What Keeps the Young Adult Genre Fresh

by Guest Blogger on February 24, 2014 · 2 comments

in Guest Blogger, S-U, Young Adult

custom book cover Connie book 2 official ebookGuest post by Connie L. Smith, author of Essenced and Emblazed

Can I part with a little secret here? My first reading love wasn’t YA. It wasn’t even contemporary. The initial genre that snagged my interest was fantasy. Elves, orcs, dwarves… I fell hopelessly when introduced to R.A. Salvatore’s The Dark Elf Trilogy , and I haven’t been able to climb my way out yet.

YA and contemporary came later, but they’ve since given me some of my favorite books. In fact, I probably read more contemporary romance now than just about anything, and I’m a sucker for a YA story done right.

There’s something innocent about YA, even when your story involves demons and warfare, a freshness that I enjoy. When I started thinking about giving The Division Chronicles the opportunity meet paper (or an ebook), it just fit with a high school scene. When Julius shows up to tell AJ that she has a purpose and the world is in danger, it felt right to put the meeting in that kind of setting. She’s just a teenager, dealing with regular teenage things. School, extracurricular activities, friends, and absolutely no previous athletic ability. She’s figuring herself out, and throwing such change and responsibility in her lap when she’s still in that middle ground of cliques and confusion seemed right somehow.

It allowed for so much exploration of character within the pages that I don’t think would’ve been possible if I’d been writing about an army of people later in life. None of the Essenced soldiers are out of their teens yet, and you can see it surface from time to time. They’re just kids, suddenly with the world on their shoulders. Of course they’ll mess up, and you can’t expect anything different, but somehow they manage their way through the struggles and issues with strength they never even knew they had. In fact, those moments of mistake are so meaningful to me – because it highlights over and over again that they’re just teenagers doing the best they can.

I guess that’s something that draws me into the world of YA literature. These characters are learning, and they don’t have their feet on anything close to solid ground as of yet, but they still go. There’s a simplicity there that might not be present in some of the other genres. The characters can be completely unsure. The romances can just be sweet. The shortcomings can be excused more easily because of youth. The characters are learning as they go, and we can almost grade them on a curve because of it.

Of course, this genre comes with its complications as well. I’m turning 29 the week of this blog tour, so I’m not exactly part of the crowd the story is theoretically designed for. I know adults read the genre – I read it! – but to target people of a younger age group can prove a bit of a challenge. Slang, music, television… When you’re nearing 30, these sorts of things aren’t necessarily a typical part of your thought process. To be honest, most of my music was outdated when I was in high school, so now it’s proven a bit of a difficulty. But still, I think the genre – even if it exists just a little out of my cultural realm of knowledge – is worth writing.

I plan to write stories of other categories as well. Right now, I have to finish The Division Chronicles, and I have a YA Romance in need of alterations and edits, but I have fantasy and new adult also in my eventual plans. Lots of things in the future, but my first published piece of fiction will always be YA. And I’m okay with that.

Thanks for reading, and please check out my Twitter page for giveaways through the 28th! Also, book one of this trilogy (Essenced) is scheduled to be free through the blog tour! Remember it’s my birthday week? Call trying my book a gift :)

Book Blurb:

After all the preparations, Nicholai’s warriors stand on the threshold of warfare, the demons entering the realm in battalions and the world unknowingly depending on the army’s success to continue intact. But the battle is only the beginning of deadly struggles, and the soldiers will soon realize how little they know, how many things are at stake, and how much they have to lose.

Love, hate, hope, despair, anguish, joy… The journey is a gauntlet of emotion and combat, threatening their resolve as much as their lives.

Will their training and ties be enough, or will the complications and the forthcoming evil forever cripple the world’s last hope of survival?

Buy: Essenced (The Division Chronicles: Book One)


Book Blurb:

After all the preparations, Nicholai’s warriors stand on the threshold of warfare, the demons entering the realm in battalions and the world unknowingly depending on the army’s success to continue intact. But the battle is only the beginning of deadly struggles, and the soldiers will soon realize how little they know, how many things are at stake, and how much they have to lose.

Love, hate, hope, despair, anguish, joy… The journey is a gauntlet of emotion and combat, threatening their resolve as much as their lives.

Will their training and ties be enough, or will the complications and the forthcoming evil forever cripple the world’s last hope of survival?

Buy: Emblazed (The Division Chronicles: Book Two)


Excerpt:

AJ sensed him there, standing wordlessly some feet in the distance, just like she always recognized his presence when he lingered near. She absorbed the comfort and happiness he brought her – not that she’d admit that out loud – before sighing and speaking. “It’s called making a bed, Julius. It’s pretty commonplace.”

He didn’t push away from the doorframe, instead leaning further against it while he continued to observe her. “Sweetheart, nothing’s commonplace when you do it.”

Hearing the grin and affection in his voice, she smiled, peeking at him over her shoulder. “Is that a compliment or an insult?”

He gazed upward to stare at the ceiling with a thoughtful expression, then returned his attention to her, his shrug carefree. “Both.”

She smirked. “Sweet talker.”

“Odd ball.” He finally moved from the threshold, unhurriedly advancing toward her. “You know, most people make their beds in the morning. Not ten o’clock at night.”

She snorted. “Yeah. I’m gonna make my bed as soon as I roll out of it at six AM. I wouldn’t be making it now if I didn’t have to wrestle the sheet back on four times a night.” Finally setting her pillow in its position, she turned to him with an unashamed grin.

He chuckled, his adoration plain, and brushed a lock of hair from her face. “You’re one of a kind, you know that?”

“Compliment or insult?” she teased again.

“Compliment.” He smiled, cupping her cheek. “Definitely a compliment.”

“Sweet talker,” she repeated, standing on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips. Wrapping her arms around his neck, his circling her waist, she dove into the moment, reveling in the wonderful sensations only Julius incited. Safety. Warmth. Passion. So many more she couldn’t quite put a name to, the combination too heady and consuming to adequately decipher. It was simply a Julius effect, and its wonder had no equal in her life. Gradually breaking away, she knowingly lifted an eyebrow. “You didn’t come here just to make fun of me over my bed-making habits.”

“Maybe I came up here just to kiss you.”

“If that were the case, dear Julius, you wouldn’t have waited until I kissed you.”

Narrowing his eyes, he barely restrained his smirk at her forwardness and how well she’d grown to understand him in their time together. “You have a point.” He stepped back from her embrace, grasping her hand in his. “Come on. We have a mission.”

“A mission?” Her brow furrowed, though she made no move to retrieve her palm from his, following him in confusion as he neared the hallway. “At ten o’clock at night?”

“I believe we already covered the time in this conversation, AJ.” He made a clucking noise with his tongue, shaking his head in mock disappointment. “You really need to keep up with matters a bit more.”

She glared at the back of his head, lips thinning despite her vexing boyfriend’s inability to see her from his location. Realizing the futility of her frustrated efforts, she clenched the fingers he clutched, smiling in accomplishment at his grunt of discomfort. “Yeah, we covered it, but in household chore way. Not in a mission way. What could we possibly have to do this late at night?”

He sent her an amused glance – one she deemed condescending, particularly after the physical hint of her annoyance  – while tugging her through the doorway. “You do realize it isn’t ten o’clock everywhere, right?”

“Of course I realize that! I’m not a moron!”

“I never said you were…”

She growled, steeling her feet against the floor and prying her hand from his. “You didn’t have to. Your little grin said it all for you.”

His stare revealed sincere bewilderment – maybe a speck of frustration as well – and his arm dropped to his side. “So let me get this straight. You’re angry at me… because I smiled at you?”

Her eyes widened in fury, one finger raising to point at his chest while her left fist braced against her hip. “Don’t try to turn this around like I’m crazy!”

He scrunched his forehead, gaze traveling up and down her form while he held his hands out, as if silently offering his evidence.

She groaned, unhappy, turning away from him to rein in her irritation. For several seconds, she simply scanned her room, livid exhale after livid exhale falling from her lips, but the attempts did little to calm her turmoil, Julius actually flinching when her focus again landed on him. “It’s the grin you used. It’s the same one that was on your face when you drove into New Mexico, and I was surprised the facility was stationed here. Like I’m the dumbest person in the world and your number one source of entertainment.”

Instantly, his expression softened. “You can’t possibly think that I think that way?”

She just glared at him.

“Look, I’m not gonna lie.” He approached her, smiling tenderly. “You do amuse me, but not because I think you’re stupid. You’re… animated. And quirky. But not stupid. And I get it’s late, and no matter what time zone we’re entering, it’s ten o’clock here and we’re handing over sleeping hours, but Nicholai insists we need to go now.”

She kept pinched eyes on him, but her posture loosened a bit.

He laughed, reaching for her hand once more. “See? Animated. I can pretty much watch the wheels in your head turn.”

“Does that make you my mental stalker, too?”

Processing the playful edge of her words, he kissed her knuckles and led her into the hall. “Trust me, sweetheart. I have no desire to wander through your mind. I can’t imagine all the weird things I’d encounter.”

She tilted her head to the side, smiling. “Compliment or insult?”

Smirking over his shoulder, he caught her eyes with his. “Insult.”

Buy: Essenced (The Division Chronicles: Book One), Emblazed (The Division Chronicles: Book Two)

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ayanami Faerudo March 1, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Whether you’re a teenager or in your 30s, YA forever!

Reply

2 Connie L. Smith March 2, 2014 at 2:45 PM

I’m soo addicted to YA and NA!!!

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