Today on the blog I’m doing something a little different from my usual interviews. Today, I’m handing the blog right over to author Sophie Masson so she can tell us all about her experiences of writing both YA and adult fiction. Take it away Sophie!
My first adult novel in 13 years, Trinity: The Koldun Code(book 1 of the Trinity series, a mix of urban fantasy, mystery, and romance, set in modern Russia) has just come out with Momentum. It’s an exciting time, and it’s also got me thinking about how we make those distinctions between adult fiction and YA fiction.
I’m well-known mainly as a writer of YA novels, and within that especially fantasy and historical fiction. My most recent YA fantasy, The Crystal Heart (Random House) is part of a loosely-connected ‘fairytale thriller’ series of mine, set in a parallel world, inspired by fairytales and based on the late 19th century in Central and Eastern Europe. With magic, mystery and romance being part of the mix, they are not a million miles away from some of the elements of the Trinity series, and yet Trinity would not I think be deemed suitable for YA. Why? Well, let’s see. There’s sex in Trinity—but though strongly evoked, it’s not explicit, and is highly romantically-charged. In The Crystal Heart, though there’s no sex as such, there is a very strong love story, and much sexual tension! There is murder, betrayal and pain in Trinity—but that is the dark side of The The Crystal Heart too, while magic is taken for granted in The Crystal Heart and subtly introduced in Trinity. There is a detailed world created in both books—a completely imaginary one in The Crystal Heart, and one firmly set in the real world, in Trinity.
So, many things in common: and yet I knew from the start that Trinity was definitely an adult series. It wasn’t just because of the characters’ ages—the main characters, Helen and Alexey, are in their 20’s, with other principal characters being in their 30’s and 40’s and older. And it wasn’t because of those things I mentioned earlier—sex, or dark events. It was nothing to do either with writing style—my writing style stayed the same. Yes, it was longer than my YA novels, but many YA readers , especially fantasy readers, aren’t put off by length. And yes, there was a good deal of detail on Russian history, beliefs and customs, as well as details of company politics, which might not have interested YA readers—though that’s not necessarily the case! It was something else–a different feel, a tone to it that told me from the start that this was very firmly not YA fiction. Though of course I know that many YA readers will in fact read the book, just as many adult readers have read the fairytale series and indeed many of my other YA novels (including the series of YA romantic thrillers I wrote under the pseudonym of Isabelle Merlin). But in terms of where it’d be placed on retailers’ real and virtual shelves, and how my publisher would market it, I knew that this would be classed as adult fiction.
My career as a writer has been punctuated by the occasional adult novel—with my very first publication, in 1990, being The House in the Rainforest, a novel for adults—appearing every so often between many YA and children’s novels. My last adult novel before Trinity was Forest of Dreams, the omnibus edition of my historical fantasy epic set in the Middle Ages, The Lay Lines Trilogy (It appeared in 2001 and is still available.) You may well ask: why has it taken me 13 years to write another adult novel? Well, firstly, I have a very busy and happy career as an author for young people, and secondly, though I’d had ideas for other adult novels, none of them had actually felt quite right or indeed ‘gelled’ with publishers either. But Trinity was different. From the beginning I felt like I had found exactly the right story to get back into adult fiction.
It has taken a lot of work and many challenges along the way, but now the book has appeared, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope that all its readers will enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. And I also hope too that readers who have grown up with my books and loved them (and that’s one of the lovely things about writing for young people—your books form part of their childhood memories) will be happy that I’m writing adult fiction again too!
Thanks for your guest post today Sophie!
Would you like the chance to win a copy of Sophie’s new book Trinity? Head to Goodreads and enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/117516-the-koldun-code
About Sophie Masson:
Born in Indonesia of French parents, and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning author of more than 50 novels for readers of all ages, published in Australia and many other countries. Her adult novels include the popular historical fantasy trilogy, Forest of Dreams (Random House Australia). Sophie has always had a great interest in Russian myth and history, an interest reflected in several of her books for younger readers.
Sophie Masson’s website is www.sophiemasson.org
Her blog, where you can find more information on Trinity and its inspirations, is www.firebirdfeathers.com