One of the questions I’m often asked is: Why do you write Young Adult?
My smart-assed answer is: Because I’m immature for my age. But, seriously, that’s not it. I mean, not that I’m not immature, it’s just not the real reason I love writing for teens.
When I first started out, I wrote a full-on adult horror novel called ONE OF THEM. It was graphic, filled with steamy sex, filthy language, and heavy on the gore. Cuz that’s how I roll.
(Okay, yeah, there’s my immaturity showing again!)
But here’s the thing about YA, what draws me to the genre in general: I love remembering what it was like to be a teen. How raw every emotion felt, how they always seemed to simmer just beneath the surface, how mixed up each emotion was until they were impossible to tell apart: love, hate, humiliation, joy, anger, jealousy. When everything you experienced was new and how that very moment was the single most important moment of your entire life. There were so many out-of-control emotions packed into every “first” you experienced. Your first crush, your first date, your first kiss. Your first heartache.
I get to see and experience these things everyday with my own kids, watching them pass through these tough and wonderful stages just as I did. My oldest daughter’s first real break-up nearly broke my heart. Taking my son to get his driver’s license…well, let’s just say my heart might not be broken, but it’s definitely lodged in my throat. He, on the other hand, is practically quivering with excitement for this monumental first!
As adults, we’ve lived, we’ve experienced, and now we’re, what…jaded? Cynical? And even if we’re not jaded, we sometimes forget how quickly that rush of butterflies could jam us up, making coherent speech impossible…sometimes making us forget our own names. But try, just for a moment, to remember the feelings behind them—those butterflies—think about that anticipatory breath right before that first kiss, when your eyes locked and you realized: This might be it! This is really going to happen!!!
In YA I get to write about these moments, in all their shiny newness, their raw intensity and jumbled emotions.
Because I remember my first kiss, the feel of his lips against mine, his hands awkwardly trying to find a place on my hips. And don’t try to tell me you don’t remember yours…I bet you even remember his name!