Author Takeover: Power of Words by Gemma Fowler

March 3, 2017

The first of our March Author Takeovers comes from Gemma Fowler. Her new novel, Moondust, published by Chicken House, is an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller with a contemporary voice. Gemma would be pleased as punch to find herself on the highest tower of Hogwarts. Ever since her dad gave her an old telescope at the age of eight, she has been obsessed with space and everything that goes with it. Even now, her friends will tell you she’s often on another planet entirely. Her soul is still and always will be 13 years old, and her characters embrace teenage rebellion and refusal to blindly comply with authority, much like our Golden Trio.

When Lumite was discovered on the Moon, the dark days of the Earth appeared to be over. But disaster struck: a huge explosion at the first Lumite power station. Agatha, god-daughter of the founder of Lunar Inc., was sole survivor. As the 10th anniversary of the disaster looms, Aggie takes centre stage, a poster-girl for the company. But a chance meeting with one of the prisoner-miners, the darkly attractive Danny, changes her mind about everything she knows about her world.

 

The revolution will not be televised; it will be read

Acts of rebellion, be they small or world changing, are the backbone of great YA. That’s why it’s exciting. That’s why I love it. It’s inspiring.

Our teenage years are the time when we learn what it feels like to break the rules. The time when we realize that parents aren’t always right, institutions can be corrupt, and old white dudes in suits shouldn’t necessarily have the final say in everything we do.

When we read, we lose ourselves in rebellious fantasies; we join Dumbledore’s Army, pledge our allegiance to the Rebel Prince, and raise arms against the Capitol. But when we pull our heads out of our beloved books and look around the real world, it’s easy to feel totally and utterly powerless. Let’s face it, if you marched into your local council building on fire, with a whopping great bow and arrow, you’d probably get arrested.

I started writing Moondust during a recession – a time when bank after bank, trusted institution after trusted institution were toppling and taking people’s lives with them.

In Moondust, Aggie is at the mercy of one of these institutions. She’s me, back then, but with awesome moon boots. And, like so many readers who’ve grown up with their favorite YA characters – Aggie and I learned to navigate the world together.

Now, six years later, if there was ever a time for reading a bit of good old-fashioned teenage rebellion, it’s now.

In Moondust, Aggie has spent her whole life obeying. She’s allowed herself to be molded by an enormous corporate machine that she genuinely believed had her own and the future world’s best interests at heart. When she discovers the truth, she quickly realizes that, despite a distinct lack of weaponry (Aggie would be more dangerous to herself than anyone else if she were ever armed), she is not powerless.

In fact, she discovers the most powerful thing of all – her voice.

The truth is we do have power, every one of us – the power to question, the power to demand and to protest. To challenge whatever authority it is that restricts us, to pick at its faults, and in the end, to make it better.

Maybe, just maybe, the fact that the world is a hot mess right now will turn out to be a good thing. Maybe it’ll energize a whole generation who will demand to be heard. A generation who already has a rebellious streak instilled in them from the books they’ve read and the characters they love. If Aggie’s journey inspires just one reader to find their voice, then *drops mic*, my work here is done.

We might not have wands (not ones that do more than change the TV channel, anyway), but we have something even more powerful … words.

@GemmarFowler