This is a stop of the official Student Bodies tour schedule. Here you will find a guest post by Sean Cummings, and information on his books.
When I set off to write the sequel to Poltergeeks I had a very clear idea of what I intended because there has always been three books in my head and the second one needed to be the big jump into dark and terrifying waters. Where Poltergeek was light and cheery and quite funny, I’d always intended for Student Bodies to make readers of book one go “holy #@*! this is intense!” That was probably the biggest challenge, too, because I’m generally not a very “dark and terrible” kind of guy – ask my wife, she’ll tell you!
There is some seriously bleak stuff in Student Bodies and I wanted to do something that dealt with enthrallment from the get-go. At the same time I wanted to really ramp things up in terms of the tension between teenage daughter and her mother, so this book has a significant amount of that. Where Julie’s mother was in a coma for most of book one, in book two, she’s front and center and you get to really see the nature of their relationship.
You know, writing YA is a challenge because at least this author sometimes struggles with making the voice sound unique and genuine. At the same time, I’m mindful of the fact that 55% of YA readers aren’t teens at all – they’re grown ups. The challenge for an author, I think, is to keep in mind the age group you are supposed to be writing for – it does beg the question, though: if the majority of your readers aren’t the demographic that’s supposed to be reading it – is it really YA at all?
I struggle with that sometimes – I know I did when writing Student Bodies because there’s some seriously sad and hopeless stuff going on in the book. I’m tackling bullying head-on in this one – a bullied kid is central to the entire plot. Without the bullied teen there wouldn’t be a book at all, frankly. And as I wrote it, I kept thinking: is this genuine? Am I going to get skewered by the adults who are reading this because of what Marcus says about adults “not getting bullying at all”?
It’s a challenge to an author – I finally decided to say “the heck with it” and focus on the plot. I’m mindful there are always people who aren’t going to fall in love with the book – that’s cool. I’ve decided to remain true to my characters and true to the outline – what we have in the way of a finished product is a far more thrilling book than the first, some wild new characters, more hints about Julie’s past and an ending I guarantee that nobody is going to see coming.
So – do give Student Bodies a read, won’t you? It’s kick-ass Canadian urban fantasy with a twist!
Poltergeeks (Poltergeeks, Book 1)
Angry Robot Strange Chemistry (US & CA: 2nd October 2012; UK: 4th October 2012)
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15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection. In fact, there’s a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.
Student Bodies (Poltergeeks, Book 2)
Angry Robot Strange Chemistry (US & CA: 3rd September 2013; UK: 5th September 2013)
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For fifteen-year-old Julie Richardson and the city’s resident protector from supernatural evil, the Left Hand Path doesn’t give a damn if you’ve found true love for the first time in your life. There’s someone lurking the halls of Crescent Ridge High School with enough malice to unleash an epidemic of Soul Worms – supernatural larvae that feed on the very fabric of a victim’s humanity. After witnessing the death of one of the most popular kids at school, Julie and über-genius boyfriend Marcus find themselves in a race against time to find out who is behind the attacks. All the evidence points to a horrifying plot at the City Weir during the Winter Solstice; the place where icy waters of the Bow River and a thunderous spillway will mean the deaths of more than a hundred of Julie’s classmates. If she has any hope of saving their lives, she’ll need a little help from a coven of white witches and an Aboriginal mage whose snarky attitude is matched only by her magical prowess.