Inky Awards Shortlist: Interview with Shivaun Plozza
Inky judge Ewen recently spoke with Gold Inky Award shortlistee, the ferociously talented Shivaun Plozza, to talk all things Frankie.
Q: What is your book about?
A: It’s about a 17-year-old girl named Frankie Vega whose hit-first-ask-questions-later mentality keeps getting her into trouble, like getting kicked out of school for breaking a classmate’s nose with the collected works of Shakespeare. And then trouble comes to her in the form of a 14-year-old boy claiming to be her half-brother – they share the mother that abandoned Frankie when she was just 4 years old. Frankie is nervous about getting to know him – how much will he remind her of her mother and the past she’s been trying (and failing) to leave behind? – but she finds she really likes him even though she’s not sure he’s on the level. So when her brother mysteriously vanishes Frankie knows it’s up to her to find him. It’s a mystery novel with lots of humour, some romance and, I’m told, it’s a bit of a tear-jerker.
Q: If you could describe Frankie's character in three words, which words would use?
A: Angry, funny and strong.
Q: Why did you choose to use the streets of Melbourne as the setting for your story?
A: Because I don’t think we get to see Australian settings enough in books. Because growing up I rarely got to read a book that was so unashamedly set in Australia or, more importantly, an Australia that (I hope) is far removed from the usual clichés. I think it’s important for Australian teens to read books set in their own backyard and to show the diversity of this country. Plus, Collingwood is one of my favourite places in the world and I felt drawn to it as a setting.
Q: If someone turned up claiming to be your long-lost brother, would you believe them and why?
A: Honestly I’m not sure I’d believe them – I’d need to see the DNA test! But if they could prove it I think I’d be happy to get to know them. I’d be disappointed if it was a long-lost brother though because I’d rather a long-lost sister – I’ve already got two brothers but no sister and I’ve always wanted one.
Q: If you won the Gold Inky Award, you would…?
A: Scream. Collapse on the ground in a fit of tears. Scream some more. And then I’d dance with joy. Seriously though it would be the absolute best thing to ever happen and I’m not exaggerating. This is a very special award because it’s voted for by actual teens and to have the approval of my audience – the teens I’m thinking about when I write and who I hope to keep entertained and moved by my writing – would be a dream come true. Which explains all the crying and screaming and dancing.
Good luck, Shivaun! Everybody else: get voting!