Author Interview: A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen
A Neon Darkness, the second book in The Bright Sessions series by Lauren Shippen, based on her hit podcast of the same name is available now! We had the pleasure to ask Lauren some questions about The Bright Sessions world and what it’s like publishing in different formats.
A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions, #2)by Lauren Shippen
Published by: Tor Teen
on September 29, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, GLBTQIA+
Audiobook through LibroFM, Bookshop
The second Bright Sessions novel from creator Lauren Shippen that asks: "What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?"
Los Angeles, 2006. Eighteen-year-old Robert Gorham arrives in L.A. amid the desert heat and the soft buzz of neon. He came alone with one goal: he wants to see the ocean. And Robert always gets what he wants.
At a very young age, Robert discovered he had the unusual ability to make those close to him want whatever he wants. He wanted dessert instead of dinner? His mother served it. He wanted his Frisbee back? His father walked off the roof to bring it to him faster. He wanted to be alone? They both disappeared. Forever.
But things will be different in L.A. He meets a group of strange friends who could help him. Friends who can do things like produce flames without flint, conduct electricity with their hands, and see visions of the past. They call themselves Unusuals and finally, finally, Robert belongs.
When a tall figure, immune to their powers, discovers them, the first family that Robert has ever wanted is at risk of being destroyed. The only way to keep them all together is to get his powers under control.
But control is a sacrifice he might not be willing to make.
A Neon Darkness is the origin story of Damien and the second stand-alone story in the Bright Sessions Novels.
Author Interview: Lauren Shippen
What’s been the best part of revisiting the Bright Sessions world?
The beauty of diving into this world in novel form is getting to discover different dimensions to these characters and this world that I know so well. In the podcast, I only get to explore what’s spoken – in the books, all the unspoken things come out onto the page. I have the opportunity to explore the inner lives of characters, what they do and think when they’re alone, and get to spend even more time building and exploring the relationships that sit at the heart of this world.
Having written two Bright Sessions novels, are there things you wish you had explored on the podcast rather than in novel form? Or plot lines you find yourself wishing to revisit?
I don’t think there’s anything I wish I had explored in the podcast instead of the books, but there are absolutely aspects of the books I would want to build out even more in podcast form. The Unusuals, a set of new characters introduced in A Neon Darkness, were such a joy to write and characters I fell so deeply in love with, that part of me wishes I could explore them in podcasts as well as the book.
What is it like listening to the audio version of the novels?
It’s such a beautiful, strange experience! It feels like a coming home – an expression of the story in audio always feels familiar – but each of the readers have found new and interesting dynamics to the story that I’m not even aware of half the time. That’s the beauty of collaboration, especially with actors – they’re not just a vehicle for your story, but an interpreter, which always shows you something new about your own work.