I shall blog about the party, with photos, later on. Here is Sunday, the last exhausting day.
First I went to a talk by 'The Edge' authors. A group of authors who write gritty books. They were Sara Grant, Bryony Pearce, Dave Cousins, Paula Rawsthorne and Miriam Halahmy. They introduced themselves by impersonating each other, which was a laugh as Dave donned a black wig to do Miriam. Photo to come. They answered questions that had been written on their board. Edgy = issue orientated/controversial. Tell with truth and authenticity. Is language worth taking? Important to story. Miriam said you have to be comfortable to write it. You have to be able to stand up for what you've written. Prepared to talk/blog about it. Are there reservations? If you get too passionate, you can forget the story. Story has to drive it. Reader has to connect to the story.
Hooking teen readers - Getting them to pick up the books. It has to be entertaining, thought-provoking, engaging and page-turning. Great story with engaging characters. Teens at heart of story. Reader can engage with character, who can be flawed. Paula likes to develop the characters and says the openers can be grabby.
Swearing/slang - Miriam doesn't use it. Says that hell, and damn it can sound like a sad, old teenager. Do you want to use the words? Use actions to show not using swear words. Slang has to earn its place in book. Cool is OK to use.
Brands - be generic. Eg don't use Nokia, use mobile phone
Sara says she gets completely emotionally involved in her work.
What attracts the panel to teen fiction - Dave: the blurb, front page. If the author is honest, then he reads the whole book. Bryony: by her lifestyle. Paula: likes girls with flaws and who are complex. Miriam: wants to read what she writes. Situation can be in and what to do. Sara: Be moved and in tears. Powerful and think of it when finished.
Do teens feel books are edgy? Sara says no. Miriam says it's not her problem.What teen boys read, she writes. Dave writes what he wants. Maybe find different ways to get them reading. School libraries are good as they have to go there. Sara just wants to get children reading.
Age-range on books - Miriam doesn't like it. Feels that children are different to one another. Bryony: Likes it but not 12+ as some kids might be put off. Likes the content used inside comment.
Then came the question I put on the board and someone asked for me. Do teens read from ereaders? Sara said she did a Skype interview to the US and all the children there had Kindle. Feels that they could be good for teens as they can read things that other people can't see. Hopes that this will come to the UK like US. Dave says his 12 y-o has an iPad. Miriam says that kids might like the privacy.
Then came recommended reads: Miriam - Being Billy by Phil Earle and Bali Rai's Kid Honour (might have title wrong), Paula - Pigeon English by Steve Calman; Bryony = Skin Hunger by K Dury; Dave - Stolen by Lucy Christopher and Sara's is Nothing by J Teller.