A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I’m not sure if you guys know how things work at Author Allsorts, but we spend most of the day lounging around a château while our publishers peel grapes and we shout “no, I said PINK seedless, that’s distinctly red, minion,” – oh no, that wasn’t what I was going to say. No, sorry what I meant was how we decide what to blog about.
Well in case you don’t know, what happens is we get a list of topics round and we take it in turns to pick the subjects that call to us most.
Sometimes it’s really hard to choose, but when this particular list of topics came round there was really no doubt what I was going to write about – because one of the headings was “is it hard to kill off an important character?”
Now this was something that was on my mind at the time because I was in the middle of writing the second book in my new series, Witch Hunt, and trying to decide how to end it, and a major, major death was one of the options on the table.
I’m not going to tell you what I decided (HA! You wish!) but anyone who’s read the Winter Trilogy will know that I don’t really have a problem with killing people off. In fact I think there’s been a death (or several) in every single book that I’ve written. But it’s also something that I think should be taken seriously – there are two deaths in A Witch in Winter; one of Anna’s friends and one of her enemies. Both of them were hard to write, but in many ways I think the death of an enemy is harder to write than the death of a friend.
In the final Winter book, A Witch Alone, several people die, including two of my favourite characters, as well as several “extras” and one very treacherous person who had done his best to ruin the lives of many people for completely selfish reasons. And strangely, paradoxically, the “baddy’s” death was the hardest to write. The problem was my main character, Anna, wanted him to die. And that is an emotion I don’t like to find in myself – and I don’t like to find it in others. I don’t find it admirable.
Anna struggles with all the deaths throughout the Winter trilogy, but it’s this particular one that she struggles with most. Because it reveals something dark about herself. I wanted the reader to cheer the moment the knife slid in. But once that moment had passed, I didn’t want them to feel good about cheering. I wanted to show the weight of what had just happened. Anna has to live with that weight and I wanted the reader to feel it for a little bit too.
YA fiction: A WITCH IN WINTER (Hodder, out now) A WITCH IN LOVE (Hodder, out now) A WITCH ALONE (Hodder, out now) WITCH FINDER (Hodder, January 2014) WITCH HUNT (Hodder, summer 2014)