1. Graffiti Moon is now very popular not only in Australia, but in many different countries! We do know it's set in Melbourne! Can you please name the best things you love from Melbourne that made you decide to set the book in this city?
The novel is mostly set in Footscray, with bits of Fitzroy and Northcote thrown in. It’s a landscape that’s industrial but transformed after dark by the lights. I love that transformation.
|View from Footscray Arts Centre|
Other things I love about Melbourne…
I like the landscape of the West, which might seem a bit strange. But the packing crates on the dock look like a Jeffrey Smart painting. I love these palm trees. This shot is taken from The Footscray Arts Centre. At night the city looks like I’ve described it in Graffiti Moon, neon blue and rising.
I like how Melbourne looks at night.
|Melbourne at Night|
I love the galleries
The National Gallery of Victoria, Tolarno Galleries, Sophie Gannon, The Abbotsford Convent (where you can see glassblowing), fortyfivedownstairs are just some of a few.
I like walking through the laneways, like Degraves Street. And I really like the shops in the subway under Flinders Street Station.
Closer to home, I like that I can see a film in an art deco cinema at The Sun Theatre. And I like that next door there’s the Sun Bookshop where they always know who wrote the book I’m after and where to find it. Sometimes I don’t even know the book I’m after and they still find it for me.
In the first draft of the book I had Ed and Lucy eating at different places around Melbourne – Pellegrini’s and HuTong Dumpling Bar. The food in Melbourne is amazing.
Honestly, I don’t know even half the places there are to go in Melbourne. That’s what I like about it too. There are lots of cool things that are hidden. I like looking for them.
2. What is your favourite part of the book which you really enjoyed to write?
I love building characters. It’s fun looking into the corners of them and finding out how they think. I like choosing the language and rhythm of their voices. And I love writing dialogue. Lucy and Ed’s dialogue was a lot of fun to write. Getting them to bounce off each other took a while but it was worth it.
3. What inspired you to write Graffiti Moon?
Graffiti Moon is a story about a group of teenagers who are outsiders. They spend one night together, out in the city, and it changes things for them. They don’t work out who they are – that would be hard in one night – but they work out that it’s okay to be different.
Shadow and Lucy, the main characters, connect through art. So the conversations they have are inspired by the artists I love - Mark Rothko, Sam Leach, Rosemary Laing, Jeffrey Smart, Pablo Picasso, Johannes Vermeer, Michael Zavros, Rosalie Gascoigne, Bethany Wheeler, Ghostpatrol and Miso. I wanted to write about two people who speak through images as well as words.
Poet is my favourite character. He mostly comes from my imagination, but he’s partly inspired by all the teenagers I’ve worked with who say they can’t write and then they produce these amazing lines.
The inspiration for Shadow and Lucy’s love story was the painting The Lovers by Magritte; it’s of two people kissing through sheets. I thought that first dates might be easier if people couldn’t see each other.
4. Can you please tell us about your future titles or projects?
I’m working on a book called The Howling Boy. It’s told from the perspectives of Audrey and Crow, both seventeen. It’s a mystery and a love story.
5. Do you read YA books as well during spare time? Can you name some your recent reads?
I do read a lot of YA – I’ll give you my favourite authors rather than reads because anything by them is great.
Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell, Gabrielle Wang and Gabrielle Williams, John Green, Leanne Hall, Kirsty Eager, Melina Marchetta, Laurie Halse Anderson, Kelly Link, Tim Pegler, Markus Zusak, Meg Rosoff.
6. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Read. Study great writers. Write every day to find your own style. Be curious about the world. Write about thing things that matter to you.
Thank you so much to Cath for the time and the beautiful pictures! Melbourne is one of the best cities to visit when you're in Australia! Are you interested to go to Melbourne now? ;)