I’m a journalist, author and editor who’s been working freelance for the past six years since leaving Fairfax Media.
At the moment I concentrate mostly on travel journalism, with occasional forays into food and books. In the gaps in between, I try to find the time to write books. My first three books Grymm, Snow, White and Jago are a sort of loose trilogy of what I like to call ‘fractured fairy tales’. They’re essentially three completely different books in the same bizarre, grotesque style filled with fairy tale tropes. They’re marketed as Young Adult but I see my niche as children aged 11-111. At the moment, I’m working on a fourth book for slightly younger children. Its working title is Surreal.
My main aim, as always, is to write something that’s never been done or seen before. There’s no point trying to emulate anyone else. I don’t want people to read my work and say ‘Oh, that’s very Harry Potter or Twilight or Divergent’ – I want them to say ‘Wow, that’s a Keith Austin for sure’.
I became a journalist after I wrote to the local newspaper, The East London Advertiser, and asked for a job. They had an opening and that was that, really. I was 20 and had wanted to be a journalist and writer since I was about 12. It was a dream come true and I was really lucky – I wrote to two papers and one of them was silly enough to give me a job.
I like telling stories, I like creating people and worlds and situations that people enjoy reading. I wrote my first long-form story when I was still in primary school so the desire was there even then. Perhaps it comes from reading. I learned early and, according to my mother, was quietly fascinated by any story she read to me. It always seemed such a magical thing to do – to tell stories that wormed their way into people’s hearts and brains. What better way to spend your life!
Copyright should be important to anyone who creates things for a living as it’s what stops people stealing our work and makes them pay for it if they do want it. If you’re a bricklayer, nobody can steal your work but if you’re a creative, your work is always up for grabs by the unscrupulous – especially so in these digital times.