Interview With The FABOO Author Sue Ransom

When and why did you begin writing?
I gave up writing fiction at school, and only took it up again three years ago when I started to write Small Blue Thing. My English teachers would be rather surprised!

What was your inspiration for the Small Blue Thing trilogy?
I wrote the first book for just one person – my daughter Ellie. She loves to read, as I do, and I wanted her to have a book which reflected the world she knew, not somewhere in America, so I wrote her one during my daily commute.

Did you always plan it as a trilogy?
Not initially, but when I was finishing it I knew that, if she liked it, I could write her some more of the story. Luckily she did like it, so it all of the story saw the light of day.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t really – I think that you have to be earning your living doing it, and at the moment I still have my day job. Seeing the book on the bookshelves in WHSmith and Waterstones for the first time was close though. I’m often on the shelves next to Philip Pullman, and that’s pretty cool.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Small Blue Thing was the first thing I wrote – there are no other unfinished novels sitting in drawers!

Do you think you have a specific writing style?
I like writing in the first person, as I think that it’s a good way to connect with the readers, and I try hard not to put too much in that will date a book – I rarely mention any particular technology, for example, as that moves on so fast. What I always do is describe things the way an adult would – just because I’m writing for teens doesn’t mean I have to dumb down the language, and reading is a great opportunity for increasing vocabulary.

What made you give your books the title they have?
The titles of all three books come from the lyrics of Suzanne Vega’s Small Blue Thing, a song which I, and my daughter, love. Relevant bits of the lyrics are reproduced in the front of each book, but I was intrigued by the concept of the eye, of it watching you, and when I started to write the story it seemed obvious to explore that further and use the title.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, nothing hidden away! I guess it is about trust and friendship, and what someone might do in a set of very unusual circumstances. But broadly I just want people to enjoy reading, to keep turning the pages, and if I’ve encouraged that in any way, that’s perfect.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The main character, Alex, is based on the sort of girl my daughter Ellie might become when she is seventeen (she is only 14 at the moment), and all the locations are real and are places which she knows. Everyone else is made up, including Callum, sadly.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
The best advice I can give is to read lots! That will give you confidence in your writing. The other thing is to just give it a go – get something written down, even if it isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect first time, and it will never be unless you write it down!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A big Thank You! I still can’t quite believe that so many people have read Small Blue Thing, and that it’s on sale all over the world and in different languages too. I love it when they write to me on the website ( or send me letters. I try to reply to every question I’m asked.

How did you feel about being a 'Contender' for the Queen Of Teen Awards?
Stunned doesn’t even come close! To be in the nominations with such fantastic authors is amazing – I can’t wait to meet them all at the ceremony.

How do you feel about getting as far as you have in the Queen Of Teen awards?
I’m so pleased on behalf of all those who nominated me, and of course my publisher, Nosy Crow. I was their very first publication, and they took a huge risk on a debut author, so to win this would be a lovely way to say ‘Thank you’ to them too. But to do that I have to win, so everyone needs to get online at and vote for me!

What would you do if when you become the Queen Of Teen?
I like that – when!  I’d do all the sensible stuff, which would include waving my magic Queenly wand and giving everyone a book that they will enjoy reading, even if they have never picked up a book before. I’d also insist on there being chocolate and cake pretty much everywhere, but it would be special non-fattening varieties so we could all eat as much as we wanted. I’m not sure I’d insist on the mass wearing of pink though!


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