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Presented by State Library Victoria

Interview with Anna Morgan, author of All That Impossible Space @ausyabloggers blog tour!

Hello everyone!

As a part of the All That Impossible Space blog tour with AusYABloggers and Hachette Australia, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to interview Anna Morgan about her debut novel All That Impossible Space. 

Here’s the synopsis of the book!

‘Amelia Westlake’ meets ‘My Favorite Murder’ in this debut from a terrific new voice in Australian YA. Combines a realistic story about high school drama and toxic friendship with true crime – the endlessly fascinating Somerton Man or Taman Shud mystery.
15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.
When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment. But Mr Grant himself may be the biggest mystery of all… 
Interspersed with fictionalised snapshots of the Somerton Man investigation, ‘All That Impossible Space’ is a coming of age novel exploring toxic friendships and the balance of power between teacher and student, perfect for fans of Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood.

 

 

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I am so excited to share my interview with Anna with all of you! Without further ado, here it is!

How much of a fan of murder mysteries are you?
I actually don’t read a huge amount of murder mysteries, which might be surprising! But I do enjoy true crime podcasts – I was hooked on Serial a few years ago and also love In The Dark. What really drew me to the story of the Somerton Man was its poetic strangeness – even now I’m not sure if I’d classify it as a murder mystery. I guess that’s the point!

What made you choose a crime that really exists to be the basis of your story?
The more I investigated the story of the Somerton Man the more I loved it – the story just gets deeper and stranger the longer you spend with it. I also felt a real emotional connection between the man without an identity, and being a teenager when you’re trying to figure out your your identity too.

Was there any strange or obscure research that you needed to do to help you write All That Impossible Space?
Oh there were some deep rabbit holes to dive down and lots of truly bizarre Google searches! I obviously did a lot of research on the Somerton Man case (and to be honest I feel sometimes like I’ve only scratched the surface – many people have spent almost their whole lives investigating the case!). I learned things I never thought I would know about police procedure and spy rings in the 1940s, the birth of ASIO, refugees forced into labour projects, ballet dancers, nuclear missile testing, and codes. I also visited Adelaide in person a few years ago and found that experience quite moving, especially going to the grave of the man, and walking along Somerton Beach. But more general writing research led to unexpected places too: I found myself googling Bulgarian cockroaches (to name a fictional hotel), and the specific difference between shades and hues in colour theory (in the copy edit of one line of description).

Lara and Ashley don’t have a healthy friendship, do you think it’s important that friendships like theirs are shown and addressed more in young adult literature?
I am so glad you singled out the friendship for this question, since it’s the most important relationship in the book for me! One of my aims was to show a kind of friendship-triangle in the book instead of a love triangle – because for me in my teen years, friendships were much more all-consuming and complex than romantic relationships. I think you can have some of the best friendships of your life as a teenager (and I’ll just say here that both of my closest friends from high school are brilliant and we’re still close today!) but you’re also vulnerable and figuring out your own identity, so can end up in friendships that are not as healthy. I hope All That Impossible Space can explore what that’s like, and how to navigate those tricky relationships. For other examples in YA literature, I really love how Fiona Wood’s Wildlife and Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake deal with female friendships. Oh, and even though it’s not YA, I have to recommend the Elena Ferrante Neopolitan quartet for one of the best (if quite dark!) depictions on just how complex friendships can be. It’s such a rich topic for fiction, I don’t think it can be talked about enough.
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Thank you so much to AusYaBloggers, Hachette Australia and of course Anna Morgan for giving me this amazing opportunity! My review of All That Impossible Space can be found right here on my blog if you are interested!
Thanks everyone!
Tanzeem
About The Author.
Anna was born in Sydney, but spent most of her childhood surrounded by mountains in Nepal and Tibet while her parents were part of an international community of health professionals. Navigating this cross-cultural life made her a curious observer of people, although most of her time was spent reading Enid Blyton and dreaming of going to boarding school. This did not cushion the shock of shifting from home-school in Tibet to an all-girls high school in Melbourne when her family returned to Australia. All That Impossible Space explores some of the intense and convoluted friendships that thrive in this setting. Anna completed a MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University in 2015, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband. She works as a bookseller.

7 comments

ellipsis

Excellent review questions!

2w ago
tanzeem

Thank you!

1w ago
inky Centre for Youth Literature

Tanzeem! Great interview! Will add this new release book to the data base. It sounds brilliant, doesn't it?

2w ago
tanzeem

It was pretty good!

1w ago
bookwithbane

We can tell that you put a lot of thought behind your interview questions!

2w ago
tanzeem

Thanks! I tried to make them really different while keeping it as spoiler free as possible!

1w ago
sylvs

This interview is AMAZING! It actually made me want to read the book even more! Also I'm SO happy that finally we get a book about friendships rather than love!!!

2d ago