Today ‘s post is all about Sophie Cameron and her book Out of the Blue. I got the opportunity to ask Sophie some questions about her book Out of Blue as well as a few random bookish questions. I read Out of the Blue right at the beginning of this year and have been telling it about it nonstop since. I’m so glad it is finally out in the world and I can talk about it with more people.
Let’s get on with the questions!
Title: Out of the Blue
Author: Sophie Cameron
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication date: 22 March 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction and Contemporary
Tell us a bit about yourself and your first novel Out of the Blue.
I’m a YA writer from Scotland, though right now I’m living in Barcelona. I work as a copywriter and magazine editor, and I love languages, food and obviously reading. Out of the Blue is about an epidemic of angels falling over the world, a 16-year-old girl who finds the first one to survive the fall, and how she and her friends keep it hidden from the authorities. It also features a cult, a West Highland Terrier, and lots of biscuits.
When did you realise you wanted to write books?
I first decided I wanted to be a writer when I was six, after writing a ten-page “book” about dolphins. I finished my first novel-length story when I was fifteen, but I’m so glad I never let anyone read it – it featured every social issue imaginable and was stuffed full of emo song lyrics.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Just to keep going, really! I have tons of ideas, so I hope to keep publishing books for as long as I can. I’d like to write contemporary YA and adult fiction at some point. And I’d love to be translated into lots of different languages!
What made you decide to write a YA novel and not an adult novel or children’s novel?
Out of the Blue was actually based on a short story I wrote about eight years ago, but when I decided to rewrite it as a novel I knew it would be YA. I’d been trying to write a YA novel for a few years by that point – I really enjoy reading YA, and I think my writing voice fits it quite well – and Jaya’s character and story came to me quite easily.
What made you decide on having the fantasy element of this story being an angel fall from the sky?
I love novels where there’s a worldwide phenomenon happening behind a personal story – books like The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker or The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I wanted to write something similar, and the angel aspect came to me after seeing a Lynx deodorant advert where they start falling from the sky. It’s a silly advert but the image of these winged beings crashing to earth was really strong, and it got me wondering what would happen next.
What three words would you use to describe Out of the Blue?
Hopeful. Playful. Colourful.
Your book has two main characters who are very underrepresented in publishing currently; Jaya is a lesbian POC and Allie is bisexual and disabled. What made you decided to make your main characters who they are?
When I was a teenager I rarely saw gay girls like myself in books, and when I did they were usually pretty miserable and/or ended up dead. Things have definitely improved since then but I think we still need more LGBTQ+ characters in stories that aren’t focused on their identities, which is why I wanted to feature lesbian and bi characters in a story that isn’t about coming out or any issues related to sexuality. The vast majority of the LGBTQ+ characters we do have in UKYA are white and able-bodied, too, which is why I wanted to consider other intersections, even if the story wasn’t about those aspects of their lives or identities either.
What do you think we need to do to get more diverse books chosen and published?
I think we need to buy and support the brilliant diverse books that are being published – a few (mostly American) titles have been very successful lately, which is great, but many are totally overlooked and don’t get the support they deserve. I think being conscious of what we’re reading, buying and promoting and making sure diverse books are included can help, even if it’s only a small amount. And while I do think it’s important for others to include diverse characters in their books, too, it’s crucial that the focus here is on marginalised authors, particularly authors of colour as they’re vastly underrepresented in UK publishing.
If you could choose one thing that you want people to take away from Out of the Blue, what would it be?
That’s an interesting question because I actually tried hard to make sure people wouldn’t take certain messages away from it! Obviously the story raises questions about faith, religion and where the angels are coming from, but I didn’t want to imply that there was any one right answer in that respect. So, I’d maybe like them to take away their own thoughts and ideas about the themes of the book.
What other YA books would you recommend to anyone who is a fan of your book?
I think Lorali by Laura Dockrill is quite similar in that it’s focused around a mythical creature (a mermaid) that appears in the life of a normal teenage boy. It’s also set in part of the UK that as far as I know doesn’t appear in many YA books, in this case Hastings. I’d also recommend Skellig by David Almond, which was one of my favourite books when I was younger and a big influence on Out of the Blue.
What are some of your favourite books from the past year?
There have been lots, but in YA my top 5 would probably be Troublemakers by Catherine Barter, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Who is your favourite author?
It’s a toss-up between Patrick Ness, Phillip Pullman and Ruth Ozeki, all amazing writers.
Do you have advice for anyone who is looking to become a writer, but is struggling to come up with an idea?
Just start writing! Writing prompts can be helpful when you’re stuck for ideas. You can look them up online, or pick a photo of a random person or place and start jotting down ideas. It doesn’t even need to be a story, just notes – you’re more likely to come up with ideas that way than if you wait for them to arrive.
Do you have any plans to write another novel soon?
Yes! I’m currently busy editing my second YA novel, and once I’m done I’m excited to get back to what will hopefully be book three.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
They can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @toomanysophies, or I have a website with a (very sporadically updated) blog: sophie-cameron.com.
Thank you so much Sophie for answering my questions and I cannot recommend Out of the Blue to everyone enough!
Make sure you check out the other blog posts from the blog tour! Thank you to Sophie Cameron again for answering the questions and also to Nina Douglas for organising this blog tour.
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Until next time,
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