Friday, August 31, 2012
Sarah Forster interviews the phenomenal Fleur Beale
from New Zealand Book Council Newsletter
Read the full feature here on NZ Book Council blog Open Book. You'll also find entry details for the draw to win copies of Fleur Beale's new book The Boy in the Olive Grove.
Fleur Beale is one of New Zealand’s finest Young Adult fiction authors. Earlier this year she was the recipient of the 2012 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award and she has been nominated for, or won, the YA section of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards six times. Beale is one of our most active Writers in Schools participants, and has visited hundreds of schools on behalf of the Book Council in the past 20 years. As Education Manager here at the Book Council I’ve worked with Fleur regularly and thought it was about time I interviewed her about her writing, books and the subjects that fascinate her.
Fleur has had a remarkable output since she began writing when her children were babies, with 50 published titles to her name. She started out writing very short stories for a radio programme called 'Grampa’s Place', eventually writing for National Radio for older children. After ten years of writing for radio, Fleur won a competition, and found herself with a firm supporter in the form of Dorothy Butler, and an agent in the form of Ray Richards.
Fleur writes primarily Young Adult fiction, but dabbles occasionally in junior fiction and has even published one book for an adult audience. One of the most remarkable qualities of her books is her ability to put herself into male teenage characters so seamlessly. When I remark on this she says writing male characters is like writing any character – you need to work out who they are very early on in the process, what makes them tick, and what is important in their life. For Fleur, character also drives where she sets her books – no matter if the action takes place on farms, deserted islands, in small towns, or in a cult compound.