How My Love for Young Adult Novels Led to a Contract in Romance
by Julie Lindsey
First, I want to thank Deb for allowing me to be a part of her blog. I enjoy her so much and am excited to be here, so Thank you Deb!!! Now, my post ;)
How did I get a contract for a sweet romance? I am unashamedly YA obsessed. I’m not certain why that’s true, but it definitely is. Aside from my Stephanie Plum addiction and Janet Evanovich worship, I’m really a straight YA girl.
I read a YA novel every day or two. Reading is like breathing for me these days and as a result my TBR pile is finally shrinking. I’m getting close to caught up on all the new releases. Thank goodness I found NetGalley where I can request books that haven’t come out yet. I’ve been lucky enough to receive for ARC eBooks in the past two weeks through my membership there. I probably don’t need to tell you they’re all Young Adult titles.
Plenty of people have trouble understanding why I read YA so voraciously. I’m not sure I can articulate it as well as I’d like, but I want to try. YA novels are written with a teen main character, and the focus is on the teen life, drama, angst, chaos and love. No one worries about how to pay the bills or if their marriage is in trouble. There are no angry ex-husbands or dead end jobs to stress about. It’s a fabulous escape from the daily grind of being a grown up. Better still, there is nearly always a romance element in a YA novel. Of course there is. Didn’t boys make up the vast majority of our private conversations for over a decade?
Teens love to fall in love and so do I. I realize now this is another big reason I lean to YA for my reading. I try to fall in love with my husband on a daily basis and for the most part, I do all right. In a way, I thank all my YA reading for keeping it light and reminding me how precious love is. I want to preserve and nurture it, so I try.
Young Adult novels can be written in any genre, but the focal point is the teen. I read contemporary YA, paranormal YA, YA mysteries and thrillers and humor. I love them all and devour them daily. What I didn’t understand until recently about my own fascination was that the thread binding them all was the romance. I get so wrapped up in the stories that I share the MC’s sweaty palms and wobbly knees. I labor through the scenes of betrayal and I exalt in their reunions.
Honestly, I should’ve realized sooner. I’m addicted to love. Not the hot, wet, physical love, (though I don’t dismiss that in any way-ever), but the sweet, tender, honest love which transcends all else. I believe in the love of two people who only want each other, who honor and respect and enjoy one another. I found that in my husband, and I love writing about it for my characters.
Sure, I was slow in my epiphany, but what counts is that it arrived.
This is where I put my theory to test. A dear friend of mine publishes romances books with a small press. I’d never considered submitting there because I thought of them as a romance publisher and myself as a YA writer. Turns out I was wrong. While my humorous women’s fiction was on submissions with my agent this winter, I took a break from writing full-length manuscripts and drew up a short, sweet romance. The novel was complete at 24K words. It was the shortest novel I’d ever written. I submitted it to my friend’s press and it was accepted.
Now, thanks to my obsession with true, unspoiled love and all its glory, I’ve found a new way to write my bliss. I found a home with Turquoise Morning Press publishing. My first novella, Bloom will be out in February 2012, and I hope to stop back later this year to tell you more about that.
I’ve since contracted a humorous women’s fiction with kNight Romance Publishing too. It’s titled Death by Chocolate, and it is the first in a three part series: The Killer Confections Saga. Death by Chocolate will be on shelves in August 2012. It’s a funny twist on an old favorite of mine, but it won’t soon replace my love of romance.
My agent is reading my new YA submission as I type this post and I have my fingers crossed for that one. There’s a love triangle, and first kisses, and honest joy nuzzled into all the seams and I hope desperately to see it in print one day too.
For now, I’m working on another sweet romance to keep Bloom company. Understanding that it’s the romance that draws me in has shifted my writing in a new and exciting way. I hope to write many more stories of love before long. I hope too that you’ll enjoy them.
Meanwhile, I hope you’ll give YA a try and spend some time pinpointing why you read what you read. Maybe you’ll discover another genre you love to write too!
As an only child I had plenty of time to people watch and make things up. When I didn't think I could make a living at the latter, my love of people led me to a BA in Psychology instead. A few years and three kids later, I discovered the thrill of writing.
Hopelessly caffeine addicted and bouncing through life, writing became a harness for my seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm. Best of all, writing created something of value in the wake.
You can find me online – all the time J I blog my writing life at Musings From a Midwestern Writer where I share tips, thoughts & tricks for the writing life. I keep an author site too and a facebook fan page, but you’ll see me chatting on twitter @JulieALindsey around the clock. Look me up and say Hi!