Baby Teeth is a novel in verse for the Young Adult reader. Little Island Books coin Baby Teeth as, “A unique verse novel of queer love, lust, and vampires.”
Read on for a guest post from award-winning author Meg Grehan.
Baby Teeth was my lockdown project, it got me through the longest days. I thought about it constantly, journalled about it, filled pinterest boards and bored my partner talking about it. It was a few months into the pandemic and I’d started and abandoned a few ideas. I was trying my best to make the most of the all the time that suddenly stretched before me but nothing was working.
Then my mental health took a dive and I felt myself slip into old ways and habits and slip away from the person I’d been just before the pandemic began, a person who was fully functional, who went to work every day and didn’t suffer panic attacks a couple times a week. I started to think about how many versions of myself I’d been throughout my life, I thought about how they were stored up inside me, not fully gone like I had thought. This was the main inspiration for Immy, my vampire character who, instead of living one long life, is reborn over and over. All of Immy’s past selves live inside her, watching, judging and sometimes even attempting to control her.
Writing her relationship with these past selves was cathartic for me, getting to explore the meaning of identity through this confused young vampire allowed me to also explore what it meant for me.
This book is my second young adult book but my more recent book, The Deepest Breath, was a middle grade one. I found coming back to writing young adult to be liberating and a lot of fun.
When I wrote my first book, The Space Between, I was 23 and still pretty close to the young adult label. This time, however, I’m on the precipice of turning thirty and it was a much different experience, and a much better one.
While all my books are deeply personal, Baby Teeth is personal in a less literal sense, I am not a vampire filled with past selves! But I am still a confused and flawed person, just like Immy. I got to pour so much of myself into her and then step away, something I didn’t do with my past characters. I got to explore identity and desire through this lore inspired by classic vampires but still completely my own. I loved it! I loved writing for young adults again, I have so much faith in young readers to handle tough stories and topics. I think we sometimes doubt them but I’ve found that they are strong and sensitive and understanding and completely capable of reading tough books.
Though it may sound cheesy, I believe that getting to write for young readers is an honour, and one I don’t take lightly. Writing Baby Teeth helped me work through my worsening mental health, I got to feel like a real person again, and writing YA again felt like coming home.
Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan is published by Little Island Books (£8.99, paperback)