Character and genre: an exegesis to A Change of Stars
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This submission is in two parts. The first part, A Change of Stars, is an historical suspense novel aimed at Young Adult readers. Set in the nineteenth century, it follows a young woman named Sarah Price on a voyage of convalescence to New Zealand. It is meant to be a journey of rest and recuperation; however one of her fellow passengers has other ideas. Soon she is embroiled in a web of lies, blackmail and murder and must use all her talents and intelligence to get out. In the process she discovers that she can no longer return to her old life in London. The second part of the submission is an exegesis which examines the role of character and genre in the creative work. The character of Sarah Price was inspired by the writings of the Victorian Lady Adventurers such as Mary Kingsley and Isabella Bird. In the exegesis I discuss how these women defied the expectations of Victorian society, and compare their experiences with those of pioneer women settlers in New Zealand. The depiction of female characters in Young Adult historical novels is a balancing act between historical authenticity and the ability to engage modern readers. I show that it is possible to create a strong, interesting protagonist who remains true to her own time. I also look at the conventions of the Young Adult, suspense and historical genres and examine how these have influenced the path of my narrative.