Friday, January 11, 2013

Ann Kelley Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Ann Kelley is the author of The Burying Beetle (shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award) and The Bower Bird (Winner of the Costa Children’s Book of the Year Award). She has also published two poetry collections, The Poetry Remedy (1999) and Paper Whites (2001). She has won several prizes for her poems and has run courses for aspiring poets from her home. She is an honorary teaching fellow at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter and Plymouth. Her collected photographic works are Born and Bred (1988) and Sea Front (2005).
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Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

We need stories to feed our imagination and our understanding and empathy of how people think and live.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I one nearly played cricket for Cornwall, UK

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

To read - after that, the world of knowledge and literature was open to me.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Read poetry every day.

What are some of the common challenges that new and experienced authors face and what advice do you have for over-coming them?

I suppose it's the e-books phenomena. Get in there, be willing to change and adapt.

Can you tell us when you started Performance Lost Girls, how that came about?

The idea had been floating around in my brain since I first read Lord of the Flies for the second or third time (William Golding is still one of my favourite authors). Also, I had just finished a series of quiet, thoughtful books with hardly any action - The Burying Beetle, Bower Bird, etc, and I felt the need to write an adventure story with plenty of action. It was a challenge. I had been in THailand during the war in Vietnam, with my children, and had nearly got stuck on an island in a storm. So, there was the germ of the idea for an adventure story.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

For those who are unfamiliar with Bonnie, how would you introduce her?

She's a feisty teen, with a strong sense of right and wrong. She has to grow up fast when confronted by a series of disasters.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

Read as much good writing as you can get hold of. Don't fill your heads with rubbish. You are what you eat and read.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

I'm sorry, I'm a total prig - I never lie, unless someone has cooked a less than tasty meal for me - then I lie and say it was lovely. Or someone gives me an unwelcome present. I suppose I only lie so as not to hurt someone's feelings

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?

Home - here in windy, wild, sunny, rocky, sandy, seagull-filled Cornwall

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

A Greek cafe in Southend on sea - the old waitress kept a small bottle of gin in her apron and had flea bites on her neck!

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?


What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

The latter.

When was the last time you cried?

This morning. I get wobbly close to Christmas. My son died on 14th Dec 1985.

What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?

On Heron Island, the Great Barrier Reef - a giant turtle laying eggs in the dark, then a huge shooting star swooped into the sea and I collected blue phosphorescence from the surf, like jewels on my hands.

Where can readers stalk you?

St Ives, Cornwall, walking along the harbour beach.

No parents. No rules. No way home.

Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn't be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand. But when a strong current sweeps Bonnie and her friends past their appointed campsite, depositing them instead on what the boatman calls a "forbidden island," they're just happy to have reached dry land.
Overnight, things take a turn for the worse. Three torturous days pass, but the boatman doesn't return, and what once seemed like a vacation in paradise becomes a battle against the elements.
Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie's journal as she struggles to survive, Lost Girls tells the page-turning, heart-pounding story of a group of teen girls fighting for their lives.

Ann Kelley’s Lost Girls is the chilling tale of a vacation gone bad. Waiting to arrive at an island off the coast of Thailand, this camping trip is exactly what fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald have been waiting for. Everything seems to change in an instant when a powerful current pushes Bonnie and her friends away from their destination. When their boat reaches land, it arrives at a place that the natives call forbidden island. Not bothered by its nickname, the girls are just glad that they are on dry surface. But as days and nights pass, all hope seems lost when their boatman fails to return. Now they are up against the unknown elements of the island where the teen girls are fighting to stay alive.

The story that author Ann Kelley has brewed up produces an exciting account of events about the survival of teenage girls engulfed by an island’s treacherous elements. Set in 1970s Thailand during the Vietnam War, surviving in these territories is not an easy task. Lost and all alone, it is expected for the friends to ignite disagreements with each other fueled by tempers and anxiety. The story delivers characters with a lot of emotions and personalities. They are certainly admirable for their bravery and their wits. Protagonist Bonnie is the perfect example of an imaginative and smart character. She is reliable and the most glued-together character when all of her friends seemed to be coming undone. The description within the book is truly fascinating. The details about surviving in the wilderness are closely examined. Kelley does not omit anything and pours out all the truths about what an island carries in its unseen places. This means the wild animals, the harsh environment at various points of any given day, and the psychological effect it has on visitors. Lost Girls is an inspiring story laced with realistic and unimaginable situations. It will make you think about what one would do if they were in the same situation.

You can purchase Lost Girls at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Ann for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive one a copy of Lost Girls by Ann Kelley.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the giveaway. This books sounds awesome

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful donation Ann! And thank you Jean for hosting this wonderful giveaway, I am excited to get started on this book!

  3. Thank you Ann for the donation and Jean for the lovely interview and giveaway.