Tuesday 1 June 2021

Let's Raise Some Hell!


But before we go any further, let's chat Raising Hell, the first in a new urban fantasy series by Bryony Pearce. It sounds dark, a tad messy and has a nice dash of humour. Sounds very me! 

Ivy and her friends did a stupid thing once, causing a nice little rift to let dark matter in the world. Dark matter which manifests as dark magic. Oh yeah, that exists. And every teen with access to the Internet can raise hell. Literally. 

Ivy is trying to do the best she can. But working school security barely covers the bills, and there's only so much one girl with a machete (and, oh yeah, a cat who happens to be possessed by her own dead grandmother) can do. And now, Ivy facing a teen goth with attitude, her handsome but ruthless brother and possible zombie apocalypse on the horizon... 

I am thrilled that Bryony Pearce has written a small guest post about the five (scary) influences on Raising Hell. Some of them surprised me (not sure why - maybe because am not a huge horror/fantasy fan like I thought myself to be), but I can't wait to share with you! 

Now, before I hand you over to Bryony, I just want to thank her for writing this guest post. I know she must be very busy with Raising Hell coming out in mere days (3rd July 2021). I, also, want to thank Graeme from UCLan Publishing for saying yes when I, randomly, emailed "So... what do you think of...?"

If you want more info on Raising Hell, you can check out UCLan Publishing website. Also, if you want to check out Bryony online, you can say hi either on her website - bryonypearce.wordpress.com - or tweet her at @BryonyPearce!


No writer works in a vacuum, and we are all influenced by the things we read and see. Raising Hell, my older YA urban fantasy is undoubtably influenced by a few of my favourites.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I was a teenager in the nineties and, you won’t be surprised to hear, was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Despite the recent accusations levelled against Joss Whedon, which break my heart, it is undeniable that he was doing a great job of writing strong, compelling (and quippy) female characters in a time that girls were more likely to be hidden behind the hero, gripping his bicep from behind and squeaking, ‘what do we do now, Brad?’!

This is a great example of the importance of separating the author from his work. Thankfully, I can still watch Buffy and love its feminist message, while being horrified at what was going on behind the scenes. 
Having a daughter of my own (now a teenager), highlights for me the importance of writing strong female characters, so that she can see them in the books she reads and internalise the message that she can be her own hero. Growing up with Buffy helped me to see that emotional strength is as important as physical strength, that it’s okay for characters to make mistakes, to use humour to help deal with horror and to lean on their friends. 

The heroine of Raising Hell, is, like Buffy, slightly built, and appears unthreatening, she is not someone you would avoid in the street, she is Nancy Drew with a bad hair day. But she is also recklessly brave and self-sacrificing, in possession of a dry wit, and has to learn that it’s okay to rely on other people too. She also fights monsters in a school!

Stephen King

When I was a teenager, I read Stephen King, obsessively. I was even kicked out of a classroom when I was thirteen for reading The Stand in a lesson, when I should have been paying attention to the teacher (to be fair she was only reading out the register).

From King I learned that writing doesn’t have to be flowery in order to be impactful, that purple prose can get in the way of a brilliant story and that it is more important for your character’s voice to reach the reader than for your reader to be thinking how clever you are because you came up with some fabulous multi-syllabic synonyms!

I also learned how to write horror. There are some moments in Raising Hell which I think King would be proud of! Those zombies are darn scary!

Alan Garner

Alan Garner’s novels, which obviously I read as a young person, are set in Alderley Edge, where he grew up. He has written ‘The hill was my playground, school and world. It was where I learned to see, hear and feel: The grassness of grass, the rockness of rock, the skyness of sky.’ 

Personally, I lived near to Alderley Edge for thirteen years. I took my children there to run around, look at the view and search for dinosaurs in the rock formations. 

I think I learned two important things from Alan Garner: that fantasy adventures can happen in familiar places and that if you write those familiar places, your own love for them, and ability to add touches of incredible detail mean that they become solid and real for the reader. So, I set many of my novels in London (where I lived and worked for six years), or in Lancashire (where my in-laws live) and in other familiar places I know love in the UK.

Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep writes urban fantasy and I love it. Her elemental assassin, Gin Blanco (who I actually mention in Raising Hell) is a strong-minded and powerful young woman, fighting to protect her own, in familiar landscapes, but with unfamiliar magic. There is a mix of action and adventure here too, but from Estep I mainly learned what urban fantasy was and that I wanted to write it!  

Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files)

Another urban fantasy writer, and a male hero this time, but Dresden’s voice is hugely compelling. Butcher isn’t afraid to show Dresden’s weaknesses as well as his strengths, and I love the situations in which he finds himself.

There are more influences in my novel, probably as many influences as things I have seen and heard over a lifetime, but these are perhaps the most notable. 

I hope you enjoy reading it.

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