Sunday, February 9, 2014

4 Question of the Week: Why Do You Write YA?

Hey everyone! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as books and writing is talking about books and writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, we’ll post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

February 9, 2014

What inspired you to write YA?

photo credit: Jody Art via photopin cc

Martina: LOL! I literally just wrote this in the acknowledgements for COMPULSION (formerly BEHOLDEN) that I turned in last month, but maybe it's okay to give a sneak peek. I owe the fact that I'm writing YA to Cynthia Leitich Smith, whose novel TANTALIZE inspired my daughter to come running at one in the morning to say, "Mom, you HAVE to read this book. I just finished it and it's fabulous." -- My daughter has a learning disability and up to that point, she wasn't really a reader. After TANTALIZE, I couldn't STOP her from reading, and as I read to keep up with her, I fell head over heels for YA. As far as why I am writing Southern gothic YA? That I owe to Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, whose BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series reminded my how much I love gothics and quirky Southern characters and the incredible gorgeous setting possibilities provided by Spanish moss and reluctantly aging Southern mansions.

Clara: Reading YA inspired me to write YA. Reading YA inspired me to write, period. I read and loved Harry Potter, of course, but I developed a passion for YA at the book fairs at my kids’ elementary school. They always had a table in the corner set aside for YA novels. UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld was the first YA book I bought, and I loved it. At every book fair from then on, I bought almost as many YA books for myself as chapter and MG books for my kids. Up until I started reading YA, I was not a writer. I’d always enjoyed writing - I wrote stories in my diary as a child, and I took a creative writing class in high school and in college - but wasn’t until I started reading so much YA that I had the desire and motivation to write a novel of my own. That novel eventually became RUN TO YOU. And I haven’t stopped there - I have many more YA manuscripts in the works.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Why do you write YA? Do you write anything in addition to YA? What inspired you?


  1. I write whatever comes into my head. I actually write in lots of different genres.

  2. What a fun question! I'd taken a writing course at the Institute of Children's Lit. I wrote non fiction for little kids, and even took a stab at a MG novel. But then I gravitated toward YA. Besides, all my ideas are for YA!

  3. I was young myself when I started writing, so it seemed only natural to write about other young people. It would've been really silly and way out of my league for me to have written about adults as a preteen. Over the years, I've mostly continued focusing on younger characters because it's what I'm familiar with, and there are so many possibilities for storylines.

  4. What better way for a high school "do-over" is there than writing YA? If only I could have flown space ships to class and swooned over holograms of Donny Osmond - my teen years would have been fab.


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