Hi everyone! ARC August is wrapping up but we have one last guest post to feature before it ends.
About the author
Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. ‘Heart of Mist’ is the first book in her high fantasy trilogy, ‘The Oremere Chronicles’.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online literary magazine and learning platform for emerging writers. In its first year, Writer’s Edit reached thousands of new authors, and soon became its own small press. It’s now one of the largest writers’ platforms in the world.
Helen now works as a freelance writer and editor, while she works on the second book in ‘The Oremere Chronicles’. You can find her at www.helenscheuerer.com.
About the Book
In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.
But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers. The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.
Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.
#GirlPower’s Place in YA fantasy: Guest Post by ‘Heart of Mist’ author Helen Scheuerer
In the wake of the recent #girlpower blockbuster Wonder Woman, it seems to me there’s been a call to bring more female-led narratives to the forefront of storytelling. And thank goodness for that. Too long have young girls been told that their experiences, their stories aren’t valued. Too long have male-centred books dominated the bestseller lists…
When I started my writing career, I’d been inadvertently taught that if you wanted to be taken seriously as an author, you had to write about men. If you wanted to get reviewed, you needed to write about men’s experiences. And if you wanted to get your name out there, perhaps you even needed to have a man’s pseudonym as well… As you can imagine, the prospect of all that didn’t sound like much fun. Which is why I turned to YA fantasy – a genre I had loved from a young age, that seemed to be booming with fast-paced, binge-worthy stories and kickass heroines.
The idea of creating my own fierce female leads was absolutely thrilling. And that’s exactly what I did when I set out to write my YA fantasy novel, Heart of Mist. I was reading so many inspiring fantasy novels and series whose heroines prompted questions and discussions with my own friends. I realised just how important these characters were, particularly in the YA category.
For me, it was crucial that Heart of Mist depicted more than one type of strength. It’s essential for young girls to know that strength and courage come in all sorts of forms, from the much-loved warrior hero archetype like Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass), to more complex representations of heroism like Molly Wealsey (Harry Potter), Kestrel (Winner’s Curse) and Claire Randall (Outlander). My female leads and support cast all showcase their strengths in different ways, and go through the realm experiencing things that women in our own world do. There’s nothing more important to me than characters and stories that tell young girls their voices and experiences are valid, and I hope that Heart of Mist sets the stage for this.
The influx of #girlpower fantasy books are key to generating discussion about the world our young girls are living in, and the challenges they face as they enter adulthood. It’s these discussions that help create strong girls and women, as well as being open about these conversations.
In the age of celebrity and social media, too often do we see a ‘perfect version’ of someone, and this definitely impacts the way young girls perceive themselves and their place in the world. Throughout Heart of Mist I was careful to portray imperfect characters – each protagonist is absolutely flawed in one way or another. I always strive to create relatable, well-rounded, yet flawed characters, who despite their weaknesses and shortcomings, strive to achieve their goals.
Something an early reader recently said has stayed with me… “Heart of Mist left me feeling empowered…” and I realised that this is exactly the reaction I wanted. It’s the feeling that all good YA books should instill in their readers. Us authors want young girls to finish that final chapter and feel as though they can take on anything the world throws at them, because they can.