Several years ago I started a novel for younger children (two chapters) where the brother was missing and the sister knew he was in one of his comics (this was long before graphic art became popular) and then for some reason I left it. When I came across it three years ago I still liked the idea, but wanted it to be more than ‘just an adventure inside a comic,’ and I wanted it for older readers. So I pulled it out and started work. Or should I say I sat at the computer wondering how to make it into something different than I had ever done before. Slowly, slowly it began to happen. Then Trace appeared and when she did I knew she was talking to Zara in a coma. That was the turning point for me.
- There are several different threads of the story; what is happening in the hospital room, Zara’s search for her brother, and Zara’s memories. Did you write each of the threads separately and piece them together or did you write the story from start to finish?
Every day the story came to me in what felt like different pieces, but the end result is how they went down, were written at the time, bar editing etc. The truth was I just had to trust the writing process. I had no ‘map’ for the book, no preconceived ideas of what I wanted, or how it would turn out. I just simply carried on with my daily writing of ‘sections’ and followed the ‘threads’ and thankfully as the novel grew all the bits and pieces somehow it all fitted together.
- Zara has a strong relationship with her brother, who she feels she can share everything with. Is the character of Jem based on your brother?
Goodness me – no! We are good friends, but beyond that…! However, I did lose a brother when I was very young and he was even younger. Maybe the subconscious held onto that and allowed it to surface for this novel.
- The style of the story is really unique. Why did you decide to tell parts of the story through Jem’s favourite comic?
It was there right from the beginning, as I said, when I started the book as a junior novel, at least ten years ago now. I just thought it would be fun and interesting to have someone believing that they were in a comic. In the world of make believe anything is possible, which is what I love about writing.
Elizabeth Pulford’s new YA novel, Broken, is out in Australia and NZ now. You can read my review of Broken here on the blog.