Tuesday, January 31, 2012

YA Expert Board Tells All!

For another edition of Young Adult Teen Tuesday, I'm giving you a gift. A surprise. Well, really not a surprise, but a long awaited post!!

It's finally here! My amazing YA Expert Board, comprised of fabulous teen writers, have answered some of your just-got-to-know questions.

YA Expert Board: 
Jacob Milhouse
Riv Re
Rhiannon Pelletier
Jenna Gustafson (our newest teen member & pubbed author)

FYI: Know of a teen who'd like to be a part of our board? Have them email me or leave a comment below. I'd love to add to our board!

Kelly Hitchcock asks: at what age do you feel you outgrow books marketed as young adult?

Jacob: Even at 19, I am still very much enthralled by YA lit as long as the story in itself is engrossing enough. I don’t even think that I will outgrow it, to be completely honest. There’s an intrigue with the genre that cannot be replicated with any other. I especially love seeing the development of YA characters, now more than ever. I can look back at my own growth and see how far I have come as a person, and to see that process take place in a fantastic book really keeps me turning the pages.

Riv: I wouldn't know. I'm still a YA. (Though people I know generally focus more on the "Y" when it comes to me.) Um...102, 103..maybe?

Jenna: Teenagers’ interest in young-adult marketed books may dwindle after age seventeen, simply because they begin to look for something more solid, tangible, and practical as they enter the “real world”.  Although some imagination is lost from our childhood years due to maturity, a mid-teen’s world still is full of dreamy possibilities, what if’s, and prince charming’s.  Books bursting with wonder, creativity, and unlikely events fit like a puzzle piece into their lives.  As the teen years flick by our ride on the magic carpet of dreams sputters to a halt one day around the beginning of senior year, when we realize life is not about looking towards a fairytale future anymore, but living life to achieve it….and surviving.  Suddenly these teens are too grown-up for silly tales, and replace them with self-help books.

With that said, I know many adults who are NOT restricted by young adult labels.  No one is ever too old to experience these spell binding tales while taking a small vacation back to the land of ungrownuphood, before reality.

Hart Johnson asks: What I want to know (in a very real way, as I have the issue looming for a book I wrote) is: Common wisdom is teens like characters a year to several years older than they are. Are you ever interested in MCs younger than you? And what does it take to secure this interest?

Jacob: Great question. I use to have issues with this when I was growing up. In my mind, back then, I didn’t want to backtrack because I was gladly progressing in my life so I didn’t want to go back and relive being a “youngster” with characters younger than myself. I took pride in saying I wanted to read about older characters. The age isn’t so much the problem for me now, it’s the maturity level of the character and their unique voice and plots that hook me. I have to admit I doubt I would read about a character younger than fifteen; age range would have to be older than that. But, like I said, it’s all about the voice of that character and the story itself. If it speaks to my interests and is wonderfully written, I’m all yours regardless of how old I am and possibly how old the character is.

Riv: I just want a teen I can relate to. Often 14-17 is ideal. Younger is too little to be relateable, older is to...mature. (And I'm far from mature. ;) )

Susan Kaye Quinn asks: How much romance is too much for the boy teen reader types? :)

Jacob: I don’t have too much of a problem with romance as long as it isn’t too overbearing. I think that’s when the red flag starts to wave, and I take my leave. If the character spends ten pages describing how beautiful a guy (or girl) is, has no sense of self-identity away from that person, or the two are just unhealthily obsessed without any real reason to love one another, I just can’t do it. We always love a good love interest, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed with guys. Which is very important with distinguishing your target audience. 

Jenna: Many teen boys that I know can handle sprinkles of romance woven into a story, but I don’t know any who have an affair with romance novel’s.  As long as the plot is not primarily love and the poor kid is not drowning in gooeyness, I think you are safe. 

Could they be anymore fabulous?!! 

I'm looking for more YA questions from you. Please email me your questions or leave them in the comments below. Please spread the word, so our board will have plenty to chat about. We'll have our next YA Q & A segment soon. 

For more YA, go visit these YATT Supporters:
Margo Berendsen
The Write Game
Julie Musil (not every wk)
Rosewood Pencil Box
Misha Gericke (not every wk)
Fairbetty's World
Concrete Pieces of Soul

ALERT: There will be no Featherbrained Friday, this week. I'll be leaving for the pageant on Friday, and I have a ton of preparations to finalize before than. I'm also teaching a writing workshop on Thursday to some middle grade students. Yikes!! Can't wait to write that post!! 

Wish me luck, and say a few prayers for me for the pageant. I'll leave you with this final image of me.Thank you for your amazing support. I HEART you all!!


  1. Loved all the advice. It's good to know as kids get older that they don't mind reading YA with a character younger than themselves as long as they are mature.

    Maybe next time you interview Jenna, shout out about her book. I'm interviewing her next month and I think we can all help her by telling everyone about her book.

  2. Good luck at the pageant! Can't wait to hear all about it! Cool teen answers. :)

  3. Best of luck with the pageant and the workshop, Sheri! And this teen board is such a wonderful idea - it sounds like you have an excellent panel, I loved reading their answers!

  4. I especially liked Hart's question and the honest response. I believe that is so true. Good luck with the pagent!!

  5. Awesome Q&A! Good luck at the pageant!

  6. That was great! I love knowing kids are still out there reading! Good luck at the pageant! Can't wait to hear all about it!

  7. This was fantastic! I love the insight!

  8. ACK! And good luck at the pageant! (stupid "publish" happy fingers)

  9. GOOD LUCK at the pageant! I know you're going to knock 'em dead.
    And thanks for the fabulous teen insights too!

    1. Aw, Jessie. Thank you so much!! The journey this pageant has taken me on is one I never expected, but the rewards of self-growth, confidence, and exposure have been well worth it.

  10. This was FANTASTIC--thanks guys! And gogogogogoGO YOU! Good luck!

  11. Thanks for answering my question!! :)

  12. Fabulous panel! Good luck in the pageant!

    And I want to know: What's the most important factor that influences you to buy a book? The cover? Online buzz? Friend recommendation? Etc.

    1. Ooh, will definitely pass this one along! Thanks.

  13. Good to hear that boys can a handle a little romance!! :) I'm sure i can brainstorm LOTS of questions for these guys. Maybe I will ask my 17 yr old stepdaughter if she'd like to join the ranks, I bounce everything off her. So far she's given me advice like what's a cool title, what's not, what's a relatable topic for teens, what's not, etc.

    I've noticed since she turned 17 she reads a lot less. There just isn't time anymore with all the reading for school and activities.

    Good luck on your pageant!!!!

  14. Great q&a--good luck at the pageant!!

  15. This is AWESOME! Thanks so much, panelists. This is great stuff.

  16. First, good luck with your pageant, second this is awesome! It's my first time on your blog and i love it! I am a new follower and on twitter too. :)

    Stopping by from HER WORLD -

  17. Good luck with the A to Z Challenge. I look forward to your posts.

  18. Woohoo! Good luck with the pageant. *keeping fingers crossed!*

    Love the panel. So awesome.

  19. This is awesome! Thanks so much to this great group for providing their feedback.

  20. GREAT post!!!!

    Good luck at the pageant! :)

  21. This post was incredibly helpful, thank you! Here is a question for the board, for your consideration: How do you feel about references to modern technology in YA? When it's specific such as 'Facebook' or 'iPhones'? When it's generic? Any pet peeves that writers should avoid?

    Thank you, and best of luck, Sheri, in the pageant!

    1. This is a fabulous question!! I will pass it on!

  22. Wow. What an incredible idea and fabulous resource for YA writers. Thank you to all those involved in making this possible, and extra special thanks to Sheri.

  23. What a fantastic initiative!

    Good luck this weekend. Keeping everything crossed for you.

  24. First, love the idea behind the YA expert panel. Good stuff. But, more importantly, GOOD LUCK with the pageant! So exciting!!!!! I'm rooting for you.

  25. So glad to hear that boys are open to reading some romance. Great post, Sheri. Here are my added best wishes for your pageant success!

  26. Oh, good luck in the pageant! I love this Q&A. So enlightening.


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