Kristen Young is the third interviewee in our ‘Spotlight on Australian authors’ series.
1) What is your background and how did you get involved in writing?
I was born in the UK but grew up in suburban Australia like any other Aussie kid. But while other girls were out playing Netball and hula hoop, I was busy making spy magazines for my family to read – complete with puzzles and secret codes.
It’s no wonder that I got into writing!
2) What prompted your first book?
My husband and I were (and still kind of are) a youth and children’s ministry team, and though I was taking a break from leading the youth group due to having small babies, I was still praying for the kids in our group. There was a cohort of girls going through a stressful time with their university entrance exams and I wanted to help them hang in there with Jesus. So I wrote some devotions for the weeks leading up to exams. Youthworks liked it and the Survival Guide series was born.
3) You’ve written in a variety of genres. What are they?
I’ve written drama scripts, poetry, devotions, Bible studies, non-fiction apologetics and now fiction. I’m hoping that one day I’ll get one of them right.
4) You are now working on a novel. Why are you venturing into fiction?
Story is such a powerful medium. Society’s attitudes have changed on many issues and it is story that has captured people’s hearts more than abstract reasoning. Doctrine states truth but imaginations are captured through story. In a way, all stories are an imitation or parody of God’s greatest story of all, found in the Bible. I wanted to write something that drew people back to that great story and helped them to find their own place in it.
5) How would you describe the genre you’re writing at present? Why did you go that route?
The genre I’m writing is Young Adult speculative fiction. It gives me a lot of space to explore themes of faith and doubt, and how God’s people can hang in there during immensely difficult times. Having written a non-fiction work on doubt (What if?), I have been drawn to the way fiction still deals with a lot of big issues. For me, fiction allows young people to experiment with life situations in a safe environment. They get to watch the characters react to their different circumstances and to see how it is possible to still trust in God when everything appears to be hopeless. And all of this wrapped up in a thrilling tale.
6) Could you explain the variety of options facing Christians who write?
Today, there are lots of options for Christian writers, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional publishing. Sometimes the options can be overwhelming! I’m grateful to Youthworks, who have been really supportive with my writing so far. I don’t know where the novel will end up but whatever happens, it’s been a fun journey.
7) What’s your favorite book you’ve written and why?
My favorite? Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’m pleased with the finished fiction work manuscript but if I have to choose a favorite published book it would have to be ‘What if? Dealing with Doubts.’
8) Are you hopeful about the future of Australian Christian authors? Why or why not?
Thanks to the power of e-books and self publishing, I’m quite hopeful. It’s exciting to see so many networks of Christian authors blossoming around the internet and to see the way people are supporting each other in their efforts. The one blip I can see is the format our storytelling might take. With the explosion of smart phones, YouTube and social media, there seems to be a movement away from quiet reading to apps and different modes of storytelling. We might one day start to see more and more Christian authors making use of these approaches to storytelling. In the meantime, I’m sticking with the books, and we’ll see what happens…
8) How can we find out more? Where can we buy your books and who are the ideal audience?
I have a website at www.krisyoungwrites.com, where you can read samples of my work and follow links to purchase them. I write mainly for teenagers although people of all ages have found ‘What if?’ a helpful resource for dealing with questions like, ‘What if God is real?’ and ‘What if I fail?’ You can find the Survival Guides at most Christian booksellers in Australia and the UK.
CD – I’ve already read the manuscript of her novel so I know you’ll be in for a treat when it is published.
There are lists of books with Australian authors at this Goodreads link. Vote for your favorites and add any others you know.