I am an author of two forthcoming Young Adult books with Imprint (Macmillan): What The Woods Keep in which a girl inherits a riddle from her mother's estate that leads her to a strange Colorado town where her physicist father has been studying strange phenomena, and Oasis, a YA horror-adventure with a diverse cast set in Dubai.

I have immigrated to Australia in 2006, after having lived and studied in Russia, USA and Peru. Since 2008, I've been calling Melbourne home. While I’ve been writing short fiction and poetry since I was a teenager, I haven’t tried my hand at books until I was about halfway into a PhD programme in cultural anthropology at the University of Melbourne. I wrote what eventually became my debut, What The Woods Keep, while deep ‘in the field’, observing, interviewing, transcribing, and analysing research data.

Katya de Becerra

When I was little, I was obsessed with Ancient Egypt and dreamed of becoming an Egyptologist. That didn’t work out, but I’m happy with the direction my studies have taken and wouldn’t have it any other way – I’m Team Anthropology for life! Though, I’m not the Margaret Mead and Claude Lévi-Strauss type of an anthropologist who goes away to faraway locales but rather the one who sticks with the urban and the familiar and attempts to view it through a stranger's lens, erasing the familiar cultural codes and seeing things (or at least trying to) anew.

Prior to writing What The Woods Keep, my slipstream poetry and short fiction appeared in various small presses publications. Today though, my go-to writing mode is young adult novels, which all tend to be set in peculiar places with a mercurial atmosphere, where strange things go bump in the night. Notably, as a Melburnian, I have a complicated relationship with weather and natural phenomena – and this usually makes it into my books. Once I start working on a new writing project, figure out my protagonist's voice and learn what she wants, I won’t stop working until I finish the book. I get obsessive like that and rarely suffer from 'writers' block'. When not writing, researching or teaching, I read a lot, spend way too much time on Twitter, and geek out at science talks and museum exhibitions.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew books, Narnia Chronicles and the Moomin stories by Tove Jansson; in my teenage years coming to worship Bulgakov, Borges, Salinger, Hesse, Orwell, Bradbury and Brodsky. The Master and Margarita is my favorite book of all time, and Woland and Margarita are my favorite characters. Today, among my literary/artistic influences I count David Lynch, Leigh Bardugo, Haruki Murakami, and Nova Ren Suma.

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