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  1. perfectsummer_500x750                                sapphire blue final cover


    The success of Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars, to name just a few has made YA a hugely popular genre, and not just with teens. Many adults enjoy reading YA books too, wanting a more imaginative and emotional read than adult fiction often offers them. You’ve only got to look at the bulging shelves in the YA section of your local bookstore to see how varied this genre is. A lot of the books are the familiar black and red covers of the vampire stories that Twilight made popular, others are dystopian battles in far flung worlds or set in a future time or issue led stories about teenagers coping with cancer or death. Alongside these are romances, contemporary light-hearted satires and humorous dairy accounts of teenage life. Many writers are now wanting to tap into this potentially lucrative market and wondering how to go about it.

    I’ve written all sorts of children’s books for various age groups over the years but have only recently dipped my toe into the YA market. The reason I made this decision is because the two stories in my head were YA stories. They needed a teenage voice. My first YA, Perfect Summer, published in 2013 is a dystopian thriller set in the not-too-distant future when society is so obsessed with perfection that being different is considered a crime.  My second YA, Sapphire Blue, is an afterlife romance thriller told through dual viewpoint. Sapphire and her boyfriend Will are killed in a car crash in the first chapter and look for each other in the afterlife because they have pledged to love each other forever. However that means going to Red where terror is only a thought away and they are at the mercy of the Soul Catchers. It was published just before Christmas.

    If you’re thinking about writing a YA novel, then here are my top tips:

    Your main character should be a teen. And the story should be allabout them. Remember how emotional and dramatic teenagers are? How angst ridden? How black and white everything is to them? Tell the story through your teen character’s eyes, let the reader feel their emotions. Whatever you do, keep the adult perspective out of it. And don’t preach.

    Research teen speak.  It’s important to get the ‘teen speak’ right but don’t make it too current. Slang dates easily and your novel will soon sound old-fashioned.  Listen to how teens talk to each other to get the feel of their sentence structure, of how loose they are with grammar, of certain expressions they use so that your dialogue sounds authentic. Don’t get too bogged down with grammar and correct English as this will make your story sound stilted.

    Let there be hope. Most subjects are tackled in YA fiction and there is some pretty dark stuff out there. Remember though that there is still some censorship for this age group so issues need to be dealt with sensitively, bad language should be avoided if possible for young teens and so should explicit sex. Most importantly, your story doesn’t have to end perfectly but there should always be hope that things will improve.

    Do your research. Read as many YA books as you can so you get a feel for the genre and see how experienced authors tackle the teenage voice, dialogue and emotional aspect of the story. Pay particular attention to the viewpoint and tense they use too. First person viewpoint is very popular with YA fiction and present tense is becoming increasingly so.  Don’t use them if you don’t feel comfortable with them though, experiment a bit and see what viewpoint and tense works best for you. As with any other fiction, be true to yourself.


    This article also appears on the Writers Bureau blog.


  2. I've invited fellow Astraea author Catherine Bennett on my blog today, to tell us all about her latest release, Devon's Choice. Here's the cover. Isn't it fab?


    Here's a bit about the book.
    Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

    Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?
    Want to read more? Here's where you can buy it.
    Buy Links

    Meet Catherine

    Cathy Bennet

    I asked Catherine to tell us a bit about herself

     How did you get started writing?

    When I was young, I spent a lot of time in the library. I just enjoyed books and was always writing poems and short stories about make believe places. When I grew up, I knew I wanted to write a book. I had a lot of ideas, but only two of them became published.

    Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?

    I hide my snack food so no one else will eat it. Sometimes it backfires on me and I can’t even remember where it’s hidden.

     What’s your top writing tip for new writers?

    Never stop reading. It’s the basis for knowing how to write well.


    Author Bio

    Catherine grew up in Ohio where she currently lives with her husband and their two rescue labradors. Some of her favorite things include reading, shopping, pepperoni pizza, Hershey bars and hanging out with her two grown sons. She also loves dogs; so going to the dog park is cheap entertainment for her and her husband!

    Growing up an only child, she had many imaginary friends. IShe believes this - and a love of books - fueled her desire to write. It was many years later that her dream of becoming a published author came true.

    Her Romantic Suspense, “The Trouble With Charlie” is published by Astraea Press and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Visit her website for buy links and excerpts.

    Social Media Links:

    Website: www.catherinebennett.org

     Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBennett   

     Twitter: @author_cbennett

    Book Trailer on You Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPBc1jGurlQ


    Thanks for dropping by Catherine!