Keren David is an author and journalist. From the age of 18, Keren David has worked as a journalist; however, she has also held positions as a reporter, a political correspondent, a news editor, a comment editor, feature writer and in Amsterdam Keren was editor in chief for a photographic agency. In 2007, Keren David decided to write her first book. She signed up for a course in Writing for Children at City University which was tutored by Amanda Swift. She got the idea of writing a book about a boy in witness protection and roughed out a story during a plot-planning exercise in class. That story became Keren’s first book When I Was Joe, and eventually a trilogy (with Almost True and Another Life). Keren David continues to write YA books and is also working towards turning her book Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery into a musical, working with Perfect Pitch, Paul Herbert and Lesley Ross. Please enjoy my interview with the popular author, Keren David…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I’m a journalist, I write books and I’m writing a musical.
Together by Julie Cohen. I get a lot of free books in my job as a Features Editor and this was one of them. Julie wrote a beautiful piece for me about growing up in Maine, so my appetite was whetted for Together. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s a beautifully written family story with characters who suck you into the story.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a retelling of a story called Lazy Hans. I was very proud of it.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a ‘lady writer’.
What do you think your school-aged self would think of the present day you?
She’s old, but it’s amazing that she’s had books published.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
Yoga Made Simple (or some such title). I’m very inflexible, and I spend much too much time sitting at a screen. So this gift would be a nudge to remind me to take care of my body and not let everything be about reading and writing.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
I read a lot whilst on holiday.
The first one I wrote, When I Was Joe. That book changed my life. I learned that I could actually start and finish a book, that my instincts would not necessarily be those of the publishing industry, but that readers would understand what I was doing and could fall in love with a story just as I had when I was writing it. It inspired two sequels, won five awards and launched me on a new career.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
Persevere. And enjoy yourself.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. It’s my mother’s favourite book
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Recently, NW by Zadie Smith. Stunningly good.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Equally fond of both.
Do you think reading is important?
Yes, it stretches the imagination, it aids concentration, it gives people a chance to take charge of their own education and self-development.
NW by Zadie Smith. I loved the voices in this book and the way it captures London. Zadie Smith lives in New York most of the time but she understands London’s streets, people and rhythms.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
Real books, but digital ones are easier to shelve.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
I don’t think there is a book that I’d force people to read.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
When I Was Joe – because I didn’t know I could write a book until I did.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
No plans as yet – too far ahead.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Small Town Girl.