Hey cHEwY gums gums
So I’m doing some school visits this week, promoting Stuff Happens: Ethan and it’s nice talking about a new book, coming up with new jokes and routines. I’m willing to put up with the awkward silences as I stumble through my routines. It takes practice and it does get better with each talk that I do. Jokes don’t become funny overnight hehe.
I’ve also just finished my manuscript of The Other Christy. A few weeks ago, I got asked if I was okay with tagged as an author for boys, seeing that my books have male lead characters. I wonder what the Other Christy will do to that tag. I never set out to write a girl’s story, Christy’s voice came to me through seeing other lonely, awkward kids in schools who don’t have many friends. It just happened to fit that there will be a rivalry with another girl named Christie. I went to a school last year and there were two girls, Sara and Sarah, best friends and always doing things together. The seeds of The Other Christy had already been planted, but I started to focus on two girls who eventually strike an reluctant friendship. It bears a similar journey and plot to Hating Alison Ashley, where rivals become friends. So it’s really about friendships and family, two gems that I keep tapping on in my books. I think back to my days at school as a kid, and I didn’t just stick to boys’ series. I read all kinds of books, they just had to be funny. Judy Blume’s Fudge series, Morris Gleitzman’s Blabber Mouth and Sticky Beak, they all had female leads, and that was cool.
Even now, I still love reading about strong female characters, Alice Miranda, Grimson, The Friendship Maker series, Friday Barnes. There’s something about girls and friendships that make for interesting reading. Like, right now I’m reading Lauranda by Alice Pung, and that’s been good research into how I’ve painted the girls’ groups in The Other Christy.
I wonder though, if The Other Christy does come out someday, will my male readers pick it up? I hope so. I want to be like Morris Gleitzman and James Roy, who have a mix of boy and girl lead characters in their books. While we all know that girls will read books with male lead characters, boys will be less likely to do so. Maybe it’s because of the cover or whatever, but hopefully they will give the Other Christy a chance, because just Christy herself, she is full of surprises.