#VoicesofYA Tag

Voices-of-YAA couple weeks ago the lovely Amy Laurel tagged me for the #VoicesofYA prompt, a way for YA writers to share a little bit of ourselves with the rest of the YA community. I don’t usually participate in these things but this one looked like a lot of fun SO here goes:


What Draws You To YA?

Well, for starters I’m still a pretty young adult–I turn 24 at the end of the summer. I never liked most teen shows, because they tend to present teenagers as vapid, shallow creatures run by their hormones. YA books, on the other hand, tend to respect the teen characters and show them as real, multifaceted people. Many YA protagonists are also outcasts at the beginning of the story, and by the end they’ve changed the world and become heroes. As someone who always was an outcast, this narrative appeals to me on many deep levels.

But I suspect I’ll be reading YA for the rest of my life, because it often addresses broader human themes that apply to people of all ages. This is particularly true for those of us unlucky enough to be born in the millennial generation, who are forced to relive many of the trials we faced as teenagers due to shitty economic and environmental conditions. Many of us are still living off ramen or moving back in with our parents, so we don’t feel like “real adults” yet, whatever that means.

Describe Your Writing Structure. Do You Like Outlines and Structure or Just Seeing Where the Story Takes You?

Both! It really depends on the project I’m working on. Keeper of the Dawn was a pure discovery story at first, but I did outlines for everything after the second draft. The book I’m working on now, on the other hand, had a four page outline before I started writing. Every project has its own rhythm.

How Long Have You Been Writing? Where Are You In Your Journey?

I decided I wanted to be a writer at the age of eight, but I consider my first Nanowrimo–which was twelve years ago–when I really started writing.

This past April my debut YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, came out through The Book Smugglers Publishing. My first full length novel, Moonshadow’s Guardian, will be entering semi-final edits in July. I plan to crowdfund this novel next spring and release it in fall. I’ve also got three other novels in various stages of drafting and one novella that’s almost ready for publication. My goal is to release at least one book every year for the next three years–and after that, who knows what will happen?

What Do You Need To Write? Coffee? Music?

Believe it or not, I actually don’t like coffee. My addiction is Dr. Pepper, although I do drink Coca Cola once in a while. And I have mild tinnitis, so I do literally everything with music, usually fantasy movie soundtracks or fantasy metal. My latest musical addiction is Karliene, who does a lot of fan songs for Game of Thrones and other fantasy series.

If You Could Offer Advice To Another Writer (Other Than Don’t Give Up!) What Would It Be?

Be 100% clear on what you want to get out of your writing. This blog is mainly for people who want to write as a career, but it’s totally okay to be writing purely for your own enjoyment, or to want to publish only one series. And admitting to yourself that those are your goals can take a lot of pressure off your shoulders.

If you do want to write as a career, you need to establish that early on, at least in your own head. Knowing the primary goal for your writing helps you set goals that you’ll actually enjoy reaching for.


What Book Still Has You Reeling From Its Plot Twist (No Spoilers Please)?

Not so much a plot twist, but I’m still reeling from The Invasion of the Tearling because of how close its portrayal of depression came to my own struggle. I really wasn’t prepared for it, or in the right head space for it, and I actually had to put it down for a couple days–but I appreciate how honest that portrayal was.

What Books Are You Most Anticipating This Year?

Hahahaha I’m still working my way through books from last year.

In Your Opinion, Which YA Book/Series Has The Most Unique Premise?

I’m not sure I’ve read enough recent (past three years) YA to answer this question with any degree of trustworthiness, but the Tearling trilogy has really impressed me. It starts out light and fluffy, almost like the junk food of books, but the setting is post-post apocalyptic and the trilogy plays with timelines in fascinating ways.

What Is Your Favorite Quote From YA Lit (I know, I’m cruel)?

Oh that’s easy:

“Does the walker choose the path, or the path choose the walker?” – Garth Nix, Old Kingdom Series

This quote is repeated throughout the series and is one of the major themes that carries across books. As someone who feels that I was destined to write, it’s also a quote that has deep personal meaning to me. I personally believe the answer is a little bit of both. Writing chose me, but I choose how to make the writing happen.

What Book Do You Most Hope Will Have A Movie Adaptation?

Cheating: the entire Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. I think the book I’d most like to see adapted is Clarielfor reasons I can’t explain without totally ruining the book. The series as a whole has deeply shaped me both as a person and a writer, and I recommend it literally every chance I get.

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Thanks again to Amy Laurel for tagging me with this wonderful prompt!  And big thanks to Caitlin Lambert for creating the Voices of YA tag!!

2 thoughts on “#VoicesofYA Tag

  • I love reading your answers to this! My first NaNoWriMo was this year!! Go you!! Thanks for posting this. I’m not sure why I was having problems with the link on my phone but my PC did the trick.

    Now I’m going to have to check out the Tearling trilogy! You have intrigued me!!

    All the hugs!!!

    • dlgunn

      Glad you enjoyed my answers, this tag was a lot of fun! And congratz on your first Nano, that’s ALSO a lot of fun 🙂

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