L.M. Fuge is seventeen years old and lives in Adelaide, South Australia, with her family and an insane dog. She won the Young Aussie Writers’ Awards in 2008 for her short story True Colours, and her first novel, When Courage Came to Call, was written when she was fourteen and is now published by Random House Australia. She is currently in her final year of high school, and when she’s not writing or studying, she enjoys wreaking havoc with her friends, playing sports and attempting photography.
1. I hope you’re not tired of questions about your age but I think most of us were probably still wondering what we wanted to be ‘when we grew up’ at 16; your focus and discipline are very inspiring. How old were you when you realised you wanted to be a writer and how did your friends and family react?
I never really decided that I wanted to be a writer when I ‘grew up’; I actually still don’t know what I want to be. Writing is just something that I love doing, and it started off as more of a hobby than anything. I used to write in school in ‘creative writing time’, but it wasn’t until I was about ten that I realised how much I loved it and began to write in my free time. At the start, I think my family humoured me. I never let anyone read my work – and didn’t even tell my friends that I was a writer – so they didn’t realise how serious I became about it. They didn’t expect me to get published, and to be honest, nor did I – not for many years to come.
Before I started writing, I did almost no research. What I wrote was based purely on my experience – really only things I’d read or watched. I decided to research after I’d finished the first draft, which in hindsight wasn’t the best way to go, but it ended up okay! I’m more of a fantasy reader, so I hadn’t read too many books in the same genre as When Courage Came to Call (I don’t even know how I ended up writing something like that). I do remember reading John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began, but more than anything it was simply war that interested me.
3. I bet the kids at school are dead jealous of your author status! How are you handling your success in general and how has life changed for you?
Even though I had my mind set on getting published eventually, it was still a huge shock to get there so soon. It took me quite a while to adjust to the idea, but I think I’m handling it pretty well. Life hasn’t changed a whole lot for me, which is a relief, but my success has changed me as a person. The most unexpected yet most rewarding part of my journey has been media attention – I certainly didn’t expected newspapers, magazines, and even TV to be interested in me. I used to be a really shy person, and still am to an extent, but I think dealing with the media has made me more confident and self-aware.
4. Which of your characters Burns Brightest in your mind and why?
I love all my characters, but Imm by far burns the brightest to me. He intrigued me right from the very start, and there was never any doubt that When Courage Came to Call was going to be written from his perspective. Because of this, I connected with him the most – the story was not mine, but his. He became more than just a character; he was my constant companion throughout the writing journey.