster no matter how many times you read it. She can have you laughing one minute, and then on the next page you’re sobbing. She’s a master at it. I will read anything she writes.
10. If you could be anybody for one day who would you be and why?
J.K. Rowling because I’d love to be the genius mind behind Harry Potter. Even if it is just for one day. And in being her for the day I’d know all the answers to every question I’ve ever had about the series. Life would be pretty sweet.
11. What are your plans for the future?
Books, books and more books. I love writing and I don’t ever want to stop. I’m working on a new Contemporary YA at the moment and I’m hoping to have the second draft completed before Christmas. I also have an idea for a follow up to A Distant Voice. Over the Christmas break I’ll work on an outline and see if there’s a story behind the idea. If not, I have plenty of other stories waiting to be told.
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A review of A Distant Voice will follow soon. I highly recommend this book!