Sunday, 30 May 2010
In an inspired new venture, two independent publishers have got together to produce the best of adult books that they think teenagers would enjoy. A sort of reverse crossover, if you like.
I've read two out of the four launch titles and think they've made some really good choices.
Not only did The Life of Pi win the Booker Prize, it's an enjoyable, reasonably challenging read and a good introduction to the idea of the "unreliable narrator."
And Niccolò Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared is a terrific choice. I haven't read the Canongate translation but "Io non ho paura" was a set book on my Italian Literature course a few years back and I also saw the very good film made of it. I think it's Ammaniti's best book - possibly even the best book he'll ever write.
Four titles will be released in July this year, the other two being Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters and Matt Haig's The Radleys, with new covers like the ones above. It will be interesting to see how they go down with a new audience.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
BUT! Firstly I have to read and absolutely ginormous number of titles before I go on holiday mid-June (yes I know that's in three and a half weeks - eek! But I have been reading for weeks; it took rather a long time for the judges to be announced). Worse, for me is that my hands are tied when it comes to blogging about individual YA titles if they are on the list submitted by publishers.
And there are books I'm dying to talk about.
The Chair of the judges is Tony Bradman and the other judges are journalist Barbara Ellen, librarian Barbara Band and a teenager Claudia Freemantle. Once we have a shortlist we will be joined by four more teenage judges and I shall find all their views most interesting. I have a hunch there will be a core of titles both age groups enjoy but another tranche that is liked more by one lot than the other.
And the agony is I won't be able to say a word about it! Ah well, after November 1st I'll be free to talk about YA fiction as much as I like.
Just hope it's not the graveyard slot.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
I came across it first when my daughter Rhiannon Lassiter was reading Anne Rice about fifteen years ago. The Internet was in its early stages then but she found a group of like-minded virtual friends, several of whom wrote stories using the characters and settings of Rice's Vampire novels.
It seemed harmless enough. But not to Anne Rice. In 2007, she issued this statement:
"I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters.
It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes."
(You can read more about what followed here: http://www.angelfire.com/rant/croatoan)
Now Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series, is taking a similar line:
"OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters."
Gabaldon's post here: http://voyagesoftheartemis.blogspot.com/2010/05/fan-fiction-and-moral-conundrums.html
received over six hundred comments in a less than a week.
A more emollient post followed the next day http://voyagesoftheartemis.blogspot.com/2010/05/fan-fic-ii.html
and received over five hundred comments.
As you can see, this subject arouses strong feelings. But not all authors feel the same as Rice and Gabaldon. In 2004 a spokesperson for J K Rowlng's literary agent said she was
"flattered people wanted to write their own stories" based on her characters. (But this did not extend to allowing the publication in 2007 of a Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark. Joanne Rowling and Warner Brothers won a court case in 2008 prohibiting publication).
Stephenie Meyer seems so far pretty relaxed about Twilight fanfic, even providing links to it on her website. (Some people have cruelly compared her own style to that of fanfic writers)
The major place to find this type of writing is www.fanfiction.net I might be flattered to have 78 Stravaganza fanfics going on were it not that Harry Potter and Twilight ones run into hundreds of thousands of stories!
I did start to read them in the early days but found when I was writing the next novel in my own sequence that I was actually writing pastiche Mary Hoffman, influenced by what I read. So I don't read them any more. But I'm very happy for them to exist, as long as I get a credit and the writers make no money out of them.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Nicola Morgan is an award-winning author for teenagers, with successful titles such as Fleshmarket, Deathwatch, Blame My Brain and Sleepwalking. She prefers to forget that she also used to write Thomas the Tank Engine Books... When she's not writing, she loves speaking in schools, and at festivals and conferences in the UK and Europe, She also enjoys messing around on Twitter or her blogs. Nicola blogs for writers at www.helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com