Jane's winning novel
AT YELLOW LAKE
In At Yellow Lake three young strangers—Etta, David and English runaway Peter—take shelter in a North American lake cabin. Etta’s escaped the clutches of her mother’s dangerous boyfriend, Kyle; David’s living out his Native Indian heritage; grieving Peter’s there to bury a lock of his American mum’s hair. When their sanctuary is shattered by the arrival of Kyle’s gang, the teenagers must overcome their differences and their demons to stay alive.
Hi Jane and welcome to tall tales & short stories.
Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself and your experiences since finding out you were one of the winners?
At Yellow Lake is set in a very specific place—an isolated area in the Northwoods of the United States—and some of the characters and plot details in the book were inspired by the time I’ve spent there. That rugged, but beautiful, landscape also helped define some of the themes in the book—the search for belonging, the struggle for identity, the desire for a family that will keep you safe and secure.
At Yellow Lake is my first novel. I’ve been writing for about 20 years, though, with short stories published and “interest” generated by screenplays and radio dramas. My background is in performance—drama and music—and I began writing at the time my children were born. I’m not sure why writing for younger people appeals to me. It may be that the spare style and urgency required of the short story form also suits young adult fiction (at least I hope it does!) and that the visual style needed for screenwriting also helps. It may be that, at heart, I never really moved on from being 14! As I work with teenagers, and am the parent of young adults, I’m constantly reminded of the rawness of these years. Life is fresh and exhilarating, but has terrors, too—as a writer, it’s exciting to try to channel that energy and fear.
To say that being included in the “Undiscovered Voices” was a surprise is an understatement. I was so thrilled to learn that my novel’s opening was actually going to be published—I’d been secretly hoping for an honourable mention, but even that seemed over-optimistic!
I can’t thank the SCBWI British Isles or Sara Grant and Sarah O’Connor, the organisers and editors of the anthology, enough. I feel so honoured to be included in a book which features such fabulous writers, and I wish all the 2010 “gang” much success in their work and in their lives.