“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.
Today’s guest is Brenna Yovanoff, debut author of the Young Adult dark fantasy/horror novel, The Replacement. We were thrilled when her UK publisher contacted us with an opportunity to have Brenna over for a guest post, especially since her debut novel received so many rave reviews when it made it’s US debut in 2010.
To celebrate the release of the book in the UK, please welcome Brenna!
First, I just need to say that I really, really like collages. Like, a lot. In fact, when I was a kid my room was basically one big collage. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in drawings, poems, newspaper clippings, and pictures cut from magazines. I wouldn’t hang posters because they seemed unwieldy—they took up too much space expressing just one idea when the same stretch of wall could be used to display ten others.
My collection of bits and pieces had a system, but not a particularly coherent one. I didn’t arrange things by theme or subject, they just needed to have an intuitive connection of some kind, a reason to be near each other.
The Replacement is, in a lot of ways, a testimony to my love of the eclectic. Which isn’t to say that the fictional town of Gentry is anywhere near as chaotic as the bedroom of my twelve-year-old self, but it definitely features some of the same cluttered contrast of ideas. When I think about the world and the characters, I start to see shades of things—nineteenth-century history and pop music and Stephen King. Shirley Jackson is there, with her matter-of-fact brutality and her moral ambiguity. I read her short story “The Lottery” when I was in the tenth grade and it scared me in a way that I’d never been scared before—a quiet, unsettled way, with no easy answers.
Because of this fascination with all the little shiny pieces, my fantasy worlds are dark, but never hopeless. The people in The Replacement can be strange and unpredictable, some of them as eclectic as my wall, but they are rarely black-and-white. Their story evolved as a kind of mixture of ideas, made up of the things I like, of all the reading I’ve ever done, the best songs and the prettiest photographs and all the moodiest, most atmospheric parts of my favorite horror movies and everything that scares me.
I don’t make many collages these days, and my walls are a great deal more dignified without all the taped-up scraps, but when it comes to writing, the principle is the same. The stories arrive in my head a piece at a time and sit there, waiting to be assembled.
Thank you, Brenna!
We have FIVE AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of The Replacement up for grabs! The contest is open to ALL and will run until Saturday, January 15 at 11:59pm (PST). In order to enter, in the style of Brenna Yovanoff and her writing, let us know what is your favorite or most inspiring story, artwork, book, movie…whatever! Good luck!