Interview With YA Writer Katya de Becerra - Uncharted

Interview With YA Writer Katya de Becerra

By Riv Begun

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Katya de Becerra, I’m a Russian-Australian author based in Melbourne. I have published two novels to date: What The Woods Keep and Oasis, both of which are YA genre-benders, combining the elements of horror, science fiction and thriller. I also write short fiction and poetry. My shorter works can be found in The Antonym, Dark Edifice Literary Magazine, Dot Dot Dash, and various anthologies. I am currently co-editing a curated horror anthology (Clan Destine Press, 2023) that reimagines old horror tropes in new, surprising ways. Lastly, I am also an academic. I have a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Melbourne and I have been working at the Swinburne University of Technology for the past 7+ years. My research is located at the intersections of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, creative writing practice, and the human dimensions of technological innovation.

What was your YA publishing journey?

I just sit down and work on it. I don’t have much decoration when it comes to working. I sit down and I do. What the Woods Keep, my debut, was the book that got me my first agent –back in 2015. Before the Woods I queried another book, but after sending a query to one agent (yes,just one!) and promptly getting a ‘no, thanks’ reply, I made a spontaneous decision not to query that book anymore. I set it aside and wrote another. The truth is, I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, and I was yet to develop that important ‘gut’ feeling that tells you whether your work is good or not. That very first book was definitely not good. The next one I wrote was better.

What are some of your favorite YA books?

So many! Lately, I’ve been on a horror streak (I’m so excited to see YA horror having its moment right now!). Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis, The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh, Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall, To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames, and anything by Dawn Kurtagich are among my favorites. I’m also a huge fan of Marisha Pessl, and Neverworld Wake, which is her only YA book to date, is among my frequent re-reads. And I adore my agent Rena Rossner’s novels The Sisters of the Winter Wood and The Light of the Midnight Stars!

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere and anywhere! My fellow 2018 YA debut, A.M. Rose (who is also a literary agent) said it best: “Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. From commercials, to newspaper headlines, to just watching people on the street. Sometimes the inspiration even comes from within and that’s great too. Wherever it’s from listen to it.”

What’s your name, books, and best ways to reach you?

Katya de Becerra



List of published titles:Short stories in anthologies:She’s Come Undone, in Emporium of Superstition: An Old Wives’ Tale Anthology (2022)Lovesome, in Femme Fatales: Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 6 (2021)A Scandalous Case of Poisoning, in The Only One in the World (2021)Novels:Oasis (2020)What the Woods Keep (2018)

I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as @KatyaDeBecerra

s5.Get a critique group and feedback.6.Think it’s done!7.Send it to agents.8.Rejections! Turns out it needs more revision.9.Do more revision. Then more.10.Get an agent finally, hallelujah!11.Revise (Still not published.)12.Sub-club, for what seems like a hundred years.13.Write another book.14.Maybe book one gets published, maybe it doesn’t!15.Maybe it does!16.Write another book.At least, that’s approximately how it went for me. But what I will say about the process is that it’s long and only for those who intend to spend their lives writing. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not about one book, or even two books, or three getting rejected or getting published. It’s about the writing. It’s about persistence in writing, about loving the reward of writing stories, and about not worrying about the publication process so much. It’s very hard notto worry sometimes, of course, but letting go of the worry to enjoy writing is really the whole point of writing.

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