During my time on the YA stage, a gentleman asked me a question that got me thinking, but first...PICTURES!
Here are some pictures of me with my now short, short hair, a rock musician, and Captain Tall Tale!
|Rebecca Taylor and David Alpizar|
|Captain Tall Tale|
|Pic of me by Captain Tall Tale|
|Dangerous Selfie with Captain Tall Tale|
There were some good questions!
But one in particular stands out in my memory. Partially because it was asked by a dad-looking fellow who appeared to have possibly been dragged to my event by his three daughters and partially because I think it's a good question for many YA writers to consider.
He raised his hand and tried to not look overtly smug as he asked, "Why YA?"
Now before we all start our collective moaning about YA not getting the appropriate amount of literary street cred (because there was that hint of disdain in his tone) I don't think this is a bad question for YA writers to actually answer for themselves (minus the staring down the nose, of course.)
After several seconds of ponder, here is what I came up with.
Hands down, I just love the love. The emotion. The rush. The first everything.
Secondarily, that whole phase of human development is just ripe for explosive story telling (sorry, my psychologist is showing.) The whole push pull of becoming an adult and leaving childhood. The confusion. The mistakes. The joy of new freedoms. The fear of new freedoms. Really, there are just sooooo many emotionally heady avenues to explore.
I love it, truly.
And finally, I love to write dialogue, body language, internal processing--all big ticket YA musts that are about the relationships between characters and the relationship we have with ourselves. I actually like that the YA character can be pretty centered on their own experiences and that doesn't make them completely self-centered because it's still developmentally expected (to a point, of course) for the 13 to 18 year-old.
Maybe it's because I work with kids, maybe it's because I have them, or maybe it's because I'm a bit arrested development, but whatever the reason, It's a age range that comes naturally to me.
I don't write YA because it's easy (because it's not!) I write it because those teen experiences are so visceral for many of us--especially as adults looking back, adults that may still be trying to figure out exactly what happened to us during those years and why the hell we still care so much.