Teen and Young Adult author Moïra Fowley-Doyle shares her inspiration for her popular novel, "The Accident Season," on sale now.
Sometimes you’re a teenage girl wading fully-clothed across a lake in summer while your friends pretend to duck you under. Sometimes you’re a teenage girl at twilight, drinking whiskey on a derelict water tower. Sometimes you’re a teenage girl walking alone along a beach at 5am, tears in your eyes. Sometimes you’re a teenage girl in a deserted park in the middle of the night. You think you’d drown or fall, you think you’d get kidnapped or swept away to sea, and plenty do, but most of the time they don’t. It’s enough to make you half-believe that there might be something out there looking out for teenage girls.
The first time I broke a bone I was seventeen and it was one o’clock in the morning. I was tipsy on honeyed mead and climbing into the dungeon of the ruins of a medieval castle. The second time I broke a bone I was nineteen and strapped to a zipline between two trees. Flying to a halt I was too short to slow down with my feet so I slammed face-first into the metal and broke my nose. The third and fourth bones I broke were two toes. I was twenty-one and two weeks away from a ballet exam. I landed badly from a pirouette on pointe and felt the crack. The fifth time I broke a bone was last year, midway through the final revisions for The Accident Season. I was onstage at the Rocky Horror Picture Show in a corset and heels and I slipped on spilled rice and broke my wrist.
I didn’t write The Accident Season because I’m accident-prone (although I am) or because I did a lot of stupid stuff as a teenager (although I did), I wrote it because it’s exactly the kind of book my stupid-stuff-doing accident-prone teenage self would have relished. It has tarot cards and family secrets, antique typewriters and forbidden love, masquerade masks and abandoned houses, plenty of whiskey and magic realism. It’s dark and it’s dreamy and writing it reminded me of the slightly surreal and sometimes dangerous feeling of being a teenage girl.
In The Accident Season, seventeen-year-old Cara and her family of misfits become mysteriously accident prone for one month of every year. Cara’s mother believes it’s a family curse but her sister Alice thinks it’s just coincidence. Whether she truly believes in it herself or not, Cara still scales gates to break into abandoned houses or hangs out on the banks of the river with her wild and witchy best friend. Whether it’s a curse or just coincidence, even a few broken bones won’t cure her of occasionally doing stupid stuff.
Alongside this month of misfortunes there is a possibly-missing girl from school who appears in all of Cara’s photographs; the beautiful anxiety of a first and forbidden love; friendship and jealousy; and a masked Halloween ball in an abandoned house in which the accidents – whether curse, coincidence or the result of recklessness – reveal the secrets Cara and her family members hide from each other and from themselves.
Sometimes you’re a teenage girl keeping secrets. Sometimes you’re a teenage girl in love. Sometimes (if rarely) you’re a teenage girl planning a masked Halloween ball in an abandoned house on the last day of the accident season, when the truth will leave marks like a bruise – whether you’re ready to face it or not.
Interested in teen and young adult books? Sign up for Teen Delivers, a bi-weekly email featuring the best in teen and YA each week - from booklists to deals and exclusive content from authors.