Chaired by Charlie Fletcher
Charlie kicked off the discussion by asking Frances why she set her book underground? She responded by stating that she has always been fascinated with the idea of underground spaces, there is a sense of something being hidden. We bury treasure underground, yet we bury our dead underground.
For both being fantasy books, neither have maps at the start to show the world, Charlie wondered if this was done of purpose.
China pointed out that he has maps of the worlds he has created in his novels. Since he published his second book, he has felt more alienated from maps, he likes the shock you get from a world that you do not fully understand. It was a deliberate decision and he like the idea of the readers feeling vulnerable in the world he has created. There is a lot of controversy in putting maps in fantasy books just now, there is a heated debate about this issue online.
Charlie put to the writers, that perhaps we are going through a golden age of YA mainly due to the fact that our lives (particularly teenagers) has become a lot safer. Did they have any thoughts on that?
China pointed out this was an interesting thesis and the YA coming out over recent years has been outstanding. In the last 10 years there has been an endless onset of cinematic dystopias. If you look closely in the world around us, you will be able to find a certain amount of dystopia present.
Time for some audience questions
What linguistic word tricks are you most proud of and how affective have they been?
China went first and pointed out the & sign present through out his novel instead of the word and being used. This is present throughout the text and is even in the blurb.
Frances answered by saying she has great fun naming characters. She loves the sounds of words and it is amazing how good place names sound as character names. China added that he lives near a graveyard and spends a lot of time there, getting character’s names.
Talk then turned to romance in novels and how both novels do not have a central romantic relationship. Frances told the audience that it is a key feature of the human experience however she just doesn’t tend to write about it. China was much the same and stated that he feels shy writing about romance. He has a fear of sentimentality and the ultimate anxiety that it will tip you over.
The season ended with a quote from Oscar Wilde on sentimentality A sentimentalist is one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.”
With that a very interesting hour was brought to a close.