Maria Lewis is journalist and author who you may know from SBS’s The Feed, the New York Post, as the host and producer of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminism podcast, and as the author of the internationally-published (soon to be adapted for television) series Who’s Afraid. She took some time out from her touring schedule to chat with us in the lead up to BWF.
Maria is appearing at the Festival to discuss Rich People Problems with Kevin Kwan, Curated Worlds, and will host LOVE YA!, our free day of panels and conversations about YA fiction at the Brisbane Square Library on Saturday 9 September.
What are you looking forward to at BWF?
Is everything a possible answer? Because everything would be my answer, as the line-up is crazy good this year! Very excited to watch the incredibly kooky and talented women of the Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary perform live, as I’ve been a massive fan of their work online for years. Also, I think Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians) is endlessly interesting and looking forward to hearing him spout wisdom.
What do you think you have in common with the other authors you’re in conversation with?
Weirdly myself and the other authors were in a touring circus troupe, so we’re all retired acrobats which is a nice coincidence. No but seriously, I’m having conversations with over a dozen authors at more than half a dozen events through the duration of the Brisbane Writers Festival and that itself is one of the things I’m most excited about as they’re all so incredibly different and have such different careers and works and fanbases (from YA best-sellers to genre legends).
The protagonist of Who’s Afraid is a werewolf, and through this the series explores duality and transformation. What supernatural creature best represents you (and your shadow-self, if you have one)?
I have a lot of pent up rage, so werewolves have always appealed to me greatly but honestly witches are probably closer to my jam. I like the idea of hanging out with a lot of sisters in a coven, organising some herbs and chilling under the waning moon to cast the odd spell or ten.
Speaking of Who’s Afraid… What are you afraid of?
Being left out at sea to die is pretty much my ultimate fear. As in, exactly Mark Wahlberg’s fate at the end of The Perfect Storm (spoilers for 2000).
You’ve worked as a crime reporter and an entertainment journalist. Have these experiences informed your fiction writing?
Most definitely, as there’s actually a character in the Who’s Afraid? series who's a police reporter at her local newspaper. I drew on some of my own personal experiences to populate her world and make it feel authentic, but on a more general level my journalism background has really helped with the research aspect of fiction writing.
Either / or:
Tea or coffee? Tea. Many, many cups of tea.
Paperback or e-reader? Depends on the setting (for instance, a long haul flight compared to reading in bed).
Night or day? Night.
TV or movies? Movies.
Sydney or Gold Coast? Brisbane.
Reality or fantasy? A little bit of both has never done me wrong.
Finally, what can we expect next from you?
I’m currently working on adapting Who’s Afraid? for television with Hoodlum Entertainment and finishing edits on the third Who’s Afraid? novel, which is due for release early 2018. Also, my first YA novel - It Came From The Deep - is being released in late September, 2017 as an eBook, so tidying up the final elements on that as well.