My Strangely Beautiful and my Magic Most Foul series beginning with DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul aren't terribly different in mood or intent. I'm a PG-13 kind of gal in everything I write. The differences are what shelf they’ll sit upon in the bookstore and the rest is semantics: Strangely Beautiful is in London whereas Magic Most Foul is in New York City. 1888 vs. 1880. A large cast of characters vs. a smaller one. 3rd person sweeping narrative vs. epistolary (diary entry) 1st person narrative. But the Gothic mood, language and Victorian Paranormal sensibility? Check.The obvious difference between my series is age and life experience of the characters and their peer group. A YA world doesn’t have to be populated only with teens, but the reason my Strangely Beautiful series ended up as adult rather than YA is that Miss Percy was the only real teenage character in a world starring mostly adults and their situations, so it skewed adult, while it’s still rated PG-13. In order to keep a book YA, there does have to be a teen peer group for it to sell to a YA market. Even though Natalie isn't surrounded by teens, she has an adult mentor in Mrs. Northe and a frenemy her own age in Maggie, the important fact is that her love interest, Lord Denbury, is eighteen, to her seventeen years of age. Her story is also more focused; focused on her, focused on Denbury, whereas my Strangely Beautiful series focuses on a wide cast of characters throughout the four books. There's something far more intimate about DARKER STILL and the Magic Most Foul saga. The fact that it's told through Natalie's diary entries definitely has a lot to do with that sense of immediate intimacy. And I think that ability to relate is really key in YA.The coming of age story is a beautiful one. It’s one of the most important aspects of why YA fiction is read by young adults and adults alike; the utterly relatable journey that is ‘coming of age’. There is a breadth of change and conflict in ‘coming of age’. Change and conflict is the driving force of all good storytelling, we must as storytellers tap into this beautifully precarious point of raw power for all our characters. We can't shy away from it. We learn the most about the characters by how they each approach their own critical journey. And we, the readers, always learn something of ourselves too.Blessings on your journeys! - LeannaMore about Leanna Renee Hieber (with links to some free fiction) at http://leannareneehieber.com and she Tweets at http://twitter.com/leannarenee and on FB http://facebook.com/lrhieber
Special thanks to Sourcebooks & Macmillan Audio for the Prizes.
Thanks to Stasia Kehoe, Nova Ren Suma, Hobbes Publishing, and Caroline Starr for donating the swag!
Darker Still is inscribed:
"Find Your Voice, Leanna"
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