Lauren Fuge Interview

when_courage_came_to_call.jpg  Lauren Fuge was a 14-year-old schoolgirl when her query proposal to Random House Australia produced a request to see the rest of her manuscript. Two years later her first novel, When Courage Came to Call, has been published and she has now been interviewed by Louise Schwatzkoff for "The Sydney Morning Herald".

For Fuge, writing provides an escape from mundane reality. While her friends wallpaper their bedrooms with music posters and celebrity photographs, Fuge covers hers with plot lines and imaginary maps.

"Real life isn't terrible but it's a bit boring," she says. "I want some more excitement so I read and I write."

Along with her school books, her shelves are jammed with fantasies and war fiction. "I'm a sucker for fantasy worlds. I love them so much," she says.

"I always liked reading because it was an escape but then I realised I didn't have to be stuck in other people's adventures. I got the urge to do it myself."

When Courage Came to Call is not a fantasy, though it takes place in an imaginary universe. The characters are soldiers, rebels and criminals, wielding rifles rather than magic wands. Fuge acknowledges a debt to John Marsden's young adult classic Tomorrow When the War Began. She also drew on history classes about World War I and newspaper stories about criminal gangs.

The story is gripping but clearly not the work of a mature author. The political tensions between warring nations are explained with clunky simplicity. The characters - except for the narrator and the villain - are loosely sketched. Fuge tends to describe their attributes rather than allow them to emerge through the action. Still, the same could be said of many an adult writer.

For all the detail about explosions, weaponry and military hierarchies, she confesses her research process was somewhat haphazard. She wrote every night after dinner and homework, then checked the details later. It took two months to finish.

"When I started, I was going to set it in World War II but after about 100 words, I decided not to. It would mean I had to do research and I'm lazy, so I just decided to make up a new world."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 7, 2010 8:41 AM.

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