Saturday, 8 June 2013

Eleanor Wood author of Gemini Rising - Guest Post

Okay, so Eleanor Wood isn't *technically* a Mira Ink author (we're publishing her debut novel Gemini Rising under our dew digital imprint CARINA), but we love her book so much we wanted to share it with you! Gemini Rising is a fresh and edgy contemporary young adult story with a disturbing twist... Now it's over to Eleanor to tell us more:

I hate it when people say ‘I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember’, as if that makes them all special and ‘chosen’, or something.  WE ALL HAVE.  EVERYONE.  It’s like when people who are actors or performers say ‘I was always putting on shows when I was a child, how precocious!’.  WE ALL DID THAT; IT’S JUST COINCIDENCE.
However, I’m afraid I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  I always loved books so much, I couldn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t write their own – I still don’t, in fact.  My first proper ‘novel’ was inspired by Anastasia Tsar, when I was seven – I was obsessed with the idea that she might have escaped, and in my story she had ended up being kidnapped and put to work as a housemaid.  Yes, I was weirdly obsessed with the Tsars, Annie and various grim Victorian morality tales – this was a pretty good mash-up of all of the above.
Throughout my teens, my identity was based around books (as well as Nirvana and smelly vintage dresses).  I wrote a lot, and continued to do so; plays, poetry, fanzines, and mostly yet-more fledgling ‘novels’ – but I never actually finished a full-length novel, as there was far too much mucking about and angst-ing to be done.  I won a few prizes and wrote stuff for the school magazine, but it was when the creative writing portion of my English A-Level coursework was singled out with a letter from the examiner that I started to think it might be a good idea to take it more seriously.

So, from then onwards, I did.  I wrote and wrote furiously (and, of course, read furiously).  I was very into South American magic realism for much of this time, so a lot of my output was highly embarrassing – but it served a purpose.
Eventually, in my early 20s at my kitchen table in Brighton, I wrote a novel called The House of Correction – which was full-length, finished, and pretty good.  It won me the attention of a few agents (to whom I had been writing unsolicited for a few years, as I had literally zero contacts in the publishing world).  After a few more dramas along the way, I ended up signing with Caroline Hardman, now of her own agency Hardman & Swainson.
The House of Correction had some exciting near misses, but in the end it didn’t sell – which broke my heart somewhat at the time, but now I can see might have been For The Good.  The best thing it did for me was to hook me up with Caroline – who is The Most Awesome Agent in the World and, very luckily for me, has been working with me ever since.

Over the couple of years after that, I wrote a few more finished novels – some of which I remain full of love for, but they didn’t quite sell either.  The main thing I was hearing was that they ‘fell between stools’ and ‘didn’t quite fit in’.  I’ve always been a fan of the coming-of-age novel where not a lot happens (inspired by the likes of Esther Freud), so I was writing these ‘adult’ novels that were only-just adult and not really substantial enough, pretty but flimsy.
Amazingly, it was Caroline who suggested that I try writing a novel for teenagers.  At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I liked this idea!  Then I had a go, and it was like everything suddenly fell into place – like meeting a Good Boyfriend after years of messing about with losers, that same feeling of ‘oh, I SEE – it’s supposed to be like THIS’.  I could not believe how easy I found it to slip back into those teenage years – how easy and how FUN.
It took doing this to make me realise quite what an overgrown teenager I am – I feel closer to my 14-year-old self than I do to my 21-year-old self.  The things I like haven’t changed one little bit.

Quite a lot of work later, the result is Gemini Rising.  It’s a classic girls’ school story, very firmly based in reality and driven by character and relationships, but with a spooky edge that (I hope) makes it a bit more interesting.
I think it’s really fun – I loved writing it, I feel pretty proud of it, and I am fairly certain that I would want to read it even if I hadn’t written it.  Whether you are a teenager or not, I hope you agree!
Eleanor lives in Brighton, where she can mostly be found hanging around in caf├ęs and record shops, running on the beach, pretending to be French and/or that it’s the 60s, and writing deep into the night. 
These days, you can read her personal and ill-thought-out ramblings on her blog, The PerfectMixtape or more succinctly on Twitter at @eleanor_wood.

Gemini Rising is out now - get your copy here

1 comment:

  1. I am far from being a teenager, in fact reading what the author enjoyed as a teen I think I could be a similar age but I bought this book for my kindle last week after seeing it on British Book Nerd's blog and I think it sounds really good. I am probably going to read it next. The cover is amazing.