About The Island
‘There were friends once, but they melted away. Things are different now I am a MONSTER’
Frances is alone. Cast away on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, she has to find water, food and shelter. But survival is hard. Especially when she is haunted by memories of the things that she did before, the things that made her a monster. Pushed to the limit in extreme conditions, she battles to come to terms with her past, and find a future worth fighting for.
This is a gripping and thought-provoking story about one girl’s journey to become the person she believes she can be.
Q&A with the Author, Olivia Levez
Can you describe The Island in one sentence?
The Island in one sentence: bad girl castaway battles for survival as well as her inner demons.
As a debut author how would you like to grow?
I would like to write two books a year – at the moment life gets in the way! Being in #LostandFound and collaborating with other debut authors is a great confidence booster as we can all use our contacts and individual strengths to support each other.
Would you describe Frances as lost at the beginning of The Island? Does she get found/ find herself?
Frances is lost, both literally and metaphorically. She’s on her way to a boot camp because of a crime that she’s committed, and is raging at the world at the start of the novel. Then her plane goes down, and she has more immediate things to worry about. Like survival. On the island, she has plenty of time to think about what she has done, and to get to like herself again. Yes, she does eventually find herself (and another survivor). But whether she herself is found – well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!
Frances is described as a monster, do you think that most YA characters are inherently flawed?
I do love a flawed protagonist! I think that most, if not all, YA characters have heightened emotions in some way, and yes, are often unlikable. Good examples from fabulous books are Cadence in We Are Liars by E Lockhart, and frieda in Only Ever Yours by Louise O Neill. Also the spitting angry Emily Koll in A Heart-Shaped Bruise (Tanya Byrne) and Frances Bird in Birdy by Jess Vallance. #LostandFound author Kathryn Evans’ Teva, too, is not always likable as she struggles with her identity in More of Me.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so do you have a playlist for each of your books?
I have to say I am a Rock, by Simon & Garfunkel, as the lyrics were originally included in the book, and totally sum up how I saw Frances:
‘I have no need of friendship. Friendship causes pain. Its laughter and its loving I disdain.’
‘I won’t disturb the slumber, of feelings that have died. If I’ve never loved, I never will have cried.’
‘And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.’
Also, heaps of Ella Fitzgerald, as she is my protagonist’s favourite artiste. She’s listening to Fitzgerald’s rendition of Summertime as her plane crashes…
Who/what inspires you as a writer?
Gosh, so many authors and books! I’ve mentioned some of them above. When I was pre published, Stephen King’s brilliant On Writing was incredibly inspirational, and it’s something I still go back to. I love anything gothic: Susan Hill, Daphne du Maurier, Sarah Waters are favourite authors. Donna Tartt’s writing is meticulous, layered and evocative. I just wish she’d write more than one every ten years! I find going to the SCBWI conference motivating, and Scribblers, my monthly critique writers group. Basil, my Jack Russell, is a great inspiration and writer’s companion, as he has accompanied me on every one of my writing retreats to my caravan in West Wales. (He was also the inspiration for Dog, in The Island.) I also like looking at writers’ dens, and dream of having one of my own one day, preferrably designed by George Clarke of Amazing Spaces or the winning shedder on Shed of the Year.
What are you reading at the moment?
I recently enjoyed a late birthday present book spa at Mr B’s Book Emporium in Bath. Here’s a picture of my book haul:
I’m currently reading one from this stash – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s a rom com with a twist, so outside my usual genre. Think Bridget Jones’ Diary meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I’m loving it!
Can you tell me anything about what you’re working on at the moment?
My second book has the working title: The Circus, and, like The Island, has themes of survival, friendship and family. Instead of a castaway this time, though, I have a runaway. Watch this space…
About The Lost and Found Tour
5 YA SCBWI debut authors get together for a UK tour.
Olivia Levez (The Island), Patrice Lawrence (Orangeboy), Kathryn Evans (More of Me), Sue Wallman (Lying About Last Summer), Eugene Lambert (The Sign of One)
Birmingham Waterstones for the launch event chaired by Chelley Toy!
Saturday, 1st October, 2-4pm
Join us for a discussion of identity, loss, and the darkness inside; of self-discovery, friendship, and hope for a better tomorrow as part of the #LostandFound Book Tour.
Unflinching, clever and honest, our five authors explore what it means to grow up when the cards seem to be constantly stacked against you.
Don’t miss your chance to meet these amazing authors, ask questions, and get your books signed.
Book your tickets here
Catch us at any of the following tour locations!
Sat 1st Oct, 2pm Birmingham Waterstones
Thurs 6th Oct, 6pm London Islington Waterstones
Sat 26th Nov Guildford Waterstones
Thurs 1st Dec Liverpool Waterstones
Sunday 22nd January Hampshire Libraries, Petersfield
Sat 4th March Glasgow Waterstones
You can also find two other guest posts from authors on this tour here:
Follow the #LostAndFound for fab blog posts and reviews from 12th September – 30th September with some awesome bloggers!