Friday, July 03, 2015

Interview with Cat Clarke, author of The Lost and the Found

Hello and welcome back to Fluttering Butterflies! Can you please tell us something about yourself and your new book, The Lost and the Found? 

Hello! It’s so lovely to be back here! Thank you so much for having me. I’m Cat, writer of UKYA and avid consumer of cheese. The Lost and the Found is about a seventeen year-old-girl called Faith, whose abducted sister reappears after thirteen years. I like to think of it as a story that starts with a happy ending and then things move on from there…

One of my favourite aspects of the book is the mentions that the media plays a part in reporting (or not reporting) missing children. Was this something important for you to get across in this book? 

For me, that’s what the book is really all about. It was something I was very interested in exploring – the types of stories that the media chooses to latch onto, and those that it chooses to ignore. It’s awful to see stories about missing teenagers or children consigned to a couple of lines on page 23 of a newspaper, simply because their faces don’t fit or their story isn’t quite ‘acceptable’ to a mainstream audience.

Confession/brag time: Faith and Michel spend lots of time whipping up delicious macarons. What is the best/worst thing you've ever baked/cooked yourself? What's your specialty?

Food is my favourite topic of conversation.  The best thing I ever cooked was very recently, actually! Turkish-spiced chicken with a hot green relish. The recipe is from an amazing cookbook called A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry. I’m salivating just thinking about that relish. I’m making it again tomorrow! The worst thing I ever made was a gluten-free Victoria sponge for my wife’s birthday. Actually, the end result wasn’t entirely revolting, but it took three attempts to get sponges that weren’t as flat as a pancake. In the process I managed to drop two eggs on the floor, burn my arm, phone a friend in a complete panic AND cry. Suffice to say, baking is NOT my strong point.

In fact, Michel was one of my favourite characters! I loved his and Faith's relationship and it was great to see his position in the modern structure of this family. Talk to me about diversity and representation! 

Thank you! Faith’s parents are divorced, and her dad lives with Michel, a Frenchman. Faith’s dad is bisexual, and Michel is gay. Michel is probably my favourite character in the book, and not just because he’s a master macaron-maker. Diversity is so important. For me it’s just about reflecting the society we live in. I think it’s important to include LGBT parents as well as LGBT teenagers in YA fiction, because it reflects the family situation of lots of young people, and it shows that LGBT kids grow up to be adults too! It sounds obvious, but if we don’t see these adults in YA fiction it’s almost like they don’t exist.

Usually in author interviews with authors who have written books with a darker plot line, I'd ask what the toughest scene was to write. But for The Lost and the Found, was it harder to hold back from telling us about the darkness Laurel had faced? Was that a conscious decision to spare readers from the traumas she had faced?

The story is told from Faith’s point of view, and she herself is spared most of the details of the trauma Laurel has suffered so it wasn’t a conscious decision to spare readers. The most important thing has to be what’s right for the book.

I quite liked this easy connection that Faith and Laurel had right from the start. Who are you favourite literary sisters?

I love reading about sisters! Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls is a fascinating and brilliantly dark exploration of the bond between sisters. A new favourite is Sarah Crossan’s One, an astonishing book about conjoined twins. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

If you had £1000 to spend in a shopping spree, where would you go and what would you buy?

I would buy a super comfortable battered old leather armchair, and ban anyone else from sitting on it. Or a super comfortable battered old leather jacket, and ban anyone else from wearing it. And I would probably save some of the money because I’m boring like that. Wait. Scratch that. I’d buy £1000 worth of cheese (and biscuits and assorted chutneys) and host a magnificent cheesefest. Will someone give me £1000 please? 

If one stumbled upon it, from a writerly perspective, what would your internet history tell us? 

Alas I can’t tell you about my current internet history because it would give you all kinds of spoilers about my next book. Oh, and it would also show you that I spend far too much time on social media when I should be writing said book.

The Lost and the Found was one of my most highly anticipated UKYA books published this year, what book(s) are you most looking forward to reading this year? 

I’m SO looking forward to ALL OF THE ABOVE by James Dawson, THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich, AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne and COUNTING STARS by Keris Stainton. I have a feeling this is going to be a bumper year for UKYA!

1 comment:

HI! Thank you for leaving a comment, you've just become my new best friend :)