We are excited to participate in the Wild Horse Blog Tour with a guest post by Kyle Richardson! We read this novelette and absolutely adored it. Kyle’s writing pulls on the heartstrings in a wonderful way and you’ll be wishing that this story had a part 2 for sure! Enjoy his thoughts on writing YA below!
WILD HORSE (a novelette) by Kyle Richardson
EBOOK RELEASE DATE: 7/30/19
GENRE: Dystopian, Superhero, YA, Novelette
SUMMARY: Grady has found a crack in the wall—a crack to the outside world. But all he knows about life outside the compound comes from books, magazines, and a photograph of a creature that no longer exists. Things change when he meets a girl with raspberry-yellow hair, and a secret that could lead them to a world beyond the walls. A world where their abilities could change everything … or lead them both to ruin.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kyle lives in the suburban wilds of Canada with his adorable wife, their rambunctious son, and their adventurous daughter. He writes about shapeshifters, superheroes, and the occasional clockwork beast, moonlights as an editor at Meerkat Press, and has a terrible habit of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments. His short fiction has appeared in places such as Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology and Daily Science Fiction.
More and more these days, I find myself gravitating toward Young Adult fiction—both as a reader, and as a writer. There’s something magical about that in-between phase where we’re no longer children, but not yet adults. This is the time of first loves and original heartbreaks, of awkwardness and discovering one’s own identity, of that driving need for acceptance and that burning hunger for independence. Moods swing like pendulums. Consequences come crashing down like street-sized slabs of concrete. The world blazes in radiant Technicolor, from the most hopeful of blues to the most despairing of grays.
Suffice to say, I find the whole category enthralling. These days, it’s the first section I go to in any bookstore or library. I get a visceral thrill seeing those bold spines and artistic covers. My pulse quickens. My fingers twitch, eager to flip through those pages. I’m confident, when opening a YA book, that I’m in for a literary thrill. And I’m in my thirties.
So what is it about YA that has me so hooked? Am I too immature to appreciate the complexities of Adult fiction? Am I merely grasping for another taste of my lost teenage youth? Am I’m just a sucker for character-centric cover art?
I suppose my answer to all of those questions is a resounding: Yes, but … !
Those familiar with Dwight Swain’s approach to fiction might recognize the phrase, “Yes, but …”, as it’s one of his recommended ways to end a scene. The character, after struggling to accomplish a specific goal, finally succeeds (Yes!), only to find herself saddled with a whole new set of consequences to deal with (But … !).
And isn’t it this way in real life, too? Just when things are starting to get good, the universe always seems to throw a curveball your way. (Yet more proof of my theory that God is really an author—but that’s a discussion best left for another time.)
When it comes to my love for YA fiction, yes: I do have a resilient streak of immaturity in my veins (just ask my wife); and yes, I do sometimes fantasize about being younger again (who doesn’t?); and yes, I most certainly am a sucker for book covers with kick-ass characters looking broodingly off into the distance (ideally while standing on some sort of breathtaking cliff).
But … those aren’t the only reasons why YA fiction is my jam. (And yes, I realize that calling anything “my jam” is most certainly showing my age.) So what else is it about YA that pulls me in? Putting it into words should be easy—I’m a writer, after all. But sometimes the words for this kind of thing eludes you. Like a kiss with so many emotions swirling through it, you end up losing track of them all. Or like chasing a priceless object across the universe, only to discover, at the end, that it never even existed.
I suppose if I had to put it simply: YA fiction “gets” me. And I “get” it, in return. It’s the kind of symbiosis that would make even the most closely paired shark and cleaner fish jealous.
Did I lose my way somewhere during this article? Perhaps. Good thing I know exactly which section of the bookstore to turn to, to find my way.
Grady finds it in the spring, when the leaves are sprouting
from the trees in tiny pink-green buds. There are no trees in the courtyard,
there’s only dirt and rocks and other kids that look like Grady—their heads
shaven, their clothes loose and gray, the skin under their eyes a creamy blue
and red. But Grady has found a crack in the wall, a crack that wasn’t there
before—a crack that isn’t supposed to be. Whenever the guards aren’t looking,
he leans his face against the wall and peers through the crack at the world
outside. He does this with his left eye first. Always his left eye first. The
gap is so tiny it’s like squinting through a nostril. But in that nostril
there’s the sky, purple as a bruise, and beneath it there are scrawny trees
with tiny pink-green buds. Today the trees bend and sway, like they know
Grady’s watching. Like they’re dancing just for him. And his cracked lips
spread until he’s smiling, big and dumb.
This is when he hears the voice. “What’re you looking
at?” The voice comes from behind him, small and smooth and wild, like the
picture of the horse taped to the ceiling above his cot. It knocks something
loose in him, something that tumbles free, something that falls but doesn’t
seem to ever land. Whatever it is, it just keeps on falling, lost somewhere
inside him. Grady frowns and squirms, but the stupid feeling doesn’t quit.
“Go away,” he tells the voice. He doesn’t bother to turn. “I’m
looking at spring,” he adds, “but you wouldn’t know what that
The voice that’s like a wild horse, it tells him, “I do
too know what spring is. And I know that you’re mean and I don’t like
you.” Then the voice is gone, and a guard walks by, and Grady looks away
from the wall as if the crack isn’t there at all. And stomping away from him
straight across the courtyard, like she’s trying to knock the world off orbit
with the weight of her footsteps alone, is a skinny girl with loose gray
clothes and raspberry-yellow hair.
Grady raises his eyebrows. Whatever that thing is inside
him, it tumbles even faster.