Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fortnight of Guests: Joss Stirling

It's a huge pleasure to have Joss Stirling, writer of teen novels about the Benedict boys - seven heroes with paranormal powers here today taking part in the FoG!   I love the Benedict series and can't even tell you how excited I am for Seeking Crystal!  If you don't believe me, check out my reviews for the first two in the series: here!  Ok, I'll stop rambling now... ;)

Joss Stirling and the Olympics

Did you get Olympic tickets?  I failed. I needed (my savant character) Victor Benedict’s mind-influencing powers to change that outcome.  It certainly seems unfair I scored a duck when I heard recently of one friend’s brother who received all nine sets of tickets that he put in for.  He is now almost bankrupt, of course. 

My family of savants who feature in Finding Sky, Stealing Phoenix and soon to be published Seeking Crystal (October), all come with handy skills to help them through such dilemmas.  As sadly I can’t conjure them from the page to sort out my Olympic problem, I’ll just have to imagine myself there.

I did something a little like this at the very beginning of Stealing Phoenix. I decided to set the first scene on the close to completed Olympic Park.  A few readers have suggested this will date the book but that would happen anyway with any mention of technology.  In a year or two we will be saying ‘iPod? – that’s so yesterday!’ as we’ll have moved on to the next gadget.  Fashion is another thing that dates quickly, which maybe why writers (including me) often put characters in jeans and t-shirt to play it safe.

Yet the reason for going to the stadium in the plot was not to catch any Olympic wave, but because that part of London has been so radically re-written since I knew it as a child and teen.  My first job involved a long commute past the site – then a derelict stretch of unattractive East London.  This is what it looks like today from the train (insert photo) – still not that pretty but heading towards impressive.  Phoenix’s story is a little like this – a rewriting of her life to make a decision to change the narrative from one of living on the edge to a relationship with someone who will put her at the centre of his life.  (It also helps that he is gorgeous and kind).

Literary landscapes are always charged with meaning from King Lear’s wasteland to Twilight’s forested, moody Washington State.  It would be hard to imagine King Lear having a breakdown on a sunny Caribbean beach, or Bella and Edward languishing after each other in an office in Swindon. 

Part of the enjoyment of writing for me is finding the location to fit the story.  I thought long and hard where to set Seeking Crystal and in the end went for Venice because I could imagine no better place to fall in love.  But it is very much the modern city, on the brink of being submerged by climate change, which adds a layer of fragility chiming with the emotions of the main character.  I won’t say any more now – you’ll find out how this all works in the autumn.

Where would you set a story and why?  Let me know below on the message board.

---!/jossstirling   @jossstirling

Ooh, I love the Victorian era, so I'd love to write one set then!  Or, like you, London: gotta love the urban scene!  
Everyone, let us know where you'd set a story!! :D
Thank you so much for taking part, Joss! 

Everyone, if you liked this post, make sure you follow all the FoG events on Twitter at #FortnightOfGuests

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