Author Interview - Nadia L. King


Nadia L. King is a children's writer and award winning short story writer who uses her skill with words to make the world a better place. Her latest release, a YA novel by Dixi Books, is called Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? and is due out in the UK at the end of July 2021, in September in Australia. It tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue.

 Here's an exerpt from Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please?

The lock to my cell door makes a loud clunk. At the end of a corridor, my cell has three windowless walls painted a depressing shade of grey. One side is made entirely of glass. A toilet squats in the corner and a grey plastic-coated mattress lies stiffly on the floor. A concrete bench runs along one side of the cell. I gingerly sit on the concrete bench and shiver in the air-conditioning. I shove my hands under my armpits and hunch over my shoulders. How the hell have I ended up in a police cell? I pull at the inside of my cheek with my teeth. How long are they allowed to keep me? I’m not even eighteen, who knew they could arrest kids? 

Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Can the Real JR Stand Up, Please? is my latest book published by UK publisher Dixi Books. The novel is aimed at young adult (YA) readers and tackles the topic of family abuse. The story is brushed with magical realism to lighten a dark and challenging issue. Inspiration for the story came from the Japanese manga series Naruto and the horrific statistic that one woman dies every week in Australia from domestic violence.

Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?

Slow, emotional, consuming, challenging, fun.

Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?

Probably too many to mention but I particularly enjoy and do my best to learn from writers such as Kate DiCamillo, Haruki Murakami, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, and Angela Carter. Short story greats like Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, and Katherine Mansfield intimidate and inspire me in equal measure!

Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

A story that knows where it’s going.

Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Gosh, this is a tricky question. As a reader, the most important things I want from writing are:

·       meaty characters that surprise me with their actions;

·       a believable and detailed story world;

·       I want to be immersed in the story, so I want verisimilitude and visceral writing;

·       clean, sharp writing; and

·       an interesting story.

Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Read and revise—read broadly and revise your own work many, many times over!

Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?

At the moment, I’m really into Korean and Japanese crime fiction. It’s incredibly dark and discomforting and keeps me awake at night.

Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Characters. A character comes to life in my head, and then I try to find a way to insert the character into a story.

Q9: What are you working on now?

The theoretical exegesis for my PhD which I fear I will be writing until the end of my days!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m reading:

·       Ulysses by James Joyce (a friend and I have given ourselves three months to read this book which I’ve started at least twice over the years and never finished).

·       A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (which is like a masterclass in short story writing for the price of a book—outstanding value!).

·       Wildfire by Ann Cleeves.

More about Nadia L. King

Nadia L King is a children’s author and award-winning short story writer who believes in the power of stories to make the world a better place. Her books include Claire Malone Changes the World, The Lost Smile, Jenna’s Truth, and Can the Real JR, Stand Up, Please? Nadia is currently undertaking a PhD in English and creative writing and lives in Western Australia with her family and an ever-expanding collection of books.

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