I’m thrilled to welcome Iris St. Clair, author of the newly released YA Swoon Romance novel, Louder than Words. As part of her release tour, I asked her to explain her reason for getting into the YA genre. She gave me three, and they’re all awesome. Check it out.
Three Books You Can Blame For Unleashing Me on YA Readers
I didn’t plan on being an author of stories for young and new adult readers. I mostly wanted to write romance. But somewhere along the way, I started reading books for teens and college-aged characters and I fell in love myself. Yes, this crusty-year old fifty something still remembers her high school years, the angst, the drama, the wonder.
What books set me on this path? What stories and their authors got me thinking about writing for younger readers? Here are my top three:
1. The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger
I first heard about this book on Absolute Write. I had joined the writing forum in early 2009 to learn more about the publishing industry and the craft of writing. I learned so much from other awesome authors who also posted there and made a point to buy their books. I remember Kody’s posts about finding her agent. I remember reading discussions about her cover. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with the blurb. Had I not had that connection via Absolute Write, I can’t say I would have read Ms. Keplinger’s book. I’m glad I did, because I adored her non-cheerleader, anti-heroine. I related to a girl who was seeking escape and maybe a little revenge by taking on and besting a notorious, modern-day man-whore at his own game. I melted when Wesley crumbled at Bianca’s feet, when his ring tone played again and again on her phone … sigh … that’s a teen romance!
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
This one got my attention when it was cryptically tagged as pornographic by some religious leader. Huh? I still don’t understand the stupidity of that label, especially given that the story is about a girl recovering from rape! But I remember the call to arms in the writing community and the outrage I felt. I changed my avatar. I tweeted my thoughts about censorship. I read this book … and was left speechless by its power. Even pages strategically left blank shouted for my attention. To unleash that much power on a reader in so few words? Amazing.
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
You can’t help but like Stephanie Perkins. She’s whimsical and funny in her tweets and blog posts and so are her characters. I’m a sucker for a story about unrequited love for an unavailable boy. Place the story in Paris and I’m a goner. This book set the bar for creating deep and memorable male – female relationships that are platonic on the surface but infused with deep longing so palpable the reader is on the edge of her chair rooting for Anna and St. Clair. Notice the similarity in her character’s name and my last name? Not an accident or a coincidence but my nod to a favorite, inspirational book I wish I’d written. My other pen name was “borrowed” from Outlander. That’s the highest praise I can pay to an author whose work I admire.
There are other books, of course, like Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. And yes, I’ll even admit to enjoying Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Since my earliest toe-dippings, I’ve continued to add wonderful YA and NA authors and their books to my list of favorites, including the books of my illustrious hostess today, Ms. Jocelyn Adams, but the first three I mentioned will always be the ones you can blame the most for making me want to write YA books.
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that’s another bio.)
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.
Iris believes in the two-year “fish or cut bait” dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.
Connect with Iris:
Iris’s first book, Louder Than Words, released September 16, 2014.
Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson’s life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can’t let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm’s length.
But by the time Rex’s charm wears down her resistance, it’s too late. He’s put Ellen on the “just friends” shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it’s the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.
Purchase Louder Than Words from these fine retailers:
Win a $10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)