The music I listened to whilst writing Tethers

I have previously written on the way I like to use music to help with writing and so I thought it might be fun to post a playlist consisting of some of the songs I listened to whilst writing Tethers. Just a quick note to begin with, though: this isn’t meant to be a soundtrack, merely a selection of songs I found particularly useful during the writing process.

I don’t really want to say too much more about the tracks (I want readers to be free to bring their own interpretations to Tethers). But I will just quickly note that, as an example, some of these songs matched the tone of various chapters, and some of their lyrics rang true with certain elements of the story (‘you see her, you can’t touch her’ a particularly obvious example).

You can find the Spotify playlist here and if you have any comments (or even better, any song suggestions/recommendations) do get in touch.

February 20, 2013Leave a comment

A personal note: CFS

Thanks to the wonderful people who have purchased Tethers I have been lucky enough to attract some press (print and radio) attention and my interviews will be published and played over the next few days. Now, I wanted to post this blog before they are printed/aired because the interviews will likely cover an aspect of my personal life which, up until now, I have refrained from mentioning on my writing blog.

At the end of 2010 I contracted glandular fever which quickly developed into an illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The illness is not yet fully understood but the symptoms include (but are not limited to) extreme exhaustion, muscle pains and severely diminished stamina. My CFS forced me to drop out of the MSc I was studying at the time and, during the subsequent near-housebound two years it took for me to partially recover, I managed to pen Tethers.

I was lucky in that the illness struck me at a time when I could deal with it. My thoughts and well-wishes go out to far less fortunate individuals such as pupils and students who are struck down with the illness during the course of their vital early studies, and parents who are under pressure to provide for families. It is such people who need our support and understanding.

Thank you for reading, and thank you to all the wonderful people who have supported me.

February 15, 20138 Comments

Novel Update: Release!

The day has finally arrived! I am immensely excited (and nervous) to announce that my debut novel, Tethers has been released through Amazon in ebook form!

The book has been a huge part of my life for the past two years and it really does feel incredible to be setting my story and characters free to make their own way in the world.

A massive thank you to all those who have helped me during the process, especially Charlie Harvey who designed the book’s cover as well as this website.

If you would like to know more, you can find lots of information about the book all around this site, and you can view Tethers on Amazon by clicking here.

Thank you for reading!

February 6, 2013Leave a comment

Defining ‘young adult fiction’

I read lots of genres but young adult (YA) is almost certainly my favourite. I started reading YA novels around my mid-teens and never really stopped; I suppose the addition of gritty coming of age storylines to the themes and styles found elsewhere in the vast spectrum of fiction has proved perpetually irresistible. However, I’m frequently surprised by my friends’ reactions when I mention the term ‘young adult fiction’. More often than not they have no idea what I’m talking about and have, on occasion, even found it mildly humorous (although maybe that’s just because it’s been a fair few years since I was a teenager).

I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s difficult to pin down the term to an exact definition. Wikipedia defines YA fiction as ‘fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults’, but I’m not sure that’s encompassing enough. I think it’s a mistake to talk about an entire genre in terms of target audience because it effectively excludes anyone else who might be interested in the book. Besides, recent research has shown that 55% of young adult fiction is purchased by readers aged eighteen or over. So, in reality, I think it’s more of a marketing habit to pick an age range and say, this is who this book is for; which is all well and good, if you work in marketing.

Another way to think of YA fiction is in terms of central characters. With this approach you could say that YA fiction simply means any book whose protagonist is a teenager or adolescent. This is perhaps a tad more practical because it doesn’t discriminate against any readers (such as myself) who are no longer teenagers but still enjoy the genre. But, once again, there are problems. If you’ve read the wonderful YA title, Watership Down you’ll know that the main characters are all rabbits of various ages and therefore not human teenagers. Some might argue that Watership Down is in fact a children’s book, but it contains themes and sequences that may be too dark for younger readers to handle.

If you’ve read this far you could well be expecting me to propose a superior, all encompassing definition but I’m afraid I just can’t oblige. I have racked my brain to come up with one but have, so far at least, failed miserably. However, I’m sure there are readers out there who are far more adept at defining terms and concepts than I am. So, if you’ve come up with the perfect definition (or at least a functional one) please let me know. It might just stop my friends laughing at me.

January 17, 20135 Comments