I’m hosting a guest post today for the book tour for YA paranormal “Spelled”. Enjoy the guest post!
Romance In Yong Adult Fiction
I’ve always had a skeptical outlook when it comes to romance in YA. I was eleven-ish when the big Twilight frenzy hit, and it’s overshadowed my whole writing career. I began to feel when I read the “saga” that the focus of the story leaned more on romance than the plotline. There was a little drama, sure, but the entire attraction of the books seemed to be waiting for the moments when Bella and Edward kissed, or touched, or… well, we all know, since by the last book there’s a baby involved.
I grew up denouncing the saga as “teen erotica” and still cringe a bit when people ask if my books are like Twilight. However, while I was recently at a panel event at Book Soup in L.A., the shopkeeper and I got into a conversation about teen fiction, and she grinned as she said, “I just love that they’re still about the romance. That’s the only reason I’m still watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ because people are still sneaking into closets to make out.”
Her honesty kind of set me back. I was talking to someone who had read hundreds of books, classics and tomes and cult fiction, and she was telling me that her biggest hook was still romance. It forced me to ask the question of myself: how important is romance to the YA genre?
I realize I may now be punched in the face for referring to YA as a “genre,” but that is how my mind classifies it. As a writer in a field that has quickly blown up and is still defining its parameters, I think I’m allowed that. So back to the question. Is romance something needed in a book to title it YA? And what is my duty as a YA writer to the reader? Should I be delivering on some knee-shaking moments when my characters are heading for the inevitable kiss? Is it realistic for me to portray it as a perfect event, when all my experiences have been far from perfect?
I had to look for my own personal answer, and I can’t set a list of rules for any other writer. This conversation at Book Soup coincided with me reading Pure by Juliana Baggott, an incredibly brutal and beautiful book that has been labeled YA because it’s characters are young teens. The book is incredibly driven and engaging, but almost entirely focused on the plot and not on the relationships between characters. And I had to admit to myself; I was waiting for the heart-palpitating moment when the characters finally kissed. And it never came. And I was disappointed. I also had to look at my view as a writer toward my characters. In Spelled, I found myself waiting with Georgia for the kiss with Luke, wondering if it was going to happen, becoming nervous and shaky whenever they were alone together.
So perhaps there is no over-all decision on the matter, which seems fitting as YA still has no set guidelines (and hopefully it stays that way). But my conclusion is that a balance must be met. The plot is the bones of a novel, it can’t go anywhere without one, but in YA romance is the beautiful and enticing skin that covers the frame. The two must work in harmony. And despite my grumblings, I have to admit that the lure of love is indisputable, and if as writers we are meant to tell the truth about humans, it is indispensable.
Author: Kate St. Clair
Genre: YA Paranormal
Magic runs thicker than blood.
16-year-old Georgia Sayers may have just found out she’s descended from two of the most powerful witches in history, but others have known for a long time, and are hunting her. Can she protect her siblings from them before it’s too late?
Kate grew up in Austin, TX, before she attended boarding school in California. She was accepted to the Chapman University Creative Writing program before she wrote SPELLED – Amethyst, Book One, released on April 1st 2014. SPELLED is a paranormal YA series published by Black Hill Press. When she’s not writing, Kate is riding horses, walking her dogs, or playing with her pet pig, Miley.
Buy from publisher: http://blackhillpress.com/book/spelled/