I’ve been pondering why it is exactly that I chose to focus on the genre of YA. I am not entirely sure that there is a concrete reason, but I have a few ideas.
First and foremost, atleast for Cornerstone I think the genre chose me. My heroine was someone that I kept seeing these images of, over and over. And she was young, late teens. That naturally sort of sends my book into the YA category.
Aside from the age of the character though, I think my books characters act a bit older than your average young adult characters, and I believe this is because my characters live in the medieval era, and children grew up much faster then. However, thinking on the YA genre as a whole, I think teens in YA books often act older and more mature than most teens, because readers want to read and relate to our teenager characters how we think we act as teens, not how we actually did ( for those of us that are already past our teen years ). That’s not to say that there are not some truly mature teens, there absolutely are.
When I think back to my teen years they were when I first fell in love, and it was magical and it was extraordinary – and I am still married to that man that I met as a teenager, happily so.
I think the extraordinary love stories are a lot of what draws me to YA books as a reader, and therefore as a writer. I have a harder time to relating to a 30 something year old executive who finally finds the one, because for me, the one found me when I was still in high school. Therefore I relate exceptionally well and non skeptically when a teenaged character falls madly and hopelessly in love.
I also would love to help ensure that there are plentiful books that help captivate readers of all ages, but especially the younger ones into reading. I grew up with a love of reading. I don’t think there was ever a time where I didn’t want to read. My daughter on the other hand, while she is a skilled reader, isn’t interested in it like I was. As she is starting to read older material, since she does read at such an advanced level, she is getting into reading more. And do you know what books actually catch her attention? Books about teenagers. As a mom, that makes me realize that as an author I have a responsibility to help insure that there are books being produced that can be captivating for a wide range of young adult audiences.
As a reader I go back and forth, some days I want to get lost in a YA novel and just be taken easily away. Others I crave something more in depth and I am thankful that we have such fabulous access to both.