I am so excited to be able to share with you today a guest post and opportunity to win a novel that I read and loved last year. To celebrate the paperback release of A Trick of The Light, Lois Metzger is here to talk about the unique POV of the novel and let me tell you, this is one perspective you have probably never read from before. First here is a little about the novel:
A Trick Of The Light by Lois Metzger
Published by Balzer & Bray on September 23rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Buy on Amazon
Telling a story of a rarely recognized segment of eating disorder sufferers—young men—A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger is a book for fans of the complex characters and emotional truths in Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls and Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why.
Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they're getting confusing at school. He's losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he's a mess. Then there's a voice in his head. A friend, who's trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that's holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
Guest Post from Lois Metzger
How I Came to Write a Book Narrated by a Voice in Someone’s Head
Years ago I wrote an opening scene for my novel, “A Trick of the Light,” which is about a boy who develops an eating disorder. The first-person narrator, Mike Welles, was 15 years old and in tenth grade. He was feeling somewhat lost because his best friend was away for the summer and his parents were having problems. In that opening scene, Mike was in a flea market. He was approached by Amber Alley, a girl he didn’t know all that well though they’d always been in school together. He noticed that Amber was in long sleeves and baggy long pants even though it was blazingly hot, and that her stringy hair hung in her eyes. Amber asked Mike if he remembered how back in kindergarten they used to be butterfly partners. All Mike wanted to do was get away from this strange girl, but a voice in his head spoke up and told him that he should talk to her because she was a good person and could be a good friend to him.
“Am I crazy?” Mike thought. “There’s this voice in my head…” Mike tried to ignore the voice but more and more often it kept interrupting his thoughts and actions. Mike said things like, “I’m trying to play a video game but the voice in my head said…” “The voice in my head won’t leave me alone.” That fall, Mike listened to the voice more than he listened to the people around him, often blocking the others out entirely. With Mike as narrator, this began to make for awkward story-telling. How could Mike say, “My mom just told me such-and-such but I wasn’t listening.” “Something important just happened but I wasn’t really aware of it.” The voice was always taking it all in, though, keeping close watch. How could Mike, in first person, convey these events to the reader?
I tried telling the story from several other points of view—Amber’s, Mike’s best friend, Mike’s mom. But nobody else knew about the voice in his head. I wasn’t going to drop the voice—it’s one of the presenting and scary symptoms of anorexia. And no other character was with Mike every moment of the day and night—except for the voice. It was the only one to see the whole picture, even though its vision was warped.
Still, it gave me pause—could a voice in someone’s head narrate an entire book? But it felt, strangely, exactly right. The voice is confident. It has strong convictions. It has its own agenda and sees the world in a fixed, focused way. It claims to be telling the truth even when lying relentlessly.
Once I let the voice tell the story, everything fell into place. I moved the story back in time, to just before the summer; the scene at the flea market became Chapter 4. I slowed down Mike’s journey from “Am I crazy?” to acceptance—thinking that the voice was totally on his side and wanted only the best for him. Later, when Mike began to doubt the voice and started doing things “behind its back,” the voice became frustrated and belligerent and fought for its very existence. I knew the reader would understand what was really happening even when the voice was describing something entirely different.
I’m the author of five novels, and the voice—unlovable, untrustworthy—is one of my favorite characters. I’ll always be grateful that it gave me the perfect way to tell Mike’s story.
About the Author
Lois Metzger is the author of three previous novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies.
She is currently working on a novella and a collection of short stories.
Ms. Metzger currently lives in New York City with her husband, writer Tony Hiss, and their eight-year-old son, Jacob.
To celebrate the paperback release of A Trick of the Light, Lois Metzger is offering up one signed copy for a lucky US reader! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.
Giveaway is open to US addresses ONLY!
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