I think the best explanation I’ve found for the genre in which my writing sits goes something like this: Books that are written to entertain with words as much as plot. Books like Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Christopher Priest’s The Glamour, and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
Most YA books – and I read a lot of them – are not literary (in the genre sense only). This doesn’t mean they are not brilliant and clever. They are. I loved The Hunger Games, absolutely adored it. But my classically influenced style lends itself towards literary fantasy. I was invited to participate in the ‘Books that changed me’ column in The Sun Herald. The column shows how I arrived at this amazing genre.
I’m on holiday, which means writing. I’ve given myself four weeks to finish the first draft of the next book in the Minaea Chronicles. I’m loving returning to Minaea. I’m also enjoying the change of scenery on Earth for Part 2 – Australia this time. The landscapes in my adopted country are magnificent. I have travelled widely here and I’m constantly inspired. I’ve camped at the top of Cape York, and woken up to find a crocodile track etched into the sand ten metres from my tent. I’ve sailed up the coast of NSW past sparkling white dunes that seem to stretch on forever. Australia – where there’s something for everyone. Including my characters.
I’m introducing some new characters in Part 2. I’m also developing the existing protagonists. Luthien – how does someone overcome waking from a seven-year coma? Will Robert’s memory return for good? Is Jakal really dead?
Part 2 is much more menacing than A Wicked Kind of Dark . But I feel it’s important to mix darkness with humour, like The Empire Strikes Back. Definitely the darkest movie in the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo still managed to make audiences laugh. ‘Never tell me the odds,’ Han said in response to C3PO stating the statistical probability of surviving an asteroid field. I once used Han’s words when someone told me how difficult it was to get published.
Postscript: I watched Silver Linings Playbook last night. Nothing like a well-made rom-com to help you feel better after a rough day.