Meet the Author - Keren David

​Keren David, author of ‘Salvage’ (Atom, £11.99, from January 16th) feels it’s important for teenagers’ voices to be heard

TS: Do you think that society often expects teenagers to be ‘young adults’ before they are really ready to let go of childhood?

KD: Yes, I do. I think there’s enormous confusion in our society about how we view teenagers. Many middle-class teenagers are over-controlled and over-protected, whilst other children can be left very vulnerable and open to abuse. Teenagers need to be prepared for the independence of adulthood, and I hope that YA books, which make them think about the society around them, can help with that.

Most of the characters in Salvage have a personal narrative beneath the obvious one – including Cass’ father. Was it important to you to challenge your readers’ assumptions about the stories they are told?

I think one of the most interesting things about being a teenager is that you start to see adults as people in their own right, and realise how flawed and human they are. I decided to keep the narration to two the teenagers, Cass and Aidan, because I wanted to convey the way they both struggle to understand the adults who come in and out of their lives. If Cass’s father or Janette, her birth mother, had shared the narration, the story would feel very different.

In this book you write from the point of view of not just one, but two, very different teenagers. How easy did you find it to access their voices?

For some reason I find it much easier to write boys than girls - I’m not sure why! So Aidan came quite easily and Cass was more difficult. That’s partly because Cass is someone who doesn’t understand her own emotions very well, so for a long time I knew what Cass would do in certain circumstances, but not why. Eventually I got inside her head, but it took time.

Who were the writers who saw you through that transitional period between ‘children’s’ and ‘adults’ books?

People say that teen fiction is a recent phenomenon, but when I was a teenager in the 1970s I read and loved books by Joan Lingard, K M Peyton, Honor Arundel, Antonia Forest and S E Hinton which would now be classified as teen or young adult. I also read tons of Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov, Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy, I loved Wuthering Heights and Jane Austen. I would read pretty much anything I could get my hands on – I was lucky to have access to good school and local libraries.