I blog about Kim a bit, so it’s probably no surprise I’m starting my regular “reading for writing” series, proper, with one of her books – I’m a definite fan. Part of what’s cool about this book is how it shows Kim’s versatility – she writes adult horror/fantasy/supernatural novels, adult romances (as Kimberly Freeman), children’s novels and young adult novels. She’s even written an early reader and a picture book. Anyway, Witchsong is the fourth book in her young adult series about psychic Gina Champion, and perhaps the scariest yet as Gina is faced with a ghost hell-bent on retribution.
What’s cool about reading this, as a writer, is how well-balanced the novel is. Gina has to contend, as in the earlier books, with the supernatural events, sceptical police, busy friends, distant parents and added into this, very nicely, is her almost estranged relationship with her adult sister. Throughout the book things keep unfolding and the danger increases, as you would expect from a thriller, but Wilkins dials it back at times, really heightening the tension, with everyday things that have to be done. It’s as well-tuned as a racing engine.
There are many, many “how to” books on writing a novel out there, but the best guide, I say, is actually reading novels to really understand how to write a novel. While Witchsong might be targeted neatly at a teen audience, it’s still worth checking out for would-be writers.
(Kim recently changed the theme of her website, which runs on wordpress, to Chaotic Soul, the same as I’ve been using for ages! I guess there are only so many themes, and this one must be popular amongst horror writers – Graeme Reynolds is using it too).