I’ve written in so many genres over the years, often based (stupidly) on what my friends at the time were writing, and what I was reading. Some of them, I’m not entirely sure if I was reading them because my friends were writing them, or writing them because I felt like I needed to be included, or what exactly happened. I wrote erotica/romance, for a while in there, because it was fun as I was exploring my own young sexuality. The characters were drawn from aspects of people I knew, though the situations were highly drawn from the sorts of paranormal tales I’ve always had a weakness for: Other worlds, lost secrets, and love redeeming even the most screwed up situations.
Eventually, though, I got bored with writing romance. It all sounded the same. I still like it as a subplot, but I don’t want it to be the main feature anymore. I’m still debating if I even need this pen name for YA. It’s rather silly, but I like the idea of an identity created specifically for me to be who I want to be. I pondered changing pen names, but then decided that it’s not that important. Worst case, I’ll go by my actual name (It’s not really a secret, you’ve probably heard the first name at least, if you follow KT’s blog. I just detest my actual last name, as it was easily changed to taunt me as a nerdy child).
But YA… Not only is it incredibly popular right now, but YA authors, as a collective group, are so wonderfully nice. I’d known that for years, having heard numerous tales of Tamora “Tammy” Pierce, and having interacted with her, Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and others online. I’ve yet to hear any stories of YA authors being vicious to each other or fans, and while I’m sure they exist, it’s a much smaller percent than the rest of the Author Universe. Plus, YA has a great deal of ground within it. Scifi, fantasy, horror, chick lit, inspirational, paranormal, romance… There’s a lot more flexibility. You don’t have to fit a mold, because your readers don’t either.
I’ll admit, I was one of those kids who went from the boxcar children and nancy drew straight up to adult scifi/fantasy, then eventually went back to read some YA, mostly RL Stein, Laurine Mcdaniels, and Christopher Pike. Discovered Tammy Pierce when my little sister discovered to her horror that I hadn’t read them and sent me the Circle quartet, then proceeded to tell me all sorts of stories about her interactions with her. Learned how utterly amazing YA authors are. E and others have confirmed this in their own interactions with her, and I’ve seen it myself with several YA authors.
Now, of course, YA has exploded. It’s no longer the turf of bored adolescents, but a lot of adults are reading it too. There’s been some controversy about adults reading YA, but I don’t feel ashamed of it at all. It takes a clear voice, an engaging plot, and an ability to keep the tension high. While that sounds easy on paper, doing it for 90-120k words is hard. And YA authors are among some of the nicest writers I’ve met, followed only by sf/f.
Do you write YA? Read it? Love it or loathe it, I can’t say I see it fading any time soon!