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Interview on WritersInterviews

I’ll paste the link here to their website, but at the end of August I completed an interview about my recent novel ‘A Shot in the Dark’, and here it is.

Today we are interviewing Alexandra Killworth, author of a coming-of-age / young adult novel, titled “A Shot in the Dark.”

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Alongside writing, I also enjoy freelance photography and I do my own art, both of which is also available on my Instagram. I’m one of the youngest authors in the UK and I write in a variety of genres, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Alison, a teenager recovering from depression after the loss of her father, finds her passion for photography with the help from her best friend and a mysterious man online. The two of them become closer, connecting over their passions and losses, but can two damaged souls find love over distance?

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
I think teenagers and young adults, especially those with an interest in photography, would really appreciate this book. It features mature characters and relatable character development that people will really empathise with.

Tell us about the protagonist, Alison.
Alison used to be a very curious girl by nature, and very creative. Now, although she longs for that creative spark, she can be quite down. However, she still cares for her friends and family and is very relatable for teenagers who suffer from depression, since we watch her grow and mature through the story.

Alison suffers a tragic incident. How does this affect her perspective on life?
The tragic incident is what causes her to abandon her love of photography, which defined a lot of her personality as a young girl. It prevents her from exploring her hobbies and creativity, as many other young people will probably relate to.

Alison meets a young man online and emotions run high. What are her first impressions of this young man?
At first, Alison is quite awkward when talking to him. She starts off awkwardly polite and well mannered, finding his friendliness unrealistic or uncharacteristic for someone of her age group, and struggles to match his charismatic attitude.

Alison is a huge fan of photography. What does she like about photography? And why is it so important in her life?
Alison likes all photography, but what she loves the most is astrophotography, which is photography of the night sky, stars, planets, etc. She loves taking photos of the night sky because they are all completely unique and individual, no two skies are the same, and she feels at peace watching the stars at night. It’s important to her because her father was also a  photographer, he was the one who introduced her to it.

What inspired you to write a novel in the coming-of-age / young adult genre? What are some of the challenges of writing in this genre?
It’s my age (17) and previous relationships that have inspired me to write this particular story and genres. I feel that young adults and teens are looked down on, often being thought of as immature, so I wanted to challenge this with real character development. The challenges were keeping the characters’ youthful attitudes while still putting across a story about mental health, trying to find the right balance.

Is there an author that had a major influence on your writing style?
My absolute favourite author, Marcus Sedgwick, has had a huge influence on my writing style. He inspires me to try and keep my writing descriptive but efficient at the same time, without spending pages of exposition or description, to keep it effective.

How long have you been writing?
I started my first book when I was 14, and it took me 2 years to finish, so I finally published it at 16. Even before that, I’ve been writing little stories here and there for years, since I was 8 at least.

Who was your favorite character to write?
My favourite character to write was the young man Alison meets online, Randall. I love his perky, friendly attitude, but also the reasoning behind his motivations and his personality. He’s what I want to be.

How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since when you first started?
I think I’ve become a lot more mature in my writing. My first book was quite dark, but since then I’ve incorporated a lot of real life problems into my writing will still keeping it imaginative, so I think my maturity has evolved a lot.

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you’ve been practicing?
World building is something I have been working hard on lately. Not for this book, but for my next two (fantasy and horror genres) because their worlds are so unique and the culture is different, it’s something I want to definitely get right.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
Write at least 8 books (I’ve written 4 so far) and reach bestseller once. Possibly attend a literature festival as a speaker, too. That would be absolutely amazing.

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
So far, I’ve had a lot of support from teenage girls in schools where I live. They’ve said that they love the character development and representation of depression, while also enjoying the realistic relationships portrayed.

Is there any aspect of writing you don’t like?
I don’t particularly like the editing part. I’ve made a lot of obvious mistakes in the past due to avoiding editing so it’s something I am working on.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If yes, how’d you deal with it? If you have not had writer’s block, why do you think you haven’t?
I got a lot of writer’s block during my first book, ‘Immunity’ and at the beginning of this one. For me, starting a book is always the most difficult stage, because there’s just so much to write and so much to do. That’s why I try to break it down into stages and small steps, and make goals like ‘In the next two pages, this and this should have happened’ so it’s not so overwhelming.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My next projects are two books I’m writing at the same time. One is a horror sea story and the other is a low medieval fantasy. I’m really looking forward to finishing these, I think they have a lot of potential.

Is there anything else you’d like potential readers to know about your book?
This book does feature realistic portrayals of mental illness, such as depression and PTSD. The descriptions aren’t graphic, but it can be sensitive to some. It’s not over dramatic, it’s realistic and provides a lot of depth to my characters.

Published by Alexandra Killworth

I'm Alexandra Killworth, YA author, freelance artist and photographer and mental health activist.

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