Hello again lovely readers to another merry Wednesday! I'm sorry if you don't like these fancy author-type posts (I don't know why you wouldn't!) but everything will be back to normal soon (i.e my boring lifestyle posts!). Personally, I believe that I am very fortunate to be doing these kinds of posts, as this time last year I did not have nearly as many opportunities to host wonderful people on my blog and provide you, my readers, with interesting interviews and writing advice if that's what you're here for.
Nevertheless, let's get cracking with today's post! I am very lucky to be interviewing the awesome Sally Green, author of the Half Bad trilogy. There was an overwhelming fan response from the YA community and beyond with the publication of Half Bad, and to keep fans satisfied until the publication of the next book in the trilogy, Half Wild on 24th March next year, Sally Green is releasing a new short story Half Lies which is being published on eBook and all digital platforms on the 13th November.
Set in the months before Half Bad, Half Lies takes the form of a diary written by Michele, the sister of Gabriel, Nathan’s Black witch friend. Having fled Europe for Florida, Michele falls in love with a local White witch boy. There, she finds that the divide between the Black and White witch communities is just as dangerous as it was in the life she's left behind.
Intrigued? Check out my interview with Sally Green below, with everything writing, witches and why she finds writing short stories nothing short of terrifying...
Why did you decide to write about witches, and what inspired you to go down this route?
The main thing that attracted me to witches was that they're women. I wanted to create a community where the women had stronger 'powers' than the men. This is lost a little as the key protagonist is male and powerful, but the community is led by women and the Hunters (the White witch army/police force) is mainly made up of frighteningly amazonian women.
However, I didn't want pointy hats, broomsticks and there are definitely no black cats. The magic is much more what I think of as 'of the earth' and also from within the person, rather than being dependent on spells and cauldrons.
Did you expect the overwhelming reaction from the YA community that Half Bad has experienced?
Half Bad is my first novel so I didn't expect anything at all. My dream was to get an agent and sell maybe a few hundred books. Now Half Bad is sold in 50 different languages and many countries and it's wonderful that the story resonates with young (and not so young) people all over the world. In a way it's giving me hope - showing me that people are people with the same issues and concerns wherever they live (and whatever age they are).
What was different for you when writing a short story instead of a full-length book?
I much prefer writing a full novel, short stories scare me. I think this stems from doing a lot of creative writing courses where I had my short stories assessed, and I dreaded getting the marks and comments!
But really all writing is fun for me and I love developing the characters. Writing Half Lies (my new short story linked to the world of Half Bad) allowed me to explore the world of Black and White witches a little more and to build on the character of Gabriel.
How do you go about creating amazing characters that your readers adore and sympathise with, like Gabriel?
I do believe in all my characters and think of them as real people, even though of course I know they're not. Gabriel is one of my favourite characters and he came up pretty much with no planning at all, but then he developed in my mind very rapidly and I fell in love with him. I decided he would be homosexual but didn't want him to be a stereotypical gay person. I wasn't sure how to do it so I just wrote him as a man whom I would find very attractive (handsome, strong, intelligent, masculine) but I also made him be in love with Nathan.
What do you find exciting about writing for YA?
Definitely pushing the boundaries of my own writing, seeing what I can do with the words on the page. I'm experimenting with swear words at the moment - lots of them, or rather one of them lots of times!
I don't think there's anything that you can't do in YA now. I think some people still think you need to have a happy ending or (worse) a 'message'. But I'm convinced you just need a good story, and the reader will find the message appropriate to them in there.
What was your favourite book when you were a teenager?
I never found one, that's why I wrote Half Bad - it's the story I would have loved when I was 15.
Which character in Half Bad do you think is most like yourself?
Annalise (her determination to do the right thing, whilst really being terrified… more of this in Half Wild).
What advice would you give to young, aspiring writers?
Have fun but take it seriously too - learn to analyse a piece of writing, pull it to pieces to find out why it works or why it doesn't work.
Could you sum up Half Bad in three words?
Cage, scars, tattoos.
Thank you for being interviewed Sally, and for such interesting and thoughtful answers!
Check Sally out here: http://www.halfbadworld.com
You can buy Half Bad and Half Lies here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Half-Lies-Bad-story-ebook/dp/B00NUMV162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415873456&sr=8-1&keywords=half+lies
Until next time :)