Next week, October 18-24 is Teen Read Week, according to the American Library Association. Many libraries have special programs or events to celebrate—check out your library to see if there’s something you can get involved in!
Amy: What made you want to write a young adult novel?
Bonnie: I decided to write YA because young people are more interested in fast-paced plots and slightly wild scenarios. They tend to like more action than adults, and they don’t want to be talked down to, so there is no need to alter the language level for understanding. And the best part . . . the imagination of a YA reader is a wonderful thing! They are much more willing to suspend disbelief than adults.
Dina: Writing instructors say to picture one person you’re writing your novel for. I always pictured a young woman in her late teens or early twenties—a struggling Christian or searching unbeliever in need of guidance and inspiration. When I learned that the typical reader of adult Christian fiction is middle-aged, I realized YA might actually be a better fit for me. Young adult readers are looking for something more real and raw than their adult counterparts. They are hoping to see the world as it truly is and learn and grow through fiction. All of that makes YA a great fit for me. And to top it off, the medieval period, which I love, has traditionally been more appealing to young adult readers.
Amy: If you had to write a tweet-length description of each of your YA books, what would it be?
Tremors—First the Tremors. Selah is being forced to marry, when her only real desire is to join the family as a hunter.
Thunder—The time of Sorrows is long past. The future of Selah and her people is shrouded in mystery. And the clock is ticking.
Aftershock—First came Tremors, then the Thunder and now the Aftershock. New revelation. Nowhere is safe. Selah’s own people hunt her.
Lightning—Selah’s past and future are about to collide. Time is running out. That which made her new could also drive her to a life of madness.
Dauntless—A Robin-hood type heroine must overcome the pain of the past to find love in her future.
Chivalrous—A noblewoman who would rather be a knight must fight to avoid an arranged marriage to a brute.
Courageous (releases in July 2016)—A young woman sets off on crusade in search of redemption, but just might find love instead.
Amy: If you could spend a day with your main character, what would you do together?
Bonnie: Oh boy! That would take some determination because I’d have to figure out whether to bring her into my crazy existence of being a night-owl writer who lives with an online world where everyone believes what they read on the internet . . . orrrrrr . . . go visit Selah’s world of wagons being pulled by horses while hovercraft zoom overhead. Okay . . . I think I’d rather go to her world and fight the Blood Hunters!
Dina: Well, with Merry from Dauntless, we’d start with climbing her favorite trees and visiting her cave hideaway. In the evening, I’d love to go to a castle with her for some dancing and acrobatic entertainment. With Gwendolyn from Chivalrous, I think we’d spend the day in the countryside riding horses. If I’m feeling particularly brave, I might have her teach me to fight with a sword, although I think I’d bypass the jousting. Then we could enjoy a quiet evening by the hearth, and I could listen to her play her pipe.
Amy: What were your favorite books to read as a teenager?
Bonnie: As a teenager my favorite reads were all dystopian or science fiction. Our sci-fi in the 60’s was really cheesy when you look at it today, but boy-oh-boy, back in the day it had a real wow factor to us! And dystopians—I loved anything weird: The Time Machine, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, Clockwork Orange, Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run. . . .
Dina: I was a voracious reader as a teen. I read a lot of Grace Livingston Hill, Beverly Lewis, and C. S. Lewis, Sweet Valley High, Silhouette teen and Christian romances, along with just about anything I could get my hands on from my local library. But my favorite young adult series was a little known one about a ballerina. I stumbled onto book one, Maggie Adams Dancer, when I was about ten years old, and I think it really birthed my love of reading as well as dance.
Thanks for joining us, ladies! Just for fun, we’ll be giving away a copy of Thunder and Dauntless to a random reader who answers this question in the comments below by Thursday, October 22: what your favorite book as a teenager, and why?