(Unfortunately, this will be my last blog post for Romance Magicians. Priorities have forced me to curtail some of my current commitments, and although I’m sad to go, I plan to stop by periodically for comments.)
Fiction categories and genres have changed so drastically over the years that I often wonder if I have a finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not. In fact, I nearly missed my chance to write the category I now believe I was meant to write.
When I was a teen, the spiciest young adult novel I could find in the school library was Forever by Judy Blume. Even by today’s standards, this book is a bit racy. But many teen girls, including myself, found this book a breath of fresh air. The author spared us the usual sugar-coating of first love, and at the time I read the book, I desperately needed this candid point of view. And because Judy Blume is … well, Judy Blume, she was allowed to publish Forever, despite many parents wanting it pulled from the shelves. I looked for more books that would be as truthful but could only find more sugar and spice and everything nice. I gave up on trying to relate to teen books and immediately turned to adult books.
I started writing adult romance when I was twenty and continued to do so until I hit burnout some twenty years later. For whatever reason, I’d hit a wall and no longer enjoyed writing. I was about to quit when a fellow writer and friend suggested I try my hand at writing young adult. I laughed and promptly explained how no teen could relate to my dark sarcasm and direct, sometimes gritty writing. Me? Writing a teen novel? No way.
Her reply? “You’ll be perfect for it.”
Apparently, things had changed a bit since I last read a teen book and she had a few suggestions to get me back into the YA frame of mind. Titles she thought I might enjoy. I was skeptical when I picked up Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols. Now don’t get me wrong. I know Jennifer Echols. She is one of the funniest people I've ever met. It’s why I chose Going Too Far as my first teen book to read.
I wasn’t a page into the book when I became hooked. The protagonist was sarcastic, hilarious and she had blue hair. Blue hair! There was underage drinking, mischief, and the topic of sex wasn’t something glossed over as if nobody thinks about it in high school. I finished the book in a day and promptly sent Jennifer a thank-you-for-such-an-awesome-book email. I then picked up another YA book and another.
I haven’t looked back and I'm having a blast writing again.
Recently, I found myself in a situation where I've had to read several adult romances again. This worried me since I haven’t read adult in a few years. How interesting to discover a few of those genres have changed and not just a little!
What changes have you noticed in the genres you read?