And today…a guest post from Brenna, AND one of two chances to win a hardcover copy of The Replacement! I haven’t had the chance to meet Brenna in real life, but she has an awesome blog and also writes flash fiction at Merry Sisters of Fate and I have high hopes that we will meet in the future.
I’m really excited to be guest-posting here on Ally’s blog and can’t wait ’til November, when I’ll be hosting her over on my blog to celebrate the release of her own debut novel, Matched!
As some of you may know, my novel The Replacement will be out on September 21st, and I’m here to tell you a little bit about it. Even though The Replacement is about a town plagued by fantastical creatures, it’s also about feeling like an outsider. A large part of Mackie’s attention, especially at the beginning of the book, is focused on just getting through high school. Because of where he comes from, he spends a lot of time convinced that people are going to learn his secret and discover that he’s not who everyone thinks he is.
In the interest of full disclosure: I was homeschooled until I was fifteen, which—let me tell you—it definitely shapes you. School was such a foreign environment that at first, I didn’t quite know how to act. I started writing down everything, because that seemed like a good way to learn the customs of the land, so to speak.
Now, with this in mind, it might seem obvious to assume that Mackie represents my own experience, but what I discovered was that outsiderness was not remotely limited to outsiders. One of the things I noticed while I was writing down what happened was that a lot of people felt the way that Mackie does (although with more normal origins). And when I say a lot, I mean like . . . everybody.
Because I was quiet, the other kids talked to me. I liked listening to them, and I recorded what they said in my notebook. I didn’t have any sort of logical reason for doing this. At the time, I just felt like it was important to prove that someone was paying attention.
Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that people could be trying to grow into who they really are, while at the same time, trying very hard to appear just like everybody else, and I wanted to find an angle that would make it concrete. Mackie’s supernatural origin seemed like a perfect metaphor for that anxiety, because it means he’s always so worried that people are watching him, waiting for him to reveal himself as an outsider, when in some of the most basic ways, he’s still just like them.
Thanks for having me, Ally—I’ll be seeing you on my blog in November!
Thanks for visiting, Brenna. And for writing such a fantastic post!
For a chance to win a copy of Brenna’s book, please comment here. Followers get another entry. You have until midnight MST Thursday. Come back Friday for an interview with Brenna and a chance to win the second copy of The Replacement!
Also, today is my first blog at Throwing Up Words. Come on over and check it out.