“My boots make a sharp tapping sound as I clomp my way home. The loose gravel at the edge of the road jumps away from my anger, skirting ahead of me then tumbling down the steep embankment.”
That is a damned fine bit of writing. It is also a very evocative opening paragraph. Makes you want to know what’s happening, doesn’t it?
Well, that short excerpt was taken from Melissa Pearl’s YA novel ‘Betwixt’. And I would never have read it, never in a million years, if not for the First Chapters sampler.
Why? Because it’s YA and I don’t read YA [well, except for the Hunger Games trilogy but that's not really YA].
You can see the snobbery right there. In my head, I still think that any novel that’s well written and interesting to an adult can’t possibly be something written for, well, you know… kids. Can it?
The interesting thing is, when I started reading the First Chapters sampler, I didn’t know that the Betwixt excerpt was YA. Yes, the female protagonist was only sixteen, but Shakespeare’s Juliette was only fourteen[?] and Romeo and Juliette could hardly be called YA!
So, I read something out of my normal comfort zone because I did not approach it with my normal preconceived prejudices. And Betwixt was not the only novel that took me by surprise.
In the next three weeks I’ll be posting my thoughts on other surprising finds in the First Chapters sampler. The two things all of them will have in common is that :
a) The excerpts will all be chosen from novels I would not ordinarily read, and
b) They will all come from the First Chapters sampler.
The reason? To convince you, my friends, to download First Chapters when it goes free from September 20 to 21. All the authors represented in First Chapters are Indies, and all struggle with the problem of visibility.
As I have discovered, part of the problem with visibility is that everyone has preconceived prejudices about what kinds of books they like to read. I’m hoping First Chapters will change that.