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Twenty Questions with Keren David: YA Author : 0% read

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Twenty Questions with Keren David: YA Author

I first came across Keren David’s writing when I was researching my novel on adoption, Before I Was Yours (out in 2017). Her Young Adult novel, Salvage, was recommended to me both by fellow writers and by those who worked in adoption services. I knew that it would be a very special read.

Karen lives in London and has written a number of wonderful books. When I Was Joe (Frances Lincoln 2010), which is part of a trilogy with Almost True (2010) and Another Life (2012). Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery (Frances Lincoln 2011), Salvage (Atom 2014), This is Not a Love Story (Atom 2015) Cuckoo (Atom 2016).

Karen’s next book is The Liar’s Handbook (Barrington Stoke 2017) and she is also adapting, Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery into a musical.

Here are her answers to my twenty questions – enjoy!

Which three words would you use to describe yourself?

  • Busy
  • Broke
  • Stressed

What do you love about writing?

When characters come to life and their voices flow easily.

What do you find hardest about writing?

Turning off the internet.

Where do you write?

There’s a local cafe which has no music, plentiful power points and I don’t know the internet code.

What inspire you to write Salvage?

I read a news story about adopted children being contacted by their birth families through social media, and how that can cause all sorts of problems, especially for teenagers. I filed it away to research. Then it turned out that one of the mums at my son’s football team was a social worker specialising in adoption. She said ‘I’ve got an idea for a book for you,’ and I said ‘Wow, I already had that idea!’ So she helped me research the book.


Your novels tackle strong social issues. What kind of research do you do – for example, in the case of Salvage, on the subject of adoption?

I talked to my friend the social worker, and also to someone who had adopted a child. I read a lot about children in care. But I find I have to be careful not to over research –  I want my characters to tell their own stories, not to be a proxy for someone else.

Tell us a bit about your most recent novel.

Cuckoo is about a child actor, Jake, who is 16 and negotiating hat tricky move to adult parts. He’s been dropped from his regular role in a soap, his family was relying on his money, and everything starts to spiral downwards. He ends up homeless, and helped by an unlikely saviour. It’s told in the form of a YouTube web series, transcripts and comments, so it’s unusual in form.

What kind of child were you?

A sarcastic book worm. Quietly subversive. People thought I was shy, but I just lacked social confidence.

Which fictional character would you most like to meet?

Lassie! Or maybe Miss Marple, to discuss human nature. Or any of my own characters.

Which book do you wish you’d written?

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler.  Word perfect.

Do you have any writing tics that you’re forever editing out?

I use ‘really’ far too often.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m Features Editor of the Jewish Chronicle. I also work part-time as a Visiting Lecturer on City University’s  Creative Writing and Publishing MA. When I’m not doing any of that I’m usually asleep.

What are you reading at the moment?

Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things.

What’s your favourite word?

My children’s names: Phoebe, Judah and Daniel.

What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?

Every life is precious and can have a huge impact, no matter how short.

Which song or piece of music would you choose as the theme tune to your life?

Elvis Costello, What’s So Funny Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?

What’s your favourite quotation about writing or life in general?

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. 

Toni Morrison

What are your top tips for writing great Young Adult fiction?  

  • Keep the story pacy and the themes and emotions deep.
  • Never underestimate your audience. and try not to bore them.
  • Keep your focus on the teenage characters.  Remember what it’s like to be in love for the first time.

To find out more about Keren David read one of her wonderful books, go to her website: and follow her on twitter:@kerend