Moira Young interview

My concern has always been to do right by Saba and her story


Moira Young won the Costa children’s book prize in 2011 with her dystopian thriller Blood Red Road, the first in her Dustlands trilogy. Now site member and superfan CaraErica gets the chance to talk to Moira, as the third and final Dustlands book Raging Star is published

The setting for Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart is in a type of waste land, littered with items from Wrecker times. What was your inspiration for the Dustlands in which Saba lives?

I’d call the Dustlands an epic Western set in the future. But that wasn’t my plan. I didn’t decide on a vast harsh landscape or imagine the scattered remains of a lost civilisation known as The Wreckers. I planned and began to write a book set in a new ice age in the Peak District. But the moment I heard the distinctive voice of my protagonist, Saba, her world – a lawless place of wild weather, hardship and danger – rushed into focus. Right away, I realised we were in a Western movie. I’ve loved Westerns since my early childhood, also classic epics like Gone With the Wind, Dr Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. When I didn’t have my nose in a book, I was watching old movies on TV. Westerns, epics, swashbucklers, 50s sci fi, boys’ own adventures, three-hanky weepies, romances, comedies, The Wizard of Oz over and over and books of all descriptions; every story, every word, every image went into the dark quiet of my psyche to brew.

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