Author Sara Grant reveals the light and dark of her new projects
I've got a confession to make. When it comes to my writing, I suffer from multiple personalities. I think most writers struggle with this affliction. We are chameleons and can slip under the skin of not only the hero but also the villain, the best friend, the sidekick and the love interest. So far I’ve only shown my dark and edgy side, but soon readers will discover that I’ve a silly, sparkly side too.
This spring The Orion Publishing Group will publish my next teen novel and my new series for young readers. The projects couldn’t be more different. My teen novel Half Lives is two separate yet tangled stories set just before and hundreds of years after an apocalyptic event. Magic Trix stars Trixibelle ‘Trix’ Morgan, a new witch who is training to become a fairy godmother. I love wrestling with the many plots and subplots of Half Lives and I am equally challenged by crafting the humour of Magic Trix.
Believe it or not, one project influenced the other. Writing short, punchy chapters with exciting chapter breaks for my younger readers reminded me to bolster pace and the page-turnability of my teen book. Developing complex multidimensional characters for Half Lives inspired the quirky lovable characters in Magic Trix.
And if you look closely you’ll find similarities between my two main characters – both are feisty girls who often make matters worse while trying to do the right thing. Both endeavour to help others – albeit in very different scenarios. Trix helps her shy best friend find the courage to perform in a talent competition while Icie fights to save a small band of teenagers from a deadly terrorist attack.
I've always loved puzzles and I look at each story – whether for seven year olds or adults – as a puzzle that I need to solve. I feel a click in my gut when a story comes together. The rush I feel writing a dramatic death scene is the same one I feel when delivering a well-timed joke.
My only problem is that now I’m not sure if I’m an edgy writer of teen fiction experimenting with comedy for young readers or a comedy writer who dabbles in dark fiction for teens. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately writers aren’t labelled like tins of beans or branded like cattle.
And as for being edgy…what’s more edgy than trying something new?
Why not read and write outside of your comfort zone? If you love vampires, why not read or write about unicorns? If you love romance, why not experiment with murder – not committing it but writing or reading about it? There's always something to be admired by and learned from every story.