On Saturday Katy Lassetter of Chichester Copywriter went to listen to a talk given by Steve Feasey, author of the Changeling series. This revealed fascinating insight into writing about the supernatural for a teen audience, the very same genre and target audience of the novel Katy’s working on.
The author talk took place at Chichester Library and was the first in a series of author talks and book chats to as part of Chichester Festivities. The flyer advertised that it was suitable for children aged 12+ and Katy was a little worried that she’d look out of place but it was lovely (and relieving) to see such a varied audience of girls and boys, men and women, aged from 12 to 62 years.
In fact, it came to light that Steve’s Changeling series, like Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga, are as popular with middle-aged women as they are with teenagers. This reveals a healthy crossover between genres and readers and suggests that labels such as “young adult fiction” are probably more of an invention by publishers to categorise books, rather than a true reflection of who these books actually appeal to.
Beginning with an introduction to the classic horror creatures (vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts and demons), Steve talked about how the horror genre allows creative writers to build and develop exaggerated characters. We discussed our fascination, as readers, with being frightened and our love of being placed outside the comfort zone when reading, especially when the supernatural is juxtaposed with everyday life. The audience even learnt all about how to kill vampires and what causes a werewolf to change – you never know when this kind of information might come in handy!
Steve revealed that he was inspired to start writing just a couple of years ago after watching a BBC documentary on boys’ adventure books, which made him think back to his own reading list as a teen. He shred how his dad, keen to get him to read particular books as a boy, would leave titles by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson in the loo to help Steve pass the time. The documentary reminded him just how much he enjoyed those stories and this motivated him to write books to entertain a similar audience.
He went on to reveal that his style of writing is to start at the beginning of a story with a theme and characters in mind but to let those characters shape and drive the plot. He has a strong belief that the success of a book depends on the reader loving and identifying with the characters and this organic growth of the plot adds credibility to the characters. Steve also commented on the importance of redrafting while writing a novel, adding that he tends to start writing and then packs out the story with detail as he edits and re-edits.
To find out more about the literary events on at Chichester Library throughout Chichester’s Festivities and how to book tickets read Katy’s feature on Chichester Creative Network.
When Chichester Copywriter’s not thinking about how to create captivating stories about the supernatural for young readers she’s writing engaging copy for the business world. Want some vivacious, creative copywriting or want some no-nonsense, on brand, corporate copywriting? Call Katy on: 01243 533421 for a free consultation.