Best-selling author Elizabeth George discusses her YA debut
Best-selling adult author Elizabeth George has officially transitioned into the YA world. The Edge of Nowhere (out now) is the first in a series of books that follows Becca King and the cast of characters she meets after she moves to Whidbey Island.
But Becca’s carrying a deep secret: She hears “whispers,” or the thoughts of others. This gift of hers lands her in hot water when she discovers her stepfather’s criminal activities. Becca’s on the run, and learning to survive in a world different from her own. Here, George talks about her YA debut and teases what’s to come in the next book, The Edge of the Water. (Minor spoilers ahead!)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where did you come up with the idea for The Edge of Nowhere?
Elizabeth George: I wanted to write a novel set on Whidbey Island because it’s got terrific atmosphere. I more or less saw it as a challenge to write about a place where I live, which is more difficult to do than to write about a place I only visit. I began with deciding that it would be YA, and then I asked myself who the characters were going to be and what would be the challenge they faced in the first book.
After your success in the adult fiction world, why make the switch to a YA novel?
This isn’t a switch from adult to YA as much as it’s an addition. I’ve also written nonfiction (Write Away), short stories (I, Richard), and have edited two anthologies. So this was a challenge to myself at the same time as it was an opportunity to use an incredible setting that has been begging me to make it part of a book since I first moved [to Whidbey Island] in 2005.
What differences did you notice while writing in a new genre?
There are no similarities between the genres aside from developing good, strong, believable characters and having a plot that holds together. YA was incredibly difficult for me because the teenage characters determine all the action in the plot. While I’ve used teenage characters many times in my adult fiction, there is no requirement placed upon me to have any particular character do anything other than be in the story. Having the teenage characters in the position of effecting the plot, that was tough.
What can you tell me about the sequel, The Edge of the Water?
It takes place on Whidbey again. It moves the story of the main characters forward. It involves an unusual marine animal, SCUBA diving, a long ago oil slick, and some very unusual characters with big secrets.
I thought for sure everything was going to wrap up in a neat little bow, but The Edge of Nowhere ends with a pretty big twist. So where does book two pick up at?
It picks up a couple of months later. Becca is where Seth took her and no one knows where that is except Seth.
Will we learn more about Becca’s mom?
Yes but not in the next book. I know where she is and why she’s not been in contact with Becca. No one else knows.
Anything else you want to add about The Edge of Nowhere or the series?
I’d love people to come to Whidbey and check out the place and see how I did bringing it to life!