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The Hawkweed Prophecy
Guest Post by Irena Brignull
Why I Write YA

Hello, everyone! I know it's been awhile. It's been a hectic month/end of summer but I'm baaaccckkk! Today Irena is doing a guest post here on my blog about why she writes YA. But first, let's take a look at her books...

A stunning debut tells a bewitching story: two girls, one ancient prophecy. Only one can be queen of the witches.
Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn't lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don't belong and seeking escape.
Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they've never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.
Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who - befriending them both - tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember's friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?
Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.
Desperate to regain Poppy's trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn't foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven's ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father's fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.

Why I Write YA by Irena Brignull...

It’s a while since I was a teenager – a long while. But that awkward, feisty, embarrassed, romantic girl is still very much a part of me, as are the books I read then, which affected me deeply. Many of them I read several times over. In those days, I took everything to heart. I was actively searching for meaning and reassurance, inspiration and connection. I think this is why I now write YA. Not that I’d even heard of the genre before I started my first novel. I simply wanted to write about teenagers, a time in life where so much feels new and untested and confusing. Where identity is still fluid. Where knowledge and experience are forming and instincts have yet to be honed. Where life is full of firsts, of highs and lows that are felt with such intensity.

When I was a young adult, there wasn’t a teen section in my library, nor so many wonderful authors writing so widely about the teen experience. Instead, I read everything I could get my hands on. I devoured Austen and the Brontes, Hardy and Forster in equal measure with Jilly Cooper, Agatha Christie, Jackie Collins. In different ways, these novels provided solace, and escapism, excitement and insight. I was so open to what they had to offer. As a YA author, I really hope my books will resonate with several generations, though I must admit, I love the idea that my words might affect a teenager as I once was affected myself.

A Little About Irena...

I’m Irena Brignull, a screenwriter, novelist, and mum. I live with my family in London but I was brought up outside the city in the beautiful Chiltern Hills. The other place that has my heart is Greece where many of my relatives are from.

My first novel, The Hawkweed Prophecy, was published in June 2016. The sequel, The Hawkweed Legacy, was published in June 2017.

I write screenplays too. My screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated movie, The Boxtrolls, starring Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg. (I was nominated for Best Screenplay for that one at the Annie Awards in 2014.) My adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne and starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Marion Cotillard, closed the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. I also adapted Skellig for Sky which starred Tim Roth, John Simm and Kelly MacDonald.

Before all this, I was a Script Executive at the BBC and then Head of Development at Dogstar Films where I was the script editor on Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, I Capture the Castle and Bravo Two Zero to name a few.

And before that, I studied English Literature at Oxford University.

I don’t have much spare time but, in it, I like to read books and watch movies. It’s kind of my job, I know. But one day I plan to take up lots more hobbies - horse-riding, tap-dancing, baking, juggling…?

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