Author Interview & Giveaway-- Moira Young

Connect with Moira:
Goodreads | WebsiteTwitter

I can't imagine starting the bash off with a better author. Moira Young's debut novel Blood Red Road was my absolute favorite book of 2011. I was so thrilled when she agreed to be part of the bash, and even more thrilled that she invited me to be a part of her blog tour for the UK release of the sequel, Rebel Heart! Click the banner to see when/where else she'll be this week. But for now, check out my interview with her, and a giveaway of Blood Red Road!

Hi Moira! Thanks so much for visiting Squeaky Books. Let's start off with a more general question: what’s something that’s happened since you’ve been published that you weren’t expecting?

I’m now part of an international community of writers and readers, which is wonderful. I’ve met such interesting, thoughtful, creative, enthusiastic people, that it fills me with a certain degree of hope for the future. I love to leave my writing room and go out into the world, doing readings, sharing ideas and answering questions. It goes some way – not all the way, mind you - towards satisfying me as a performer, which is something I will always be.

What a coincidence! That's my favorite part of going to see authors and readers, too! But you haven't been a published author for very long. How many books did you write before Blood Red Road?

Well, there was my astonishing debut novella, ‘The Heirloom Mystery’, written for a school creative writing competition when I was 9. A fallow period followed during which I went to ballet lessons, put on backyard circuses and fought with my sisters, but I burst back onto the scene with the humorous mystery ‘Kitty’s First Case’ when I was 11. No doubt you know it. I took a break from writing after that – 33 years to be precise – then did a picture book called ‘Not So Loud Leonard’ and two funny books for younger readers, all unpublished.

Wow! So BRR wasn't just your first published book, it sounds like it was your first full lenght novel ever! You made quite a few daring moves in BRR for a first book. What inspired the choice to get rid of quotation marks in BRR? Did you always intend for it to be that way, or is that a decision that happened later?

When you’ve got a voice-driven story, using quotation marks immediately inserts a narrator. You’re taking a big step back. Since these books are told so closely in Saba’s point of view – I think of her as a camera – quotation marks would jar. It’s a well-established convention in this type of narrative. Some readers will be encountering it for the first time and it may take them a little bit to get into the swing. As soon as I heard Saba’s voice, I never once thought of using quotation marks. It would have been inauthentic.

That totally makes sense! I always tell people that the first 50-100 pages might be hard, but after that I don't even notice the lack of quote marks. Speaking of authentic: Saba’s interactions with her siblings are so authentic and heart touching. Did you base these off of your own experiences with family/friends?

Of course. I’m crazy about both my sisters; they’re gorgeous, smart, strong, loving, funny women and I’m lucky to have them in my life. But when we were young, there were plenty of ructions, petty hatreds and resentments and sometimes downright meaness. Sibling relationships can be rough. No one can hurt you as much as someone you love deep in your bones. I don’t look back on my early career as the oldest child with pride. I sucked. But if anyone had dared lay a finger on either of my sisters, I would have gone for them like a lion. I still would.

I have two little brothers, so I totally get what you mean about rough. But I think we've all got that lion complex. Next question: what’s the hardest thing you face(d) while writing the Dustlands books?

My lack of belief in myself. And, for Rebel Heart and, now, the third book, the deadlines. I find them very stressful. In the last, incredibly pressured phase of getting Rebel Heart finished, my blood pressure shot up, I developed tinnitus and – much to the delight of my osteopath’s bank manager - my back and neck formed into a solid, misshapen block. I grow books. They start deep underground and move slowly towards the light. It’s not a quick process.

Ouch. Deadlines sound KILLER! How do you prepare for them? Do you outline, or just sit down and start writing? Some kind of hybrid of the two?

Every book is different. I outlined and structured the various versions of Blood Red Road, but it took so long and went through so many changes that I find it hard to say how I came to the end result. All I know is that once I found Saba’s voice, the story just barreled along. But it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t done all that abandoned work beforehand. I gave Rebel Heart a basic structure before I began and pretty much stuck to it, but I didn’t know where it would end up or what would happen on the way there. I’m taking longer to plan this third book in the hope that I can write a first draft quite quickly and get that nasty phase over with. Books are made in the rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting.

Have you listened to either of the audio-book versions of Blood Red Road? If so, what do you think of them?

I’ve heard the first bit of the US version with Heather Lind, but that’s it. This was her first audiobook and she did a fine job. She and the producers consulted me about dialect and pronunciations beforehand to ensure they came as close as possible to how I would speak it.

I speak aloud as I write. I thought it was just me, with my acting background, but since I’ve started to meet more and more writers, I’ve discovered that many of them do the same. I work on rhythms, cadence and, of course, getting the right words and phrasing for each character. An audio recording is someone else’s creative response to the text. I prefer to read and hear the voices for myself.

Although, having said that, at a certain point, I was ready to give up writing Saba’s story altogether and find some other way of telling it, as I felt that the printed word was too artificial a medium for such a strong, immediate voice. I like the idea of doing a marathon solo Dickens-style live reading, with music and a soundscape and maybe some images. I don’t suppose anybody would come, apart from my husband and he’d probably sleep through most of it.


Last but not least, I turned a paragraph of Blood Red Road into a mad-lib and had Moira fill it out. Credit for this idea goes to the reviewers at Everead.

The second to last gnome slips in. I cheer it. Faint to my feet. The second I touch the handle of the widget to pull it up, I snatch my hand away, cursin. The bathtub’s hot. I throw my asparagus over my hand, grab the handle an haul the widget open. I sigh down into the darkness. His hand shoots up, grabs mine with a strong grip. I lean back an help him sigh out. He’s coughin. I pull my asparagus over both of us.

From Moira: What do [my answers] tell you about the state of my mind, I wonder? I get the verbs all right – I was watching the Olympics on TV last night, rather giddily admiring the flashing thighs of the male hurdlers – but the nouns … it’s a bit of a worry.

Moira Young’s blog tour continues tomorrow at

!!Giveaway Time!!

You can win a copy of Blood Red Road! Today's giveaway is hosted by Bananas For Books. Head on over to win. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012


  1. I've heard awesome things about this book, and now that I know more about the author, it seems silly I haven't read it yet.

    I like how she uses a different format in order to be true to her narrating character.

    Thank you:)

  2. I've been wanting to read this book for a looong time! Maybe this is the little push i needed :)

  3. I am SO excited to read these books!!! They look AMAZING!

  4. One of the reasons I read Blood Red Road because I had heard about the unusual and interesting narrating. I love the strange, country-sh diction and accent that Saba has. I can't wait to read Rebel Heart!
    Lily Sooklal

  5. Wow -- the thing I was most surprised to learn from this interview is that there are two audio book versions. Is this common? This just blew my world apart.

  6. What drew me in to read Blood Red Road was the cover, of course and the narrating. I love Saba's voice! It was so interseting to read.

    Great interview!

  7. Fun interview! I'm dying to read Rebel Heart.

  8. I haven't read anything by this author sounds terrific!

    Thanks so much!

  9. Totally looking forward to re-reading the book!Amazing book-looking forward to Rebel Heart! :)

  10. I am so glad she didn't give up on writing BRR! And I loved the lack of quotation marks. It made a difference, somehow - Saba's voice was so strong because of it, and I found myself wanting to talk with an accent when I was done reading it!

  11. I want to read her books sooooooooooo bad!! Please pick me! Thak you so much for the chance!

  12. That's interesting that Blood Red Road wasn't her first published book. I did not know that! Great interview! :D

  13. Actually, it WAS her first published book. The wording is a little confusing.

  14. I've been wanting to read this from the moment I first saw it at Chapters! So excited!

  15. I can't wait to read this book! I've been reading so many debuts this year and none have disappointed!

  16. I want to read this book so badly!

  17. I love the covers and the stories, I can't wait to read the first book!

  18. AHH, I AM IN LOVE WITH THE NEW COVERS!!! I absolutely love Moira Young's writing, and can't wait to read Rebel Heart. I especially like how she made Saba an absolutely frigid person at first, but then, you watch her evolve and change through the book.

  19. I still have yet to read Blood Red Road, but now I'm moving it up to the top of my TBR list! Thanks for the interview and giveaway :)

  20. This sounds awesomee! Really liked how she decided to use a different format in her writing style!! Really interesting interview! Thanks for sharing!
    - Farah @MajiBookshelf

  21. Sounds like a great book, I can't wait to read it! Loved the interview, thank you for answering all those interesting questions!

  22. Moira seems to be really a nice person! I even talked to her on Twitter =]
    I've read and heard so many good things about Blood Red Road that I am dyin' to read it <3

  23. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today. I have had this on my wishlist for a while and first came across it on a cover wars post. Definitely looking forward to the read.

  24. Loved this book! It took me a while to get past the way it was written, but once I did, so amazing! Can not wait for the second one to come out!

  25. I have only read one other book without the quotations, and I was not a fan of the book. Blood Red Road looks really interesting has been in my potential books for a while. I'm hoping it was only the story and not the style that made me not like the other book.

  26. I'm very interested to see how I go without the quotation marks. Bold!!


Thank you so much for commenting! I read each and every one.

Please be aware that any comments under an "anonymous" user are subject to deletion, as well as cruel or unnecessarily rude comments (because sometimes it's necessary to be rude.*wink*). Comments on posts older than 2 weeks are also moderated, and may take a few days to appear.

Related Posts with Thumbnails