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Interview: Lara Morgan, author of The Rosie Black Chronicles


lara morgan 218x300 Interview: Lara Morgan, author of The Rosie Black ChroniclesIf you're after a dystopian series that rings true to the Australian setting without suffering from parochialism, I recommend picking up a copy of Lara Morgan's excellent young adult series The Rosie Black Chronicles.

The second book, Equinox, has just been released, and like its predecessor, it holds firm to Terra Australis, breaking away from the trend towards geographic non-specificity in Australian young adult literature. In fact, Morgan feels that the Australian setting has helped give shape to her series.

'Despite the increasing movement of Australians out into the rest of the world, and the increased awareness of us, I think Australia as a place is still regarded as holding some degree of otherness,' says Morgan.

This otherness is makes for evocative reading, and it's no surprise that Australia has been a favourite of creators of dystopian or postapocalyptic works: consider Mad Max or On The Beach for starters. Morgan believes that the isolation, sparseness and climate of the Australian setting all ensure that it is perfectly primed for dystopian imaginings.

'There's still a huge amount of nothing in our centre with the masses of our populations clinging to the coast and the awareness that beyond our safe city borders is a very harsh natural world that is almost untamable. It's easy to imagine the vast, wind scoured nothingness with bones bleached to white beside some deserted highway. Because we are still far away from those big urban centres of America and Europe, you can imagine us being cut off, adrift, from the rest of the world.'

Australia could well be, she adds, the perfect setting for a zombie apocalypse.

But there's nary a zombie to be seen in Rosie Black, which though distinctly modern in feelthink the grit of cyberpunk rather than the older dystopian fictions of Orwell, Wyndham, Huxley or Dickdraws more on possibility rather than fantasy.

It's distinct, too, in that rather than reading more like an alternate history, as many notionally 'what if'-oriented dystopian novels do at the moment, it feels very much of this worldand is a clear response to the situations that we are facing or may face.

Research is key to creating a coherent setting and reality that rings true. 'I read a lot of literature on global warming, watched documentaries and trolled university websites and places like NASA and the CSIRO for information.'

Some of these publications were so vital in the development of Rosie Black that they ended up in the acknowledgements: 'Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers, was one major influence,' says Morgan.

Having an interest in the topic of climate change as well as a number of near-future scientific advances such as space travel, new technologies and even new fabrics also helped in the creation of the well-rounded, sophisticated world we become privy to in this series.

'I love theorising on how the technology we are creating today could be used tomorrow. I looked at what was happening or being created now and sort of exploded the idea out from it of what could happen.'

One example is the planet system called Gliese, which in Equinox is described as undergoing terraforming and colonisation. Gliese actually exists: called Gliese 581, it's a red dwarf star about twenty light years away from Earth, and is orbited by a number of planets, some of which could be earth-like and hence habitable.

'When I read about that it was just too fantastic not to include in the book, so I worked it in. That's how many of the elements of the world of Rosie Black were created: through my fascination and enthusiasm for what we have now projected into the future.'

It's not just the science that has influenced Morgan's work, however. The milieu of Rosie Black owes a lot to beloved pop culture icons such as Star Wars, ET, Close Encounters and Blade Runner. 'Sometimes I think it is more the films of science fiction, rather than the literature, that has influenced me in creating The Rosie Black Chronicles,' she says, noting that the images from these iconic films have stayed in her mind.

'They held such great visual impact, evoked such emotion, that they've stayed with me and resonate greatly when I'm thinking about future worlds. 'In fact, apart from 1984, I didn't really start reading any science fiction until my thirties. Now I'm playing catch up with a vengeance.'

Morgan's curiosity about what the future may bring means that the Rosie Black series, although certainly not without its dark moments, has a surprisingly hopeful feel overalloffering some welcome respite in a subgenre that can all too often be unremittingly bleak.

'Given the history of the twentieth century I don't think it's surprising that dystopian literature resonates so strongly,' says Morgan. 'We've spent a lot of time dealing with the threat of nuclear war during the 80s and the current wars in the Middle East. And of course there's the the increasing pressure on our planet due to population, climate, food and water issueswhich have led to some horrific famines among the poorest people. I think people have lost faith in the politicians, in how our world is changing and our ability to solve these monumental problems.'

Because of this, says Morgan, it's natural for people to be concerned about what the future might hold, and dystopian fiction helps give a voice to those concerns. 'It sets a stage of what ifs that we can look at and talk about and feel like we're not alone.'

Though she admits to having her moments of cynicism about the future of the human race, she can't help but retain something resembling a positive outlook. 'Surely some of us will slow down the apocalypse before we end up having to survive on cockroaches.'

This inherent optimism is borne out in the Rosie Black Chronicles, which despite their grit have strong underpinnings of hope.

'I did start out with a lot of strong ideas about how broken the world would be, but I think it's the nature of Rosie, the story that there's hope there. Or maybe it says more about me as a person: maybe it's just not my style to write something that dark. But we'll seenever say never.'

Giveaway: I have a copy of Equinox, Rosie Black Book 2'to give away to one lucky Australian reader. To enter, just leave a comment. Youll receive an extra entry for tweeting, adding us on Facebook, or subscribing to the site. Winners will be drawn on the 4th of December.

Update: the winner of our Rosie Black giveaway is Bonnie from Bookish Ardour! 'Ill be in touch via email today, Bonnie.

 Interview: Lara Morgan, author of The Rosie Black Chroniclesequinox Interview: Lara Morgan, author of The Rosie Black Chronicles

'About Lara:'Lara Morgan is the author of the hit teen series The Rosie Black''Chronicles and usually lives in'Geraldton,'WA'with her husband unless'shes somewhere else. Lara grew up in the hills of'Perth'and has worked'in the arts, at a newspaper and, once, a car wash but all pale in'comparison to being a writer which allows her to work in her pyjamas.'Her books are published in'Australia,'New Zealand'and'Germany'and The'Rosie Black Chronicles is her first series for young adults.'Click here to learn more about the book and visit >Walker Books for more about Lara. You can also swing by the Rose Black Facebook Page or follow Lara on Twitter.

The Rosie Black Blog tour will continue tomorrow at Everything to Do with Books and Book Couture.

Rosie Black Tour 560x250 1024x457 300x133 Interview: Lara Morgan, author of The Rosie Black Chronicles

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  1. I really really need to read these books. They have been on my radar for ages. Besides having absolutely gorgeous covers, the premise sounds interesting, plus its set in Australia. Great article.

  2. Stephanie /

    Thanks for your lovely words, Mo. The first one was very good, but the second one is excellentI highly recommend both.

    There are so many elements that I love in these. Strong female characters, multicultural characters, including a love interest who is (I think) of Indigenous descent, a thoughtful but not sensationalised approach to the climate change issue, and a great plot that never lets up. If that hasnt sold you, hopefully my forthcoming review will :)

  3. Ive been wanting to read these books for ages. (Ive actually just ordered the first one from Booktopia :D) Ive been looking for some good new Australian YA and I think Ive found it.

    Tweeted about the comp as well:!/samanthaarea/status/137877055344873473 :)

  4. I absolutely _loved_ Genesis. Im financially challenged at the moment, so I would love to enter your comp. I cant wait to get my hands on a copy of Equinox.

  5. I also follow your Facebook fanpage, have linked from mine and tweeted a link

  6. Stephanie /

    Thanks for entering! Equinox is even better than Genesis, so its definitely worth the read. Good luck!

  7. Dystopia, YA, and set in Australia? I must have it! Seriously though, I love Dystopia to the point of writing it, reading it, watching it, and creating a reading challenge for it so to come across a YA one set in Australia when I feel Ive been bombarded with American and UK Dystopia is something to be excited about.

    Ive Tweeted and Facebooked it and yes Im aware I left out the I I forgot the link the first time. At least Im progressing Ive also subscribed.

    Thanks for having the giveaway and it was interesting being able to read the authors thoughts as well.

    • Stephanie /

      Thanks for entering, Bonnie! Youll love this oneit has a very Aussie feel as well. :) Best of luck!

  8. Lovely interview, I love to hear about Aussie authors :-)
    I would really love to read these books.

    Im an email subscriber

    • Stephanie /

      Thanks so much, Jayne! I think youd really enjoy this one. :) Best of luck!

  9. Hi just entering the competition.
    I love the Rosie Black Chronicles book 1 Genesis and have read it 16 times going on to my 17th. I cant wait to get the next book

    • Stephanie /

      Thanks so much, Sarah! Wow, 16 times is impressive! Its a great series. :)

  10. When will we know who won the competition because i dont know where else to get the book. I am not sure when the book stores in Campbelltown will have them
    does anyone know?
    I am getting desperate to get it

  11. Stephanie /

    Hi Sarah, Ill draw the comp on the 5th of December, and will post out the book right away. :) Hang in there!

  12. Sarah, if you mean Campbelltown in Sydney, Galaxy in the City definitely has copies in stock. They also sell online if you cant make it to the city. Im not familiar with the book chains in Southwest Sydney, but most bookstores can order in books for you if they dont have a book in stock :)

  13. Are you able to get to Camden Sarah? The Collins bookstore website is showing stock available so maybe they have copies in store or at least could order it in for you. I know how frustrating it can be when the stores in your area arent stocking the books you want (or ordering them at all).

  14. ok yeah i am able to
    thank you very much for helping me out

  15. Hey just wondering who one the book in the competition because i cant see anything that says who won it

  16. Stephanie /

    Hi Sarah, thanks for following up! Our randomly drawn winner was Bonnie from Bookish Ardour. :) We have another comp for 20 copies of The Goddess Test running a the moment if you want to try your like there :)

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