Please welcome YA author Patrice Lyle, a contributor to the Many Genres, One Craft anthology with the article, “Ten Ways to Avoid Losing Your YA Reader.” When she was nineteen, she worked as a nanny in Amsterdam with her sister–now there’s a story worth telling!
1. I enjoyed reading your article in MGOC. Your point #3 was a good reminder for me–“Don’t forget the ‘bigness’ of relationships.” Would you tell us how you came to this realization?
In fiction and in life, stuff that may seem silly or trite to an adult can be a big freaking deal to a teen. I think it’s easy to forget how true that is the older we get. In my article, I used an example of your husband working late and forgetting to call you. Could have been many things, such as his boss kept talking to him after a meeting, a call came in that he had to handle, etc. And yeah, it could be annoying, but it’s probably not going to be devastating. (And if it is, that’s a whole other talk! lol). But if a fifteen-year-old girl is waiting for a call from a cute guy she has a huge crush on and he calls two hours later than he said he would (or not at all), there’s going to be trouble. And quite possibly tissue-worthy trouble. I realized this when I was working on a scene in Lethally Blonde when my main character Morgan accidentally spills her purse and freaks out when Derek (the hottie she’s got a crush on) sees her tube of Zit Bee Gone. I would have been mortified if that happened to me!
2. Which of your “Ten Ways” has been the most important for you in your writing?
#10 Never “force feed” your story into the YA genre just to try and make a sale. This really hit home because I’ve heard different writers say, “I’ll just turn this adult story into a YA so I can sell it.” I don’t get that. I think the story – at its inception – is either YA or it’s not. Plain and simple. Plus a YA story is really a story about a teen character. It doesn’t have to be written for teens. It’s a story about teens. See the difference? Lethally Blonde would never have worked in the adult genre because Morgan, the main character, is sixteen-years-old and the story is all about her.
3. How long have you been writing for the YA market?
I’ve been writing YA since 2007. I wrote my first YA paranormal novel (my fifth completed book), landed a huge agent, but it didn’t sell. Then I wrote my second YA paranormal novel, Lethally Blonde, and sold that to Leap Books.
4. Could you tell us more about Lethally Blonde?
Lethally Blonde is a story about Morgan Skully, the world’s only blonde demon chick, and she’s got a brand new, very unusual after school job. Spying for the Devil. She’d much rather use her cloak-and-dagger skills to spy on hottie-licious Derek with her friends, but the Devil won’t take no for an answer. Luckily for Morgan, her new boss is kinda hot. Her assignment is simple: find out who at Pitchfork Prep is funneling secrets to the Russian Werewolf Council. If she succeeds, pedicures and platinum highlights are just the beginning. But if she fails…there’s more on the line than killer shoes.
5. Fun! What were your favorite books when you were a teenager?
The one and only….Sweet Valley High! Those were totally my favorite. I think I read every single one at least twice. And I just bought the new Sweet Valley Confidential and it’s on my ever-growing TBR list on my Kindle! I also loved reading Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, too.
6. Yeah, I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan for a long time. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a YA paranormal romance that has a cute guy and spells in it! And I’m also working on a diet and fitness book because I just finished my PhD in Holistic Nutrition.
7. Congrats on your PhD! Your time in Amsterdam as a nanny sounds like great research for a novel. Are you planning to use any of those experiences in your writing?
Yes! My first YA novel was actually loosely based on my experience as a nanny in Amsterdam. I say loosely because that book was a paranormal! Lol I do plan to revise that book in the future and try again!
Thanks so much for chatting with us today!
Also, Patrice is a member of The Class of 2k12 – a group of YA authors with debut books coming out in 2012 – so look for that website coming soon!
Check in with us on Friday when we’ll talk with another Many Genres contributor, C. Coco De Young.