Author of Ink, SJ Davis is guest posting about YA fiction on the blog today. Let’s hand over to her :)
Is writing YA easier or harder than adult fiction?
When I started INK, I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a Native American girl. As I started thinking about Sparrow (and I thought about her everywhere), her voice became very clear to me. I knew she felt awkward and less worthy. I knew she listened to alternative music and what clothes she wore. But I didn’t want to imitate a teenager, I simply wanted to tell Sparrow’s story and express her pain and her strength, exactly how it floated in my brain. Sparrow is tough. She’s broken in the beginning, she has lost her mother and she suddenly hears strange voices. The story also unfolds in a choppy way because that experience mirrors her life. I wanted the reader to figure things out alongside Sparrow. I believe the crux of writing YA is that your protagonist moves from a point of self-doubt to a point of autonomy and confidence. I think this is why a huge numbers of adults are drawn into “teen” books. Maybe, despite being older, everyone is still uncertain and emotionally dramatic at heart. Is YA easier to write? Not really. In order to be any good at it, you have to be prepared to return to your teen/early adult years and that is not for the faint of heart. You move back to a time when your feelings were so exposed, raw, and easily crushed. You have to write with an open heart, ready to give and receive, because that is how teens are – full of expectation and hope. Even underneath teen cynicism and sarcasm, there is anticipation and strength, and that is a beautiful thing.
“It’s a good day to die.” My mother holds my arm fiercely. “But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices. Then, you must get the ink.”
Sparrow stumbles between two worlds – light and dark, love and hate, what is real and what is in her mind. When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo make her stronger?
Mateo arrives to guard Sparrow, but from whom? Layne holds on to Sparrow, but why? As the voices grow stronger and her pain expands, Sparrow finds that the shadows in the corner and the voices we fear most are the ones inside ourselves.
SJ Davis is the daughter of an ex-patriate British mother and a Southern Baptist ex-CIA father. As a child, she spoke in silly accents and recounted outlandish tales of fantasy over afternoon tea and to this day it remains her favorite activity. Born in Long Island, NY, she was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC and went to school for a very long time (University of Virginia and George Mason University), married an all-around wonderful man, had two kids (smart, funny, full of opinions), moved from Virginia to New Jersey to Philadelphia to Chicago, and began her writing career. She is a believer in fate, an avid tea drinker, a stiletto aficionado, Doc Marten worshipper, punk rock listener, and lover of flip flops and cardigans. She has a terrible sense of direction, loves gummy bears, and is a Johnny Depp fangirl.
https://www.facebook.com/sarah.jane.davis (fan page)
http://www.vamptasypublishing.co.uk/#/sarah-davis-brandon/4552691454 (author page at Vamptasy)