Friday, 2 May 2014

Blog Tour: Emma Pass

I'm so excited to be hosting Emma Pass on day 8 of her blog tour, for her new novel THE FEARLESS (available now). Her first novel ACID (which I 've just finished) is fab too.

An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect - anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jory is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back

Emma is kindly guesting today, with a post about absent parents in YA liteature. I'm sure you'll agree, it's a bloody interesting read. Please share and comment - and then buy her book! You really must.

Missing: One Set of Parents (Reward Offered for Keeping Them That Way)

So, you're writing a novel in which your heroine or hero is about to embark on a crazy adventure. But just as they're about to rush off to save the world, their parents arrive, wagging their fingers and reminding them that they still haven't done their homework. And anyway, if they think they're staying up late on a school night, they've got another think coming. That nice Mr Andrews next door is what? Don't be ridiculous! You've been watching far too much TV. Up to your room, now!


Frustrating, isn't it?


So perhaps for your character to be able to carry out their quest, those pesky parents – or whatever adult authority figures your character has in their lives – need to be out of the picture, at least for a while. But how can you achieve this? There are several options:


1. Your main character doesn't have parents.

This is the least complicated option – or so it might seem at first. But actually, it can make things pretty complicated. In THE FEARLESS, Cass doesn't have parents because her father was lost in the Fearless invasion, and her mother died shortly afterwards. However, this independence brings up a whole new set of problems. She is the sole carer for her little brother, Jori, and when he's kidnapped by two Fearless she is the only one who can save him, putting her in terrible danger. So literally getting rid of the parents can sometimes create more problems than it solves!


2. The parents are absent for some other reason.

Perhaps the parent is an mad-professor type who doesn't care what the main character gets up to – think Uncle Quentin, George's dad in the Famous Five, who was only too happy for George, Julian, Dick, Anne and Timmy to head off on all sorts of wild adventures, because it got them out of his hair. Or perhaps the parent are emotionally absent, or have jobs which require them to spend a lot of time away from home, leaving your main character in the care of a surrogate parent who isn't quite as watchful or without anyone to look after them at all. Your character might have been removed from their parents' influence in other ways – perhaps they're on a no-parents-allowed holiday with friends, or at boarding school. There are many ways to take parents out of the equation without erasing them altogether.


3. They’re not going anywhere. Deal with it.

It's not always practical to get rid of the parents (or parental figures), and indeed, sometimes, the complications they bring to your protagonist's struggle add crucial conflict to your story – and conflict, as all writers know, is the thing which drives your plot forwards. So if you're struggling to find a convincing way to get rid of your teenage character's parents, ask yourself, could I keep them in the picture, and make that another obstacle my protagonist has to overcome?


In both ACID and THE FEARLESS, I've gone with option 1 because it best suits the dystopian/post-apocalyptic worlds I've created, but I'm now working on a new idea where the parents and authority figures who act as surrogate parents are very much alive and kicking. It's going to be interesting trying to get them out of the way…
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, is out now from Corgi/Random House in the UK, and from Delacorte in the US.  It won the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award, was shortlisted for the Doncaster Book Award, nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal and has been longlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award and a Silver Inky Award in Australia. Her second novel, THE FEARLESS, is also out now in the UK from Corgi/Random House and will be published in the US in early 2015 by Delacorte. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands

1 comment:

  1. This is so difficult, isn't it? I saw someone complaining on Twitter that parents in YA are always dead, missing or negligent, but keeping them around is problematic. Because you then have to deal with the obvious question of why your teen MC doesn't just get her parents to sort everything out.