Thursday, January 30, 2014

The W-H-Y of Y-A

In case you haven't noticed by now - the main characters in my novels and short stories tend to be young or youngish. In case you haven't noticed by now - I am really not all that young or youngish. Chronologically, anyway. (Emotionally, mentally - well, that's another story.) So why do - ahem - more mature writers find themselves drawn to writing Young Adult and or New Adult creations?

I will address this query from personal experience and not from a position of psychological analysis.

It's all about the Mulligan.

The non-golfers of the world may not understand. The Mulligan in the game of golf is a do-over. You've had a lousy shot, know you can do better, so you call a Mulligan and go at it again. In the case of the Mulligan it's as if the first shot didn't really count.

This is not to imply that my own youth didn't count. Buuuttt...who among us older - ahem - more mature - sect doesn't secretly pine for another chance to have that first kiss? Another go-round confronting that little witch from high school, the one you never had the nerve/time/inclination/back-up to tell off. In the mind of the YA writer, those chances live. They beg to be given their devil's due.

As the years amass we often think about life's golden opportunities that got by us, under-appreciated. Maybe we missed the cues. The big scenes that crop up in our younger years often do so without the foreshadowing that literature provides. They unceremoniously tumble from the pages of reality without a pause for dramatic effect, without a decent lead. Who can blame us if we look back and ponder the possibilities. What would have happened if I'd only done THIS instead of THAT? How would things have turned out if I would have chosen Door Number One, not Door Number Two?

The more mature writer craves those Mulligans. They are drawn to the re-creation of days gone by. The YA writer casts a net over the colorful what-if butterflies of imagination. We crave the sweet scent of teen-aged angst. The nubile moments of the new adult exploring their twenties with immortal abandon. Reaching back into our youth allows us to snag the forevers once again. Pretend we don't know all those harsh lessons the years have seen fit to teach us. Redirect the outcomes.

The writer is an actor of the page, donning words like costumes, slipping in and out of identities and circumstances with the greatest of ease. Reliving. Re-examining the re-do. Blowing the bejesus off the boundaries of the mundane.

With all of this in mind I hope you will visit the world of Ann Leigh (or is she Ana Lisa?) when THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN meets the literary landscape on FEB. 6th!  Check back for purchase links.



  1. Very lovely photo looking so great :-)

  2. What a wonderful article! I am also a more "mature" reader of YA and I love it for the same reasons that you write it. It is so fun to go back in time through the stories of YA and "do over" the things from our teenage years. I also read YA because it helps me relate to my teenagers and what they are reading. I like to try and stay on top of things with them and try and stay connected to their generation.

    Thank you again for the fantastic insight.

    Kristalyn @ The Sarcastic Palmtree