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Odd Voices: An #Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators | Book Tour and $25 Amazon GC #Giveaway | #ShortStory #Anthology #YA

Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators is on virtual book tour. The short story anthology of diverse YA voices stops ...

Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators is on virtual book tour.

The short story anthology of diverse YA voices stops at Readeropolis with an author interview.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

Odd Voices 
An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators 
Genre: Short Story Anthology of diverse YA voices 

with stories by 
K.C. Finn, Kell Cowley, Eddie House, 
Mary Ball Howkins, Tonia Markou, Jack Bumby, 
A Rose, Colby Wren Fierek, Oceania Chee, Catherine Johnson 

In every new story we pick up, we’re seeking an exciting original voice. So why are there still voices we don’t hear from nearly enough? Why are there characters that so rarely take centre stage? In this collection from Odd Voice Out press, we discover the stories of twelve teenagers who stand out from the crowd and who’ll not easily be forgotten.

With settings that range from Scotland to Syria, Mexico to Mauritius, Africa to Russia, these stories take us to all corners of the globe and into the lives of young people with their own unique circumstances and perspectives. Characters dealing with issues of culture and class, exploring their sexuality and gender identity, or letting us into their experiences with illness, disability or neurodiversity. Their tales span all genres and can’t be reduced to labels. These are stories about bending the rules and breaking the law. Stories of fighting for survival and finding your place in the world. Stories of family solidarity, unlikely friendships and aching first love told by teenagers who don’t always fit in and aren’t often heard.

With a foreword by award winning YA author Catherine Johnson, this anthology brings together the top ten stories of Odd Voice Out’s 2019 Not So Normal Narrators contest, as well as bonus stories from in-house authors Kell Cowley and K.C. Finn. 

Teens of Tomorrow Writing Contest Information:

YA Fiction's March into the Future

Open for Entries: Friday 21st February, 2020
Deadline: Monday 31st August, 2020
Prompt: Future-Focused Diverse Teen Fiction
Prize: £200, £100, £50 (First, second and third prize respectively)
Publication: A dedicated anthology will include the top ten tales, available winter 2020/21.
Wordcount: 2000 - 5000

Internationally open to entrants aged fourteen and above.

We stand at the dawn of a new and uncertain decade. Here at Odd Voice Out press we are calling for short stories that reflect the socio-political issues that young people are dealing with now and will continue to tackle in the coming years. Entries submitted to our Teens of Tomorrow contest can be any genre - fantastical or realistic - and they may be set in the future, the present or even the past, provided that they centre on forward-looking teenage characters grappling with the world around them, the times ahead of them and the roles they personally aspire to play. Send us your utopias, dystopias, protest stories, political thrillers, social satires, climate fiction and prophetic steampunk.

Turn the hashtags trending today into a powerful YA story of tomorrow!

Any inquiries to

The Full Details

Your short stories with ‘odd voices’ must be written for a YA audience (that’s around 12 to 19 years old), but other than that they may be set in any genre or time period. This means that relevant content which is sexual, violent or contains extreme language will be accepted, provided it is somewhat moderated for a teen audience, rather than for adults (think about movies rated 15, compared to 18).

Our contest is open to writers aged fourteen and over from all nationalities and backgrounds (you should be at least fourteen years old by the closing date for entries). Entries must be no more 5,000 words long and be a minimum of 2000 words. Your entry should not have been previously published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, or have won or been highly placed (e.g. shortlisted or semi-finalist) in another competition at any other time. Longlisted stories are acceptable, provided they have not been in print or online in full.

After our closing date of Monday 31st August, we will select ten finalists to feature in an anthology collection that will be made available in ebook and print editions, to be released alongside our usual book range. The winning entry will also receive a £200 cash prize, whilst second and third place will receive £100 and £50 respectively. All ten finalists will also be invited to participate in social media promotions, live events, interviews and broadcasts as per the promotion schedule for the anthology.

To cover prize fees and reading time, there is a small entry fee of £4 per story, payable via PayPal at the time of entering. Authors may enter up to five different stories, but must pay the entry fee for each one as a separate entry and transaction.
Co-authored stories are accepted, up to a maximum of two authors per story, and in the event of winning, authors would share the prize money evenly. 

Odd Voice Out is an independent literary press, publishing YA and crossover stories filled with unique characters thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Our genre-bending books take contemporary social and political themes and explore them through a range of historical, futuristic, surreal and supernatural settings. Our diverse young heroes are never your typical leading guys and girls, but are flawed insecure misfits struggling with everything from racial and sexual identity, to body issues, disabilities, mental health and worst of all, being teenagers growing up in worlds gone mad. 

$25 Amazon gift card 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Rose Interview – Author of Oblivisci

1. I always find it really exciting to see important issues and own voices wrapped up in exciting speculative genres. What made you choose a dystopian setting for ‘Oblivisci’?
Dystopia is a powerful literary genre, because it can take current or past world problems, and apply them to the future in a way that can provide a warning or a consequence of our actions. It is a thought-provoking genre that can really inspire change and encourage action. Dystopia’s are an amazing outlet through which we can address the taboos and the concepts that society struggles to face or accept, such as censorship in 1984, and open love in Brave New World, both banned books in their early years of publication. Oblivisci comments on the current increase of consumerism, and the lengths to which people are forced to go in order to afford modern life. It is about breaking out of the cycle we all become trapped in and having to adapt to an ever-evolving society. One of my biggest ambitions as a writer is to write something that makes people think and feel differently about the world, that touches people's lives and helps them realize that they are strong enough to face whatever life may send their way. So setting a story in a dystopian future, where a strong young girl has to over-come the challenges of a brutal world, is my message of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. We are all cable of amazing things.

2. Your central character is blind, which presents many challenges in a contemporary world, let alone the dark and dangerous world you present in your story. How challenging is it to write fiction without the sense of sight?
Fiction, and truly captivating storytelling often relies on the senses. To hamper one of these, especially such a pivotal one as sight, made for a challenging story, especially as so much writing relies on visual imagery. However, in choosing to take my protagonists sight, I aimed to show that taking away the superficial view of the world through one's eyes can enable us to see deeper into the heart of important things. Much of my writing focuses around physically disabled people, because I want to show how they are not less – able than others, just differently- able. In having no sight, my protagonist uses her other, heightened senses, and sees her blindness as an extraordinary gift to help the people struggling in the chaos of her world. My descriptions had to rely on the other senses to bring the story to life and include many examples on touch and smell being quintessential to her triumph, such as freeing Renn from the machine where she is trapped in the final scene.

3. What’s your process for creating a compelling protagonist?
Once I have an idea, I let the writing do the work. Narratives tend to just spill out onto the page as if I am a passive vessel, and the protagonist is telling their story through me as their medium. My process is pretty organic, and I learn the characters and their funny, brave, dark, quirky and deep sides as we take the journey through the story together. Of course, it never comes out perfect, first time round, so once the characters have found their voice on the page, I am able to go in and edit, rewrite, and help them develop. I never really know my protagonists until I get to the end of the story, and I'm always surprised by the places they take me. 
4. Physical disabilities still regularly get left behind in the advent of more diverse and representative YA. What would you like to see better represented in the future? 
Although it is challenging to write, disability is an important topic to address within literature, and I would love to see more protagonists that have both physical and mental handicaps. In recent years there has been more exposure for voices within autism, (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time being great examples) but there are few widely known stories who present a main character with Down-Syndrome or Fragile X. This is something I am very passionate about as an author, and would I love to contribute bringing such diversity to the literary cannon in my future career.

5. What other writers out there inspire and amaze you?
Khaled Houssini, the author of The Kite Runner is a major inspiration to me. His was the first book I ever read that made me feel as is something fundamental about myself and the way I see the world had changed at the end of the story.  Another of my favourite authors is Sue Monk Kidd, who writes beautiful stories that give a voice to disadvantaged and under-represented people of colour.  

6. ‘Oblivisci’ is one of the most conceptually complex works of our anthology, featuring memory technology and a whole new hierarchical social system. What was your process in developing these complexities to make the story feel grounded?
The complex concepts within Oblivisci are grounded in psychological research. The primacy and recency effect are models of memory that suggest we retain either the most recently revised information, or the original information easiest. This formed the basis for the Primacies, as people who only remember their earliest memories, and the Recencies, who only remember the newest things they have lived. The factions of these people in the story are a personification of the complex concepts I am addressing. In using this technique, I allow my protagonist to engage with these difficult concepts in physical form, which makes them more relatable for the audience. This is something I also write about in the Nodes of Ranvier, a story in which we travel to the neurons inside someone's head and meet the memories who live there. I find memories fascinating, and the psychology behind memory and forgetting is something that created a perfect platform to explore the concepts of memory, and how memories can affect a person when they are taken away, or when they are shared with someone who has never experienced them.   

7. The sisterhood between the central characters forms an important bond for both the plot action and the emotional arc of your story. What inspired this as the core relationship of the tale, and how did you approach conveying it? 
Family is important to me, and I have a very close bond with my own sister. She has always been a source of admiration, comfort, and unconditional love, and we grew around each other into the people we are today.  As my sister is older than me, I have looked up to her all of my life and been proud of her constant courage and achievements. And as we grew older, I learned to step into myself with her guidance, and we became equals as well as true friends. The idea that love and support can help us through tough times is a powerful one, and this is especially important for my protagonist, who is dependent on her sister Renn to be her eyes in this world. Renn keeps her safe from people who might choose to harm her or abuse her gift for giving back lost memories. But by the end of the story, the protagonist rises above her fears, and fights for her sister’s freedom, becoming the one who in turn saves Renn. This shows how connection and empowerment can enable self-growth and allow us to overcome any challenges. 

8. What’s next for you as a writer? 

I am currently writing my first book, which features another character with a physical disability. The Colour of Hummingbirds is a nature-writing novel that centers around a teenage girl who loses her hearing, and in doing so, learns to see the world in a new and colourful way. Like Oblivisci, it is important to me to represent physical disability in an uplifting and positive way, whilst still being honest about the struggles that people face. The book incorporates highly descriptive nature passages, interlaced with diverse social and family dynamics, and at the core of it all is Thalia, who has to navigate the obstacles and opportunities that her deafness brings. The novel is nearing completion of its first, full-length draft, and aims to be in the final stages by the end of summer. 


Get carried away with love!