Last year my school hosted the beautiful Lynette Noni for a writing and book chat with our year 8 students. As soon as I met her I knew that she was a kindred spirit. After a few long and hilarious emails back and forth, we decided to meet for coffee. Since then we have spent heaps of time discussing all things book related and I now refer to her as my bookish friend.
When we started corresponding a colleague of mine asked me if I was hoping to become one of Lynette’s critique readers and my response was “I hadn’t even thought about it.” I was simply enjoying being able to completely fangirl out and swap recommendations with an adult! (Don’t get me wrong, I love discussing books with my students but it’s nice to meet an adult that loves all the same things I love. Like I said, kindred spirit…) So when she asked me to be one of her critters (critique readers) towards the end of the year last year I was floored and honoured. I was also not allowed to make a decision until the holidays started because Lynette wanted to make sure that I was in a sound state of mind before making such a big decision. Needless to say, there was never going to be any answer other than “YES!”
Since then I have been honoured to read and critique her Medoran Chronicles, plus discuss a few more of her exciting upcoming adventures, such as Whisper. I am astounded by the number of stories that Lynette has floating around in her head, each one detailed and intriguing. I love the way she writes and how she allows her characters to tell their stories. I have discovered that critique reading is an interesting challenge – when asked “what would you change?” or “what didn’t you like?” it’s really difficult to actually pinpoint a specific scene. I know that the feedback I give has to be genuine and detailed because it will potentially influence the final print and that is both terrifying and exhilarating. The hardest thing I have found is always wanting to know more…
Take The Medoran Chronicles for example. They are scheduled to be a 5 book series but I could honestly keep reading about Alex and her adventures forever and I know that Lynette could definitely keep writing many more stories. However, we both know that at some point it has to stop and that has got to be the hardest part about critique reading, not giving in to the “what ifs” or “maybes” and never moving on from the story.
I am super excited to see what the future holds for Lynette Noni. If half of her ideas make it to print then the readers of YA will be very lucky people indeed.