I never knew that my home town – Newcastle – had so many talented writers, or that it even had many published writers at all! I must have been living under a rock, or at least behind my laptop, for the past decade. This weekend is the inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival. There are free events and ticketed events, just like at writers festivals in capital cities. I have been to the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne Writers Festivals and , before seeing Newcastle’s program, I thought to myself that Newcastle could not possibly get in any big names for the event. How wrong I was! And most of the big names are Novocastrians, born and bred, and still living and writing here. A novocastrian, for all you non-Newcastle folk, is the quirky name we locals give to people from Newcastle.
Today, I went to a free session on YA fiction. The topic for discussion was “Cross-Over Fiction”, which is about how YA fiction is not just for teenagers anymore. I have always passionately been a reader of YA fiction, and certainly not just because I write for this age group. YA fiction is intelligent, funny, literary, thought-provoking, and all the things that adult fiction is, but the main attraction for me is that it is pacier. Teenagers don’t want to read boring descriptions or long-winded bits of back story. They want their stories to move along and get somewhere fast. They want their characters real and flawed and in-your-face. And so do I! A friend recently recommended and lent me an adult book that she raved about. I have been struggling to find what it was that she loved about it. Yet today I bought four books by the four wonderful YA authors at the Writers Festival, and over the course of this afternoon I read the opening chapter of each. All four books gripped me from the start, leaving me in a quandary as to which one to read first. That’s what Young Adult fiction does to you. These four wonderful authors, whose names you will see below, spoke with such passion about YA fiction that they have inspired and motivated me to get stuck into my next novel. Just last weekend I finished writing my sixth novel (more about that on another blog post, which I have also been motivated to do more often), and I was planning to take a hiatus from writing for a while, but after listening to these writers speak, that hiatus will be extremely short. I am just itching to get stuck into my next story. So a huge thank you to these wonderful Newcastle authors and their awesome novels. Check them out!!!!!
Felicity Pullman – A Ring Through Time Ghosts, secrets . . . and a love that haunts the future
Kaz Delaney – Dead, Actually A wickedly funny story of blackmail, scams and swoonworthy crushes
Margo Lanagan – Tender Morsels Winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
Alexa Moses – Slave Girl A 13 year old girl travels back in time to Ancient Egypt with nothing but her big mouth and her smart phone to get her out alive