AWW Feature & Giveaway: Kirsty Eagar and Raw Blue

The UK Cover

Today Australian author Kirsty Eagar is celebrating the publication of her stunning, award winning novel Raw Blue in the UK.  Last year I reviewed Raw Blue and gave it 5 stars ,  it was my favourite YA novel of the year, if not ever. Despite only being available in Australia, the book found a following amongst book bloggers world wide who, like me, found it powerful and compelling. Until now, purchasing it from outside of Australia was difficult but with its publication by Catnip Press, Raw Blue is now available at the online retailer, The Book Depository who delivers to over 100 countries.

Thrilled at this development, I invited Kirsty to provide a guest post to share with my readers here at Book’d Out and here she shares what inspired the writing of Raw Blue. Read on to learn more about this remarkable book and an opportunity for you to win a copy!

Kirsty Eagar on Raw Blue


Everything I write seems to start as a loose collection of things that I want to explore. Raw Blue was no different. The primary motivation for writing the story was my reaction to several sexual assault cases that hit the headlines in 2005 and 2006. There were so many elements of the media coverage that disturbed me. And it struck me that while the girls were allowed to be devastated, upset, distraught, destroyed … no one, at any time, ever acknowledged that they might also be pissed off.

The thing is, I have friends who’ve been through it. And they were angry. Very angry. Allow that, and the whole landscape changes. The other thing that’s never acknowledged is that at some stage people will feel sexual desire again. Very early on, I knew that was going to be a complicating factor for Carly, the main character in Raw Blue. She’s taking the first halting steps towards a healthy relationship with a guy called Ryan.

Anyway these things more or less drove that part of the story. I wanted to allow her to be angry. And allow her to feel sexual desire again. I also wanted to allow her to save herself. This third point was really important to me. There are so many vengeance style stories out there – main character gets raped, main character gets a gun, main character gets even. And they’re great. We love them because that’s the way we wish it could be. But there’s not enough recognition given to the fact that sometimes getting through something, healing from it, is the bravest thing of all. I don’t really think it’s fair to expect that someone who’s been through sexual assault will necessarily be capable of feeding themselves through a hostile legal system, let alone ready to saddle up and wreak havoc. Sometimes people are just trying to survive it, and the fact that they do should be celebrated.

The tricky thing for me, though, was how to write it. One thing I hate about the media coverage of sexual assaults is that often the level of detail provided about what the victim endured is completely salacious and unnecessary. I think the victim should own the copyright on what happened to them. So how to write this story without doing the same thing? In the end, I moved the whole thing on two years. It worked. It then became a story about recovery, rather than a story about the event itself.

At its heart, Raw Blue is two love stories. One is between Carly and a guy called Ryan. And the other, which is equally important, is between Carly and the ocean. A lot of the surfing stuff in the story is taken straight from my own life. I love surfing more than anything, and I can’t function if I don’t have that daily communication with the sea. Twelve years ago I made the decision to give up a career in Finance because I felt that life was too short not to surf every day. Since then, I’ve been living and surfing at North Narrabeen, and I love the place so much. I wanted to write about it, and about that lifestyle, what it’s really like. I wanted to write about some of the people I know, and the daily rituals that come to dominate your life when you live like that – doing the surf check, getting your board ready, washing your hands with sand, talking shit with the other regulars in the car park.

I wrote Raw Blue as a timeout from another story I was working on (which ended up being the second book I got published). And I never really knew what it was, I just knew I loved the characters. Very early on, I sent a draft over to a publisher in the UK, who was looking at putting together a collection of shorter Young Adult novels. They wanted to take it, but it would have meant cutting the story in half. And the thing was, I actually considered letting them have it! In the end, though, the commissioning editor said to me on the quiet that he wouldn’t be able to cut it. He absolutely loved the story. It’s really nice then to have things come full circle. Today it comes out in the UK, and I’m happy to say it’s completely unabridged!

There’ve been lots of little incidents like that, and they’ve confirmed for me that this book has its own energy. In Australia, there was a resounding silence when it came out. And I thought, Oh well, that’s that then. But then it won a Victorian Premier’s Award. And some bloggers in the United States got behind it, and they’ve been vocal in their support ever since. Right now in the United States it’s on the National Public Radio’s list of books contending for the top 100 YA books of all time. Which is crazy, really, because it’s never even been published over there.

To me, Raw Blue has been a gift. When I started writing it, I felt like I had lots of things I wanted to say, but in the end, I felt like I was listening. Some of the emails I’ve received from readers have blown me away. If there’s one word that I think sums up the story, and sums up this book’s journey in the world, it’s “hope”.

About Kirsty Eagar

Kirsty Eagar grew up on a central Queensland cattle property and spent her school holidays at the beach. After studying economics, she worked on trading desks in Sydney and London before changing careers, wanting a life where she could surf every day. She travelled around Australia for a couple of years, living out of a car, worked a variety of jobs and began writing fiction. Her debut novel, Raw Blue, was published by Penguin in 2009, and won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult fiction. Her second novel, Saltwater Vampires, was shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Kirsty’s third novel, Night Beach was published in April 2012. Kirsty lives with her husband and two daughters on Sydney’s northern beaches.


Enter to Win

I am offering you the chance to win

1 print edition of Raw Blue (UK Edition)

Open worldwide*

*NB: You MUST qualify for the Bookdepository free shipping  – see if your country is listed here,

Required To Enter:

Leave a comment below and tell me why would like to read Raw Blue

and include your name, email address and country +1

(You do not have to include the email in the comment body as long as you fill in the email field when you comment)

For extra entries:

+1 tweet or facebook this post Use the icons below to make it easier and please provide a link

+2 Comment on my review of Raw Blue or Night Beach

Total possible entries = 4

Entries close August 17th  2012


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brendat59
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 15:11:17

    What a wonderful post Shelleyrae! It sounds like a fantastic book, one I’d love to read:) Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy:)

    Brenda, Australia +1

    Shared on Facebook +1

    Commented & liked your review on GR +2



  2. krystallarson
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 15:14:59

    I would love to review this book, I have have heard so much about it-thank you so much for the chance! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom



  3. Janhvi
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 18:18:19

    I would love to read Raw Blue!It has a fantastic premise and I love books in which the characters develop and get past their difficulties.

    Janhvi,India +1

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com



  4. Michelle Grayce
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:39:18

    It sounds like a great book. Would review it for you.
    michelle, uk



  5. Heidi M Fischer
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:58:42

    I loved that book – recommend it to anyone, from YA to adult. Great read!



  6. Gale Nelson
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 23:49:06

    Sounds like a great book I look forward to reading it. I tweeted about giveaway also



  7. Joy F
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 03:26:26

    I love ya books and this looks like a good one. I am from the US.



  8. Margaret
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 08:44:06

    I guess since I can’t swim actually I’m always fascinated by surfers. I wish I could surf!

    tweeted AWW Feature & Giveaway: Kirsty Eagar and Raw Blue





  9. Rachelle Lerner
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:16:00

    I was involved with a group that was called the Women’s Coalition which has changed it name to Haven as men get abused also. I would like to read about a woman’s recovery from being a victim. from USA



  10. Trackback: And to celebrate
  11. The Australian Bookshelf
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 21:33:27

    Very excited about this giveaway- Raw Blue went on my TBR list after I read and enjoyed Night Beach 🙂




  12. Lizabelle
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 21:42:25

    I’m so glad to see this published in the UK. I’d love to win a copy – I saw Kirsty Eagar at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and Raw Blue (all her books, really) immediately went on my to read list. I’ve since moved to the UK, and would love to review Raw Blue as part of #aww2012.

    Liz, UK



  13. reading mind
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 23:12:32

    I am very interested to see how the topic is addressed. I’ve read similar books and still I need to find one really good




  14. Kim maxwell
    Aug 04, 2012 @ 12:30:28

    It just looks like a really cool book and I love reading anything new! Australia



  15. Mary Preston
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 12:18:16

    RAW BLUE has captured my interest. No major hype, just quietly made it’s presence known to me.

    +2 Commented on review

    Mary Preston



  16. Mardel
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 20:52:45

    Raw Blue sounds amazing – and different. I haven’t read many books that deal with a lot of the healing from a rape – I think the one that sticks in my mind is a book by Robin McKinley – Deerskin. The period of her healing seemed lyrical and angry and depressed, yet when she finally came out of it, she was stronger. You made Raw Blue sound so interesting simply from the way you described what you wanted to see out of it. Amazing.

    I’m in the United States



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