Why Write: YA with Steph Sessa

Today Steph Sessa is here to talk about YA and why teen stories have such a profound effect on people of all ages. Enjoy!

Hello, Steph, and welcome! Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

Hi! Thanks for having me! I’m a Philadelphia-based writer with obsessions in linguistics, music and ultimate frisbee. When not writing, I work part-time as a linguistic researcher and go to grad school for education. I write primarily YA, particularly speculative fiction, though recently I’ve been dabbling in NA contemporary.

What made you decide to write for young adults?

I think I’m one of the few people who loved high school. Like absolutely loved it. Yes, at times it was tough. But the experiences I had there are some I’ll never forget. It’s the time when everything matters and there’s so many emotions and you feel everything. All the emotions are amplified and part of the reason to read is to feel, so YA was just the obvious choice for me.

You also describe some of your work as speculative fiction — what exactly does that mean?

Speculative fiction is just a broad term for the fantastical genres, so fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, horror, scifi, dystopian etc.

What types of stories does young adult make possible? How about speculative fiction?

So many! YA is the time for self-discovery and new relationships (whether it’s boyfriends or just new friendships). It’s about finding out who you are and how to navigate relationships with other people. Speculative fiction allows the reader to get lost in a different world and to take a break from reality for a second. Readers can discover new worlds and situations that they can’t get in their every day lives. It’s an escape.

Aside from the obvious, what audience do you think YA attracts? Why do you think so many adults love to read YA fiction?

With YA it’s all about the feeling. As I said above, emotions are amplified so everything is terrible or amazing. Insecurities come out in the characters and all readers can relate, because everyone is insecure about something. I think adults like YA because it reminds us of a time in our lives when everything mattered, but we weren’t bogged down with car payments or rent or other boring things like that. It’s about relationships, which really are the most important things in life, and I think young adults and regular adults like to see that.

How does the audience alter the types of stories you tell and characters you write?

Everything has to be intensified. Since teenagers tend to have shorter attention spans (as do I!) things have to get going right from the beginning. Tension in the first page, first paragraph, first line. Hooking the reader early on is incredibly important because they might not give the book a chance otherwise. So the plot has start early on or the characters have to be interesting enough for the readers to want to spend 250+ pages with them. The characters have to change from the beginning to the end more prominently, because YA is about growth.

How does YA affect the stakes for your characters and your audience? And speculative fiction?

The problems aren’t going to be the same things I face on a day to day basis. For YA, they’re going to be problems that sixteen-year-olds usually have, so a fight with a friend, boyfriend, parent. They’re inter-personal problems. But including speculative fiction means including scenarios that you might not see everyday because of the setting. So maybe there are different species living in that world that’s hostile, or there’s a dystopian government that affects every aspect of life. So it’s the relationship problems plus a big picture problem.

How do you think your genre affects your audience?

My audience is going to be the people who read to feel and read to get lost in a world. Speculative fiction tends to have a lot of world building which can be a lot to take in sometimes. But it also has the chance to enhance the story significantly. It’s growth and emotions of the main character, with a fantastical plot.

For fun, what is your favorite genre to read? Why?

I read almost exclusively YA, and usually it’s either fantasy or light scifi. I do like contemporary YA as well.

Where can readers track you down?

https://twitter.com/stephsessa
http://stephsessa.blogspot.com/

Thanks for stopping by, Steph!

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Why Write: YA Fantasy with Trevor Green

Readers, today we welcome fantasy writer Trevor Green! Trevor’s a Twitter-buddy of mine, but this is his first time on the blog. He has some great things to say about audience age and content, so check it out!

Hello, Trevor, and welcome!
Thanks for having me!
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
 
Hi, I’m Trevor Green, and I’m one of those idiots you’ve heard about who thinks they’ll actually sell a novel someday. That’s right, I’m a writer. Look up “naive” in the dictionary and you’ll see my photo there, smiling up at you from the page with a grin the size of Milwaukee. I don’t know when or how I developed the idea that I was somehow skilled enough to write a novel, but it can be argued that every writer has an ego as big as a dinosaur-sized peacock, so it’s not entirely outrageous. And yes, despite crushing self-doubt and bouts of depression that have my lips dragging on the ground as I shuffle around my apartment, I still feel like I have something worthwhile to say to the world. If that combination is confusing to you, you might not be a writer.
 
Luckily, I happen to live in Utah where a surprisingly amazing writing community exists, so I may have a shot after all.
 
As for my work, I’m currently querying two books simultaneously (get at me, agents), one a MG urban fantasy titled ONLY GINGERS CAN BE WITCHES, the other a YA fantasy called THE WITCKE IN THE RUINS. I love them both equally (even the ginger one), and hope you’ll all get a chance to read them one day. I’ve written/begun many other fantasies that have been shelved for the time being. As for what I’m currently working on, I’ve decided to take a whack at an Adult sci-fi tentatively titled THIRD MIND.
What made you decide to write YA fantasy?
 
For me, there wasn’t much of a decision involved. Because I started writing novels at the relatively young age of 23, the books I’d been reading in the previous several years informed everything I sat down to write. I grew up reading YA and MG, almost exclusively fantasy (throw in a ton of the Star Wars EU novels and you have a real geek on your hands), and right out of the gate, YA fantasy was my go-to genre.
As to why I continue to write YA fantasy, that bears a little examination. In my opinion, there are three stages of reading (obviously with exceptions, and out of order):
  1. Early Childhood – This is where a child first learns to read, begins to understand the concept of written stories, and string the meaning of one sentence to another–creating a complete thought. Most books are simple, exciting or funny, and don’t leave a lasting impression beyond nostalgia later in life.
  2. Adulthood – Reading for adults seems to exist mostly as a way to entertain and keep one’s mind sharp. Lots of books are complicated either in subject matter, sentence structure, or theme. I love a great many Adult books.
  3. Middle Grade and Young Adult – I list these two age groups together because they share a similar purpose. From the preteen years to late high school, kids really start to find a sense of “self.” Their developing brains are forging new, more advanced pathways, their bodies are changing, and the seeds of who they will eventually become are planted. This is the only stage of reading that I would say is crucial to get right. (And this where an exception pops up: early childhood is super important to laying out the framework for a kid’s reading skills and habits. Let’s just consider that a given.) With such fertile brain-soil in their skulls, reading should be the number one thing teen kids are encouraged to engage in. YA and MG books will introduce them to new ideas, call up questions of right and wrong, and help them understand the importance of working through difficulties and obtaining solutions. That isn’t to say YA and MG books should preach to their audience–seriously, heaven forbid–rather, these books have the opportunity to bring new thoughts to the table, allowing a kid to examine and make choices about their own life. As I said before, the books a kid reads from say, twelve to nineteen years-old can be one of the defining aspects of who they will become in their late twenties until their deathbed. As a writer, being a part of that is a very exciting prospect.
You know what, scratch all that; the real reason I write MG and YA fantasy is because I owe it to the universe. I was a pretty lonely kid in school: overweight, terrible hair parted down the middle, never allowed to watch the popular TV shows or movies. Books like Brian Jacques’s Redwall series, Lloyd Alexander’s The Prydain Chronicles, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings (Yeah, I’d say this counts as the perfect reading for a young adult) provided my only friends for years. I knew those characters better than anyone else in my life, and without them, who knows if I would be here today. So despite the analysis of age groups and brain development, the only reason I write YA and MG is to perhaps give some other lonely kid a reason to keep going, no matter how hard life gets. If I could ever do that, I would die happy.
What types of stories does the YA/fantasy combo make possible?
 
I think there are two kinds of fantasy (aside from the many genre classifications): fantasy that focuses on the setting and plot, and fantasy that focuses on character. Everything else fits under those two categories. YA and MG fiction definitely have the character aspect down pat. They own it. After all, that’s why they exists in the first place: to bring a person who never really existed to life, dump them in a bum situation, then follow them through it. The fantasy aspects of a YA or MG story are just the icing to the cake. Delicious icing, to be sure, but still only a garnish to enhance enjoyment. The test of a good YA or MG fantasy is how well it would hold up if stripped of its magic and worldbuilding. Will it still tell a great character piece? Can the characters’ motivations and decisions still win the day? Does the book still contain a message for its readers?
Honestly, these are all things that also make YA so extremely hard to do well. Ask any YA writer. And nothing gets my goat as quickly as a person (usually unfamiliar with the genre in question) insults YA/MG or its readers. Okay, there might not be as much sex or violence (though you’d be surprised) as Adult genres, but you can still find the whole of the human developmental experience in the pages of a good YA or MG. There’s meaning inside that many times doesn’t exist in Adult genres. YA and MG have the luxury of exploring specific aspects of the human experience, focusing on things that speak directly to select members of its readership. Troubled friendships, tragedy, young romance, parental strife, death: all these can be found in YA/MG. Important stuff.
Kate Forsyth has been quoted as saying:
 
“Fantasy fiction does not deny or diminish the existence of sorrow and pain, as so many people seem to think. The possibility of failure is absolutely necessary for the ‘piercing sense of joy’ one feels when victory is finally and with difficulty won. Like a candle-flame, fantasy casts a shadow at the same time that it illuminates. Yet it is the illumination that is important. Fairy-tales all offer the hope that a happy ending is possible and we need to believe this. Fantasy denies ultimate despair. It holds out the hope for a better world, and signposts the way”.
 
Apply that to the YA and MG age groups, and I definitely think we have our answer as to why it’s so important to have our kids read these sorts of stories.
Aside from the obvious, what audience do you think YA attracts? Lots of adults love to read YA — what do you think the reasoning is there? How does the audience alter the types of stories you tell and characters you write?
 
I’m gonna quote Stephen Donaldson here in response to the question regarding why adults read YA fantasy:
 
“One of the oldest and most enduring forms of literature in all languages is fantasy. We need metaphors of magic and monsters to understand the human condition. It’s only in modern times that we have suddenly decided this narrative language isn’t serious, that it’s for children; grown-ups don’t believe these things… We’ve reached the point in our sophistication of our self-perceptions when it no longer seems possible to make epic statements about the meaning of life. You get laughed at for doing it, and epics ceased to be written. But in order for us to have this type of heroism, beauty, glory, magic and power we have to get away from real life.” 
 
Spot on. I absolutely love this quote and I throw it around at every opportunity. The question is not so much a matter of age or genre, rather the sorts of stories we feel ourselves needing. Who cares how old the protagonist is when we really need to heal a little with some sweet romance? Or if we’re dealing with a difficult home life, why not read about a kid who obtains personal triumph despite parents who treat him/her badly? There’s a book for every problem, and we can all benefit. When it comes down to it, YA and MG books simply provide a better choice of learning experiences for anyone, of any age.
 
As for my own writing, I don’t pay attention to audience beyond initial parameters before I start (gotta be smart to sell books). I write from my heart, I write what I feel is important. If a teen picks it up–or a ninety year-old man–it doesn’t matter. It should be relevant no matter what, and it can be.
How does the YA age affect the stakes for your characters and your audience? How about fantasy?
 
The teen/young adult years have some defining moments within them that you won’t find elsewhere: the first true friends, struggles to gain independence, the first kiss, the first breakup, etc. What other age group can you examine the effects and problems surrounding such pivotal moments in a person’s life? Most people would say that their young adult years defined who they are in the present. Why can’t YA books continue to define what they read long into adulthood?
As to how fantasy affects the stakes of a given book, I personally believe its simply a matter of upping the contrast. When a photographer takes a photo, they’ve hopefully framed it correctly and paid attention to the lighting. But when the photo turns out gray and washed out regardless, a trip to Photoshop or Lightroom can fix that by adjusting the contrast, levels, and midtones, bringing out the highlights and making the image pop. The same goes for books. Fantasy elements can highlight and contrast the best and worst parts of a story, drawing the mind to the right conclusions, or hiding what shouldn’t be revealed. To repeat Donaldson above: “…in order for us to have this type of heroism, beauty, glory, magic and power we have to get away from real life.”
How do you think fantasy affects its audience?
 
It makes them better people. Period.
For fun, what is your favorite genre to read? Why?
 
You may have guessed by now: I love fantasy. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, and the Redwall Series by the late Brain Jacques. I can’t even begin to list the many other writers and books within fantasy that have influenced me–I owe so much to them. I also enjoy sci-fi (I should, I’m writing one now!) and some darker stuff, the kind Chuck Wendig writes.
For a more in depth examination of why I love fantasy, you can find an essay I wrote in college here. http://tinyurl.com/ce3m2vr
How can readers reach you?
My blog can be found at beyonddragonsandwizards.blogspot.com, where I post a lot of drivel and the occasional short story. Be sure to check out some author interviews I’ve done myself!
I’m quite active on Twitter: @TrevorJGreen
You can also like my writing page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/trevorgreenwriter
Thanks for stopping by! 
It’s been fun, thanks for having me!

Why Write: YA Romance with E.M. Caines

EC 0125Greetings, and happy Monday to you all! Today we have young adult (YA) writer E. M. Caines here to talk about why she writes teen romance and why people of all ages love to read YA. Once again, I learned a lot, and I think I’m going to have to write a blog post all about writers’ relationships with their audiences. You authors! Stop making me think! *shakes fist*

Okay, not really. Thinking is good for me.

For now, though, dig in and learn a little about YA Romance.

Hello, Eileen, and welcome!

Hi, Kristin! Thanks for having me. *sits down & sips coffee*

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

I’m a SoCal native now living in Florida and the mom of a precocious little boy. I’m also the Retail Analyst for an global restaurant chain (yes, you read that right) in my non-writing life, so juggling life and writing can be tricky. But I know I’m not alone, so I don’t complain. (Out loud. Often.) And lest anyone think my identity is tied to geography or occupation, I’d also like to share that I enjoy fine foods, hate shopping (especially for shoes), and have a weird eye-shadow phobia.

I have one completed novel under my belt which earned me representation from Julia A. Weber, and I’m working on a companion novel now. My finished manuscript is a young adult (YA) novel that I described as a twist on the Snow White tale that picks up where the story ends and she discovers Prince Charming isn’t so charming after all. But there are no supernatural elements or anything, so the magic is entirely removed. The result is something that resembles teen chick lit: romance novels for the teen set.

You describe your work as “teen chick lit.” What made you decide to write for teens? And why teen chicks? (Teen chicks sounds totally weird out of context, LOL)

LOL Teen chicks do sound weird!

So why write for teens? Hmm… *takes another sip of coffee and ponders*

I didn’t pick the genre because of its marketability. Truth be told, I think the genre is getting a bit saturated. But I really wrote my novel for my nieces and for my son’s classmates. I know a lot of younger girls and wanted to put something on the shelves for them, something that wasn’t all about back-stabbing frenemies or falling for the quintessential bad boy. I wanted to give them characters who weren’t extraordinary, just everyday people who felt the same things they did. For my first novel, for example, I wanted to point out that bad guys don’t always show their colors right away. From what I’ve read that’s currently on the shelf, I don’t see a lot of light, fluffy romance novels for teens out there. So I just wrote what I wanted to read.

What types of stories does this genre make possible?

YA as a genre is very broad. Basically, I think anything that is written from a teen’s perspective falls into YA. As such, YA is wide open to all the subgenres: horror, suspense, fantasy, romance, etc. I know as a reader that I would LOVE to see a good YA suspense novel, but don’t look to me to write it. My plot would be thus: Girl gets threatening phone call, Girl tells her parents and goes to police, Police find and apprehend culprit. (See why I write romance?)

What audience do you think YA attracts, aside from the obvious? How does that alter the types of stories you tell and characters you write?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a “normal” writer because I write for myself first and my nieces and son second. Anyone else who picks it up and likes it is just gravy.

But that being said, YA attracts more than just teens. (Duh.) I think a good YA book spans several age ranges. Your more advanced Middle Grade (MG) readers (8-12) will pick it up. Of course, you’ll get your teen readers, but then you’ll also have adults reading it, whether it’s a mom who is reading something her kid wants to read or someone who just thinks it looks like a good read.

I can’t speak for other writers, but it doesn’t alter my stories or characters one bit. Again, I mostly write for my myself, and then I think of my nieces. Right there, that’s a considerable age range, but I think if I can tell a story that (first) interests me in a way that (second) my nieces can relate to the characters and plot, I should attract a pretty significant size of potential readers.

How does age of the characters affect the stakes for your characters and your audience?

I don’t think I gave age much thought until I got older and had a child of my own. I try to see the world through his eyes, and it’s helped me imagine the world through my nieces’ eyes, too.

So, I write YA novels right now. (I have ideas for MG, too, but right now, I’m strictly YA.) Young Adult books should encapsulate those formative teen years. Those were the days when you had no idea what you didn’t know, and EVERYTHING WAS TRAGIC. Any deviation from the norm was tantamount to the end of the world. (Funny enough, when I’m recalling emotion as I write, I pull from my more recent memories of watching my son navigating the world at the age of 2. It’s more exaggerated at that age, but it’s not very different.)

To write my novel as New Adult (NA) would be more challenging–not impossible, but challenging. A YA character is allowed (expected) to have a degree of innocence that NA characters should have shed long ago. While NA characters still think they know everything (and make the adult in me want to slap them around), the fact that they’re a bit more jaded adds another layer to their personas and, as a result, to the plot.

It’s like the old parenting adage that my sister shares with me when I’m venting about the craziness in my household: Small children, small problems. The older the character, the bigger the stakes.

Why do you think people (even adults!) love to read YA? How do you think the genre affects that audience?

There have been so many articles on this very question!

YA appeals to adults, I think, because it takes them (us) back to a simpler time, a time before a mortgage and kids and balancing a career with some semblance of a real life. It was a time of stolen glances across the classroom and first kisses and getting goosebumpy because the guy you liked [insert desired action here]. So I think a lot of adults feel a sense of nostalgia when they read YA.

MG readers like reading YA because they can imagine what it’s like to be a bigger kid. (So sad, but so true.)

And, of course, teens like to read YA because there are characters they can relate to. And it’s always more fun to read something when you’re like, “Oh my God! I totally know what the main character is going through! It’s like the author is writing about ME!” (Which, of course the author is because, well, when you’re that age, it’s all about you, anyway.)

For fun, what is your favorite genre to read? Why?

Oh, I read everything. No joke. My Kindle is full of all kinds of random stuff. Historical fiction, Regency romance, thrillers, crime drama mysteries, you name it.

At the moment, I’m addicted to MG books. I just started the Septimus Heap series, and I love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus books. Of course, I’ve also just finished Gail Carriger’s Etiquette and Espionage, and I loved it so much that I’m going to have to read The Parasol Protectorate, too, now, and those are YA Steampunk. Also along that vein (though not steampunk) is Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, and I have to admit that Lisi Harrison’s Clique series and Sara Shepherd’s Pretty Little Liars series are guilty pleasures.

Why do I like reading these? They’re easy reads, and they all work to cleanse my writing palate. I like to mix things up when I read, though: I don’t like to read too much of a single genre at once. So I read Etiquette and Espionage and am now reading Magyk, and when I finish that I’ll probably pick up a Regency romance in the queue to keep myself from getting too accustomed to a single voice.

Readers, you can contact Eileen at…

My blog is NeverWordless.wordpress.com
I’m on Twitter at @emcaines
And my FB author page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/E-M-Caines/321528474630898

Thanks spending some time with us, Eileen!

Thanks again for having me!

Why Write: YA with Shauna Granger

shaunagWelcome to another episode of Why Write! Today we have Shauna Granger, whose new book, Spirit, just came out yesterday! Shauna’s here to talk about Young Adult fiction, and why so many people of so many ages love to read about teens.

Hello, Shauna, and welcome!

Thanks for having me!

For those of you who don’t know, Shauna is a fellow Spellbound Scribe and one of my #teamawesome writing buddies.

Woot! Go #teamawesome!

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

Talking about myself always feels so awkward, lol. But seriously, I’m the author of The Elemental Series, a five part young adult paranormal series. My books follow the lives of three teens who have the abilities to control and manipulate the five elements of our world. The fifth and final installment, Spirit, comes out April 30th, 2013. (That was yesterday, guys!!) I live in Ventura in Southern California, where my books are also set.

What made you decide to write YA / write for teens?

I didn’t really set out with the purpose of writing YA when I first started writing. For me, it’s all about the main character and the voice of the story that comes first. For this series, the voice of Shay, the main character and narrator, was incredibly loud in my head and I knew she was in high school before I ever started writing. But age doesn’t really define whether or not a book is for a younger or older audience, it’s the voice of the book and the voice of my Elemental Series was very much Young Adult.

What types of stories does YA make possible?

I think every type of story is possible in YA. I think teens today are very lucky to have such a wide and prevalent genre at their fingertips, featuring characters their own age and dealing with the same trials and tribulations they are going through.

It hasn’t been that long since I was in high school myself, but even that short amount of time ago Young Adult wasn’t a category in your local bookstore. The closest I ever remember reading was R.L. Stine and Catcher In The Rye, the former being in the Children’s section and the latter in Classic Fiction. And I did enjoy those books, but I would’ve killed for an entire section at a bookstore dedicated to me at that age.

Having a Young Adult genre as an accepted genre now, means that teens can read about characters going through the same things they are going through. They can see that it is possible to live through the hell of being bullied, or depressed, or a horrible breakup, or school-wide gossip. Anything really. When you’re a teen you’re often terrified that you’re alone in your struggle; that no one else is dealing with issues that you’re dealing with. That maybe you’re the class freak and you can’t talk to anyone about your problems. With YA you have someone, or someones, who know exactly what you’re dealing with. And more than that, with the resurgence of the Fantasy genre, teens have a chance to escape their day to day lives.

When I was younger, the only books I could escape into were classics or more adult books. I read a lot of Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey as a teen but I would’ve loved to have gotten my hands on Beautiful Creatures, The Madison Avery series, The Hunger Games, The Darkest Powers series, and so many more.

Aside, from the obvious, what audience do you think YA attracts? Lots of adults read YA — why do you think that is?

As a matter of fact, according to my Facebook Fan Page stats, the largest demographic for my readers is 25-34, this is my age bracket as well. I think this goes back to my comment about there not being a Young Adult genre when I was in high school, but because that wasn’t too long ago, I still enjoy reading these books. High school was a bitch for a lot of people, me included, so to be able to read about high school, in a fantasy setting, without actually dealing with high school now, is kind of nice. I’m sure that’s part of the reason so many adults read YA now. But more than that, I do have a lot of readers who are parents now and they are pre-reading books their kids are interested in to make sure the content is appropriate for their kids. I think this awesome. For one, it shows responsible parenting and two, many of those parents have reached out to me to tell me that, because they read my book to approve it for their kid, they in turn have become a fan of mine. Awesomesauce all around.

How does the broad audience alter the types of stories you tell and characters you write?

It doesn’t. I do not write to cater to an audience. I have had many readers tell me that some of the actions of some of my characters have driven them crazy, but they keep reading. And that’s all that matters. Yes, writing is a business and we all want to make money, but first you have to write a good story. Readers are smart, they can tell when they are being pandered to and I won’t do that. The most important thing is to write a good story, and it is impossible to please every single reader. So I just write the story I want to write and I try to make it as good as possible and hope for the best.

How does the age grouping of the characters affect the stakes for your characters and your audience?

Now that is something to think about. In YA you have to remember that there are parents at every turn. A tired trope is to kill off the parents or make them absentee. I don’t like to do this because it isn’t as common as some people think.

In my books my characters sneak in and out of their houses and school on occasion. This was real when I was teen. I remember my mom reading my books and laughing at a point where the main character sneaks out of her bedroom in the middle of the night to go out. She really didn’t think that was something I ever did. Then I told her how I did it, which was the exact way my character did it in the book. Of course my character is scared of getting caught. She has moments where she thinks, “My parents are going to kill me,” because that is what I remember thinking as a teen. And my characters lie to their parents about where they’re going to be so they could go do their epic paranormal battles, but if their parents caught on, they would get grounded. You do have to steep your fantasy in reality if you want people to buy your fantastic stuff.

So in YA, your characters aren’t just worried about getting killed (if your subgenre is Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/etc); they’re also worried about their parents, teachers, and principals catching them breaking the rules. You can’t forget about these factors in YA because it’s always in the back of your readers’ heads.

How do you think the teen characters and their stories affect your audience?

You know, one of the most gratifying things I’ve experienced since publishing my first book, has been the reaction of my readers. I was shocked when readers started reaching out to me to talk to me about my books and my characters. I set out to write a fun story with the sole purpose of entertaining people, and maybe remind them that magic was real if we only choose to remember to believe in it. But since publishing readers have reached out to me and told me stories about my books giving them strength and courage to be who they want to be, rather than who their friends, family and other people expect them to be. That has meant the world to me. My characters might frustrate readers from time to time, but to know they also inspire people? I couldn’t ask for more.

For funsies, what is your favorite genre to read? Why?

Urban Fantasy, all the way. My favorite series is The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison. I heart Rachel Morgan so hard! I’ve always been a fan of Fantasy, as you can see from my earlier references, but I really love Urban Fantasy and I’m so glad it’s so prevalent now. I do enjoy Swords and Sorcery books, but I love modern day, city life fantasy so much more. Maybe because it’s more relatable? Maybe because I can envision myself as the main character and because it’s set in a real city, in my time, there is that tiny possibility that I really could be the main, badass character.

How can readers reach you?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorShaunaGranger
Twitter: @dyingechoes
Blog: http://shaunasspot.blogspot.com
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Goodreads
Kobo

Thanks for stopping by, Shauna!

Thanks for having me! This was fun!