Episode 4

Dramatic teen years and telling stories to find ourselves with Samera Kamaleddine

Samera Kamaleddine is a Sydney-based journalist who spent the early part of her career writing about boys, annoying parents and friendship dramas in the teen magazines we grew up reading - Dolly and Girlfriend. She loves the beach and can be found there whenever she’s not writing (and sometimes when she is). Her debut novel for young adults, Half My Luck, has just been released after winning The Matilda Children's Literature Prize through Harper Collins.

Our interview begins at 17 minutes. 

Mini book club: Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

A poignant and uplifting contemporary/time travel novel exploring motherhood, memories and the moments that shape us. 

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Why this was not the story Samera set out to write and how it evolved to reflect her own teen years
  • Bringing southern Sydney to life in the novel and how it transported Samera back to high school
  • Writing a (sometimes annoying) dramatic teen protagonist
  • Why Samera switched character perspective throughout the novel
  • How Samera feels about comparisons to the iconic Looking For Alibrandi
  • The adorable story of how Samera won the inaugural Matilda Prize
  • What it was like to work at Dolly and Girlfriend magazines as a young adult

Books and other things mentioned:

  • The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • About Time (movie)
  • Back to the Future (movie)
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
  • Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  • No Country Woman by Zoya Patel (listen to our chat with Zoya here)
  • Never Have I Ever (TV)
  • Mean Girls (movie)
  • The Bold Type (TV)
  • Younger (TV)

Follow Samera @samerak. Half My Luck is available now.

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

Please note that Caitlin's job at HarperCollins Publishers did not affect our decision to invite Samera to be a guest, we're delighted to have her and hope you enjoy this episode. Michelle also read a PR copy.

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.