Saturday 14 February 2015

UKYA Extravaganza: Dawn Kurtagich

Welcome to our stop on the UKYA Extravaganza blog tour where Dawn Kurtagich, author of the forthcoming YA novel, The Dead House, is our guest.  UKYA Extravanagaza is one of the first big author organised events outside of London and the home counties. Well done to author Kerry Drewery for spearheading it. And now to Dawn who you can meet alongside 34 other YA authors in Birmingham on 28th February. 

And look, there’s a heart on the UK cover: just as well it’s Valentines Day (though Dawn is really a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction!). 

Left: UK cover; Right: US cover

Because The Dead House isn’t out in the UK ’til August (& we haven’t read it), here’s what Dawn says about it (nothing quite like whetting an appetite on Valentine’s, is there?): 

THE DEAD HOUSE is a twisty little book full of half untruths and a broken girl who doesn't exist.

Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter-ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.”

Dawn Kurtagich sporting 'Watson'
And now here’re a few things you probably never knew about Dawn:

WSD: "I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it." To whom would you write and where would you drop it? 

Dawn Kurtagich: Hm… I'd want a very clever homing pigeon to find it and fly it to my love (so he'd think I had all kinds of mad Cinderella skills). Either that, or I would hope it could find its way to someone who really needed it.  

WSD: What book would you recommend someone else read on Valentine's Day and why? 

DK: I make no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of Juliet Marillier's work. Her Daughter of the Forest is definitely the most romantic book I have ever read (I've linked to the Goodreads page if you want more info). A little magic makes it even better. I love this book because of Sorcha, the main character. She is so strong, but so alone. Everything is taken away from her, yet she has strength enough to try and get it back, and it nearly costs her even more. Then, after all she's been through, she has to give up the person she loves most. It's beautiful. It's romantic in every way, with a capital "R"—and a fictional medieval Ireland? Yes, please. A second really good choice is Spirit Fox by Mickey Zucker Reichert and Michelle Wingert. Very readable. For YA: Anna and the French Kiss. CUTE!

WSD: Apparently your accent is a bit of a hodge-podge (welcome to my world!). What places might we detect in it?

DK: It is! You might detect an English accent, a little South African, a little American and possibly a little Australian. Though, when my Canadian friend comes to see me, I take on her lilt, apparently! Growing up in so many places means that I can't really answer the question "where are you from?" very easily. It's a problem. A very interesting problem! 

WSD: Why is orange your favourite colour?

DK: I’d say that orange is definitely one of my favourite colours—it's a colour for passion and warmth. But my favourite is a very specific type of green. Green is the best colour, anyway. The end. ;)

WSD: How and why did your hat get named Watson?

DK: Watson named himself. You'll need to ask him why... (though he's a cheeky bugger and may evade questions with more questions). He even makes an appearance in The Dead House!

The Dead House is forthcoming from Orion/Indigo (UK) and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (US) in 2015.