Yesterday we brought you an exclusive interview with the UK editor of Blood Red Road — but today, we have an exclusive interview with the author herself, Moira Young. We’re delighted that Moira took some time to share her insights into her outstanding debut novel, in stores Tuesday!
The choice wasn’t mine. The simple fact is that I couldn’t find a way into the story until I found Saba’s voice. My first attempts at telling it used a third person narrator with quotation marks for dialogue, and proper punctuation and sentences. I tried one thing, then another, working at it on and off for three years or so. I began to have the first inklings of her voice when I switched to the first person. At that point, I thought Saba would be around 8 or 9 years old at the beginning of the story. That was a bit of a mad ride with punctuation (none at all) and language and it wasn’t really sustainable, but what it did was take me out of what I believed to be my comfort zone. The moment I raised her age to 18 and stopped trying to control the story, the Saba of ‘Blood Red Road’ roared into life and began to speak. She began to tell me her story – plainly, directly, in her own way, using her own words. Mainly, I just wrote it down. Clearly, my cultural background – love of westerns, epics, a Scottish father, being a word magpie – all feed into the sound and look of it, as well as my former lives as an actress and opera singer.
What lies ahead for Saba, Lugh, Jack and all the rest in future books?
My mother would like them to go skipping off, hand in hand, into the sunset as the end credits roll. We’ll see.
Saba’s experience is so unique, and yet her inner transformation is universal in many ways. What qualities make her such a relatable character for readers?
In many ways, Saba’s world is a frightening place. But what do you think are some of its good qualities?
Well, the world we live in today can be a pretty frightening place, depending on where you live and who you are. Read a paper, watch the news, it’s all there. But, no matter how challenging or dreadful the situation, over and over again, throughout human history certain elements of the human experience remain constant. These include friendship, loyalty, courage, altruism and hope, all of which feature in this story.
What do you hope people take away from BLOOD RED ROAD the most?
An enjoyable read that keeps them turning the pages right to the end.
If you saw someone in a bookstore looking at BLOOD RED ROAD, what would you say to convince them to buy it?
Buy it. You’ll make my mother very happy.
What interview question do you always wish someone would ask you?
Shall we just forget this and go have some cakes and tea?
Now answer that question!
Yes. Most definitely.
If they made a Moira Young candle, what would it smell like?
At the moment, with official publication date four days off, it would smell of fear.
The Bunny of Seville.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Your personal theme song?
Don’t have one. I’ll pick a song for today instead: Nelson Eddy singing ‘Rose Marie’. If you don’t warm to a Mountie singing a love song as he paddles a canoe, there’s something wrong with you.
You’re on a deserted island and have to read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
The collected Works of William Shakespeare.
Favorite book as a child?
The Wind in the Willows
The ability to iron flat things very flat indeed.
Thanks to Moira for answering all our questions, and to Chrissy at S&S for arranging this interview!