Tobias Madden has a special place in our hearts - a friend of the show and someone we are DYING to one day have a coffee with. Our guest grew up in Ballarat and worked for 10 years as a performer touring Australia and New Zealand with musicals including Mary Poppins, CATS, Singin' in the Rain, and Guys and Dolls. We first spoke to him for Better Words in 2019 when he edited and published Underdog, the first #LoveOzYA short story collection for previously unpublished Aussie writers. In 2019, he also wrote a cabaret show, Siblingship, which played to sold-out audiences and several cities. He’s a passionate member of the #LoveOzYA community and works in YA publishing. We have been very eagerly awaiting the publication of his debut novel, Anything But Fine, so we could once again welcome him to Better Words.
Our interview starts at 11 minutes.
The Couple by Helly Acton (audiobook version)
A rom-com in a society where it's downright WEIRD to be in a couple. Thoughtful and delightful. The audiobook is especially good!
The Deep End by Jenna Guillaume
This is a super cute, summer YA short story published as part of the Australia Reads campaign.
In this interview, we chat about:
- Why Tobias started trying to write a full-length contemporary manuscript after spending many years writing fantasy and how it unconsciously mirrored some of his own experiences as he was writing
- Tobias’ experiences of homophobia growing up in a regional area
- The disparity between public and private schools
- The joy of writing Luca and Amina’s friendship in the novel
- Developing the relationship between Luca and his dad
- US publication and how much of the Aussie culture remained in the US edition
- How it feels to have feedback and kind reviews/quotes from your favourite authors
- Looking back on the Underdog #LoveOzYA short story collection and how it prepared Tobias for writing his own novel
- The musical Tobias co-wrote with his husband and sister-in-law
Books and other things mentioned
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- Loveless by Alice Oseman (podcast episode)
- Untidy Towns by Kate O’Donnell (podcast episode)
- Social Queue by Kay Kerr (podcast episode)
- It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood (podcast episode)
- Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Wilde (podcast episode)
Follow Tobias on Instagram @tobias_madden
Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod
Anything But Fine is available now and will be released in the US in early 2022.
Thank you to the team at Penguin Teen Aus for sending us copies of Anything But Fine in preparation for the interview.