One of the things we talked about at the college class I visited this week was growing up. All kinds of issues with that, both in terms of the narrative content of YA novels, and growing up as a writer, too.
Coolest thing... the next morning I got an email from one of the students in the class, and he told me that he thought Ghost Medicine was one of the best books he'd ever read, that it really captured what his life was like when he was a teen, and that he wanted to be a writer, too.
Okay. I can retire now. That's all I need.
One of the most difficult things for me to ever do is answer the simplest question from my audience: What is your book about?
I know, I'm usually a smart ass (yeah, notify the media) and say something like, "It's about 400 pages or so." Because, as a writer, and (not meaning to sound God-like) the creator of an entire universe, whenever I have to answer that question, I see a universe, and not 50 words or less.
That said, I was recently asked to come up with a couple short descriptions of my next two books (we signed the contracts this week - Yay!) for a particular trade magazine that will be announcing the deal soon, and so here's a couple of universes condensed down to the size of garbanzo beans:
Winger: Fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West may be the smartest 11th grader in school, but there are some things he just doesn't get. He's convinced that the woman living downstairs is a witch who's out to destroy his life; believes the girl he's in love with only sees him as some kind of pet; and wonders why his best friend -- the only voice of reason in Ryan Dean's life -- likes other boys more than girls. A funny, sometimes dark, part-graphic YA novel about fitting in, and the consequences that can occur when big deals are made over small differences.
The Marbury Lens: After surviving a kidnapping at the hands of a demented predator, Jack Whitmore is unwillingly pulled into Marbury, an apocalyptic world that's out of balance and more frightening than hell; a place where Jack's closest friend wants to kill him. Worst of all, Jack can't control the physical and emotional addiction of returning to Marbury, again and again, even if it means self-destruction. A very dark, very edgy YA fantasy/speculative fiction.
Okay. The hardest part.