14 November 2011

“Mine is full of slightly antiquated, pre-contemporary language”

The British publishing magazine The Bookseller has run an interview with debut fantasy novelist James Treadwell (also Godson’s Dad). Although his book Advent features teens as central characters, Treadwell agrees that it’s not typical YA:
The central theme of magic in the real world is reminiscent of the classic fantasy series The Dark is Rising (a sequence of seven [sic] books first published in the late 1960s and 1970s), and it’s no surprise to hear Treadwell describe those books as “a huge part of my mental geography growing up—I loved them”.

Advent is for a slightly more sophisticated readership though, and Hodder is pitching at both the adult and older YA market. With the rise in the appeal of fantasy for a mainstream audience, Hodder is hoping for a Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell-style crossover. . . .

Treadwell doesn’t think his former academic career—he was a Romanticist specialising in 18th and 19th-century writers—has had a direct influence on Advent, but he does acknowledge that spending so much of his adult life reading will have an effect on his own writing: “Any writer has an internal echo chamber, full of bits of phrases and words and language. Mine is full of slightly antiquated, pre-contemporary language, because that’s what I read for a long time.”

Treadwell says while he loved the idea of writing for teenagers when he started the novel, “I realised that these are not young adult sentences. My hand wouldn’t do it. I’m quite prolix. I write long sentences, I don’t write straightforward fast-moving plots . . . but I would love teenagers to read it, and I hope that they will.”
The great thing about the teen years, of course, is that book-lovers can read both well above and below their stated age range.

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