Meet the Author: AJ Betts

AJAJ’S TOP WRITING TIP: Be fearless. Read every day, write every day. Don’t fool yourself: being published will not make you happy or rich. Being published is not the goal.

AJ Betts is an author, teacher, speaker and cyclist. Zac & Mia, the winner of the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, is her third novel for young adults. Her others are ShutterSpeed andWavelength. She lives in Perth, and writes when she’s not pedalling.

For information about AJ and her books visit her website 


Why do you write? I’ve never chosen to write – it’s something I’ve always done. I write to clarify the thoughts in my head but also to create stories that intrigue me. What motivates me to finish a book is the desire to know what happens.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? If I wasn’t a published author I’d still be writing for my own enjoyment: stories, poetry and articles. I’d be teaching full-time, and travelling more than I do now.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finishing the first book! I kept stopping, distracted by travel and other things. I think it was my lack of confidence holding me back.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Currently, the are two great things: receiving wonderful feedback about my recent novel Zac and Mia, and the excitement of working on my next book.

—the worst? The fear and self-doubt when writing. Also, the sacrifices that need to be made, such as spending lots of time alone and reducing social time. There’s a lot of time spent on the couch with my laptop…

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d be more involved in the writing community, such as subscribing to the writingwa emails and connecting with a workshop group. I’d also spend less time planning and more time writing.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? You can do this.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? ‘If you want to write, write.’ (Liz Byrski)


Zac & Mia by AJ Betts

9781922147257_large_coverThe last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.

You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.

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