As part of the Captivate blog tour hosted by Harlequin Teen Australia, today the Moonlight Library welcomes YA author Vanessa Garden who’s going to tell us a little about how her cultural background and growing up in Australia influenced the writing of Captivate.
Where I grew up:
I was born in Fremantle and grew up on the coast of a rural part of Western Australia. Not only was I surrounded by market gardens and lots of open land, I also lived a short, five minute walk to the beach (the Indian Ocean). It was there I spent entire summers with my sister and best friend, bombing off the jetty (not blowing it up, I promise) and basically never leaving the water.
The sea is such a beautiful thing – this large body of water that gives us so much pleasure, and yet it holds so much danger, too, by being home to sharks, drownings, ghostly shipwrecks, and dark places man has never explored.
I vividly recall swimming with my eyes open as a child and wondering what lay beyond the dark shadows of the deep sea, imagining glittering underwater cities just like Marin in Captivate.
My cultural background:
Though I’m Australian born (and proud) my cultural background is Croatian. My Dad is Aussie born but has Croatian heritage (like me). My mother was born in a small village on an island called Korcula, off the Dalmatian coast, Croatia. The village was purposely built in a valley between hills to shield them from murderous, pillaging pirates! How cool is that!? They remained untouched by pirates for centuries because of this clever move by original settlers.
Because most of her family remained overseas, we visited every few years. During these trips I got to know my Croatian relatives, experienced the very laid-back, simple, island lifestyle there, and also got to eat some amazing food – some of which Miranda eats in Captivate.
Another, obvious influence of my Croatian background in Captivate is the Tollin family. Marko, Damir and Sylvia are all of Croatian backgrounds (Marko is my maternal grandfather’s name).
Also, Frano Tollin, the founder of Marin, told his grandchildren that he once saw a mermaid in the Adriatic Sea.
My own great-grandfather (paternal) believed that he saw a merman while he was on a warship during WW1. It was a story I never grew tired of hearing to as a child.
On having an Australian Main Character:
Miranda is your average, seventeen year old Australian girl. She has her good qualities and faults like most people. But being Australian doesn’t define who she is – it’s just one of the many factors helping to shape Miranda as a person, and hopefully a relatable person. My greatest wish as a writer would be for any person, any age, any sex, from any part of the world, to find a piece of themselves in Miranda.Recently I was at a writer’s conference and one of the US editors told us eager, Australian writers in the audience that readers, especially US readers, didn’t want to read about Aussie characters or settings! I found this hard to believe but couldn’t help walk away from the workshop feeling a little down because my heroines are always Australian. But luckily, at a later workshop, by a brilliant US blogger, we learned (from said US blogger after an online poll she orchestrated) that readers all over the world, in fact, loved all things Aussie and welcomed Australian characters and settings!
On that note, I’m off to edit my YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi set in the Australian outback (coming soon)!
In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…
For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.
Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.
Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets..
About Vanessa Garden
Vanessa Garden lives on the coast of Western Australia with her husband, their three chatty children, and three calming goldfish. When she is not writing, Vanessa can be found at the local bookstore where she works part-time. Being a bookseller as well as an author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads to customers, or dreaming up her next novel, she enjoys spending time with the people she loves most.
Captivate is published by Harlequin Teen Australia and will be available January 1 2014 where good books are sold. Many thanks to Polina at Harlequin for organising this blog tour. Look for my review of Captivate once the tour is over.