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*Cue drumroll* Today’s guest star on the blog is author Sean Cummings, who is visiting all the way from the great white north, Canada. Sean is the author of several urban fantasy novels and has this year taken the plunge into young adult fiction with his novel Poltergeeks, coming out soon from Strange Chemistry, the shiny new young adult imprint of Angry Robot Books. You can find my review of the novel here. And without further ado, here’s the man himself, talking about both his new book and the new genre he is tackling.
by Sean Cummings
You know, I’m forty four and I’ll be forty five in a couple of weeks. When I was a teenager, YA didn’t really exist. Sure there was Judy Blume and a few others, but if you wanted to read something where there might be monsters or swordplay or time travel or even, yes, sparkly vampires, you were pretty much screwed. That’s why my friends and I read Stephen King or John Saul. We’d read true crime and basically whatever was available on the adult shelves of the library or book store.
But that changed in a big way over the last ten years. Young Adult exploded onto the scene and hit critical mass with the Harry Potter series and of course, the sparkly vampire books that have spawned a boatload of similar titles. But there have been teen issue books – stories that deal with rape, with gun violence, with alcohol and drug problems – the list goes on.
And so when I decided to write POLTERGEEKS, it was with a mind for having a book featuring a strong female protagonist with an uncomplicated romantic life and who KICKS …. ASS …. ALL … OVER … THE …. PLACE.
In short, POLTERGEEKS is an action movie in book form. It is about 65,000 words, pressed between a glossy green back cover and a FREAKING AWESOME front cover that actually displays a scene from the book. It’s not about anything overly complex. Nobody is choosing between bad boy boyfriends in a love triangle from supernatural hell. Nobody has bulimia or any other serious health issues. Julie has a normal relationship with her mother and she’s got a dead father who happens to be a ghost with no taste in clothes.
Oh there’s a plot of course, but it’s a plot that is designed to race along at a million miles an hour – just like a good action movie should. In short, when I started writing POLTERGEEKS, my goal was to write a book that is just plain old fun. A frantic romp through a magical world where, believe it or not, there’s a hero’s journey going on. Julie starts out as an apprentice witch but the apprentice has to save the mentor’s life. A tried and true formula that never gets old as far as I’m concerned.
So we’ve got Paranormal Romance YA. We’ve got Dystopian YA. We’ve got Steampunk YA. We’ve got a whole bunch of YA that covers the broad spectrum of reading interests and in POLTERGEEKS, I hope to create a new one: JUST PLAIN OLD FUN YA.
Chances are that I haven’t invented it – it probably exists already, but that’s okay. There’s much room to grow in Young Adult these days – this is just book one!