My interview with the author Katy Cannon, author of And Then We Ran.
A road-trip story about following your dreams and embracing the unexpected.
Out now with Stripes Publishing.
Where did your idea for two teens eloping come from?
This book was unusual in that I woke up one morning with the idea right there in my head - so I have no idea where the initial spark came from! But once it was there, I knew it was something I definitely wanted to write, and I knew that I wanted the main characters to be friends, not in a relationship, when they decided to do it. Which meant I had to do a lot of thinking to figure out why they’d do such a thing!
What's your favourite part of the book?
I love the scene with Megan and Elliott in the caravan, I have to admit. But my absolute favourite part might have to be the text message based flirting between Megan’s best friend, Becca, and Elliott’s brother, Sean! Stripes have done a fab job in presenting those parts of the text so they look like real messages, and I just love looking at them.
Do you empathise with Elliot or Megan more?
Probably Elliott. Megan is far wilder, more impulsive and more confident than I’ve ever been! Whereas Elliott, dreaming of a future he knows he can’t have - until Megan suddenly gives him hope again - feels a lot more like I did when I was younger, dreaming of being a writer but not believing it was possible.
Why did you base it in Wales? What part of Wales inspired you?
I grew up in North Wales, but I’ve spent a lot of summers (and springs, and summers, and winters, actually) in South Wales on holiday - mostly in Pembrokeshire, where the book is partially set. It’s an area I know well, and I loved the idea of writing about a seaside tourist town in the off season, when it’s just the locals there. Plus I know how difficult it can be to get in and out of the area! I’ve spent hours stuck behind a tractor on the winding roads through the Brecon Beacons, or in miles of holiday traffic trying to get into Pembrokeshire from the East. I knew I wanted to write a road trip story, but there really isn’t an awful lot of Britain to road trip through - you can drive from end to end in a day if you really wanted to. But getting from Pembrokeshire to Gretna Green is difficult enough for Megan and Elliott to get into some real trouble on their journey...
What are your fondest memories of growing up in Wales?
Mostly being with my large and extended family. We have a lot of family get togethers with singing and great food.
Also, a lot of holidays on the Welsh coastline, in caravans and cottages mostly. I love the Welsh seaside, and visiting the castles, hills and villages of the country. I’m just fascinated by its history and mythology. Also the language - learning Welsh at the age of nine, when we moved home to Wales, was a revelation! I’m trying to brush up on my Welsh now, actually, as my daughter has decided that she wants to learn to speak it, too.
Why did you want to become a writer and has anything surprised you about being a professional writer that you didn't expect?
I’ve always had stories in my head, and I’ve always loved books more than almost anything, so being a writer just felt like what I was meant to do. Making stuff up for a living, finding a way to make those stories run in other peoples’ heads as well - it’s the best job ever. What surprised me most, I think, is how many other people are involved! I might write the stories, but that’s just the beginning of the process of getting books into readers’ hands. I couldn’t do it without a fabulous team, from my agent to my editor, to everyone at my publisher, to the booksellers, librarians, book bloggers - and the readers themselves!
What's your favourite quote?
Are you working on your next book and if so can we have a sneaky clue what its about?
I’m just starting work on it this week! So all I can tell you right now is that it will be wildly romantic...
Many thanks to Katy for such a great interview. For more information on Katy and her books visit her website on www.katycannon.com/