INTERVIEW: Sara Barnard on Mental Health in YA and Beautiful Broken Things

INTERVIEW: Sara Barnard on Mental Health in YA and Beautiful Broken Things

In Freudian Script, we love to hear how authors tackle the accurate and sensitive portrayal of mental health problems in fiction. Sara Barnard, author of Young Adult novel Beautiful Broken Things, tells us her tale. What led you to explore issues of mental health in Beautiful Broken Things? I was interested in the aftermath of trauma and violence, and how these experiences can affect young people as they grow and develop. In a lot of cases, unfortunately, people recovering from past pain go on to struggle with their mental health. It struck me that we don't see much of this in YA fiction - stories tend to focus on the traumatic event itself and not what comes next - and I wanted to change that in a very small way with the book I wrote. I was also aware of how mental health is so often used as The Big Issue in YA, as if it is the defining feature of a...
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NaNoWriMo and Beyond

Yesterday, I woke up with 6,500 words left on my NaNoWriMo target. Somehow, I stumbled across the finish line, completing 50,000 words of my latest November novel. Congratulations to all my fellow wrimos and thank you to everyone who cheered me along the way. Suffice to say, I don't have a lot of energy left for updating my blog after running that marathon. Thankfully, I sorta planned ahead and wrote some other things that were kindly hosted and highlighted by my fellows in the writing community. Over at Bang2Write, I wrote about 5 Ways to Keep Writing After NaNoWriMo, because real authors don't get to retire in December. Writing is not always writing. Sometimes, writing is thinking about writing, preparing for writing, or deleting writing. Confused yet? Writing a novel is a process far beyond just putting words on a page. It is certainly more than typing each individual letter. Hopefully, before NaNoWriMo, you put together at least a rudimentary plot and some characters...
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INTERVIEW: Lucy V Hay on Teen Mental Health and Jasmine’s Story

For this week's Freudian Script, Lucy V Hay (aka the infamous script guru Bang2write) talks frankly about her struggles with her mental health as a teenager and how that contributed to the latest book in her THE DECISION series, JASMINE'S STORY. You drew on your personal experiences in THE DECISION: LIZZIE’S STORY to write about teen pregnancy. How did your experiences shape JASMINE’S STORY? Being popular is a huge part of growing up, especially for girls. I was not popular and I felt it every day, but I was not hugely unpopular either, so I got through school relatively unscathed... I got the usual taunts about being ugly or fat or whatever, but probably no worse than anyone else. I was very much The Outsider at school and felt very “detached” from it all, as if I was watching myself and others there. This was underlined by the fact I attended a school out of catchment where I lived; there was no...
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INTERVIEW: Tom Riley talks Leonardo da Vinci with ASD

As a bonus feature, Katherine Fowler returns to the blog with a very special guest... Interview with a Maestro: Tom Riley on playing Leonardo da Vinci on the autistic spectrum After my guest post on Autistic Spectrum Disorders, I was bowled over by the positive responses from readers, and even more staggered when Tom Riley, who plays Leonardo da Vinci on Da Vinci’s Demons, saw the post and confirmed our speculations about Leonardo being on the spectrum. Tom generously agreed to answer a few questions about portraying a character on the autistic spectrum. Not only did he agree, readily and enthusiastically, but he has provided some incredibly thoughtful and insightful comments. So thank you, Tom, and I hope you all find the following Q&A as fascinating as I did... Where did the inspiration for writing/playing Leonardo on the spectrum come from? As I was researching his life before we kicked off the first season - reading both speculative biographies, and deconstructions of his...
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INTERVIEW: Lucy V Hay on The Decision: Lizzie’s Story

Lucy V Hay talks teen pregnancy, stigma and transmedia Lucy V Hay (aka the infamous script guru Bang2write) took time out of her busy schedule to share some insight into writing her new book THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY, the story of a pregnant teen's many possible futures. What inspired you to write THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY? Personal experience and frustration. I always wanted to write something about being a teen Mum, because I would look around and see no one like me on television, or movies. It's one area of characterisation where there is very little variety beyond two dimensional stereotypes. Always, teen Mums are depicted as mouthy, ill-educated, scroungers - getting pregnant for benefits, or because they're too "stupid" to use contraception. If we're clever, we're usually trying to trap a (usually much older) man, who can't resist the little Lolita. I made many attempts to write something different before THE DECISION: LIZZIE'S STORY - it was my agent, Julian Friedmann who...
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