Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The YA Scramble is here!


The day you've been waiting for has arrived! *tosses confetti*

Instructions for the YA Scramble:
1) Visit the first blog (based on list below).
2) Read the guestpost.
3) Identify the PURPLE word.
4) Pick out the 3rd letter from the purple word.
5) Go to the next blog.
6) Repeat #3, #4,and #5 until you visited all 14 sites.
7) At the end, take all 14 of the 3rd letters from the PURPLE words and figure out the message near and dear to our hearts. HINT: The secret phrase is 4 words long.
8) Enter the unscrambled message ONCE into this form as your official entry for a chance to win some great prizes from fantastic authors and bloggers.

Participating Blogs - all must be visited:
Kaitlin Simpson
Kathleen Tucker
Jennifer Morris
Cyndi Tefft (You're here!)
Melissa Layton
Megg Jensen
Laura Elliott

Jennifer Morris from Books Make Happy Reviews is guesting on the blog today!

Hello there everyone!! I’m so excited to be here on Cyndi’s blog today! I’d like to say a big, BIG thank you to her for putting this event together, and for hosting me.

So… YA fiction. Today’s Young Adult books are full of fantastic stories based around amazing characters.  There are hardships, and triumphs, and romances, and heartache, and mythology and realism, and honesty and incredible imagination. YA authors create characters we love, stories we love, and give us places and times we can lose ourselves in.
All of this sounds EXACTLY like what I would say about some of my favorite ADULT fiction. In fact, some of my favorite adult fiction authors write for the young adult audience as well! How handy is THAT? Teens that read, and fall in love with a particular author, have an ever increasing chance to find more from the same author when they transition into reading adult fiction. I don’t know if this has always been as widespread as I find it to be now. I don’t believe it has. But I can count on two hands, and be in need of additional fingers, the authors I can think of just off the top of my head that write in both the YA and adult fiction genres. (Let’s name a few, shall we? Richelle Mead, Deborah Cooke, Jackie [Morse] Kessler, Jennifer Estep, Wendy Delsol, John Grisham, James Patterson, Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michelle ROWEN, Rachel Caine, Lilith Saintcrow, Rachel Vincent, Dina James, Ridley Pearson, Stephenie Meyer, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa Marr… and there are others, shall I go on??)

My question is… what prompts an adult fiction author to enter the YA lit world? What draws them into writing for a younger audience? Is there a different procedure or mindset for writing for YA? Are there any drawbacks or limitations? These are a few questions I asked a couple of authors who were included in the list above:
1 - Did you start your writing career in YA, or did you come into this age group later? If you came into it later, what prompted the change?

Dina James: I came into the age group later at the encouragement of a former editor. It was so much of a prompted change as a "please try this I want to see what you do." I tried it with a short story and the rest just followed. I never intended to write YA. I just sort of fell into it.

Wendy Delsol: I started writing adult fiction. My first two novels (attempts, perhaps the accurate term) were in this genre. THE MCCLOUD HOME FOR WAYWARD GIRLS was the third novel I wrote. While it was making the rounds with agents, I decided to give YA a go. I wrote STORK in five months, and it was the project with which I found my agent. The decision to try YA was equal parts experimentation as a new writer and market driven.

2 - Do you approach writing adult novels and YA novels differently? Is there a different preparation necessary? A different mindset during the writing process?

DJ: Yes I do. When writing YA I'm constantly aware of "adult situations" and actions, especially dialogue. Where I can have my adult character do and say things I'm accustomed to, younger people think and respond differently, as they don't have the life experience to draw on an older character might. For instance, I can't have a 14 year old playing a video game that was around before they were born (unless of course it's that character's hobby/collection/obsession, whatever, but that can be justified in the story), or driving a car (legally) or drinking alcohol (again, legally). So you have to think about those things. If your character needs to  get somewhere across town and they can't drive, you have to find a way to get them there. The bus, a friend, portable hole (yeah, I know, my geekdom is showing!)... so you do have to think a little differently, but nothing that varies too much.

WD: I write YA in the first person because I think this perspective best mirrors the psychology of a teen. At the crossroads between childhood and adulthood, experiences are up-close and personal. So far, I’ve written my adult fiction in third person with close perspectives from multiple characters. I tend to use a multi-generational cast as well as flashback scenes to really get into the dynamics and history of the relationships. I’m not sure the preparation—i.e. the get-to-know-you period between the writer and character—is any different. It’s all about fleshing out your protagonist(s) until they feel unique and authentic.

3 - Are there any benefits to writing for a YA audience? Any drawbacks?

DJ: When I was first asked to try a YA story, I balked at the idea. "But I don't write for kids," was my immediate response. Encouragement followed and, despite my reluctance and apprehension, I gave it a shot. I didn't like it. I felt it was restrictive. I couldn't do the things I was used to, etc. In my adult writing there's sex, kissing, blood, guts, and gore. Then I started looking around at what the genre really included. YA is everything adult writing is, only it's through the eyes of a younger person. How young people see things. They are not sheltered from life's trials and tribulations because they are younger. Things that seem small and insignificant to an adult ("this person doesn't like me") can be world-shattering for a teen or tween. Young people react to stress and the world in general in ways different from adults, and seeing things through their eyes is interesting. In YA, there is still sex, kissing, blood, guts and gore. It's just the reactions by the characters that are different, and the graphic depictions are toned down.

The only drawback I can think of is the consciousness of the effect your story will have on young people. Books meant so much to me growing up and I admit to having been influenced in my choices by a novel or two. The only solution is to try not to think about it so much that you end up writing a "cotton" novel - one in which your character is wrapped in cotton so as not to be wounded by the story's events. Just be aware that what you write can (and most likely will) affect someone in some way. You can't control that, so don't worry about it and just write.

WD: There is an excitement for, and interest in YA that is a definite benefit. Readers and bloggers are passionate about the genre. They’re also more likely to follow a character through a series of books. From a writer’s perspective, there’s no drawback to that kind of enthusiasm.

4 - Do your YA novels draw your adult fans, or do you have two distinct followings?

DJ: Honestly, I have no idea. I think they're combined, really. I know there are young people who enjoy my YA, and adults who enjoy it too, but I'm not sure about the young people enjoying my adult writing. Good question. Clueless author.

WD: Given that it has been less than a year since my first book (STORK, a YA) was published and only weeks since my first adult novel (THE MCCLOUD HOME FOR WAYWARD GIRLS) released, I’m still building a following. I do hope eventually for crossover between the two genres.

5 - Have there been any surprises writing in the YA genre? Any myths you've busted, or unexpected issues you've had to deal with?

DJ: Myths I've busted: "You can't do that in YA." Oh yeah? Whatever the situation, someone has written it in YA and it's been fine. Swearing, sex, abuse, violence, whatever. You can have and do whatever you want in YA that you'd do in adult writing, but it has to be "suitable for the audience." Think of it like the movie ratings. G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X. In YA, you're aiming for that G - PG-13 range. This means that you can have some violence and language and so on. It just can't be horrific and graphic or extended. Unexpected issues? I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, and I didn't expect to develop a series out of it. (Or continue it, for that matter...)

WD: The biggest surprise in writing YA has been how many readers and reviewers are adults (which lends itself to my hope that there will be crossover fans). I think it speaks to the universal, coming-to-age themes of YA. Even years later, adults relate to and remember their own teen years.

6 - Is there anything else you'd like to share about writing YA in addition to adult novels?

DJ: All YA really means is that your lead character is under the age of 18. That's it. Just because the lead is about a young person doesn't mean the book won't appeal to an audience outside your target. Just write the book.

I’d like to thank (with big hugs, chocolate, tea and whatever else makes them smile) Dina James and Wendy Delsol  for their insight.
Now… a question for you… What authors do YOU love that write in both the YA and the adult genres? What do you think are the major differences? Similarities? I’d love to hear your thoughts. AND… 2 lucky commenters (randomly selected) will win books from authors who write in both genres!!! One person will win an ARC of Jackie Morse Kessler’s LOSS (3rd book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and one person will win a copy of Deborah Cooke’s FLYING BLIND (1st in the Dragon Diaries series. Both books will be donated by their authors and mailed directly to the winner. (Please include your email and first name in your comment so you can be reached if you win. If you don’t, you will NOT be eligible.)

**Did you find the word in my post in purple caps?**  You need to collect the 3rd letter of that word, along with the 3rd letter of the purple words in the blog posts of the 13 other YA Scramble participants, unscramble the letters to discover their hidden message, and fill out THIS FORM to enter to win the Massive Grand Prize Of Mega Awesomeness! What’s in the Massive Grand Prize Of Mega Awesomeness, you ask??
  • ARC of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (with signed bookmark)
  • Ebook of Solstice by PJ Hoover (with trading cards)
  • Ebook of The Space Between by Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Paperback copy of Perception by Heather Cashman
  • Signed paperback ARC of Anathema by Kathleen Tucker
  • Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Gift Set (Trade Paperback of Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad Journal, Minion Bling Buttons and Vlad Tote)
  • Signed paperback copy of Between by Cyndi Tefft
  • Signed hardcover of Clarity by Kim Harrington
  • ARC of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Signed ARC of Fury by Elizabeth Miles
  • Signed paperback of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  • ARC of Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
  • Copy of The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
  • Winner's choice of 5 ebooks from a list of indie authors
  • Signed paperback of Sleepers by Megg Jensen
  • Ebooks of Soul Quest and The Guardians of Souls by Amy Jones
  • Kindle copy of Winnemucca by Laura Elliott (plus a guest post spot on her blog!)
  • Paperback copy of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Don’t forget to leave your comment on this blog to enter to win my individual prizes before you head out to the next site. Good luck, and have FUN!!


  1. Definitely worth a try. I'm not the best when it comes to unscrambling letters, but it sounds like fun! =^-^=

  2. Ednah Walters has both a ya and an adult series that are pretty cool

  3. I think Rick Riordan has been really successful as both a YA/MG and Adult author...and he's one of my faves.

    One of the differences I've noticed in YA books and adult books written by the same author, is that in the YA books authors tend to let themselves go in have more fun with their characters and situations.

    Great interview!

    wordspelunker at gmail dot com

  4. I love Gena Showalter's both YA and Adult Series.I think I like both her series because she has a way of involving us in her worlds where we're completely awestruck!I love the fun characters and their sense of humour as well!

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  5. I'm so glad someone else mentioned Ednah Walters! Love her, and both her adult and ya titles. That Ron Noble is something else. I also love Richelle Mead. I haven't yet started Succubus Blues but it's on my list. And I already love her VA/Bloodlines series. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  6. Great interview and excellent questions. Thanks for the giveaway!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  7. I love Meg Cabot books and she writes for both genres. Also Rick Riordan. There are so many it's hard to choose. Oh and PC Cast. I think that the major difference is knowing how to write it so that it's suitable for the age group the book is intended for. It's about knowing what sayings or words or phrases, ect. might to too explicit for the age range and knowing when to hold back.

    mirrormera92 at aol dot com

    thanks so much for this and for the scramble!

  8. Ednah Walters has both a ya and an adult series that are pretty cool, she so awsume.loook her up

    rogcaprino [at]hotmail. [com]

  9. Ooo I think Gena Showalter and Rachel Vincent. Rachel has her Shifters series for adults and the Soul Screamers for YA.

    thanks so much for the chance,

  10. I loved Stephenie Meyer's adult novel The Host, though I didn't see much difference between it and hers/other YA novels, but I'm pretty sure it is technically classified as an adult novel.

    Jess @ The Midnight Bookworm

  11. I love Kelley Armstrong's adult and YA series. There is less violence and sex in the YA but what the things I loved about her adult series are still there (great writing and a great plot).

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  12. I love Meg Cabot's adult and YA series. I think that must be really challenging for an author!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Sonyacullen at

  13. Thanks for the chance!

    My favorite YA and Adult series author is Gena Showalter.


  14. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    I really enjoy Kelley Armstrong, who's an adult/YA crossover author!

    sarah.nicolas.ya at gmail dot com

  15. took me forever to unscramble but finally did it! this is fun!

  16. I'm excited!!! I hope I win something!!

  17. I'd have to say Rachel Vincent and Richelle Mead are my favorite authors that blend in both genres. The similarities are so much the same really. The writing and the characterization. It's only down to the naughty parts where it's slightly different.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com