I’m a strong believer in honestly, even in fiction.
Hi! I’m Hope Pennington and last year I published my first young adult fantasy novel about a teenage boy getting thrown into a cleche fairytale. I’ve been writing scifi and fantasy fiction ever since I was nine and reading it even before then. Teething on book like The Lord of The Rings and Narnia, nothing I read after that ever really satisfied me. All the new ya fantasies seemed so cleche, cheesy and dishonest.
Even in a world with spaceships and dragons if you create two dimensional characters with no soul and no voice of their own, in my opinion, you’re being dishonest to the truth of humanity, besides the point that it just makes them pretty boring.
It’s shocking to me the amount of New York Times bestselling YA fantasy novels that are filled with flat characters and cleche plot twists. The beauty of reading and writing to me is that you get to live in someone else’s skin, experience new thing, understand other people a little better.
If every young adult novel is filled with the same two hot teenagers aren’t we missing the whole point?
Eventually I decided if I can’t find any good new books to read I’ll just have to write some. I wrote a couple other fantasy novels before I wrote fairytale and there was this thing I couldn’t put my finger on that I needed to put into all of them. I wanted my characters to feel. I wanted them to break. I wanted them to experience things and react the way they really would. I wanted it feel new, uncomfortable, like you were meeting someone new.
My number one writing rule is that after I create my characters whatever they do I have to record. I can’t just make them do this or that if it’s not honest to who they are as a character and if a character hasn’t come alive with his or her own personality I can’t use them in a story.
The one way any book I read becomes a favorite is if there’s that moment of connection to the main character where you see him or her in all their flawed, vulnerability and I see a part of me. I’d kill to read more books like that but meanwhile I’ll keep writing them because if I’m honest my characters are some of my best friends and I love spending time with all of them.