Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tired of Vampires? Miriam Halahmy

Two weeks ago I did my first event for my new novel HIDDEN at Portsmouth University for their Multicultural Staff and Student Forum. The organiser, Maricar Jagger, had contacted me over Twitter when I started to Tweet about setting my novels on Hayling Island next to Portsmouth. It was a lovely event to kick off with. Blackwells University Bookshop stocked my novels and Chris, pictured here, a member of the Forum, is the very first person to buy my book in a bookshop! HIDDEN is officially released on March 31st.

I was invited to speak at this Forum because HIDDEN is about asylum seekers and covers current immigration policies and human rights issues in the UK today. Although the audience was quite small, we covered a huge amount of ground from the inspirations and background to the writing of the novel, all the way to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the initiatives I am involved with to promote dialogue and peace.

But perhaps the most interesting response I had to my novel came from two women who both had 16 year old daughters. My book is marketed for the 11+ age range and the protagonists are 14. Generally we are told that young people prefer to read about characters older than themselves. So I hadn't thought it would be of interest to older teens. However both  women said that their daughters were fed up with a diet of vampires and romance and were looking for fiction which was more challenging. They felt that HIDDEN could offer them this kind of read.

It is always difficult to predict trends in any market but I have felt from talks and articles generated by the industry over the past four years when I have been writing and submitting HIDDEN, that this kind of book is probably not the most marketable to teens. Of course only time will tell but I certainly felt uplifted to hear that there were sixteen year olds out there looking for an alternative to some of the more recent popular themes.

I have recently  joined a group of authors who are writing gritty contemporary fiction for teens and we are hoping to participate as a group to promote our particular style of writing. We are setting up a blog - so watch this space. It certainly feels like my novel is coming out at a time when there might just be a bit more space for it in the current market trends.


Katherine Langrish said...

If that's the cover of your book on the poster there, Miriam - it's lovely!

Miriam Halahmy said...

Yes, it reproduces very well. Thanks.

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Sounds like a small but perfectly formed event.

Nick Cross said...

I'm amazed there hasn't been a massive backlash against paranormal romance from teen readers, but I'm sure it's coming. You can only read the same old same old for so long. Let's hope readers are ready for some more challenging and contemporarily relevant stories.

Miriam Halahmy said...

Absolutely Nick - go for it!