Guest Editor, Tina Gamble
Tonya Hurley, author of the acclaimed Ghostgirl young adult book series, including Ghostgirl and, the recently released Ghostgirl: Homecoming. On top of being the creator of the award winning Ghostgirl website with a solid background in screenwriting and filmmaking, I have to ask, is there anything this girl can\’t do?
We briefly caught up with Tonya Hurley, as she answers some questions about her books, her life and of course, her inspirations.
Having a vast experience in writing for media, film, television, advertising and now novels, when did you first realise your love for writing? And was there something/someone in particular that inspired you to start?
I think my first memory of making up a story was in kindergarten. We didn\’t have much money growing up and so I would visit the school library often to get my fill of books. I checked out â€˜Where the Wild Things Are\’ just about every week. At the end of the year, the librarian, Ms. Miden, gave me the book as a gift. She was the first person who ever singled me out, being a twin and all, and gave me something so personal. I treasured it. Since I\’d pretty much memorized it, I eventually started to put masking tape over the words and make up my own stories to the illustrations. I will never forget Ms. Miden or that book. It still sets on the shelf in my office, masking tape over the words and all.
Do you have any secret rituals or superstitions you do before starting work?
I like to have my Italian Greyhound Esther Pearl by my feet when I begin a new project.
If you could describe ghostgirl in five words what would they be?
Love. Longing. Acceptance. Invisibility. Hope.
How did you go about finding names for your characters? Do you they start off with a name or do you choose a name after you build up the character a bit?
I usually write them a little and a name comes to me. I don\’t name them before I know them.
Your first book, ghostgirl, has some tie-in quotes at the start of each chapter. Do you have a favourite quote?
Each quote is special to me and has a particular relevance to the story. I don\’t think I could pick a favourite, but I do love the Woody Allen and Radiohead quotes. Oscar Wilde is the king of quotes.
In your books, there\’s a bit of body swapping going on. If you could swap bodies with absolutely anyone for a day, who would it be?
One of the major themes I explore in ghostgirl is self-acceptance and the importance and dangers in not loving or respecting yourself. With that in mind, I probably wouldn\’t want to swap with anybody, although I wouldn\’t mind seeing the world through my five year old daughter\’s eyes for a day or maybe I\’d swap with Tim Burton, but I don\’t think my husband would like that too much.
In ghostgirl, we see Charlotte ready to do almost anything to get noticed by her crush, Damen Dylan. Have ever done anything, rather different, to impress a crush?
I am an identical twin and my sister and I have identical voices. So, we used to pretend to be one another on the phone when talking to guys. She is much more comfortable at that than I am. She would snag the guy, and then I\’d reel him in. She actually did a phone interview for me at the music publicity firm that I worked at and I got the job. I married the guy who she gave the interview to and just now recently told him that it was my sister and not me who he first spoke to.
Which character, in either book, do you think that you relate the most to?
I couldn\’t choose, I like them all. As I read back on each of the books, I realize that there is something of me in all of them. Charlotte, of course, is first among equals!
In relation to careers, a lot of people, end up being something completely different to what they first thought they\’d be. Was there anything else you thought you would be?
It\’s never a straight path for anyone, I don\’t think. I always knew I wanted to tell stories, I just didn\’t know how I would do that. Working in the music and entertainment industries as a publicist I told other people\’s stories for a while, which ultimately gave me the confidence to start telling my own.
And finally, what\’s coming up next for Ghostgirl?
I just finished the third novel, Ghostgirl: Lovesick and we are starting to explore film opportunities. Fingers crossed!
For further information on Ghostgirl or Tonya Hurley, check out her website. It is a fantastic little gem, with its quirky outlook and edgy feel; it\’s like entering the world of Tim Burton and Emily the strange, with some cheerleaders on the side.
The site has plenty of fun things to do, like dressing up Charlotte and drawing on the walls. You can also download bookmarks, backgrounds and banners, send e-cards, create music and so much more. The graphics and images are all top notch and well worth a look. For fans of the book, this site is a must and for those who have yet to enter the Ghostgirl world, it\’s a perfect sneak preview!