Hello all. Sorry I'm a bit late to the party, but October's turning out to be a very busy month. (Tentacle slides around door jamb) GO AWAY. (Tentacle slides back, ashamed) I should think so, too.
Right, to address the questions:
My first question is, as writers of YA, how do you define it? Are you thinking about the age of your intended audience, the age of your characters, or something completely different?
Personally, I regard YA not so much as a genre unto itself as a sub-genre within each genre. So, Kim Curran's Shift series and my own Russalka Chronicles, for example, are YA within SF. It's all perception and however you want to draw your Venn diagram, really. For the sake of argument, it's probably just as well to call it a genre, though, for lack of more elegant term.
As for how I write for it, I just think of the sort of things I liked reading at that age and find it pretty easy to rediscover those enthusiasms and fascinations. That I've done a singularly poor job of growing up helps enormously. It's hard to imagine YA without teenage protagonists, admittedly, so that's possibly one of the few bits of necessary formula in a genre that is otherwise so fluid.
chesilbeach, on 03 Oct 2013 - 13:44, said:
I have a few questions, if you don't mind.
- Did you make a conscious decision to write YA from the outset? Or did you write a novel that someone through the publishing process suggested would fit into the YA market?
- Do you only write for YA, or have you/will you written for younger/older readers?
- Do you find you have to defend yourself as a writer of YA, and that other writers/journalists/publishers consider it easier/less important than popular or literary fiction?
Thanks in advance!
How I came to write Katya's World (the first novel of the Russalka Chronicles) is complicated. It was originally written with only half an eye on publication, but mainly inspired by a visit to a bookshop where I ended up in the MG/YA section and was depressed to see how little SF there was. Tonnes of fantasy, but barely any science fiction, and none that I could see of the pretty hard nut'n'bolts stuff that got me into SF when I was young.
So, I wrote Katya's World as a reaction to that, and made the protagonist female partially because I like female protagonists and partially because I wanted it to appeal to my daughter. I read it to her piecemeal as it was being written, so she was the first to hear it. Then my Johannes Cabal books got into print and I thought I might stand a chance of seeing Katya's World published too. Depressingly, my agent had no luck placing it specifically because the publishers just wanted fantasies, ideally with love triangles. Then along came Strange Chemistry asking for all sorts of things, including hard YA SF, and Katya found her berth.
As intimated above, Katya's World was actually my fourth book in print, being preceded by the first three Johannes Cabal novels. Oddly enough, the Cabal books are intended for adults, but have a strong following amongst readers who can be characterised as YA.
I've never had anyone turn their nose up at me for writing YA. Thinking back, I once had someone get a bit sniffy because I write SFF, but they were an arse so I couldn't give a monkey's about what they thought.