Tag Archive | young

Young Adult Books and The Not-So-Young Adults Who Love Them

I often find myself in a bookstore these days. Perhaps it’s a necessary evil for my profession. Maybe I simply call it market research to see what’s out there and what’s hot. Or it could be that I tell myself I’m just browsing to get inspired. But most likely it’s just because I love books.

But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed as I peruse the aisles, it’s the influx of New Adult, or NA, books on the shelves. Their stories involve college age characters that will usually incorporate “hotter” story lines, allowing the writer to pursue topics or sexual situations that may be considered inappropriate for younger characters. There’s clearly a market for New Adult, and authors are taking advantage of the newfound enthusiasm in that particular genre…and rightfully so. In fact, I have quite a few friends who focus primarily on writing NA. I’m thrilled that these authors have created a niche for themselves and have given so many people a reason to pick up a book and read. To spin a familiar phrase – if you write it, they will come!

As for me, I am still in love with Young Adult. It’s the genre that got me to fall in love with reading all those years ago as a preteen. It focuses on an age that introduced us to first love, first heartbreak, complicated friendships, strained parental relationships, and searching for who we will one day become. And in high school, escape becomes vital to those kids that need a way to forget their own problems and issues. Being a teenager is rough – but reading about other teens who face, and defeat, adversity can offer the reader a positive outlet for their anxiety.

Now, there are those who will try to make you believe that YA books belong only in the hands of teenagers. They insist that adults who read YA are only looking for a simple and easy read – that these same adults are looking for uncomplicated stories that are nothing more than typical teenage angst. But I can tell you that those people are wrong There is nothing simple or easy about Young Adult. In fact, just head over to your local bookstore and pick up the hottest YA reads out right now. “Maze Runner”, “If I Stay”, “The Fault in Our Stars”, and “The Hunger Games” are just a few that prove that there’s nothing simple about the fictional life of a teenager. These characters are deep, complicated and thoughtful. They deal with real life issues like death, fear, love, hate, and injustice and handle it all with the grace and dignity that most adults would envy. They believe in the unbelievable and carry with them the unmistakable teenage spirit.

It isn’t so much about the age of those young characters as it is their attitude toward life. Think back to your own teenage years. You thought you’d live forever. You thought that you were indestructible. And when someone broke your heart or tore open your soul, you felt like your life was over and that you’d never be whole again. Yet, somehow you managed to bounce back each time and move on. As we grow older, we somehow become jaded and forget how to be as resilient as our younger selves. Bravery is something we seem to lose as we age, but I for one regain some of it each time I open my laptop and give my characters the strength to face anything that comes their way.

This is why I love to write YA as much as I love to read it. I’m able to discover strengths in my own characters that I didn’t know they had when I first began writing them. And somewhere inside those characters, I discover that I’ve placed a bit of myself in each one – the good, the bad, the fearful, and the brave.  I live vicariously through those characters every time I pick up a book. By reading (and writing) YA, we  can remind ourselves what it is to be young again – to be truly free from society’s idea of who we should be and how we should act. My characters say what I could never say at that age – do what I was too afraid to act on myself.

I recently reached out to a few of my friends and asked them why they loved YA and what it meant to them. Their responses were overwhelming, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Author, Jo Michaels – “I get a kid’s perspective on things and get to watch someone grow up on the pages as they do things most adults secretly dream of doing.”

Author, Amy Miles – “Teens want to have a voice. To feel like they matter. That people hear them. Books give them an outlet to experience the world and feel like they can escape the terrible things that may be happening in their real life.”

Author, Eva Pohler – “I love YA because they usually portray a coming of age in which the protagonist comes into her own – becomes empowered. To me, that is very inspirational.”

Editor, Wendy Felber – “I read YA because there is a side of me that believes in the impossible possibilities. I think, as adults we are jaded, having to be so realistic that we lose the wonder and mystery, the innocence of not knowing our limits, of having no limits. In YA, I can live in those moments, remember what it is like to have no boundaries, and know that the older I get, I need to find some fiction to fit into my life and not live so seriously.”

Author, Chelsea Starling – “I admit to sometimes feeling jaded as an adult, and YA stories remind me what it feels like to be faced with responsibilities, huge mistakes (that seem so small now) and that soul-aching first love, which can never be repeated, no matter how we pine for it. It’s fun to live in those moments again, when all was wrong and yet so right with the world.”

Author, Elizabeth Sharp – “The characters aren’t jaded and they can still believe in magic. Their lives are still ahead of them, and everything that entails. And their emotions are so exaggerated – they love with all their heart, hate with every fiber, sorrow comes from their toes.”

Author, Morgan Wylie – “It’s about the ‘firsts’: First kiss, first breakup, first romance, etc. Especially as I read and write fantasy and paranormal, it’s also about the journey, about adventure, and escape…escaping the day-to-day things, the drama, the dullness – whatever it may be.”

So, to those who feel that YA books belong in the hands of teenagers – you are partly correct. The truth is that YA books belong in the hands of the young, both in age and in spirit.

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Ever Wonder What I Sound Like?

I was recently interviewed by the lovely Amy Jones of YA Podcasts. If you’d like to hear the full interview, click on the link and download the MP3 where you can hear my man-voice (I like to compare it to Cathy Moriarty’s…well, maybe not quite THAT deep).

I discuss how I choose my characters’ names, why I absolutely LOVE writing Young Adult, what it’s like to balance being a writer and the wife of a US soldier, as well as listen to men as I read chapter 1 of the first book in my trilogy, HAUNTING.

Haunting: The Dusty Chronicles-Book One

Haunting: The Dusty Chronicles-Book One

And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter on the bottom of their page for a chance to win a Kindle version of HAUNTING. Don’t miss out!

http://www.yapodcasts.com

 

Guest Post: SOULLESS Blog Tour for Author Joshua J. Johnson

Hey there! Today, I am lending my blog to a good friend of mine, author Joshua J Johnson. British, adorable, and talented, Joshua is full of contagious energy and spunk. Not to mention, he’s a writing machine. Every time you turn around, he’s working on another book. He truly loves storytelling and connecting with his readers.

His new book, SOULLESS, is his latest release.  So, without further delay, allow me to introduce you to Joshua.

Take it away sweetie!

**********

Hello everybody! I’m here today to talk about my second book, and my first young adult novel, SOULLESS. First of all, a big thank you to BJ Sheldon for hosting me on her blog for part of the SOULLESS Blog Tour. I appreciate it very much. 🙂

I thought today I would talk a little bit more about the actual writing of SOULLESS, as I’ve said in the past it’s a book that is very different to my other books, but now it’s time to find out just why— because it was out of my comfort zone, and yet it’s probably one of my favorites out of the books that I’ve written.

SOULLESS is set in California, in a little place known as Amador City.The two main characters are Mia and Roxanne— both are teenagers, both are very close friends, they shared their childhoods, but now they’re drifting apart. Roxanne has the sweet life— she owns a bakery, her family are supportive, and she dates a guy. This is the complete opposite of Mia, and this is where they clash.

At the same time as Mia and Roxanne fall out over Ryan— the boyfriend— creatures started taking the souls of the population. It’s here that we start to learn secrets about Ryan, Mr Pearson— another character in the novel— as well as the creatures themselves.

The book is told mostly from the points of view of Mia and Roxanne, although Ryan has some chapters, and Mr Pearson has a couple. The thing that I found challenging about writing this book is that it’s paranormal, a whole new species of creatures and their back-story needed to be created and convincing, and setting the book in a real town that is halfway across the world for me, was all very challenging. Not only that, but making the characters people that the reader would care about— they each have their own back-story, and their story-lines needed to cross over and entwine with one another to make the story work. In addition to all of this, they needed to use weapons, and this is something that I didn’t have very much knowledge about.

All of this seemed very over-whelming, and as I was plotting and outlining the book, I found myself worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do it. At first, I stopped working on this book and instead wrote another book. As soon as I had finished work on that one, I came back to SOULLESS. Once again, I pulled out my outline, sat down, ready to work, and I put it away again. I just didn’t think I could tell the story well enough to bring it to life and give it the justice it deserves. And so I went away and I wrote and finished another book— my third book for publication.

By now, I felt determined to write SOULLESS. I committed myself to it, and decided that this was third time lucky. I began researching Amador City, mapping out the species of the Soulless, creating the characters and bringing them to life, creating the histories of their childhoods, figuring out the ways in which the Soulless can kill, interviewing people about weapons, and so on and so on.

As each day passed, I found myself getting further and further into the research and the outlining and the plotting for this book. I was falling in love with my characters and loving my setting. This book— the challenge of it— was turning into something that was exciting and made this book even better to work on.

I began writing, and— with the mass of material I had gathered— the pages were created, the chapters were born, and the book was coming to life. I was involved in the book, so happy with the way it was turning out, I was glad I had let it stew in my mind, and that I had been scared of writing it— it made it an even better book.

When I finished the last chapter, I was sad to reach the end. I worked on edits and re-writes and revisions, and then the cover and the blurb, and I was discovering that— so far— had been the best writing experience that I had had.

It taught me that it’s okay to write out of your comfort zone, that you don’t always have to write what you know.

This is the book that I never thought would get written, and now I love it more.

This is the book that I never thought would have a cover, and now I can hold it in my hands.

This is the book that I never thought would have an ending, and now it’s available to others to read.

This was my book for so long, but now it’s our book. My moments of being scared and being happy are now yours to experience.

I had so much fun on the journey of this story, and I hope that you do, too.

I gave SOULLESS a chance, and I hope you make the same choice.

Thank you.

Links:

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Joshua-J-Johnson/dp/1490526900/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1386278918&sr=8-13&keywords=soulless

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Joshua-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00GXMLWTC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386278918&sr=8-13

Soulless by Joshua J. Johnson

Soulless by Joshua J. Johnson

Book blurb:

Mia and Roxanne have always been the best of friends, supported each other through everything, and always been happy for one another… but that’s when things were simple.
Fast forward to their teenage years, and life is now full of complications.. but only for Mia. Everything seems to happen to Mia, whereas Roxanne seems to have quite the sweet life– literally. She has the family, her bakery, and the love of her life– everything that Roxanne wants.
But one day something terrible happens, and Ryan– her boyfriend– is nowhere to be seen, and people go missing and bodies are found. Creatures appear in your bathroom, down your streets, and inside your bakery, and along with them they bring blood, action, and hunger– a hunger for souls.

Written from different points of view, SOULLESS will raise questions about each character and humanity as a whole, whilst being packed with action, guns, cakes, blood, kisses, and romance.
Because the question is:
Who is the villain after all? Maybe it just isn’t who you think it is…

From the author of BONES ON THE SURFACE, and the much-anticipated THE SWEET LIFE and THEIR TIME TO GO, comes a story like no other…

Twitter: @JoshuaJAuthor
Site: joshuajstories.wordpress.com

Author bio:

Joshua J. Johnson is an author who lives on the East Coast of England. He began writing books after he learned that they don’t just randomly appear on the shelf, but rather people actually sit down and write them. When he isn’t writing his next novel, he enjoys reading, watching How To Train Your Dragon, and drinking milkshakes. He is also the author of BONES ON THE SURFACE and SOULLESS, as well as the upcoming YA novels THE SWEET LIFE, and THEIR TIME TO GO. You can find out more about him at joshuajstories.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @JoshuaJAuthor.