Links Galore

A few mid-week links:


Links Galore

Start the week with some good link-age:


Happy Amelia Earhart Day! Plus Giveaway!

Photograph showing Amelia Earhart sitting in the cockpit of an Electra airplane. (via Wikicommons)

Happy birthday, Amelia Earhart! Today would have been the famous pilot’s 118th birthday. Despite having been born over a hundred years ago and having disappeared over the Pacific seventy-eight years ago, she still fascinates and inspires the public. And, obviously, her presence and history are a big part of The Chance You Won’t Return.

What better way to celebrate Amelia Earhart’s birthday than to host a giveaway?

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a signed copy of The Chance You Won’t Return, plus some book swag and a few extra goodies. For extra entries, follow me on Facebook and Twitter, tweet with the hashtag #TCYWRgiveaway, and comment below about where you’d go if you could travel anywhere.

Thanks to Amelia Earhart for her continued inspiration, and happy Amelia Earhart Day to all my wonderful readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: Giveaway for US residents only. I love international readers, but postal is expensive.

My Entirely Non-Scientific Breakdown of What Defines YA

I read a lot of YA. Mostly YA. I write YA, so it’s important for me to keep up with what’s going on in the field, and I like reading my fellow author’s work. It’s also a category I enjoy in general–I read a lot of YA when I was a teen, and haven’t abandoned that side of the bookstore yet.

So I definitely agree that twenty-somethings can get a lot out of YA. They’re coming of age stories, and when you’re in your 20s, being able to reflect on your own teen years while also still feeling so close to that instability and possibility makes for a great reading experience.

However, one part of the post stood out to me: “As far as I can tell, apart from the unwritten no-graphic-intimacy rule, the only true requirement for a book to be considered YA is that the protagonist(s) must be somewhere between the ages of 13 – 19.” Sharma is making a point about how YA can consist of all kinds of genres and plots and emotions, which is true and awesome.

But this got me thinking about what actually defined YA. If the requirement is just that it’s about a teen protagonist, what about books like The Age of Miracles or Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Although those books have a lot of crossover appeal, I’d put them in the general adult fiction section of the bookstore, not with the YA novels. And I’d definitely classify The Book Thief as a YA novel, but its narrator is Death–not exactly your typical teenager.

So here’s my totally non-scientific breakdown of what makes a YA novel:

The main character is a teenager

Again, this can vary a little, but for the most part the protagonist is a teenager. This is about the teen experience, not about the kid or adult experience.

The POV is immediate

This is what makes the big difference for me. Whereas books like The Age of Miracles or even To Kill a Mockingbird are about young characters, and potentially read by teen readers, what makes YA particular is that it’s about that moment of the teen experience. It’s not set many years later, from an adult perspective looking back on this experience. It’s set right then, when the emotions are high and the future isn’t always clear.

The POV is close

Even when a book is written in third person POV, I find that YA novels are written much closer to their main characters’ perspectives. Adult novels tend to keep their characters at more of a distance. One thing I like about YA is that the narration isn’t afraid to get into the emotional messiness.

And maybe most importantly…

Teens are the intended audience

There have been a lot of articles in the past five years about adults reading YA and if that’s okay (of course it is), but they’re not the people for whom the books are written. These books are written with teens and their particular experiences and pressures and dreams and realities in mind. When I write YA, I want to connect with teens who are experiencing a lot of things for the first time and forming their identities and figuring out who they want to be and where they want to go. If these stories also connect with adult readers, that’s fantastic. But it’s secondary. Teen readers, YA is yours, first and foremost.

No matter what makes YA, it’s exactly where I want to be as a writer.

Are there any other features that you think define YA literature? Share them in the comments!

Attention MA Authors: Marketing and Bookstores Talk at the Writers’ Loft!

Allison PH flyer finalThese days, most authors have to finagle a lot of their own promotion. And unless you have a background in marketing, it can be difficult to figure out what’s worthwhile and who you should connect with and how you should plan for events.

That’s when you bring in the experts. Wednesday, July 22 (tomorrow!) friend, writer, and former bookstore event maven, Allison Pottern Hoch, is giving a talk at the Writers’ Loft about book marketing and working with local independent bookstores.

I’m excited to hear Allison’s advice and figure out ways I can better market my work and connect with the wonderful people at our local bookstores. Come on out and take notes with me!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! Tonight, I’ll be at Porter Square Books with a bunch of awesome YA authors, so come say hi, get some books signed, and chat with us about all things writing/reading.

And even if you’re not in the general Boston area, we can get the weekend rolling with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or under:

ReadingFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Brought back lots of good first year of college feelings. Also dig a fandom story.

Writing: “Fortunately, we’re accepting volunteers for the secret project.”
Hijinks in the WIP!

Links Galore

Lots of links to start your week: