Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Write Supernatural YA

When I think back over all the books I’ve read in my life, none have stuck with me as much as those that I read between the ages of 12 and 17. And I mean that literally. I still have the many of the actual books I read as a teen—not newer replacements.

I’ve taken my books everywhere with me. They’ve been lugged up six floor walk-ups in Manhattan or stuffed into the back of my car as I spent some time driving cross-country, getting hopelessly lost while trying to find myself.

On top of that, I’ve always been a massive sci-fi and fantasy fan. It started with E.T. and Star Wars when I was a little kid, and grew from there. I read the Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley and the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery when I was a ‘tween and got addicted to world building. I really just wanted to spend all day thinking about what it would be like to be able to make a science out of concentrating psychic energy with a crystal, or how awesome it would be to have a dragon.

And then someone told me that fantasy and sci-fi wasn’t cool.

I can’t remember who it was, or if it was more of a group effort from my friends who sincerely wanted me to avoid getting teased, but I do remember hiding my love of the supernatural somewhere around the time when I learned how to apply eyeliner. It’s a shame, really. I wasted a lot of time reading “serious” books that were cool to brandish in coffee shops and whatnot, but I never really devoured them the way I did, say, The Lord of the Rings.

It took me years to unlearn this baloney.

I write for teens because I became passionate about stories when I was one, and if I get really lucky, I might write something that someone loves enough to drag around the world with them, like I did with Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series. I write supernatural books because I like to think about what it would feel like to fly, or cast a spell, or telepathically be able to talk to a dragon. (I freaking love dragons, btw)

When I was in high school this made me a geek, but in this day and age, liking supernatural or paranormal books isn’t considered geeky at all. In fact, it’s um… cool.

Lucky for us, right?



AA Bell said...

YAYYY! That makes me one of the cool kids finally too!!


Sharon said...

What I love about YA is it lets me relive my youth in a way. Emotions were so intense then and we didn't have the ability to moderate them . The bad ones were really bad, but the good ones...were *really good ;)

Today's YA are emotionally exhausting for me, but I keep going back for more :)

Helen Lowe said...

I think another thing I really liked about YA, although I think this aspect has changed a lot over the past few years, is that because the story could not rely on sex or violence to 'sell', both the stories and the characterization tended to be a lot stronger. I think this is one of the reasons they stick with us so strongly. There were also more happy endings, the "order of the world" so to speak was assured, which gives the reader that sense of safety. As YA becomes edgier and more gritty-realistic, I wonder if some of its enduring appeal may also fade?

Belinda said...

I have found alot of YA books I wish I could have read as a kid. I am always buying books to read...I try to buy books to share with my 11 year old son...but he just is not a big reader. Oh well...more books for me. I have friends that always tease me because of my YA books...but I don't like reading the same things over and over...I have my paranormal types, my romance types, my mysteries, my YA (all different types)...I like to venture out when I read.
I love what you wrote...and am headed over to find your books now...sounds like I may have found a new author. Thanks! :)