Dec 1, 2011

Posted by in Interviews | 21 Comments

Why YA?

Larissa Ione and I were having a twitter chat one day talking about pen names.  (This was when I was writing my “What Would Your Pen Name Be?” post)  She doesn’t use a pen name but said she would use one for her Young Adult (YA) series if it sold.  My first thought was “Larissa is thinking of writing a YA series?!”   My second thought was “Why would she want to write a YA series?”  And that is where the idea for this post came from.

It seems that more and more ‘adult’ authors are also writing YA series.  Being the overly nosy curious person that I am, I immediately wondered why that was exactly.  When I asked Larissa why she wanted to write a YA book, she told me:

“Because my son asked me to write a zombie story/something he could read that I wrote.  He’s 14. We both have mad love for zombies, so I said I’d write him a zombie book.”

I love that answer!  Of course, one answer wasn’t enough for me.  I couldn’t just stop at Larissa’s answer.  Nope.  I had to ask more authors.  So I sent out emails and got some pretty cool responses.

My email asked:  Why did you decide to venture into YA after establishing yourself in the Romance/Urban Fantasy/Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre?

Here is what the authors I emailed had to say:

Rachel Vincent

My answer is pretty simple: Because I started reading YA and loved it. 😉

Seleste deLaney

While the first novel I ever wrote was romance, the second was YA (Pretty Souls). And the third. And the fourth. I actually didn’t get back into writing adult stuff until November 2009 when I wrote the first version of Badlands. With me, part of it was writing shorter pieces that I couldn’t sell to New York led me to the arms of e-publishers. Once there, I realized the trend thing that had to be hit right when it happened in New York lasted a lot longer in digital publishing. So, I dusted off Pretty Souls, cleaned it up, and submitted. It was picked up right away. I’d sub more of my young adult novels to digital publishers now if I wasn’t already staring at four series to keep tabs on…though, I’m a never say never kind of girl. 

Michelle Rowen

YA was my first love from the day I decided to take my writing seriously ten years ago — and it’s currently my first love (tied with urban fantasy) to read. It took me much longer to get published in YA than it did in PNR, but now things are swimming along to the point that I am writing mostly YA. MY PNR series have all ended and now I find that I’m more interested in exploring other genres and giving myself the chance to stretch my legs. However, no matter what genre I write, there will always be a very strong romance element. The section of the bookstore might change, as will the ages of the characters, but I believe the flavor of my books remains the same and I hope my readers will give me a chance in other genres.

Jennifer Estep

One day, I had an idea that I thought would work better as a YA story than as an adult urban fantasy story, so I decided to try writing a YA book and see what would happen. That was the start of TOUCH OF FROST and the rest of my Mythos Academy YA urban fantasy series. Plus, you always want to stretch yourself and grow as a writer. So far, writing YA has been a really fun challenge, and I’m having a blast writing in the genre.

Maria V. Snyder

My books have always appealed to YA readers.  I’ve been getting enthusiastic emails from them since Poison Study was first published, so I think it was a very natural segue.  Plus when I dreamt the idea for Inside Out, I knew the main protagonist would be younger and that it would be ideal for YA readers.  On a side note – all my books are published as YA in both the United Kingdom and Australia/New Zealand.

Ann Aguirre

In part, YA was a new mountain for me to climb. I thrive on challenges, constantly pitting myself at new heights to see if I can hit them, and if so, how high can I soar? Additionally, I had the dystopian idea for a society where people didn’t live to be very old for a host of reasons, and that’s a natural fit for YA. The protagonists have to be younger if they don’t live long. So the world-building dictated the age of my heroine, and once I realized she was only fifteen, I knew it had to be YA. I was excited to tackle a new genre and find out if I could execute my idea successfully. It has been so rewarding, moreso than I could’ve imagined.

Teen readers are passionate and engaged. They write me more letters. I got one recently from a girl who graduated high school this past June. She said lovely things about Deuce, Fade, and Enclave, and then she told me she intends to study English Literature, just like I did, because I inspire her. That’s an amazing legacy.

Kelley Armstrong

I had an idea inspired by my second adult novel, Stolen, but it was about supernaturals just coming into their powers, which happens at puberty in the Otherworld, so it wouldn’t work for an adult series. That idea was in the back of my mind as I began receiving an increasing number of emails from readers I considered too young to be reading my other books! So I decided to give my YA-Otherworld-spinoff idea a try.

So there you have it.  Authors write YA books for many different reasons.  Some I hadn’t thought of too!  And I think my curiosity has been satisfied.  Well, at least until I think of something else to ask about…

A big Thank You to Larissa, Rachel, Seleste, Michelle, Jennifer, Maria, Ann and Kelley for taking the time to answer my question.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time you hear from me.  😉


  1. I never thought about this, it’s good you did because the answers were very interesting.
    I love they were all difference but similar at the same time.
    Great post.

  2. I love the variety YA added to my writing. Since I suffer from shiny object syndrome I have alway had more than one WIP in process. My YA series is a ‘traditional’ fantasy so it presents a wonderful balance to my suspense/romance adult books. The YA audience demands a totally different style of writing and I’ve loved the challenge it has brought.

  3. Tasarla, I say something similar a lot in that YA and adult fiction exercise different parts of my brain. Honestly, I could do a really long blog post on why I write both. Thanks, Julie, for asking!

  4. Great blog post Julie, thanks for asking all those authors 🙂

  5. What a great post! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  6. Great interview! I love that authors write both YA and adult because I love reading both genres! If I love an author’s YA series or their adult series I usually always try all their other books no matter what the genre.

  7. Great post Julie!

  8. Bookaholic Cat – Different but the same. Well said Marcela.

    Tasarla – Adding variety to your working schedule is a great reason to bounce back and forth.

    Seleste – Different parts of the brain…I like that. lol Thanks for answering my question!

    aurian – 🙂

    twimom227 – I love the answers. I really do. 🙂

    Jennifer – I do that sometimes if the premise of the story appeals to me and if I have the time. When you love an author you really do just want to devour everything they’ve written!

    Shelleyrae – 🙂

  9. Thanks for the interesting post Julie, that’s a question I always wondered as well 😉

  10. A really interesting post, I enjoyed reading it.
    I read everything that seems interesting, every genre, and I know some people that doesn’t read young adult books because they think they are too old for them, I always think it’s they’re loss. I enjoy Young Adult the same I enjoy other genres.

  11. Great post, and some interesting answers. I have always wondered that myself. Why certain authors that I love decide to write YA, has left me head scratching in the past.
    And it is great that by writing YA they are reaching more people and influencing a younger generation!

  12. I REALLY enjoyed this. Thanks so much for bringing these thoughts out in the opens for us readers!

  13. Great post!

  14. Stella – 🙂

    mitzy – If you like Dystopian books, there are some great YA titles out there. YA books are not always written `young`. Sometimes yes, but not always. I agree with you there. 🙂

    Lexi – I love that part. Influencing new people, getting youth to want to read…great reasons!

    Smash Attack – 🙂

    Sara – Thanks! 🙂

  15. Great post Julie! I have wondered the same thing myself and I’m happy to see you at least took the step to figure it out. LOL. I really enjoy when authors write several different types of books because it shows how talented they are to be able to be so diverse AND we all know that I love reading so many different genres that it’s nice to have an author I enjoy dabble a little in everything. 🙂 (Gena Showalter is a great example of that!)

  16. maybe it’s title this because from the pisrcee moment she was attacked it will be forever Inevitable that she will question her every move, look over her shoulder at every sound, fear every stranger who comes near her, it will be Inevitable that she will live her entire life in fear of the unknown.

  17. Thanks for that! It’s just the answer I needed.

  18. Lisa, you couldn’t be more wrong. Longtime Sela Ward fan, but she adds nothing to CSI:NY. Total wet blanket, gives flat line readings, zero chemistry with Gary Sinise. CSI:NY seriously needs to be retired, for everyone’s sake (ours and the cast’s).

  19. rosana obied escreveu: document.write(’31 de maio de 2009 as 17:44′); gostaria de saber como posso fazer esse curso gratuito de chines- mandarim desde ja agradeco. Carlos Pedro escreveu: document.write(’18 de novembro de 2008 as 16:31′); Boa tarde! Gostaria de saber como participar do curso de mandarim on-line.Aguardo resposta,Agraços, Carlos

  20. Michelle · I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt. "Women are litle tea bags – you never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water."We are strong~We will survive~we will thrive.

  21. Pan Bárto prostě chtěl, aby mu jeho zaměstnanci nedělali ostudu. Kardinální otázka zní ale jinak: když člověka jako je Bárta nechceme v politice, proč bychom ho měli tolerovat v byznysu?

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