Interview with Siobhan Curham

Siobhan Curham

Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author and founder of the life coaching practice, Dare to Dream.

She also runs Dear Writer – an online forum for young writers, offering advice, competitions and workshops.

See more at: http://www.siobhancurham.co.uk/

Was it easier plotting a series like Shipwrecked then your standalone titles?
Actually it was a lot harder, as Shipwrecked is a joint project between my publisher, Egmont, and a TV production company. So I had to plot it with TV in mind as well as books. It was a great learning curve though and I really enjoyed the challenge. One of the things I made sure I did was to include scenes and events that I thought would work well visually. And I was really conscious of including moments that would make great cliff-hangers for ad breaks or the ends of episodes.

Which character is closest to you? Cherokee, Georgie or Grace?
I would have to say that there are elements of me in all of them – I’m a real book and music addict like Cherokee, I think my voice is closest to Georgie’s and I am studying dance like Grace.

Finding Cherokee Brown and Dear Dylan deal with tough subjects, as a reader I went through the emotional ringer, particularly with Finding Cherokee Brown as I identified so much with Cherokee. What was it like writing these books?
Finding Cherokee Brown was the most therapeutic for me, in that bullying is something I feel so passionately about, so a I challenged a lot of anger into that book! Writing Dear Dylan made me cry at times, as I felt so caught up with the two main characters (I think writing it in email form made me get write inside their heads) and domestic abuse is another issue that I feel very strongly about. I’m currently working with the wonderful charity Women’s Aid to try and raise awareness about how many women and children are affected by this terrible problem.

What’s the scariest thing about being a writer?
Waiting to hear back from your editor once you’ve sent them the first draft of a book – and when you get sent a link to a review of one of your books. I’ve developed this technique of scanning them quickly with my eyes half closed, looking for certain key words like ‘hated’, ‘rubbish’ and ‘badly written’, haha. Thankfully, I haven’t come across them yet so I’ve been able to open my eyes and read the whole thing!

And the best?
When I get emails from readers saying that my books have helped change their life for the better. When I get emails from people saying that reading Finding Cherokee Brown has given them the confidence to stand up to their bullies it actually makes me cry – but in a very good way. That was my dream when I wrote that book so to have it come true has been magical.

Apart from writing what do you love doing?
Dancing and yoga – and eating cake! So it’s a good job I love dancing really as I can burn all the cake off! I’m two years into my training to become a dance teacher which I’m loving.

What do you think are the differences between UK and US YA?
I guess the obvious difference is the setting. I spend a lot of time in America because I have a lot of family there and I think being an American young adult is very different to being a British teen. The culture is so different and I think that comes through in the writing. I found writing Shipwrecked, which is about a group of American young adults very different to writing my British YA novels for this reason.

You’re at the airport with a free pass to get on any plane – where would you go and why?
San Francisco. I’ve travelled a lot around America but this is one place I still haven’t been to and I keep hearing such great things about it.

So I know you have a weakness for cakes…If I sneak you into a cake shop overnight will you tell us more about Shipwrecked 2?
Ok, well if you sneak me into a shop that sells cheesecake I would tell you that one of the main characters gets killed off in Shipwrecked 2 – and there is twist at the end that is so creepy it made my editor’s palms sweat when she read it – haha!

*Luna is making grabby hands* Can’t wait to read.

I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
Can I ask that everyone watches this video:

As I said before, bullying is something I feel so strongly about and I defy anyone to watch this and still think that it’s ok to bully others. It’s also so uplifting at the end – so I hope it inspires anyone out there who might be being bullied at the moment…

Quickfire round:

Tea or coffee?
Coffee (and cake) – perfect combo 🙂

What’s your favourite dish (that you can cook)?
Bacon sandwiches!

Can you recommend a book to read?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – my favourite YA novel of all time (Luna: I really loved that book)

Favourite place?
South Carolina

You can have one superpower, what would you like?
To be able to fly

What’s the perfect cure to a bad day?
Putting on a favourite feel good tune and dancing the bad day away

Do you ever re-arrange book displays in bookshops? Haha, no, but my mum does! She likes to rearrange them so that my book is top of the best-sellers lol

What word describes you best?
Positive

When no one is watching, do you dance?
Yes! And I dance when people are watching too. When I got the book deal for Shipwrecked I actually danced in the street!

And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
Tell us all about your blog Dare to Dream because then I could let people know that I have a whole other life helping others achieve their dreams…

Dear Dylan

Finding Cherokee Brown

Shipwrecked

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