As we wend our way through the alphabet in the A-Z Challenge, today's letter is "T", for "Teen", a.k.a Young Adult. Our special guest is author Natalie D. Richards to tell us about the joys and challenges of writing for the Young Adult!
And some quick blog business: The winner of Susan Gee Heino's book from our "R is for Regency" blog post is Natalie Aguirre. Please contact Susan at: http://www.susangh.com/ContactMe.html.
Now, take it away Natalie!
Oh, you write for teens, huh? How come? I hear this question at least once a week. And I always have the same reaction—a brief deer-in-the-headlights pause before I suck in a breath and explain my passion is and always has been teen literature. That The Greats doesn’t make me think of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens (though I’m a fan of both) but rather of Judy Blume, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, and my newest love, Rainbow Rowell. In short…I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to write Young Adult.
But…you’re not a teenager! Despite the fact that I wear Chucks, suck down girly faux-coffee drinks at Starbucks, and talk as quickly as humanly possible all the time, I am definitely on the wrong side of thirty to be passing as a high-schooler. So, yes, it’s true, I’m not a teen. I’ve been found out!
The truth is, teenager or not, I’m profoundly moved by the teenage experience. I’m convinced there’s no more amazing time in a person’s life, where we begin to really shape who we are, what we want, and what kind of mark we will leave on this crazy world. I couldn’t fathom writing for an audience I love more.
So while it’s been done before, I figure I’ll do my shot today at busting three myths about Young Adult fiction.
MYTH: Teen books need to be simple because your readers are younger. The quality isn’t the same as it is in adult books.
FACT: Horse poop! My readers are studying literature in school on a nearly daily basis, are you? Also many teens are voracious readers. I know teens who read three to five books a week. A WEEK!
As for the quality question, I have a quick assignment. Go read 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Or Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Or Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. If you still have questions about the quality of Young Adult fiction, I’ll be very happy to discuss them.
MYTH: Teen books are chock full of all that fandangled modern-day music and slang. I can’t keep up!
FACT: Actually, most of us avoid it. In truth, by the time a book releases, we’re already on to the next phone, tablet, band, song, TV show, etc. Pop culture can be a part of teen literature, but it’s generally used sparingly.
MYTH: Teen books are easy to write.
FACT: There are no easy books to write. From picture books to romance novels to literary masterpieces—they’re all hard for different reasons. And yes, as much as I love writing my books, it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park!
Kat and Sia, thank you both SO much for having me today. I can’t wait to hear from some of your visitors!!
Let's chat: Natalie says: So how about you guys? Have you read any teen fiction? Do you have a favorite? Or maybe you want a recommendation? Hit me up!
Natalie D. Richards is the 2014 YALSA Teen Top Ten Nominated author of Six Months Later, a YA thriller about a girl who falls asleep in Study Hall and wakes up six months later to a suddenly perfect life that’s anything but.
Natalie was born and raised in central Ohio (Go Bucks! Go Jackets!) where she lives with her husband, three children, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he’s the family dog. Six Months Later, her debut novel with Sourcebooks Fire, is available in bookstores now! Her second book, Gone Too Far, is due to be released in January of 2015.
The "T" book list:
Daniel Tammet: Much like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Tammet has savant syndrome (autistic savant). His books are a beautiful look inside his extraordinary mind.
Travis McGee: Noir-ish knight-errant, salavager, beach bum, finder of lost things created by John D. MacDonald.
The Trade: by Colby Marshall. Reporter McKenzie McClendon is on the trail of a serial killer stealing unborn babies from women's wombs. Suspense thriller.