The Devil’s Intern by Donna Hosie
“How did you die?”
It’s the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil’s intern in Hell’s accounting office. Lately, he’s noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell’s limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.
Mitchell’s plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking.
Author Donna Hosie
Donna Hosie is a hybrid YA author (repped by Beth Phelan, The Bent Agency, NY) and full time geek. Part Potterhead, Ringer, Whovian and Sherlockian with sprinkles of Whedonite on top. If it’s fantastical, she’s in. Originally from England, Donna currently resides in Australia with her husband, three children, and a crazy Golden Retriever named Harry (after a certain boy wizard, of course)!
Donna’s first foray into writing came about from her time working on a Harry Potter website. Warner Bros and EA Games asked her to be a fan consultant on the Order of the Phoenix computer game. Her reports and podcasts were relayed around the world as fans of the books patiently awaited the next installment. From writing reports, she turned to fan fiction, eventually writing her own time-traveling novels while studying for an BA(Hons) in Modern Languages.
Donna is the author of the RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy, THE RING OF MORGANA (May 2014), THE DEVIL’S INTERN (Holiday House, October 2014) and THE DEVIL’S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 2015).
Donna is a member of the SCBWI.
The Importance of Peripheral Characters by Donna Hosie
When you think of Harry Potter, who else comes to mind? While the books bear his name, Harry’s story would have been nothing without Ron and Hermione. They were a trio, a team, and each as important as the other in the end. It’s the same with Frodo Baggins. As a lover of all things Middle-Earth, I can’t even begin to imagine the selfless little Hobbit without his Sam. And where would Lyra in the DARK MATERIALS trilogy be without Will, Iorek, Pantalaimon, and Lee Scoresby?
The majority of Young Adult novels are written in first person perspective. This is the perfect tool for allowing a reader to get into the head of the main character. Everything the characters feels, we feel. It increase the emotional pull.
Yet every main character needs a supporting cast, and it is vital that authors put as much energy into developing peripheral characters as they do with the narrator of the story.
My new novel, THE DEVIL’S INTERN, is the story of 17-year-old Mitchell Johnson. He’s dead, and has been for four years. One day he discovers that Hell is in possession of a time-travelling device called a Viciseometer. He decides he’s going to steal it and go back in time to stop his death before it happens. What Mitchell doesn’t realise is how his three best friends are going to influence what happens next. His friends are as diverse as they come: a Viking Prince, a peasant who died in the Great Fire of London, and a teenager from 1960s San Francisco. They call themselves Team DEVIL.
As I was writing Mitchell’s story, I knew that it was going to be a dark comedy with a lot of emphasis on voice. Something that the reviewers at Kirkus and School Library Journal picked up straight away when they gave THE DEVIL’S INTERN star reviews. Yet even through the setting is Hell, and the premise deals with dark themes, at its heart is a story of love, friendship, loyalty, and doing the right thing even when it is the hardest choice. It’s Mitchell’s story of the life he’s lived, the life he’s lost, and the existence he now has.
But one point is always there: Mitchell is NOTHING without his friends.
Peripheral characters will often provide the heart, the intelligence, and the bravery that might be lacking in a main character. They will ask the questions that the reader is thinking. Hermione Granger was often used by J.K. Rowling as a plot device for explaining exposition. Samwise Gamgee made me realise that true loyalty has no end. Pantalaimon was the physical embodiment of soul.
And all are just as important as the voice narrating the story.
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