Monday 20 April 2020

Lock & Clara in the Future: Lights On


As usual when it comes close to the release of a new book, I thought I would talk a little bit about writing the characters and the book itself. I've done this with every book I've released so far, and given that Lights On is a sequel, I thought I would just focus on the act and characters of this book rather than the series as a whole.

So brief overview for those who don't know, Lights On carries on almost immediately from the events of Lights Out, and both are young adult dystopians. Lights Out is set in a world where aging stops at 25 and all life ends at 60, the United English Cityships are led by the King, and each individual cityship is isolated from its neighbours. Everyone has equality, and the day following their 60th birthday, people are humanely euthanasied. Lock is 19, and works in the events. She checks every ID, every retina chip and helps to call people to these events. In book one, she started to see a strange pattern emerging where people were claiming to be younger than 60 and yet were still sent to their deaths. Without knowing who to trust, Lock started to ask questions, the kind of questions that got you aged up and whisked off for your final sleep. Lock has no one but Clara and between the two of them, they start to search for answers.

What changed for me in writing and editing the sequel was that a lot of what I'd thought would work in the first draft, was rewritten in subsequent ones and then rewritten again in edits. There were a lot of aspects that I'd thought about, and changed and there were a few where I'd not realised the implications of my decisions. I adored writing the sequel, and am very much looking forward to working on the final book, the first draft of which is in revisions right now, because I adore Lock, Clara and the whole world that I created, and watching the characters grow into the people they are by the end of the book.


Lock was the first character who came to me when I had the idea for the book, she was someone who I felt I knew really well even though she only existed on paper. I adored seeing her grow from an idea into the character that she is now. She goes through a lot in the first book, and the second one isn't any different. Lock has to navigate the unknown, question what she's been told, and decide where she wants to stand at the end of it all. She's been disabled the majority of her life, having lost her right leg above the knee in an accident when she was 7. She's been using a wheelchair ever since and until recently had never really been treated as different.

Part of the journey she and Clara take, involves Lock having to rely on people, something that she doesn't do all that well. She's unsure about whether they're doing the right thing, but she also knows that it's not like they have any choice. It was leave or die, and she was never going to let Clara take the fall for everything. Thrown into the thick of things, Lock has to work hard to gain trust from people who might not be all that trustworthy themselves. She's learning things about the country, about the people around her, that she didn't know before, and she's starting to question everything.

Writing Clara has been a journey on its own. When I first started Lights Out, I didn't think that she and Lock would end up together, I'm a planster, and to be honest, I planned the first book as a standalone. It was only when I got to know Lock that I realised it not only needed a sequel, but was a trilogy. And from there, the divide between Lock and Lana became unfathomable. It made sense that Clara would end up with Lock, and would go on this journey with her. Clara is feisty, ready to battle for what's right and has a couple of years on Lock that allow for her to see things from a different perspective. On top of that, her parents are actively involved in the protester movement, so it made sense that Clara would go on the path she has.

Clara loves Lock a lot more than I think Lock either realises, or to begin with, understands. Lock having only just come out of what was a toxic relationship, she's not all that sure about her feelings for Clara. The journey the two of them take brings them both closer together and makes them realise that out of everyone around them, they can trust completely in each other, and that was something that I really enjoyed writing, exploring and going through in subsequent rewrites and edits.

There are two other points of view in Lights On, one if Lana, who's still on the base trying to save her own skin. The other is Hayley Lightson, who was the catalyst, or one of them, for Lock to make the choices she did, for Clara to join her along the way. Overall, I have adored writing and editing this book and I can't wait for you all to read it, and enjoy it as well.

To pre-order Lights On, you can go here, and don't forget to grab the SWAG that goes along with it here.

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