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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spellbound-The Goth YA Novel I’m Working On

I’ve been a busy bee. Which is why the blogs have been erratic. I’m launching three new titles over the next three months, and I’ve been working on a new novel.

The new novel I’m working on is called Spellbound. Spellbound is the prequel to Spinsterella, the Goth romance novel I wrote last year. I wanted to write this one for tweens and teens, but I’m having quite a hard time keeping the dialogue PG-13 like my Isis series books and The Thetas. Teenagers curse. A lot.

I really want to keep Spellbound kid friendly so kids who want to be part of the Goth Subculture will have something positive to read about it, and their parents will come to understand that there is nothing negative about their kids being Goth. I’ve spent close to two years talking to Goths and researching the subculture and I’ve found there’s nothing in it any parent really needs to worry about. Most of the people who are part of the subculture are some of the kindest, friendliest people I’ve ever met in my life.

Spellbound is set in 1989, and follows the teenage Matilda Crowley as she first enters the Goth subculture. Like The Thetas it’s a coming of age story. However it’s a much darker tale. The late 1980s were a very dark time in New York City. Crime was at an all-time high, crack was destroying lives left and right and the city was just a hell hole filled with abandoned buildings and vacant lots. While Matilda is into dark stuff like horror movies, Vampire novels, and Beeteljuice, the real horror is being part of a Huxtable type family living in 1980s Harlem where crackheads roam the streets like zombies and dope dealers terrorize the neighborhood in their battles for turf and pussy.

As readers go on Matilda’s journey from the Ghetto into the Goth Subculture they also come to understand the dark side of being light skinned. I was inspired by what actress Persia White said on a radio show seven years ago about being so dark inside because she was so light skinned. And I drew from my own personal experiences from having to deal with the dark side of being light skinned. Dark skinned Black people believe you think you’re better than them. And their insecurities about color can make it hard for a light skinned person to get through a day. 

The title Spellbound is taken from the Siouxsie and the Banshees song Spellbound. It fits the commentary I wanted to make about Black people and the cognitive distortion they have regarding anything they deem White or close to White. Many Black folks have a love hate relationship with light skinned and biracial people and act like they’re entranced in their presence. Either they love them or they hate them.

I draw a lot from my life experiences and my time at Park West High School for parts of this story and that makes writing it very emotionally draining. This was one of the darkest periods in my life and that makes it a challenge to put words on paper sometimes. Everything in the first 50 pages detailing Matilda’s life is practically autobiographical, give or take a sequence.

I’m fifty or so pages into Spellbound, and nearing the fist plot point. I’m hoping to have a first draft done by the end of the year. No promises to when it’ll be ready for publication, but I’m hoping sometime in 2017.  There aren’t that many YA novels featuring contemporary Goth Characters and I want this one to be a great one. 

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