Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FINDING HOME Blog tour Guest Post with Lauren McKellar

Today my friend and beta editor, Lauren McKellar, is stopping by to talk about her debut novel FINDING HOME. At the bottom is a great giveaway for you to enter.

I have a confession to make: when I first started writing, I didn’t know what character development was. Sure, it sounded like a good thing, but my novels were full of action. Things happened to my characters; my characters didn’t happen to things.

My stories read like something a first grader would write: Amy went to the beach. A boy kissed Amy. Amy went to bed.

Okay, so maybe they weren’t quite that bad, but by no means did they show arc, or growth, or even a basic learning curve. If I’d thrown poor Amy into a fire, I’m not even sure she would have learnt that flames are hot, and so she shouldn’t do it again.

It wasn’t until I read a great blog post by the YA Muses that I realised the true importance of character development, and what a big part it plays in building a novel. Growth allows you to impart an overall message. Growth enhances the likeability factor of a character (depending on the growth in question, of course). And growth adds a perfect sense of closure to what otherwise could be a quite unsatisfying read.

In Finding Home, my debut novel from Escape Publishing, growth was the starting point for my story. I really wanted to impart a message concerning drinking and young people, and I knew I’d need strong character development to do this.

At first, I started out with a blank canvas. I knew I wanted my lead character to move from Point A (uses drinking as an emotional crutch) to Point B (no longer relies on alcohol as an assist). But why would she use drinking in this fashion in the first place? What would make her reach Point B before it was too late? And how do we know that, in times of extreme stress, she wouldn’t turn to alcohol again?

After a lot of brainstorming, I came up with a series of circumstances that would let my heroine test herself. She would plummet to the lowest of lows, learn to trust her friends to try and get out of the deep, dark pit she’d stumbled into, and then face a situation similar to the one that sent her spiralling in the first place to truly test her character.

And this time, when I threw Amy into the flames, she didn’t get burnt. This time, she took an extinguisher.

About Lauren McKellar

Lauren McKellar is a writer and reader of Young and New Adult books. Her debut novel Finding Home is out now, and can be bought from all your usual eBook sites (links available here). She also works as a freelance editor for novels for all age groups and you can chat to her on twitter or facebook any time you’d like. 

About Finding Home

Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit...

When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain.

The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.

Here's your chance to win one of two $5 Amazon cards, one $10 Amazon card or a copy of Finding Home.

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