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Inky Awards Shortlist: Interview with Claire Zorn

Sep 13,2017
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Hi Claire!

My name’s Brodie, and this year I was one of the Inky judges, which meant I received and read your book One Would Think the Deep! It was amaaazzziiinnngggg!!!!!!!!! Honestly, bless you for bring this book into the world. I found the balance of Minty’s character amazingly well written. He was a really nice, decent bloke, but you could still see his upbringing and environment in the way he interacted with people when he was around his friends.

As an Inky judge, I’ve had the luck to get the opportunity to ask you a few questions. I would love to know more about you and your awesome book!

Thanks so much, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Brodie14 years old.


Q: What is your book about?

A: My book is about leprechauns trying to escape a submarine. Wait, that’s not it. No, One Would Think the Deep has no leprechauns or submarines – it’s about lots of things that are difficult to fit into a paragraph. Here goes: It’s 1997 and 17-year-old Sam has to leave his home in Sydney to go and live with his aunt and cousins on the South Coast of NSW after the death of his mother. His cousin, Minty, is on the verge of becoming a professional surfer and introduces Sam to surfing. Sam struggles to retain a sense of who he really is as he tries to find a new place in the world while caught in a precarious balance between grief and anger.

Q: How did you find a balance of characteristics when creating your characters?

A: My characters usually start out as caricatures, I then try to strip them back and replace exaggerated aspects of their character with more nuanced traits. It takes a good few drafts to work out exactly who they are and find more depth in them. They have to feel real to me, with all the complexities of a real person. I have to work out what they want, what they are afraid of, who they love, and the parts of themselves that they try to keep hidden from the world.

Q: What did you do to get into a certain state of mind when writing One Would Think the Deep?

A: Music is integral to my writing process. I see the story like a film and I build a playlist to act as a soundtrack to the story. The playlist has to capture the atmosphere I’m trying to create. There’s specific songs for certain scenes and sometimes I’ll just listen to that song on a loop while writing that scene. Once I start listening to the soundtrack I can get into the right headspace fairly easily. With this book I would also go to a surf break nearby and sit and watch the surfers, smell the ocean, all that stuff.

Q: Did you cry while writing (or reading afterwards) the book?

A: Yes! I would get totally emotionally wrung out after reading it through. My job as a writer is to manipulate my reader into feeling stuff the way a character does. It takes a lot of emotional energy to dig all those feelings up. There are scenes that make my heart break for Sam.

Q: If you won the Gold Inky Award you would…

A: The Inkys mean a lot because it is the actual readers who decide. I would probably cry – I am a very good crier. Winning would also be a great reason to eat a massive stack of pancakes, something else I am very good at.


 Vote in the Inkys here.

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