Monday, March 23, 2015

Fall Fifteeners Talk Genre: Laurel Gale, author of DEAD BOY


Hello, all! Anna-Marie McLemore here, author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS. Over the next few months, I’ll be chatting with a few of my fellow Fall Fifteeners about their genres, and a little later I’ll be talking why I what I write. Today I’m chatting with Laurel Gale, author of DEAD BOY.

1. What genre do you write?
My debut, DEAD BOY, is middle grade fantasy. It takes place in a mostly realistic and contemporary setting, but with magic. In the future, I may write science fiction and young adult as well, but I don’t think I’m likely to stray far from this.

2. What do you love most about your genre?
I have always loved fantasy and science fiction. Imagining “what if?” is so much fun. I especially love to mix real world elements with fantastic elements, and to think about what ordinary people would do in extraordinary situations.
I love children's literature because it allows for so much experimentation, creativity, and adventure. The plots can be a ton of fun. But there 's also a lot of depth possible in young adult and middle grade books. They cover very important ages, when people are figuring out who they are, and this leads to a lot of rich possibilities in terms of character development.

3. What genres does fantasy sometimes get confused with? Where are lines drawn, and where is there genuine overlap/blurring between genres?
I’ve seen a lot of different definitions for contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, and magical realism. I tend to write stories that take place in small towns, and the magic is always a significant aspect of the story, so I think contemporary fantasy is a good term. I also like to blend fantasy and science fiction, so then science fantasy seems like a good term. Can I just say I write speculative fiction?

4. What are some of your favorite middle grade fantasy books?
There’s so much excellent middle grade fantasy. Some of my favorites are The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

5. How did you come to write middle grade fantasy?
Most of my ideas are clearly middle grade or young adult. Early on, I tried writing some other genres, but I never got very far. The voice was always flat, and the plots fell apart. Children’s fantasy just comes naturally for me. It's so much fun to write. 

6. Regardless of whether you write them, what are your favorite genres to read?
I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy written for all ages. I also like the occasional mystery.

Thanks for kicking off our Fall Fifteeners talk about genre, Laurel!

About Laurel: Laurel Gale lives in the desert with her husband and a band of furry monsters that might actually be ferrets. She enjoys reading novels, playing board games, and learning about everything from history to science to grammar. Her debut middle grade novel, DEAD BOY, comes out September 29, 2015, from Random House/Crown Books for Young Readers. Photo © Trent Black.




Anna-Marie McLemore writes from her Mexican-American heritage, and her love both for cultures she grew up in and others she’s learned about along the way. Among her favorite things are fall leaves, Irish dancing, and lesser-known fairy tales. Her YA debut is THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a magical realism story of traveling shows, girls who can make anyone believe in mermaids, and tightrope-walkers who wear wings.




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