Hey guys! As part of the virtual blog tour for Aussie author Ambelin Kwaymullina's YA debut, Ashala Wolf, I have an awesome interview and a giveaway for readers living in AUS/NZ.
For those who haven't yet read The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, can you please
tell us what it's about?
Ashala Wolf is a work of dystopian fiction set hundreds of years into the future
where the world as we know has been destroyed in an environmental cataclysm called
the Reckoning. When the story begins Ashala has been captured by the government,
and is facing interrogation. She is an Illegal – a person born with a special ability –
and Illegals are locked up under a set of laws called the Citizenship Accords. Ashala
has defied those laws, and has been hiding in a vast forest with a group of other
runaways (her Tribe). The story of the book is the story of her interrogation – how
she resists the government, and how she ultimately escapes. It is also a larger story of
Ashala and her Tribe, and their place in a changing society.
What I hope I did a good job of putting into the book is drama and mystery, a bit of
romance, and some bigger issues about injustice and how to fight it. But one the great
things about being an author is that once a book is published, readers discover things
in it themselves. I always love going back to my favorite books and reading them
again, and no matter how often I read those stories, I find something new each time.
So I’m always really interested to hear what people discovered in my book, and how
they interpret the story.
How did you come up with the names of your characters? Is there perhaps a
story behind their names?
My whole family writes books, and there’s one person we always go to for names and
titles – my brother Blaze. He’s the one who came up with the title of the book, and
with Ashala’s name.
I feel that all the other characters, though, named themselves. And I could never really
understand a character until I had their name. Before that they were a bit of mystery
to me, and I had to wait for the name to come into my head before I could write about
them in the way they deserved to be written about.
What was your favourite scene in the book and why?
The truth is, I have a lot of favourite scenes and it’s really hard to pick just one. I’ve
talked about some of them already on this blog tour, and I don’t want to repeat the
same stuff…because that would be boring. So here’s another favourite scene for the
list – the one where Ashala meets the Firstwood. She puts her hand on the trunk of the
towering tuart tree, and the forest shows her how life began there, after the world was
destroyed in the Reckoning.
I love this paragraph because it shows life triumphing against all odds. The world has
ended, but life survives. And Ashala needs to understand this, because at this point
of the story, her world has ended too. She’s lost Cassie, and run away from Gull City
and everything she knows. She’s not sure, right at this moment, if she’s going to be
okay. But the forest tells her, in essence, it’s alright. We were okay, even though
everything ended around us. And you’ll be okay too.
What was the most difficult part of writing The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf?
Ashala’s worst moments. Those times when she was despairing, and alone, and
believes all is lost. Each of these moments was very hard for me to put together,
and one in particular was the worst of all (I won’t say which one but if you’ve read
the book you can probably guess). Because I didn’t want Ashala to be unhappy! In
those bad moments, I kept wanting to rescue her, and of course I couldn’t, because
that wasn’t where I was in the story. I couldn’t skim over what was happening either
– it was important to show what Ashala was thinking and feeling. But it was really
upsetting to have to live through that with her.
And the most rewarding?
When I stopped being stuck! Every now and then I’d get stuck on a particular
paragraph. It wasn’t a matter of not knowing what should be happening in that bit of
text – I could usually work that out – it was about not being able to express it as well
as I wanted to do. Sometimes I’d be trapped for days, going over and over the same
part of the book. I’d make a change, decide it was wonderful and go to bed. Then I’d
get up the next day, read the paragraph again, and decide it was absolutely terrible and
had to be redone. When I finally, FINALLY got one of those paragraphs right, it was
such a relief.
Or at least, it was a relief right up until when it dawned on me that I’d spent a week
working on a single paragraph when I was supposed to have had three chapters
- Favourite book?
Just one? Only one, out of all my books? But I love them all for different reasons
– Pride and Prejudice is for when I’m feeling glum, Jane Eyre for when I want to
be scared (but not too scared) by the mysteries of Thornfield Hall, Lois Bujold’s
Miles Vorkogisan series for when I want to laugh and cry, Michelle West’s Sun
Sword series for when I want to be swept away to another world, and Jasper Fforde’s
Thursday Next series for when I want to read a book about a world of books.
- Favourite movie?
I have two – Casablanca, and Bladerunner. They sound worlds apart, I know, but to
me, they’re both about what it is to be human.
- Guilty Pleasure?
Sponge cake. Delicious sponge cake, with strawberries and cream in the middle,
lavished with creamy icing, and more strawberries on the top. Preferably with three
layers or more.
*Awwwww...I LOVED Ambelin's answers :) Wow...I really must check out those books mentioned up there! And funnily enough, I'm doing Bladerunner at school - except it's a pity I'm watching it for analysis rather than for pure entertainment.*
Did you like the interview? Are you looking forward to reading The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf? :)
by Ambelin KwaymullinaPublished by Walker Books Australia
on July 5th 2012
The Reckoning destroyed civilisation. Rising from the ashes, some people have developed unique abilities, and society is scared of them. Guided by the ancient spirits of the land, Ashala Wolf will do anything to keep them safe. When Ashala is captured, she realises she has been betrayed by someone she trusted. When her interrogator starts digging in her memories for information, she doubts she can protect her people forever. Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?