Friday 26 April 2013

I Need to Get Out More #3: Scottishness


So I was mulling over what I could write about for this feature, seeing as I haven't been to any writing or reading-related events recently. And then it dawned on me that I have been somewhere. Somewhere that involved going a bit further than a few stops on the tube (this a rare occasion these days).

Pebble tossing: it never gets old
Yes, you may have already guessed that this post is about a land north of the border. But it's not going to be just me waffling on about what we got up to on our jollies (eating fish and chips for the most part, in case you actually are interested). No, I'm going to attempt to link this into my writing a bit and and also a few things I've been thinking about recently. I don't think I've talked much about my WIP before, only because I live in fear of sounding like a right twonk if I start, but here goes....

Nice chest
My story is set in west London. I live in west London and I love living in west London, but it does have it's downsides, the main one being the cost. And most of my family live in Scotland, relatively near to a very beautiful part of Scotland. So you can imagine that thoughts have turned to the possibility of moving there. However, whenever I travel to places that I love, or that I imagine I will love, it always gets me thinking about where I consider to be home and why I consider it to be home.

In my WIP, I'm trying to explore this - trying to explore a teenager's ties with her home and why these bonds can't always be put into words and no matter how much we desire to go see the world, certain things that we can't always put our fingers on will always draw us back or maybe even prevent us from leaving in the first place.

I've lived in this part of London on and off for the last ten years and we've tried moving away. As far away as possible, in fact, but we're are always drawn back. Personally, I don't consider the town where I grew up as home at all. I barely even give it a second thought and I certainly don't miss it (it's not in Scotland by the way). But I can understand the idea of a place getting under someone's skin and leaving it's mark. Hopefully I'll be able to convey this in my writing, and my recent visit to Scotland emphasised this even more - no matter how beautiful and breath-taking a place is, no matter how strong your ties are with the people who live there, home is home is home.

So London is where we shall remain....

Tuesday 9 April 2013

YA REVIEW - 'Queen of the Night' - Leanne Hall (Text Publishing, 2012)

The dark is dangerous. So is the past. So are your dreams. For six months Nia—Wildgirl—has tried to forget Wolfboy, the mysterious boy she spent one night with in Shyness—the boy who said he'd call but didn't. Then Wolfboy calls. The things he tells her pull her back to the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn't rise and dreams and reality are difficult to separate. There, Doctor Gregory has seemingly disappeared, the Darkness is changing and Wolfboy's friend is in trouble. And Nia decides to become Wildgirl once more. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

When I was devouring This is Shyness a few weeks back (ok, maybe months), this song was being played on the radio quite a lot. I don't think there has ever been a better book/song coupling. Unfortunately, when I was reading Queen of the Night, I was either on a train or staying at my mum's and her taste in radio station differs slightly from mine. Ranty DJs with suspect opinions wasn't quite the soundtrack I had in mind when I started this one. But it mattered not a jot. Well, maybe a tiny little jot. I never say no to a bit of atmospheric music to accompany my getting lost in a rather brilliant book.

Queen of the Night (This is Shyness, #2)So, Queen of the Night. Like the first book, it's still a bit of an enigma and one that's difficult to catagorize (which we all know are the very best sort of books), but because of of my familiarity with the world, this felt just that little bit more like a conventional love story, but still very much with a Shyness slant to proceedings. So still completely unconventional in most respects.

There was a different feel to the first book - the time frame, other characters being given a bit more to do and the juggling of a few more plot strands, although the driving force of the story is given a great resolution and the build up to that resolution is excellent. Yes, I'm talking about Wildgirl and Wolfboy. I shall say no more...

But some of the other changes were less satisfactory - I would have loved to find out more Amelia, for example, see as she was so pivotal to the story. When I finish any fantastic book such as this I'm always left wanting more, but this time it was because I was certain we hadn't seen the end of these characters - this one felt a bit unfinished and I still had a whole heap of questions. However, *bit spoilery* when I took a sneaky peek on Leanne Hall's website, (which is gorgeous, by the way) I discovered that she has no immediate plans to write another Wolfboy and Wildgirl tale. NOOOOOOOOO! One particular story felt so quickly, and slightly unconvincingly, tied up that I was certain that it was just a rouse. But no, it was just very quickly tied up.

The thing I love most about both the Shyness books - if you're in a bit of a creative rut, like I've been for a few weeks, then reading these will get your brain buzzing in the best possible way. They're so brilliant and unusual  - dipping into them is like drinking a tonic of words and colours and delicious darkness.

Now I'm just going to sit here with my arms crossed waiting for that elusive third book...