Thursday, 26 June 2014

Louder Than Words Blog Tour: Laura Jarratt Talks Writing Realistic Topics!

Rafi hasn't spoken for eight years. It's up to her to tell her brother's story now that he can't speak either ...
Rafi idolises her seventeen-year-old brother, who is popular, generous and a borderline genius. Ever protective, Silas always includes her when he's with his friends, so Rafi gets to hear all sorts of things that younger sisters wouldn't normally be a part of. Like the time Silas hacks a gaming site to help out his friend Josie, who has been trashed by her ex.
With Josie, Rafi finds herself with a proper friend for the first time in her life. As they grow closer, she realises that she wants to find a way back into the world – she wants to learn to speak again. But Silas has found a new interest too – and it’s taking him away from everything that was once important to him. Can Rafi find the words to save her brother?

Louder Than Words was published in the UK on June 5th by Electric Monkey and, to celebrate, there's a blog tour!I'm excited to be taking part and love the below post Laura has written for me - realism in fiction is something I look for, so it's interesting to see how authors approach it. I hope you guys enjoy reading it too.

Thanks, Laura!


Dealing with Realistic Topics
by Laura Jarratt

I think you have to write about something, you know? Otherwise there’s a lot of stuff out there already not saying very much. I’m not advocating issues books because those can feel notoriously forced and it’s actually so unnecessary. Put a bunch of characters together and if they are real then they’ll bring all the issues to the table that you need and you won’t have to force it at all. I hate it when people ask me what a new book is about before I’ve written it – how do I know what the characters are going to make it about? People say By Any Other Name is about identity, and of course it is but that flowed from the characters and not some pre-plan of what I wanted the theme to be. Honestly if you had asked me before Louder Than Words what the book was going to be about I would have waffled on about hacktivism and cyber bullying. Once it was written, no – it’s about modern feminism and more than anything else it’s about love.
If you’ve met me outside of a publicity event, you’ll know I could easily be described as opinionated and…well…gobby. My friend Holly, to whom By Any Other Name is dedicated, describes it as natural authority. What it basically boils down to is that I have opinions on things and no fear of voicing them when I do. I think this is important in an author and one reason why you don’t necessarily make it as a writer when you’re young. Sometimes you need time to develop your views and the ability to walk in the shoes of many different people – and that neatly brings me on to…
…Dealing with a realistic topic demands realism in the characters. This can be distilled down to having the empathy to step into someone else’s skin and enough life experience to know what it will feel like to go through what they do. There are some things you have to have been through yourself and others where you can apply an experience you’ve had and extrapolate that to be able to connect with your character. The most valuable attribute you can have as a writer is the ability to be a good listener. You have to understand people from the inside out.
And lastly, if you’re going to deal with a hard-hitting topic, don’t be afraid of emotion. Step into the character and feel what they do, and then let that out on the page…all of it. Also important in YA is not to patronise your readers by shying away from issues. There is a certain treatment you give in a YA book in terms of how much detail you go into in a scene where there’s violence or how you deal with characters having a sexual relationship but if you catch yourself thinking you can’t touch a certain topic because you’re in the YA genre, go outside and give yourself a slap around the head.


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