Friday, August 3, 2012

Author Spotlight: Pip Harry of I'll Tell You Mine (Book Give-away)

I'll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry
Publisher: U.Q.P. (Australia)
Publication Date: March 28, 2012
Purchase: FishPondWorld / Avid Reader



Kate Elliot isn't trying to fit in – that's the whole point of being a goth, isn't it?

Everything about her – from her hair to her clothes – screams different and the girls at her school give her a wide berth. How can Kate be herself, really herself, when she's hiding her big secret? The one that landed her in boarding school in the first place. She's buried it down deep but it always seems to surface.

But then sometimes your soul mates sneak up on you in the most unlikely of places. Like Norris Grammar Boarding School for Girls, where's she's serving a life sentence, no parole, because her parents kicked her out.

So, how do you take that first step and reveal your secrets when you're not sure that people want to see the real you?

My Thoughts
I’ll Tell You Mine is a fabulous debut novel by Pip Harry that is authentically Aussie. Truly enjoyed this story from beginning to end!

I feel like I’m being repetitive, but there’s no other way to put it… If I had to choose one genre to take me through the rest of my reading career, I’d have to say it would definitely be Australian YA Contemporary. There’s a realism and charm that seems to constantly resonate through these books, where I find myself immerced in the story and reluctant to let go when I’m done. I can say with confidence that Pip Harry has definitely earned a spot among the Awesome Aussie Authors crowd of Kirsty Eagar, Fiona Wood, Cath Crowley, Sue Lawson and Julie Gittus to name a few of my faves. And, let’s not forget that Melina Marchetta endorsed this novel for good reason. Definitely an Aussie book that shouldn’t be missed by fans of this genre.

This story kicks off with quite an intriguing premise where Kate is sent to a Melbourne boarding school as a year ten student as sort of a punishment or “teenage time-out” by her parents. What happened during the mysterious final infraction remains unknown until the final chapters, which is when Kate finally finds her place among the boarders and has developed some meaningful friendships. She stands to lose all of that when her secret is revealed, which could possibly taint her character and strip away the progress she’s made throughout this difficult year of transition.

There were parts of the story that I felt so connected to the characters and their surrounding that I found myself wanting to either pick up a map or google Wagga, Melbourne, and a few other places that were mentioned so I could clearly envision these characters in their space. When an author achieves that sort of connection for me, there’s no doubt I was hooked into this fictional, magical moment.

Pip’s strength clearly lies in her ability to create a relatable narrator alongside a perfectly blended secondary cast. Kate and her band of misfits were huggable, realistic and honest to a fault. I loved the multiple layers Pip achieved with her story by way of introducing such uniquely different characters that each had a story to share that was filled with emotion and heart.

Pip Harry spares no expense in delivering a great Aussie experience that takes relevant teenage issues and struggles, such as parental dissension, friendship, and first love with a sense of purpose, sensitivity and relate-ability. Well done!

                                                                       4 Snowflakes
                                                          
Author Interview
WinterHaven was fortunate enough to interview Pip Harry. Check it out! 

Your novel “I’ll Tell You Mine” covers quite a bit of ground in terms of teenage struggles, parental conflict and discovering friendships and love. How did you come up with the idea of writing this book?
The idea came from one of my own teenage experiences. When I was 15, I was very strong willed and rebellious and my parents sent me to a boarding school for a term to clear my head and have a time out from the home environment (best decision! I loved it) That idea of a girl sent to boarding school was just the kernel, and it grew from there as I added characters and introduced the mystery of Kate’s ‘secret.’ I've never been a goth, so I did lots of research into that area too.

When you began this project, did you know going into it that you’d like to publish this novel, or was it an afterthought upon completion?
I had the goal of being published clearly in my sights while writing the book. But my confidence wavered so much during the writing process. There were a few times when I nearly shelved the manuscript because I thought it was no good. So glad I didn’t! As a writer, you have to have self-belief and not let the knockers get you down.

What was your publishing experience like?
Long! I wrote my first manuscript at age 23 and didn’t get published until I was 37. I think even my family were starting to think my becoming a published author was a pipe dream! The breakthrough came with ITYM, which even in early read throughs with my writing group felt right. Once I'd finished tinkering with the manuscript I found an amazing agent, Sophie Hamley, who loved the book and knew the right publishers to send it to. Just as she predicted, I signed with UQP, a university press in Queensland, with a great reputation for publishing quality YA. I really enjoyed the collaborative editing process, which lasted roughly a year. Although with my background writing and editing on weekly gossip magazines (which move at the speed of lightening) I found it slow going at times!

At the beginning of the novel, Kate is experiencing quite a bit of confusion and anger over her situation. As the novel progresses and her circumstance begins to change, we witness her growth and transformation as a character, which is very rewarding as a reader. Is Kate modeled after anyone in your life or is she a complete figment of your imagination?
I’m glad you enjoyed Kate’s growth as a character – I wanted her to understand the world and her place in it a little better during the course of the novel. She can be frustrating at times and makes some terrible decisions, but that makes her more real I think! She’s not modelled on a real life person, but I think some of her attitude comes from how I remember myself at that age. I was a handful!

I enjoy reading graphic novels every now and again and it was fun to envision Kate’s “G-Girl Strikes Back.” Is this something you’ve attempted to write and design yourself, or is this just Kate’s thing? I’d love to see a page or two by the way. =]
I wouldn't have a clue how to design The Adventures of G-Girl! Great idea though! I might need to enlist one of my designer friends to do the illustrations. Stay tuned...

The secondary cast of Lou, Harriet, Jess and Maddy is quite the eclectic group! Did you have any difficulty developing or writing any of those characters?
I had so much fun developing the secondary characters and giving them strong, interesting storylines. They are all such different girls, and yet they all had something to hide and problems to work out. Maddy was probably my favourite character to write. She was such a free spirit and yet so damaged and lonely too. It was sad to see the whole Norris Grammar gang grow up and leave my head!

Do you have any future projects you’re currently working on that you can share some details about?
People have asked whether I’m writing ITYM 2, but I have no immediate plans to continue Kate’s story. For now, I’m working on a YA novel about a brother and sister who are training for a big school rowing regatta called The Head of the River. I’m inspired by watching all the crews in the Olympics right now!

Author Bio
Author and journalist Pip Harry writes features for lifestyle magazines and lectures on journalism at universities. She has been a section editor for NW, TV Week and Woman’s Day and has published short stories in the UTS Writer’s Anthology and Wet Ink. I’ll Tell You Mine (UQP, 2012) is her debut young adult novel. Pip also co-runs the relationships website, Reality Chick www.realitychick.com.au. She lives in Sydney with her partner and gorgeous daughter. When not at a keyboard, she can be found squishing playdough, searching for the perfect flat white and competing in ocean swimming.
Follow this Author:

That's not all! We have a give-away for I'll Tell You Mine!!
Pip Harry was gracious enough to offer one lucky follower a copy of this debut novel. This give-away is open to WinterHaven followers from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Just fill out the rafflecopter and share your thoughts on the review or interview of I'll Tell You Mine. Good Luck! =]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

29 comments:

  1. This book sounds just up my street! I love the mystery of secrets… Can't wait to find out what Kate's is ;)… The boarding school environment seems fun :D…

    Loved the interview! Really enjoyed it :D

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    1. Thank you Nayab! Good luck with the give-away. :)

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  2. Such a lovely review! I honestly can't get enough of Aussie authors, so it's good to know there's another awesome book I need to check out! Thanks for the giveaway too! :)

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    1. Thank you Jasprit! I know what you mean. I love Aussie YA. You're welcome. Good luck! XD

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  3. I'm in love with contemporaries right now. Especially those from Aussie authors. They are just so good!!! I definitely need this one :)

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    1. I'm right there with ya Vivien! One of my favorite genres! Good luck with the give-away! :D

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  4. I've heard so much about aussie authors and books, but I never know how to get a copy of them! I'll Tell You Mine sounds great and I can't wait to read it.:)
    Great review!!

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    1. Thank you Addie! Oh I know, right?! They are really hard to get a hold of because most of them are not published in the states. I hope publishers begin to give these authors the attention they deserve. Good luck with the give-away. :)

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  5. I like that even the secondary characters are appealing to me. It makes for a strong cast. Maddy sounds like a character I would like. She has her own mind but still has some flaws.

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    1. Na,that is a perfect description of Maddy. She was perfectly flawed and loveable. Thank you for posting! XD

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  6. Thanks for the giveaway! The book looks really good.

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    1. You're welcome! It really is good. I hope you get to read it soon! :)

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  7. I enjoy reading books that are set in boarding schools.

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  8. I'm not surprised we have another Aussie great! I love seeing a positive transformation in the main character and this story sounds right up my alley. Loved the interview and hearing where Pip's inspiration came from. Great review and interview, Arlene. Thanks for the amazing giveaway! :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel! Yes, this is definitely one of my favorite genres! Interviewing Pip Harry was awesome! She was so super sweet. You're welcome and good luck!

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  9. Thanks for the great giveaway. I think this book sounds just up my alley :)

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    1. You're welcome Jillyna, this book was great. I hope you get to read it son. :)

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  10. I enjoyed your review. I'm trying to get more into Aussie YA, but it's hard to get ahold of a lot of the books! There's always Fishpond, but it tends to be costly.

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    1. Thank you Kelly. They sure are to get a hold of. Yes, Fishpond can get pricey. Thanks for posting!

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  11. Hi guys - and thanks for the amazing comments about my book! If anyone is finding it hard to get hold of ITYM you can purchase as an ebook at Avid Reader here:

    http://ebooks.avidreader.com.au/product/9780702248160

    It's way cheaper than getting it shipped out via fishpond. The ebook will soon be out in all major sites like Amazon and Kobo, so have a look out.

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    1. Thank you so much Pip for stopping by letting us know!! That is so awesome!! We will definitely spread the word =D

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  12. This book looks really interesting. I haven't heard of it before either. I really want to read it now. Thanks for sharing

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  13. Thank you for the chance to win!

    Cherry Mischievous

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    1. You're welcome Cherry! Good luck! :D

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  14. This sounds like a great read. I like characters with some flaws, it makes them feel more real to me. I have really enjoying Aussie authors. Thanks for the chance.

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    1. You're welcome Sariah! Good luck with the giveaway! This really is a great Aussie read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did if/when you read it. :)

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