Chris Trengove

Writing about writing

Archive for July 2011

CLAWS FOR CELEBRATION…

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Children’s fiction, young adult fiction, fiction for boys, fiction for reluctant readers … there’s plenty of it about, particularly for those partial to wizards and warlocks. Not that much if you’re simply after a gripping tale, clearly and vividly told, that doesn’t rely on the supernatural to give it excitement and narrative flow.

Not that I’ve got anything against the supernatural – I’ve always thought the vampire lifestyle looked kinda fun, what with the crawling down walls upside down and not having to worry about making a living – but you know, there comes a point when solving every problem with magic starts to get a little tedious.

Which is where CLAWS OF FURY comes in. When I first conceived the idea for the book – still called KATZERS back then – my aim was to create a fast-moving, gripping adventure that would appeal to boys, but with some strong female characters that would snag girl readers too – particularly those not hooked on ballet or horses.

 I also wanted to set it in a strange and intriguing environment that would nevertheless be recognisable to young readers. Finally, I wanted it to be tough. Not tough like everyone’s always beating the bejasus out of each other, but tough like not shying away from the realities of life – jealousy, sibling rivalry, violence, bullying, war, even death.

 It also occurred to me that not much had been done with the animal world’s most natural enemies – cats and dogs. So the idea of CLAWS was born – cat and dog-like humanoids locked in battle in a scary, post-apocalyptic world that’s also, with its low-tech vehicles and machinery, strangely familiar.

 When CLAWS was first published, the boy wizard had yet to conquer the world. What’s more, no one could have predicted that the supernatural adventures of several posh kids, that takes place in a version of an English public school, would have wide appeal, let alone become an all-time money-spinner. I certainly didn’t see it coming, nor the explosion of interest in supernatural adventures that it initiated.

 But as the Potter franchise draws to a close, I reckon CLAWS’s time has come. Aside from a little mild psychokinesis, it contains no magic. Although its characters are classy – they’re brave, independent and do the right thing when necessary – they’re classless. They don’t wear school uniform (unless you count fur.) They don’t go to school, come to think of it. What they do do, is pit themselves against some truly awesome enemies, get involved in spectacular action, make their own decisions, and look out for each other to the bitter end.

 Anyway, CLAWS OF FURY is now available again on Kindle, and – spit and screech! – it’s starting to sell. So much so that I’m starting work on a sequel, CLAWS OF VENGEANCE – watch this space!

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Written by Chris Trengove

July 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm