Why I Write Young Adult by L.J. Launer

 

Today on Paws 4 Thought I present a guest post by a local St. Louis author L.J. Launer. He talks about his love for young adult literature and why he writes it.

 

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People often ask me why I write young adult fiction. I read many books in a variety of genres. Some of my favorite reads have included Jonathan Franzen’s The Twenty-Seventh City (which is set in my hometown of St. Louis), mysteries by Dee Henderson, Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series, and many Gregory MacDonald’s Fletch mysteries. But always I return to young adult literature…YA has something intriguing that draws me to the genre.

I think part of it is that the characters are just taking their first steps into the adult world. They are discovering its challenges. Do they join the rat race? Or do they try to make the world a better place to live in?

But why high school, you ask? I answer, why not high school? Most young adults who are in high school today are both interesting and intelligent. They even fool many adults. But don’t make all YA characters totally anti-establishment. Because that isn’t real. It isn’t that way even if you are writing YA science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, or the “superhero” literature that has started to take hold in recent years.

My first inspiration with young adult came when I was in the middle of plotting my first novel, but not my first published novel. It was 1986 and I was creating a chapter outline for a novel that is still a work-in-progress. In March of that year, I went to the movies with a friend of mine. We saw a movie called LUCAS, which was set mainly in a high school and the characters were primarily high school students with a few adults along the way. It was essentially a young adult movie. It inspired me to refocus the novel I was working on into a young adult novel.

It took me 29 years to publish my first novel, Rurals and Townies. Many of my writer friends over the years told me I was beating a dead horse. But I stuck to it and today, that one novel has become my Blanchette High School series.

In order to do any writing and be good at it, you have read. Read everything from the classics, like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn or the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Read contemporaries such as John Green, who is the current superstar of YA. Also check out another great YA writer, Tom Tharp, who wrote The Spectacular Now.

Several of my friends have published YA. And what amazes me is how many adults read popular YA series like The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Young adult is alive and well. I appreciate the genre and I continue to enjoy writing it.

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Check out L.J. Launer’s novels on Amazon.

 

Meet P.D. Workman

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Hello everybody today on Paws4Thought I welcome YA author P.D. Workman. P.D. is a prolific writer and her name title, Chloe is releasing this month.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write riveting young adult/suspense fiction about mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other tough subjects. I am a wife, a mother of one, born and raised in Alberta, Canada. I love to read books in all formats and am a technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools. For as long as I can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure, leading me to write my first complete novel at the age of twelve. I kept writing, but did not start publishing until three years ago. With Chloe, I have now published 23 titles.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I have little construction paper books that my mother kept from when I was very young. Even before I could draw or write, I was making scribbles and stapling them together into books. I guess it was inevitable!

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

I have so many of them! S.E. Hinton, J.R.R. Tolkien, L.M. Montgomery, Jay Bennett, Kristen D. Randle…

  1. Tell us a bit about Chloe and the Between the Cracks series.

The Between the Cracks series begins with the award-winning book Ruby, Between the Cracks. Ruby is a tough-as-nails street kid, doing whatever she has to to survive and proud of her independence. She blocked out a lot of her past history rather than dealing with it. Ruby is a hard-hitting, conflict-filled journey of discovery as Ruby is forced to face her past and decide what she really wants out of life.

The other books in the series follow other members of Ruby’s family as each of them strives to overcome their toxic histories in order to survive and move on in their lives.

Chloe is book four of the series, and is my favorite. In books 1-3, the reader has only seen Chloe from the perspectives of her siblings—the polar opposite of Ruby, June and Justin’s bossy big sister, the only one of the children who stayed by their mother’s side through everything. Now it’s time to hear Chloe’s story. Take a deep breath and buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be a tough ride.

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Pick up your copy of Chloe to meet this handsome fellow!

  1. What attracts you to writing young adult literature?

The genre sort of picked me. Because I started writing so young, the young adult genre was a natural fit for me to begin with. And while I’ve written non-young-adult books as well, I never really grew out of YA and it is still my preferred genre. I still see, as I did when I was a teen, so much unfairness and heartbreak in this age group. I want to reach out to those who are hurting, and this is my way of doing it.

  1. Your books deal with some tough subjects how do you prepare yourself mentally for writing?

It can be hard, especially with a story like Chloe’s. My heart breaks for everything that she is going through, but I have to write my truth. Because it is happening to kids all over the world. It isn’t just something I have made up, but an attempt to capture their stories and the pain and struggle of their lives. I need to take breaks, and I need to make an effort to pull myself out of the story to deal with my own family and life.

  1. Do you have a favorite character you have written?

I love all my kids. J

Chloe is amazing because she is so strong after everything she goes through. She doesn’t see herself that way, but she is something special. She also gains a special friend along the way, one who understands better than anyone else could what she has gone through. But I don’t want to give any spoilers!

  1. What was your favorite book you read this year?

Tough call! I usually prefer fiction, but I think I’m going to have to go with I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai. There is one strong young lady!

(That one’s on my TBR list too – DMK)

  1. If you could choose a superpower what would you choose?

I think it would have to be super speed. I am always trying to squeeze so much into my day!

  1. So what’s next? What are you currently working on?

I just put out a new series of YA thrillers called  ThMedical Kidnap Files, and I’ve been working on a sequel to Tattooed Teardrops and some private eye stuff. I’m kicking off the New Year writing a cozy mystery series. So, something a little lighter, but you can bet that I will still work my passions into the story!

(I admire how prolific you are J – DMK)

  1. How can readers and parents connect with you?

You can find me at http://pdworkman.com and on most social media platforms as pdworkmanauthor. I love to hear from readers and can also be reached directly at pdworkman.author@gmail.com

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Check out P.D. Workman’s books on Amazon!