author of Captivate
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, and was lucky enough to live with the sparkling Indian Ocean on one side and wetlands on the other – so lots of swimming, raft-making and tadpole collecting with my sister, brothers and friends from our street. I attended a small, local primary school with twenty-six other students. We made the front page of the community newspaper as the smallest school in the south metropolitan area. At one time, there were three of us in grade three, which was great because it meant I’d either come 1st, 2nd or 3rd at the end-of-year sports carnival events. A guaranteed place!
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
I wanted to be a wacky inventor when I was twelve, an actress at eighteen, and a writer at thirty. I guess these things all speak of a desire to create, but the wacky inventor was most likely inspired by Doc from Back to the Future.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That I wanted to be a famous actress (see Q.2). I’m a fiercely private person now, so fame is definitely not for me.
Waiting for the Sun by the Doors – there’s a line Jim Morrison sings ‘this is the strangest life I’ve ever known’. I love that line. It makes me think of all the lives I have lived through reading (and writing) stories.
Stand by Me (the movie/story by Stephen King) – my sister, best friend and I knew every line from this film when we were thirteen. The strong bond between the four main characters is one of the many reasons I love to write for teens.
Last but not least, Lord Byron’s poetry. His poems have inspired a Young Adult contemporary I recently wrote.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
I love all forms of artistic expression, but writing novels suits me best because it is what feels most comfortable and intimate. It sounds very cliché but I couldn’t stop if I tried – there are too many characters filling up my head wanting their story to be told.
6. Please tell us about your novel, Captivate
Captivate is about a seventeen year old who is dragged underwater while out for a midnight swim at a secluded beach. She awakens in a domed underwater city where she is expected to marry a nineteen year old king whose throne is under threat.
In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems…
For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.
Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation.
Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
I would love and hope that readers come away from the book feeling satisfied, a little spent, and longing to return to the world they’ve just left.
At the moment I most admire George R. R. Martin. He has this amazing ability to make readers care for his characters so much that they mourn them like they are their own flesh and blood.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
If I can help someone to escape reality for just a couple of hours then I’ll be happy.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
As long as you love it, keep doing it.
Vanessa, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
Sarah McDuling is Booktopia's Senior Content Producer and Editor of The Booktopian Blog. She has been in the bookselling game for almost a decade and a dedicated booklover since birth (potentially longer). At her happiest when reading a book, Sarah also enjoys talking/writing/tweeting about books. In her spare time, she often likes to buy a lot of books and take photographs of books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instragram @sarahmcduling
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