by Lucy Christoper

This was a lovely project to be involved with. Here my novella, THE DARKNESS, is part of a collection of three darker-themed YA novellas, together with authors Kat Ellis and Rhian Ivory. It’s quite long for a novella at about 32,000 words. I even toyed with the idea of making it a whole novel by itself.

Here’s how publisher Firefly Press summarises Three Strikes:

The Darkness by Lucy Christopher: Kasha has answered the advert for The Tribe. Now she sits writing alone in the darkness of the jungle. Is she the only one left? Then she spots a red light blinking at her from the darkness. Cat’s eyes? A camera?

The Twins of Blackfin by Kat Ellis: Every evening Bo visits her best friend Sky’s grave. One night she hears a girl’s voice. Following it leads her to a journal and a crypt.

Matchgirl by Rhian Ivory: A modern YA retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl. Busking, runaway Nia is mugged and left badly hurt in a tunnel. All she has is three matches, and she starts seeing pictures in the light… A story of grief, love and music.

I really love my story in this collection. In some ways, I think it’s the best story I’ve written! I wrote this version of it very fast, over the course of one hot summer month.  But that doesn’t mean this story was easy to write! I actually started it almost a decade before while on a trip to Cross River National Park in Nigeria. I wanted to write about a reality show going wrong; I wanted to talk about the dynamics of troubled teenagers dealing with this. I also wanted to explore another story: a teenage girl’s grief, confusion and guilt over the death of her mother. I wanted to do all this with the backdrop of the most amazing natural environment – the rainforest of Nigeria. I think I sat on this story for so long because I didn’t know how to tell it; I also didn’t feel like I knew this environment well enough for the story I originally wanted to write. When I found the trip journal device, together with Kasha’s voice, the story suddenly was released in a torrent of words and emotions.

Find out more about Lucy on her website: www.lucychristopher.com


Reviews 

“The Darkness’ by Lucy Christopher is such a beautiful story – mysterious, exciting, deeply emotional and with a rare spiritual depth. It stays in the mind like a prayer.” Melvin Burgess

“A raw tale, reminiscent of Black Mirror, with compelling characters stranded in a stark landscape, all bound together in gritty, gripping writing.” Joanna Nadin

“YA as it should be – dangerous, dark and daring. I loved it.” CJ Skuse

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