I now stand before you as a bona fide Young Adult author. My YA debut, Shiver the Whole Night Through, will be released by UK-based Hot Key Books in November, but we made it official today.
Quick blurb: it’s the story of a bullied youngster who begins a strange relationship with the coolest girl in town – the strange part being, she’s dead. Aidan gets drawn into a dream-world of magic, desire, hope and revenge. He’s not sure if beautiful Sláine is a ghost, a demon or the figment of his imagination – but someone seems to be taking care of the bullies… Part mystery, part romance, part horror-fantasy, Shiver the Whole Night Through mixes elements of Twilight, Twin Peaks, Let the Right One In, teen-detective movie Brick, and classic Gothic revenge stories.
And it’s blimmin’ great, so go pre-order fifteen copies right now.
So I’m to be published in Young Adult – which, to be honest, I never thought would happen. Let me explain.
About seven years ago I wrote an article for Declan Burke’s excellent crime-fiction blog, http://crimealwayspays.blogspot.ie/, bewailing the fact that writers are discouraged from exploring different genres. “Stick to what you’re good at,” the cry goes. (Unspoken postscript: “And what the market wants.”)
The piece moaned about how I wanted to write books of all sorts – everything from “high literature” to spoof cop stories to sci-fi dystopia to God knows what – but The System refused to let me. It wanted to pigeonhole authors. And journalism, I whined, was just as bad: many people couldn’t accept that you wanted, or were able, to write serious comment pieces and funny columns and artsy book reviews and straight interviews.
Scoot forward a few years, and I’ve brought out one non-fiction book (GAA Confidential), two crime novels (Even Flow and The Polka Dot Girl) of very different styles and types, one comic novel (Cold! Steel! Justice!!!) and now Shiver the Whole Night Through.
This list isn’t solely to blow my own trumpet – well, it is, but only a bit – it’s also to demonstrate that The System, about which I fumed so violently back then, actually isn’t so closed-off after all.
The System has now allowed me to publish books in four distinct categories, and who knows? Although Young Adult is where I’m concentrating my efforts for the foreseeable future, maybe someday I’ll take another detour, go somewhere completely new again. (That “Freddie Krueger-meets-Noddy” idea just demands to be written…)
Same in journalism: I contribute everything from “serious” think-pieces and radio reviews in the Irish Independent to book blogs in The Guardian to interviews with movie stars in the RTE Guide to a “man’s-eye view” column in U magazine to…you get the picture.
To return to that Crime Always Pays whinge-fest, this pigeon was indeed encouraged to fly. I think I owe The System an apology.
So, uh…sorry, dude. Sincerely.
- Shiver the Whole Night Through is published by Hot Key Books in November 2014. Big thanks to editor Naomi Colthurst and all the team over there, and my agent Mildred Yuan at AP Watt @ United Agents (that’s right, I also finally got an agent after years of looking!). And to you, the (hopefully) future reader.