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Interview with Author Felicity Castagna

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by Maria-MPG Narratives (subscribe)
I'm a Freelance Writer - MPG Communications and Author - Maria P Frino (pen name).
Published July 24th 2021
Author of Girls in Boys' Cars
A Young Adult novel with adventurous female characters.

Felicity Castagna is an Author, Lecturer in Creative Writing and Mentor. I was given the opportunity to interview her about her latest YA novel - Girls in Boys' Cars. This is Felicity's first novel in this genre.

Q. What inspired you to write this story?
A. There is such a long tradition of male road stories think Jack Kerouac's On The Road (which I loved as a teenager!) but there are so few stories about women and girls. Boys on the road are looking for adventure, women always seem to be running away and driving themselves over cliffs like Thelma and Louise. I wanted to write something where girls get to be the agents of their own kind of road story even if it's complicated and everyone else is always getting in the way.

Q. Are you drawn to complicated friendships like your two adventurous young women in Girls in Boys' Cars?
A. Is it even a friendship if it is not complicated? If you are really trying to get to know someone you rub up against each other and shout and scream and love each other deeply like Rosa and Asheeka do. It's hard to ever really know other people on a deep level but these girls try, even though they fail sometimes because they have different histories and experiences of the world and sometimes you can't get past that, you can only rub up against it.

Q. Do you write in any other genres?
A. Too many! But I love playing with words. I write books for both adults and young people. I also write a lot of creative non-fiction and criticism for many different magazines and journals and I've worked on collaborative teams with lots of artists in other genres to create live work for big theatres and festivals.

Q. How long have you been writing?
A. For ever and ever and into the future.

Q. Do you find time to read? Who are your favourite authors?
A. I could read all day long but have to force myself to do some other work sometimes. I read a lot of novelists because I feel like their stories help me to understand and think about the world around me, authors like Alice Pung, Michelle De Kretser, Melina Marchetta and Tara June Winch.

Q. What genres do you like to read?
A. As a writer, I think there's something to learn from and take pleasure in, in many different genres of writing. At the moment in lockdown, I feel like I need to read small bits of things with interesting ideas and images that make me think so I'm reading a lot of poetry and short stories.

Q. What's next? Are you writing another novel?
A. I'm always writing multiple novels! At the moment one of my favourite things I'm doing is co-writing a young adult novel with two other writers. It's about a party where everything goes wrong and three very different girls have to work out how to make things right

Q. If you weren't writing what career would you have?
A. Most writers have other careers and I do too (writing doesn't pay the bills!). I work as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Western Sydney University and I also do a lot of mentoring and teaching of young and emerging writers. Lucky for me, I actually love teaching too.

Q. Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
A. Writing is a long game. You write something and then you write it again and sometimes you just have to throw whole books out because that's the way it is but you get better and then
you read and you write some more.

Q. Where can readers find you and your work?
A. You can get my latest book, Girls in Boys Cars from your local bookshop and help keep bookshops afloat. Otherwise, check me out online or through my website.

Thank you Felicity for taking the time to talk and I wish you the best with this latest novel and the ones you pen in future. Publication for Girls in Boys' Cars is August 2021.

Also, thank you to Pan MacmillianAustralia for the photo in this article.

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