Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Trish Milburn | The Power of Music
Uncategorized / April 27, 2009

It’s amazing how much emotional power can be packed into song lyrics. I admire anyone who is a good songwriter, creating a story out of a few short lines. I like to incorporate music into my stories to show a character’s feelings or to set a mood. Though I’m careful not to venture into copyright infringement by using actual song lyrics, I do reference them. For instance, I was recently working on a young adult story (Winter Longing, Razorbill, Summer 2010) in which my heroine has experienced a significant loss. As teens often do when they’re hurting, she listens to certain music over and over. For my heroine, Winter, it’s the songs of Breaking Benjamin, a band that I like and whose lyrics really speak to what she’s experiencing. Winter is enduring a loss, so when she hears Breaking Benjamin’s “Breathe,” the lyric “You left a hole where my heart should be” really packs an emotional punch. Later, it’s the band’s song “So Cold” that takes on new meaning when heard in the new context of her life. Though I don’t quote the lyrics, it’s the lyrics “You’re so cold, but you feel alive; Lay your hands on me one…

Melissa Walker | Trusting Young Adult Readers
Uncategorized / August 18, 2008

My Violet series is about a not-so-confident model named Violet Greenfield, a real girl who finds herself under runway lights and in the clutches of an overbearing (and sometimes cruel) agent. Over the course of the trilogy, Violet tries to navigate the crazy fashion world, hold onto her real friends and discover who she is on the inside while attention swirls around her outside. In the Young Adult genre, there’s been some talk about “message books,” books that teach lessons, essentially, and whether YA authors have an obligation to write this kind of book. I say absolutely not–why should YA authors be held to a different standard than Adult authors? Teen readers are smart, imaginative and endlessly savvy. They deserve characters that ring true, that grow, that inspire them. But they don’t need Pollyannas at every turn. That’s why I sometimes wanted to explore the dark sides of the fashion industry with the Violet books. In Violet on the Runway, Violet encounters drug addiction; in Violet by Design, she faces immense pressure to stay skinny in order to be “runway ready;” and in Violet in Private, she has to make a choice–stay in the spotlight or give up modeling and…

Carol Culver | 10 Things I Love About Writing The YA Novel
Uncategorized / August 15, 2008

Two weeks ago I was at the RWA conference in San Francisco where I gave a talk about writing for the YA market. For those of you who weren’t there, here’s the list – YA books stay on the shelves longer (by longer I mean longer than category romance which is my other outlet) Category books are gone in a month, but the last time I checked at my local Borders, all three of my books in the BFF series, MANDERLEY PREP, RICH GIRL and THE GUY NEXT DOOR were still on the shelves. Teens are loyal readers, if they like your book, they spread the word by texting, calling or whatever. Series are popular. Hook a teen reader and they’ll stick with you. YA books are short, around 50,000 words. You can write more books in a year than single titles. Writing for and hanging out with teens can keep you young. You can dig into your own past for material or use your kids or your neighbors. Deal a blow forever to the memory of those geeks, freaks, nerds, cheerleaders, jocks and goths who wouldn’t eat lunch with you, date you, or even speak to you in the…

Linda Gerber | My Fiction Addition
Uncategorized / May 9, 2008

Hi. My name is Linda and I’m a fiction addict. I live fiction, I breathe fiction, I make up really creative excuses when I forget to turn in my PTA sign-up sheets. Honestly, I can’t go through the day without a fiction fix. Today, for example, I went to the bookstore to grab Stephenie Meyer’s latest. Just walking into the fiction section was like entering an enchanted canyon where everyplace I turned, something wonderful called out to me. Sadly, THE HOST was not on the shelves. The bookstore had just sold their last copy. I panicked. Leaving the bookstore without a book was not an option. Heart palpitating, I ran back to the fiction section and scanned the shelves frantically until found the next two books on my TBR list. Holding them in my hands, I was finally able to breathe easier. Once, on vacation, I finished all the books I had brought with me. And I a whole day left at the beach and an entire flight home to get through! I made my dear husband drive into town – thirty miles away – and find a drugstore with a decent fiction selection(it was too small to have its…

Richelle Mead | Writing Pressures
Uncategorized / April 9, 2008

The release of a new book is always a scary thing. The debut novel? Especially terrifying. A new series? Yikes. Nail-biting. Yet, none of these compare to the pressure of when the second book in a series is about to come out… When Vampire Academy was released last fall, I didn’t know what to expect. Adult urban fantasy was where I felt most comfortable; I’d kind of stumbled into YA. Fortunately, Vampire Academy had solid sales early on, which was a huge relief. (When you write full time, you always have the weight of the rent and the grocery bill on you!) But then something else started happening. I started getting fan mail–lots of it. I’d gotten a fair amount of it with Succubus Blues, but nothing like this. And reading through these emails, I discovered something. People weren’t just buying my book; they loved my book. That’s every author’s dream. It was my dream–and is still my dream today. I’ve often said that I don’t need J. K. Rowling fame, so long as I have a large enough group of devoted fans to let me keep writing. I stand by that–only, I didn’t realize how daunting that would end…