Melissa Keil - Author Picture

Melissa Keil - Author

Melissa was born in Melbourne, Australia and worked as an editor, high school teacher and a Middle Eastern tour guide before becoming an author. Her debut YA novel, Life in Outer Space, was the winner of the 2013 Ampersand Project and won IBBY Australia's Ena Noel award and was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. Melissa lives in Melbourne with her cheeky spoodle, Hugo.

A Q&A with Melissa

What was your inspiration behind writing The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl? Cinnamon Girl was inspired by a few things – I wanted to write a character who was an artist and a comic book fan (partly because I loved the idea of a character who had such a rich visual approach to her world, partly so I could indulge my desire to read a lot of comic books). I wanted to write a book set in a small town, as I’d spent some time in a farming town while I was writing my first book, and I fell in love with it as a location for a story. The catalyst for the book though was a little article I stumbled on in the back pages of a newspaper, a story about a tiny town in France that inadvertently became the centre of a doomsday prediction. The potential end-of-the-world seemed like a pretty fitting metaphor for my main character, Alba, and her journey at a very transitional moment in her life.

Do you create your characters based on people you know? Not really – there are probably little pieces of lots of different people I’ve met in all of my characters, but none of them are consciously based on any one person. One of my favourite things about writing is crafting my characters – getting to know them as if they were real people, and discovering things about them that I may not have known when I started writing. It’s much more freeing (and interesting) to me than basing them on real-world people!

Alba has Cinnamon Girl as her alter ego, if you had a super hero alter ego what would they be called and why? At this moment, when I’m desperately trying to finish my new novel by my increasingly frightening deadline, my super hero alter ego would either have the ability to pause time, or, the ability to turn anything she touched into cake. Spontaneous Baked-Goods Girl doesn’t really have a great ring to it though…

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? I always wanted to write, but the idea of calling myself an author seemed very far fetched when I was young. I was a voracious reader, and it always seemed to me that books were written by special, magical people who I couldn’t ever hope to emulate. I took a long time and quite a few unsuccessful career attempts before I was brave enough to give writing a proper shot.

What have you got planned next? I’m finishing up my new novel, tentatively titled The Secret Science of Magic. It’s involved quite a bit of research on card tricks, and lots of Googling things like ‘quantum mechanics for dummies’. I’ve also been working on the early stages of a screenplay for The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl – the possibility that at some point in the future she might head to the big screen is pretty exciting.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Melissa Keil

Reader ReviewedThe Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Melissa Keil
Shortlisted for the 2015 Inky Awards The imminent arrival of the end of the world is going to focus your attention on the important stuff, even if you're a teenager in those special months between the end of school and...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 13+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 11/02/2016
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