Young Adult Writers & Writing

Why Writing for Young Adults Matters

This past week, I presented a talk about young adult literature to the Literature Committee of my city’s Woman’s Club. Due to a scheduling snafu, my audience consisted of five women instead of the anticipated 20 or so, and two of the attendees had to leave early because they were greeters at the club’s expo for vendors! There I was with my suitcase of sample books and a presentation I’d spent days and days preparing—all for this handful of people. So was it worth it? Absolutely. The women who did attend were effusive and appreciative. They even took notes! Beyond the connection I made with these women, however, the process of researching YA literature reminded me of how what we do as YA writers matters. I’m often asked about why I write for young adults instead of the adult market. I usually answer that question in terms of my personal background of working extensively with teens and being a lifelong reader and fan of YA fiction. But Michael Cart’s 2011 book, Young Adult Literature, From Romance to Realism (2011), as well as more current research on adolescents, has strengthened my perception that writing for this age group is an important way to make a positive difference in young people’s lives. And in many ways, this work has never been more vital. Drawing heavily on Cart’s work, here is some of what I said: Our teens are coming of age at such a challenging time. Our politics are severely polarized, the [...]

By |2019-11-12T13:51:23-05:00November 12th, 2019|Young Adult Writers & Writing|2 Comments

What Would You Ask a YA Writer?

Next week, I’ll be travelling to the Killer Nashville conference for the first time. I’m excited not only to have been nominated for the Silver Falchion Award for my YA novel, It Should Have Been You, but to participate in several panels, including one I’ll moderate, called “Coming of Age: Writing YA Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers.” To prepare, I’ve been brainstorming questions with my fellow panelists, Sheila Sobel and Alison McMahan. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far: What drew you to writing mystery/suspense/thrillers for young adults? How do you see this as different from writing for adult readers? Young adults are making the transition between childhood and adulthood. In addition to the young adult protagonist(s) solving a crime or dealing with a threat, in what ways do the challenges of growing up figure into the plots of your books? As YA writers, we’re a lot older than the characters we write about. How do you make the voices of your characters authentic-sounding? Can you share what sparked your interest in the premise of your latest book? And can you briefly describe your project? Since you began reading or writing young adult literature, what changes have you seen in books for this age group? Tweens and teens are not the only folks reading YA books. What is the appeal to adult readers? Can you speak to the trend of YA books getting turned into films? What haven’t I asked you that you wish I had? Speaking of this last [...]

By |2019-08-15T14:10:07-05:00August 15th, 2019|Young Adult Writers & Writing|0 Comments