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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interview: Cath Crowley (Author of A Little Wanting Song!)

One of my favorite authors, Cath Crowley, is visiting The Hiding Spot today! Crowley's recently released novel, A LITTLE WANTING SONG, is one of the most gorgeous novels I've ever read. Be sure to check out my review!


A Brief Bio

 Cath Crowley spends her time "writing young adult fiction and fiction for younger children. She likes reading, TV marathons, the planetarium, politics and hanging out with friends." She is the author of  A LITTLE WANTING SONG, which was released in Australia as CHASING CHARLIE DUSKIN.

The Interview
Give a short statement describing A LITTLE WANTING SONG.
A Little Wanting Song is about longing. For a first love. For escape. For the dead to come back to life. For something beautiful in world that seems anything but beautiful. The writing style is mostly lyrical because the book is meant to feel like a wish or a song.

Why did choose to write A LITTLE WANTING SONG from both Charlie and Rose’s point-of-view? Why not just Charlie’s POV or vice versa.
On the surface, Rose and Charlie seem different, but actually they have a lot in common. Writing from both viewpoints allowed me to show the things that divided and linked them. Also, I wanted the characters to swap places at the end of the novel – for the reader to see that without luck we could all be outsiders.

And I guess, honestly, I just really like writing split narratives. It’s fun to write two characters that bounce off each other through the narrative.
Music plays an important role in the novel, especially Charlie’s story. I loved the lyrics scattered between chapters; they’re simple, but full of raw emotion and longing. Did these lyrics form in your mind after Charlie developed into a character? Are you a musician yourself?

Thanks for writing that about the lyrics – they took me a long time to write. They’re not in the first version of the book because I couldn’t find a way to translate Charlie’s prose voice into poetry. My brothers are very talented but the musical gene missed me entirely.
But when I rewrote the book for the US market it seemed to me that her voice was already so lyrical that it wouldn’t take much to shift it to poetry. Even so, I stared at a blank screen for ages. And then I began to write with my IPod in, the music turned up loud.
I couldn’t think, so I had to write without thinking, if that makes sense. After a while I’d turn the music off and look at what I’d come up with. There were some strange things on the page but I like strange and Charlie’s quirky so I knew I had the start of her poems/songs. My favourite lines are from after Charlie kisses Dave: So slowly, really slowly/I’m spinning song and dancing/Rising voice beneath my skin.
Allison Wortche, my US editor, did a beautiful job of editing them. Still, I was nervous about what the reader would think, so it’s a relief that people have liked them.

Both Charlie and Rose have a romantic interest in the novel, but each has an extremely different attitude toward the relationship. What does each girl’s view of boys and relationships say about them?
Rose is desperate to have a different life from her mother’s. She loves Luke but she can’t stand the thought that he’ll give her the same life that her parents have: long days with nothing in them but eating fish and chips while the conversation circles around cars. (I actually think Luke would give her more than this but she’s not willing to take that chance.) She sees him as the person who will hold her back.
Charlie ’s less complicated. She wants to connect. She wants a ‘normal’ experience with a boy. But what’s normal anyway? I think her relationship with Dave shows their quirkiness and I like that. She moves slowly towards him because she’s unsure. She’s been pushed to the side for such a long time.

If there is one lesson or meaning you hope readers take away from A LITTLE WANTING SONG, what would it be?
I guess I’d like them to take away the idea that most times there’s a way back from loss. Charlie and her dad lose a lot in the novel but the end is hopeful. Also, that everyone’s different and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s meant to be.

Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
My next book is Graffiti Moon, out with Pan Macmillan in August this year.
It’s about the graffiti artists Shadow and Poet. Shadow paints these amazing pictures all over the city - birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Poet writes the words to go with the pictures and sometimes he does his own walls too.
Lucy Dervish and her friends, Jazz and Daisy, go on this all-night adventure to celebrate the end of Year 12. Lucy’s really along for the ride because she thinks she has a chance of finding Shadow. She thinks she’s in love with him – if only they could meet, she’s pretty sure they’d hit it off.
During the night Lucy is separated from the group and she runs into Ed, who’s pretty much the last guy she wants to have anything to do with. He knows where to find Shadow, though; so the two of them start searching together.
The book is split narrative, alternating between Ed and Lucy. Occasionally, there’s a piece from Poet. I love the way Ed and Lucy bounce off each other. I loved writing a narrative that took place on one night, two people racing across the dark together.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
Story is my escape from reality. I take it in any form I can get- books, plays, TV, film, conversations with friends, music. I’m sure it’s not entirely good but I love disappearing into other worlds.
Once the book I’m writing is up and running, I mostly hide there. I dream about my story. I think about it on my walks. My friends often say that they will be talking to me and then I get this look and they know I’m off some place else.
Thank you, Cath!
Be sure to check out my review of A LITTLE WANTING SONG here!


  1. Thank you for an interesting interview.

  2. Nice interview. I just one your book so I'll be reading it very soon!

  3. Great Interview! I definitely want to read Graffiti Moon!!! :D

  4. Great interview!! I love split narratives. It seems to keep the story interesting. I love knowing what 2 different characters are thinking.

  5. Great interview! I've always though split narratives were great to read so this one I'm going to check out!

  6. It's always interesting to learn how an author writes. I liked reading about how Cath Crowley evolved Charlie's 'voice' into her poetry.
    Thanks for the interview.

  7. Great interview, this sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it.

  8. Ooo... I really want to read Graffiti Moon! The cover is great too btw!

  9. I liked the interview. Glad I learned what a little wanting song was. And Graffiti Moon sounds good too.
    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

  10. This was a nice interview. I really want to read the book and appreciate that the author wanted the reader to understand you can overcome loss. AND that its ok to be different.


  11. I LOVED her short statement describing her book. I think she already sold me, without having to progress through the entire interview! I can totally empathize with her lack of the music gene – it totally missed me as well! I stray veeery far away from characters who are musicians. I’m sure I have a box of imaginary characters up there demanding to be let out. =P

    I especially like her intent/lesson. I’ve personally undergone loss, and I already empathize with the character without even reading the book. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things work out in the end!

  12. Great interview! I especially enjoyed your last question about personal escape from reality. Cath Crowley's answer was interesting to read.

    melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. Great interview! Both of these books sound like good reading!

  14. Great interview! I'm really looking forward to "A Little Wanting Song". I hope it's as good as I want it to be!

  15. I love reading author interviews! Thanks for posting this one on your blog!

  16. Oh wow! Graffiti Moon sounds so amazing! I love that she writes her books in alternating perspectives. Great questions and an overall great interview! :D


  17. Sweet interview. I love it when you split the narratings - keeps things upbeat and interesting!

  18. Amazing! You make Graffiti Moon sound great.


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