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Young Adult Novel – A First Attempt – by Deborah J Ledford

I’m taking a breather from writing my suspense thriller series to attempt a Young Adult novel. This is a first for me on several levels. Although a majority of my stories that appear in print publications and anthologies are considered traditional mysteries, and many of them feature kids, these characters have strictly been secondary characters.

You writers out there know it’s impossible to ignore the words screaming in your head to be written, or the characters urging you to write about them. This time around two teenagers have captured my imagination—and there’s no denying them.

I attended a YA panel at the ThrillerFest Conference last month and asked who determines if a novel will be offered as a YA book or for the adult market. I mentioned John Hart’s The Last Child as an example. This fantastic novel features a 13-year-old boy in search of his sister’s killer, and yet is not marketed as a YA novel. It seems to be up to the publisher as to which category a novel will be exhibited. The darkness in tone seems to be a determining factor as well.

In order to figure out what is an unknown market to me I’ve been reading published novels to make sure I’m on track. The Hunger Games is a fantastic book in Suzanne Collins’ series—and yet it is quite dark and doom an gloom sets the pace. Sophie Littlefield makes a departure from her compelling A Bad Day For… mystery series with her YA novel Banished, and her dystopia series beginning with Rebirth.

The little novel I’m writing is much different than any of these books mentioned, yet I hope it will be of interest to younger readers looking for a bit of an escape. I know it has been one for me, and a pleasure to write as well.

How about you out there? Writers, do you enjoy departing from what you normally write to work on words of a different genre? And you readers, does it matter to you when one of your favorite authors presents a book other than what they normally write for you?

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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