The Tuesday before last, following a heavy YALC hangover, I made my way over to Sarah Maria Griffin and Christina Henry’s tour stop in Manchester. I had already met Sarah at YALC but as Spare and Found Parts is one of my favourite books of the year, I definitely wouldn’t say no to hearing her talk about it – I also didn’t get a chance to meet Christina at YALC so was looking forward to that too!
Both Sarah and Christina have a love of horror, and most of the talk was centred around this – specifically women in horror. A lot of the conversation revolved around the idea of the strong female protagonist, and how the stereotypical one is not real. It was pointed out that strong does not mean invulnerable, as many characters are written. Both Nell in Spare and Found Parts and Amelia in The Mermaid are driven by loneliness and are alienated for their differences – Nell for her scar, Amelia for not being human. Despite this, both are strong women – stronger still for acknowledging that they aren’t invulnerable.
“Boys are allowed to be afraid of different things – we have to be afraid of the world we live in.”
Despite Nell being cast as an outsider and being a difficult character, I really related to her when reading Spare and Found Parts, so when Sarah described her as a difficult person who makes poor choices and is ultimately motivated by selfishness, I understood why. Nell is a strong female protagonist, but not in the way we’ve been conditioned to see those characters – she’s been through a lot and she’s finding ways through her trauma, even if her actions only benefit herself. Christina talked about the way Alice is made to feel different too – with her appearance, the trauma she has faced and her magic. Unfortunately I haven’t read Alice yet but it’s high on my TBR after this event!
Overall I really enjoyed this evening – I’m not typically the biggest reader of traditional horror but after this event I really want to get stuck into some! I’m also really excited for Sarah’s next book – Other Words for Smoke – which is out next year. She pitched it to us as queer witches in a haunted house in Ireland, which um, yes, I am completely here for. I’m looking forward to finally reading Alice as well! As it was both Sarah and Christina’s first UK tour a lot of people there were new to one of the authors, and it was so lovely to see them buying their books after the talk – as well as seeing Lauren and Beth get hyped for Spare and Found Parts after I’ve been obsessing over it for so long.
This really was such an engaging conversation and since it was a smaller event, felt more personal.
It was lovely to meet Christina and to see both Sarah and Lydia (publicist at Titan) again. Sarah had signed all of her books for me at YALC but she did add a mini Spare and Found Parts to my tote bag!
Love Becky @