InterviewByBook with The Centre of My Everything by Allayne Webster

Title: The Centre of My Everything
Author: Allayne L. Webster
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Genre: Contemporary, realism
Age Range: Young Adult

ISBN: 978-0-14-378333-6

Book Description: Justin’s back and wants to put the past behind him.
Corey’s a footy hero and high-school dropout who can’t even find work picking fruit.
Tara wants to be loved. But if her mother doesn’t care, why would anyone else?

Margo wants out, and she has a plan to get there.
Plans change. Life happens. Some secrets won’t stay buried.
A story about love and loss. About tragic secrets and the lengths people will go to hide them. About intergenerational pain and desperate attempts to break the cycle. About yearning for love and finding it where you least expect.

Dear, The Centre of My Everything,

It’s an honour to welcome you to our #InterviewByBook questionnaire!

Let’s begin with ‘the plug’! Please tell us a bit about yourself in the most enticing way possible.

Well, I was many years in the making and I was supported by a SA arts grant, so I like to think I’m a bit special in that respect. I’m set in Mildura, Vic, and I’m told from the four teen POV: Tara, Justin, Margo and Corey. As my story progresses, the reader discovers that not only are the lives of my teens intertwined, but also their parents. I’m a story about love and loss, about forgiveness and reconciliation.

What makes you so funny, endearing and mystifying?

I’ve been told I’m endearing because my characters are authentic and searingly honest. I’m also a bit funny because my author does make some wisecracks and enjoys a sense of irony. I’m also a little bit mystifying, as I tell a story about some bones that have been removed from a grave and the secrets that rise with them…

How do you compare to other books in your approach / themes?

That’s a tough one! I’m not exactly sure. My marketing team suggests I’m a cross between Nona and Me by Clare Atkins and The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis. I suppose my approach of multiple points of view isn’t as common—it’s usually perhaps one or two—and four points of view is a lot to keep track of. I think I pull it off! There are numerous themes/issues underpinning me, including racism, binge-drinking, assault, economic disadvantage and criminality. I would say I have a distinctly Aussie flavour.

Who do you think your author is most similar to in terms of writing style? Why?

Yikes! My author’s writing style varies from book to book. She’s not exactly consistent (somewhat frustratingly.) I guess she has always aspired to be honest and forthright like Judy Blume; to not shy away from tricky issues and to face them head on. If I could nominate an Aussie author she comes close to, it might be Darren Groth or Scot Gardner. (Not sure what they’d think of that though!)

What do you think of your cover image? 

Oh! I am so glad you asked! I absolutely LOVE my cover image, created by the team at Penguin Random House. I feel like they nailed it. My cover image references a scene in the book, but also has a subliminal double-meaning—which I won’t spoil for you. I reckon by the time you finish me, you’ll totally get it.

What kind of effect have you had on your readers so far? What’s the craziest or most heartwarming thing someone has ever said about you?

Well, the only people who’ve read me are my original proof readers, my sensitivity readers, and the authors who’ve puffed me. (Actually, that’s a few, isn’t it?) There are some super nice things on my cover from fellow YA authors Dianne Touchall, Vikki Wakefield, Nicole Hayes and Sue Lawson. I quite like my cover quote from Vikki that says, ‘Often funny, sometimes shocking, always real.’ I reckon that pretty much sums me up.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever visited or been read?

One of my readers confessed to taking me into the toilet—and that’s so she could hide from her kids. Does that count?

Multiple Choice Question:
Who would you most like to be in the hands of?
a. Some totally famous author like Dr. Suess, Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl
b. Some totally famous Royal like The Queen, Prince William or the Princess of Pop
c. Some other-worldly creature that can spread the joy of your book across the entire universe
d. Some random kid you sat next to at the bus stop
e. Other. Would love to hear it!

d. I would go this one, because that’s my audience, and that’s who I care about!

The Nitty Gritty:
Where is your home and where can we buy you?

I belong to Penguin Random House. You can buy me at any bookshop, online, in ebook format.
And you can find out more about me here:
www.allaynewebster.com
www.facebook.com/allaynewebsterauthor/
twitter.com/allayne_webster

Thanks so much for coming along and spilling all the deets about you! 😊

Book Launch Details:

Allayne grew up in the coastal fishing town of Kingston South East, South Australia. She’s the recipient of three SA Arts grants, a Board Member of the Salisbury Writers’ Festival, and she helped to establish the Women’s Professional Development Network Book Club at the University of Adelaide. She’s a 2018 South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador.

Allayne’s middle grade title, Paper Planes (Scholastic) was a 2016 CBC Notable Book and shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Children’s Awards for Literature. In June 2017, Allayne released a middle grade novel, A Cardboard Palace (MidnightSun Publishing) OS rights were sold, and it will be released in Sweden this April. The Centre of My Everything (Penguin Random House) is her third YA novel. A fourth, Sensitive, is contracted with UQP, due for release mid 2019. Sam’s Surfboard Showdown, (Scholastic) is co-authored and illustrated by her sister, Amanda S. Clarke.

#InterviewByBook #TheCentreOfMyEverything

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