Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back to high school

I know it's been a long time since I posted when I log in and there's a whole different layout to Blogger.

So what's been going on the last couple of months since I last posted?

I've been writing. A lot. And a big decision has been made.

I have decided to put my adult crime novel on the back burner for now and concentrate on writing young adult books.

I do see the irony of a middle aged woman in That Time of Life writing about teenagers. But I have a teenager living in my house, so it's not really all that difficult a reach. And in a way, all those physical and emotional changes that come when we're teenagers are only slightly different for a woman of certain years, and in some ways it's worse now because everyone tells you about puberty, but mostly everything about menopause is one big secret until you're living through it.

But I digress.

When I signed on with my new agent, Josh, I sent him the first 30,000 words of a new young adult novel I've been working on. It's not a dystopian or a vampire or a werewolf book. It's the story of a regular girl in an unusual situation. It's her struggle to find her identity. Something we can all relate to. Josh also inherited a time travel young adult novel I'd written.

In addition to those, I sent him the adult crime novel that Jack had sent to a couple of editors and I've been working on over the past year.

After a long discussion and some very sage advice from Josh, I agreed that it really isn't the time to concentrate on the adult crime novel. But this is an incredibly exciting time for young adult books. I'm finding that there is a lot more leeway in storytelling in YA. In my years writing adult crime fiction, I always had to tie things up in a neat little bow at the end, my characters had to behave in certain ways, not use certain language, must have romance. From the YA I've been reading, I see that YA stories don't necessarily follow a formula, and that's very liberating.

I wish when I was a teenager that there was such a thing as Young Adult in the book section. I went from reading LITTLE WOMEN to Harold Robbins, which is a pretty huge leap and now, as a mother, that would worry me. But teens today have such a variety of books to choose from, all with teenagers as protagonists, solving crimes, turning into werewolves and vampires, all of them struggling to fit in, like all teens through time. It's like one big support group, but you don't have to leave your house or actually interact and be part of a group if that's not your thing.

So I will be spending far more time with teenagers in the next months than I expected, although it is nice that they're fictional and I don't have to deal with them rolling their eyes at me whenever I tell them to do something. I'll only get that from one teenager, the one who lives in my house.

What do you think of young adult fiction? Do you read it? Write it? If you read it, what's your favorite YA book?