Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Q&A with a YA!!

Yesterday morning:
My heart is breaking. Yeah, I didn't think it would but it is. The hubs and I just dropped off the 1st grader and the 6th grader at school. CJ is our littlest guy. This will be the first time ever that he's alone in a school building. I know he's not technically alone (there are plenty of other little, snot-nosed pukes running around that elementary school of K-5), but he's MY little puke. I know I'm being silly. I mean, with being kid #4 in our family, everyone pretty much knows him anyway. He actually said 'Hi' to more kids and adults than I did as we marched him to his classroom.

But for me--Mom--he feels alone.

And then there's Kate, the 6th grader. She's off to her first day in junior high school. Remember junior high? So much changed after that point in time for me, for all of us. The circle of life is really a cruel joke. Just two days ago Kate complained about taking a shower. But this morning, she was armed with nailpolish, deoterant, earrings (vamp earrings no less), and a hair dryer. She DRIED her hair. WHAT? My eyes glazed over as my tomboy morphed into a girl right before me. The least she could have done was warn me. Geez....

Living with four males is tough on both Kate and me. We pledged years ago to be faithful, forever pinkie sistahs. When I made her that promise, I hadn't thought about her getting older.

Okay, that's enough groveling for 2day. I need to save some up for tomorrow. The other two, Josh and Jake, will be headed for school too. So now, let's move on to bigger and badder subjects....

EVER want to ask a teen unabridged questions and get a REAL answer? I thought we'd give it a try here on Writers' Ally. I'd like to introduce a guest blogger who has a few quick words for you, so please read on. Welcome Jacob Milhouse, an aspiring YA writer who has been featured on the Graffiti Wall HERE.

Ever wonder what it would be like to really get the perspective of a young adult? Ok, this started off like an infomercial, but really?! Whether you wanted to know about true and current YA voice, what we think of the market, what we want to see more of, what frustrates us in writing, what draws us to certain stories? The list could go on and on. I think everyone has a question—one or many—that they would want answered to further their work or just out of curiosity.

Well, here’s your chance! My name is Jacob Milhouse, a 17-year-old (writer), and Sheri has been kind enough to let me drop by every Thursday to answer questions by you guys! We’ve been sitting on this idea for a while now, and we’re so stocked to launch this segment which is really Q&A with a YA.

Every Thursday, starting September 2nd, I’ll be crashing in to answer a few questions submitted by you! More YA’s will join to give you more than one person’s perspective when this segment takes off. So, any questions you want answered? Well, type them below in the comments section and a few will be answered!

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Can you resist?? Please leave Jacob and his friends a few questions in the comments or email him at He's excited to give you some answers.  


  1. First day of high school! Wow! Oh my god the memories ... good luck getting through that yourself!!! :o)

  2. Thanks for offering to do this Jacob. And great new series Sheri.
    Here's a question: How much do you think teens check out author blogs, websites & Facebook? Is there a way we can get them to interact with us more?

  3. Good luck Sheri! I was in your shoes last week with my 7th grader! And thanks for this awesome idea of a real life YA for us to badger with questions!

  4. Such a great thing you are doing. I have a teen group I work with - I call them the Think Tank. They are the BEST THING EVER! Helping me with the authenticity in my stories. WOOT!

  5. Aww school. I just took Lilli to preschool yesterday:(
    I have a question...what are teens actually reading these days as opposed to what YA authors are writing?

  6. Thanks for the great questions, Natalie and Candyland. Jacob's one it.

    Feel free to email or post questions at anytime. We're thinking about starting a forum for Jacob and his group. I think it would be fun, but also very informational for writers who write YA.

    Wait 'til you guys see the photo I took this morning of two of the kids getting ready for school. classic. They were all total lards. Hah.

  7. Sheri - I know that heartbreak feeling at the beginning - it seems like it should get easier with time, but it just DOESN'T. Gah, we're such moms!

    Jacob - I would love to know what you like to read, as a 17 year old male. Would you read a book with a female protag, even if it didn't have the compensatory mega-action of a Hunger Games type book?

    This is a great idea, Sheri! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I totally know how you feel. My daughter is starting Kindergarten today. Surreal.

    As for asking a teen questions, hmm... I know I have some. Like, What do you struggle with the most in your life? Managing your time? Self-esteem? The opposite sex?

    What do you do when you have free time?

    Are the stereotypical "jocks" and "cheerleaders" and "nerds" real?

    Maybe all those suck...

  9. Hi Sheri,
    Big steps in your kids lives, hey?

    Here is a question for Jacob: what do you think of romance in YA books? Do boys read romance? Why or why not?

  10. aww what a great idea! it'll be interesting to have a guy's POV.

    and hang in there with the kids -- i'm sure things will only get better :D

  11. Time goes too fast doesn't it!
    Jacob~ What do you see in YA literature that bothers you? Or do you see anything that just doesn't ring true to you?

  12. Good luck with your kids, Sheri! And if you're looking for more teens to answer questions, just drop me a line, I'd love to help!

  13. Riv Re, we planned on contacting you, soon. I'll email you. Thanks.

  14. Darn, I'm late to the game b/c my questions are taken. Um...okay here's one-what does bullying really look like in HS?

    THANKS and hugs to you, S!

  15. I sent my 1st grader to school last week. It was difficult. He walked home holding his brother's hand. I still can't believe he is old enough. Good luck with your kids. I hope this school year will be great for them.

  16. Hi Sheri! Thanks for visiting my blog! YOUR blog is awesome! I love it! AND your new Q&A with YA readers is *awesome*. Very, very cool.

    But of course my brain's feeling fried and I can't think of any answer-worthy questions to ask! But I'll be sure to come back and maybe reading what other people ask will get my juices flowing, lol.

  17. I know how it goes. Mine are in 2nd and 6th. Luckily though, 6th is still Elementary where I am. I don't have to make the big jump until next year! Notice how I said "I don't" not "He doesn't."

  18. Both my kids are in school for the first time ever. It's so nice. But I can't help but feel sentimental at how much much they've grown. :(

    Qustion for Jacob: I have a YA story begging for me to write with a male MC. From a male teen's perspective, is fantasy overdone? Would you prefer to read more contemporary? Or does it matter? Thanks so much!

  19. Wow that's a really good idea! I was reading an article a while ago about older YA writers not capturing "the YA voice" because they are still focused on the way high school and middle school was for them growing up, when however, the schools and young adults are evolving the present. While I'm still fairly "fresh" out of high school (2009) I know a lot of people will find this Q&A with a YA really helpful! AND IT'S SOOO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN TOO!

    And don't worry, you're kids will love school. They're growing up! It's precious!!! And the little guy sounds so brave! Sayin' hey to people and everything. I was a clinger in grammar school lol. First day I'd hold onto my mom.

  20. I was teary-eyed when I dropped off my youngest at school yesterday. Of course that was quickly forgotten when I got home and started on my edits. ;)

    What a cool idea for Thursdays. I'm going to have to think up some questions.


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