Tanya Landman discusses female protagonists, literary awards and familial relationships

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Just less than a week to go before the main event!

YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to care
ers in the Arts. If you’d like to know more about what YAShot is then check it out here.

Thank you to the brilliant Tanya Landman for answering my questions and providing a book for me to giveaway and thank you to YAShot for asking me to be a part of this brilliant tour!

2012redhighdef-j-peg2Firstly, please introduce yourself and your books!

My name is Tanya Landman and I’ve written 30 + books for both children and young people. They range from re-tellings of traditional fairy stories through to epic historical sagas.

You’ve written for an array of ages across children’s, YA and adults literature. Do you find yourself drawn to one particular demographic more than others?

I really like variety! The big historical books are quite emotionally draining to write, so it’s great to be able to do something light and comic afterwards. I do seem to be focussing more on YA now though, and I think that’s maybe because my children are getting older. I’ve got out of touch with what they’re like at 2 and 3 years old.

 How does it feel to win a literary award?

(Tanya won the Carnegie Medal in 2015 for Buffalo Soldier.)
Ît feels AMAZING. I still haven’t quite taken it in.  Sometimes I’m sitting on a train or walking along the street and I’ll remember and get a bit dizzy and light headed. But at least I was relatively grown up and mature at the Carnegie ceremony itself.  When I won a Red House Book Award (for Mondays are Murder a few years before) I was so startled I made a noise like a pig!

If you could live the life of any of your characters who would you choose?

They all have quite a hard time in the YA novels – I’m not sure I’d want to be any of them. I think Sam Swann (in the Movie Mystery series) probably has the best life.

Siki, Charley and Itacate are all female protagonists that push the boundaries of their culture. What is the importance of aspirational and strong female characters for you as a female author?

It’s extremely important. When I was growing up if I watched a film or TV programme and there was a woman in it you could guarantee that if there was a chase sequence she would  a) fall over
b) scream a lot and c) need rescuing. I wanted to be an actress back then and I couldn’t imagine playing any of those parts – they were so dull it drove me round the bend. When I started writing I wanted to create strong roles for female characters.

Several of your novels also look at familial relationships. How do you think this contributes to your characters’ development?

I hadn’t really thought of it before but now I see I write a lot of brother/sister relationships. I’ve got three brothers – two older and one a lot younger.  They all had a huge affect on my life when I was growing up, and I guess that’s why those relationships have filtered through into the books.

Which books and authors inspire you?

There are SO MANY I can’t possibly list them all. With Buffalo Soldier I wasn’t so much inspired by as reacting to Gone With the Wind. With the others – the books I read as a child were hugely influential – Stig of the Dump, Charlotte’s Web, Elidor, The Whispering Knights, Tom’s Midnight Garden.  They all had historical/magical elements which was a big draw and has certainly affected my own writing.  And these days I love the work of Frances Hardinge, Philip Reeve, Mal Peet, Geraldine McCaughrean  – I could go on and on.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Daydream.  Stare into space and let your mind go.  You can’t write unless you have a clear picture in your head of who the story is about and that only comes about by letting your imagination roam.

Now a chance to win one of Tanya’s Books!

 This giveaway is open until the 31st October and is UK only!

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