A.J. Betts lives in Fremantle, Western Australia. Her third novel, Zac & Mia, won the 2014 NSW Premier’s Prize for young adult fiction in 2014. Her latest novel, Hive, is published by Pan Macmillan.
HATING ALISON ASHLEY
Growing up in a small town in Far North Queensland, I never felt that I fitted in. Then, at 10, I met Erica Yurken, the protagonist of Hating Alison Ashley. Determined, impulsive, and often neurotic, Erica comes to realise her passion is for writing (rather than out-performing the incomparable Alison Ashley). In Erica, I found a kindred spirit. It’s a novel about settling into your own (alien) skin, valuing what you have, and being kind to yourself, and others.
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
My first experience of science fiction was surprising and addictive. I was 14 when I read this book, then tracked down everything else I could find by Douglas Adams. It wasn’t just the zany ideas that appealed, but the turns of phrase and the surprising ways he used language. I recall being pulled up by the line describing how spaceships “hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t”. Adams taught me to play with words and have fun with story.