After much humming and haa-ing I’m coming more and more round to the idea that I am at heart a Young Adult writer. I know I should probably have decided this by now. I’ve been calling myself a writer now for two years and been a Dabbler for rather more than that, but there you go. Some of us are a bit slower on the uptake than others.
The thing is, I have an overactive imagination and the attention span of a flea. I love so many different types of books – romance, adventure, fantasy; teenage or adult or historical or women’s contemporary fiction – that I flit from wanting to write one type to another. But I keep coming back to two things. Firstly, romance. You’d think this would be my first love because it’s probably my favourite genre for light reading; specifically, historical romance – even more specifically, Regency romance. I’ve said a million times on here that my biggest influences were Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. My husband certainly thinks I should write this kind of story because I love reading them so much and I know the world like the back of my hand. And I do love the times when I’m writing this style. I’ve got a novella on the go that I’m pretty happy with. And to be perfectly honest, it’s probably the easier (note I said ‘easi-ER’, I’m far from kidding myself that any book is ‘easy’ to write) book for me to write, simply because for so long I’ve lived and breathed Regency romance. I even have a half-made Regency ball-gown tucked away in the linen chest (seriously. It was for a charity ball but I ran out of time and can’t bring myself to throw it away. It’s another project I will finish ‘one day’).
But for a long time I’ve been awed by the scope of the Young Adult novels around. The authors I’m being introduced to (Gillian Philip, Nicola Morgan, Cat Clarke, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo and the list goes on and on and on) and the stories they’ve written are amazing. There’s a to-be-read list as long as my arm and there seems no limit to what you can write about. The idea of putting myself alongside those authors feels a bit pretentious and getting too big for my boots but the truth is they are just so inspiring.
I remember being a teenage reader (pre-empting any cheeky comments, it wasn’t THAT long ago) and the excitement of losing myself in a book. Some of my childhood books are still my favourite books – Narnia, pretty much anything by Edith Nesbit or Enid Blyton (St Clare’s, anyone?) The Chalet School series, A Little Princess or The Secret Garden – before I moved onto Georgette Heyer then Jane Austen. I don’t know how those books would do today if they were coming new to the market and the books I’m seeing in the Young Adult sections are completely different, but the point is that the books I was introduced to as a young reader stayed with me. I want to write one of those books. Again, not another Railway Children, but a book that some teenager might read and keep on their shelves as an old favourite when they’re thirty or fifty or seventy. Maybe the book that encourages a teenager to keep reading when they’re on the point of being distracted by something shinier and noisier.
There are three story ideas dancing around in my head, and have been for a while. The first is my Regency – not a romance, but an adventure – which I’ve had on the go for a while and am making slow but sure progress with. The others are completely contrasting and more… involved. Not particularly complicated, but they are going to take a LOT of imagination and constructing an entirely different world to the ones I’ve been used to. The thing is, they’ve all come into my head as books for teenagers. It puts a lot of pressure on – I know how critical a teenager can be and the demand is basically that I write the best book I can and then make it better. Gulp. But it also opens up immense possibilities as to where the story can go, and that’s one of the things I find so exciting about kidlit. Of course, nothing is set in stone. I will write the best books I can and I guess that will determine what type of author I am!
On a side note, I’m considering calling it a day with the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s been interesting and motivating coming up with a daily post, and I’m tempted to carry on because I’ve committed to it and it would be fun to see what happens (especially at W, X, Y and Z…) but I’m not sure it’s doing me any favours. Writing a post because it’s something I do daily probably isn’t producing my best posts, and I could be using the time I’m thinking of and writing blog posts on the fiction. And due to IMMENSE tiredness and the madness that is two small children, that time is precious.
On the other hand, it is getting me in the discipline of doing some writing every day. I dunno. I’d appreciate any thoughts from anyone? If you’ve been reading the blog, I’d be really grateful for any comments on how it’s going and whether it’s worth keeping up the challenge to the end of April. And thanks for reading so far!