by Thea Atkinson
Like many readers, I’ve come to realize I like a good young adult novel now and then. It all started with Harry Potter, I think, and moved to the likes of Graceling and more recently, The Hunger Games trilogy.
My strange interest in young adult began to baffle me the more I read. After all, most of my own novels, and all of my short stories, are built around broken characters. Or more to the point, characters who are very much in the darkest times of their lives and who are struggling to find some light.
I have a few friends who even prefer not to read me because they can’t reconcile the person they know with my penchant for floundering around in the darkest parts of a character’s psyche.
It’s too much for them.
Enter Harry Potter. I was awestruck at the world JK Rowling created and found myself fighting with my daughter to read this series.
YA should be more light, I thought at the time, not driven by dark needs. Voldemort was deliciously evil and Harry – well, Harry was a little broken too. The series moved through some pretty dark issues, all hidden behind a light veil of the magic of being different.
I thought then how brave the author was to take children – yes, children – down some pretty dark alleyways, and in so doing, rewrite the genre.
Or so I thought.
When I read The Hunger Games series, I remember thinking: yes, it does have many of the hallmarks of what I thought were young adult. It has a little romance, a lack of real parenting presence, easy-to-read language, etc. But it had something else to.
It had darkness.
Children hunting other children and killing them for the amusement of an audience.
How dark is that? I mean, really.
Sure, the romance is kept to kisses and flirtations, there is no strong language, the graphic scenes are light on too-explicit details, but the premise is pretty darn dark.
Of course, that got my motor running.
I love to try writing in new genres. I think it keeps my writing muscles supple. And I always learn something – even if it’s that I’m not cut out to write in that genre.
Plus, I always gain a new respect for those authors when I see how hard something is that they make look remarkably easy.
You know where I’m going. You’ve seen me tweet and blog about it.
Water Witch is my first young adult novel – and it’s fantasy to boot. Two things that are outside my usual litfic arena, so it was doubly hard for me.
And doubly fun, too as it turns out.
At first, I thought I’d write Alaysha as she first appeared to me, but I soon realized that it was too far into her jaded timeline. I discovered that what drove me to write about Alaysha was how she got there in the first place.
Which meant I had to pull back.
- I picked her story up when she is 17. Seventeen meant young adult (I thought).
- Alaysha is a witch of a unique sort. Which meant fantasy (I thought).
And so the first in the series is born. Of course, there are some spots that a reader of mine would immediately recognize as typical Thea style (be that for the good or the bad. grin.)
The official launch date is April 30, but you can grab an advance e-copy for $.99 from Amazon if you like right now. Before it hits all of the other distributors like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony, and Apple and goes up in price.
But do come back on launch day because I have a few pressies for you.
And tell your friends. I’d love to know how my new foray into the authorship world of TA Atkinson, young adult fantasy author, sits with you.
If you liked this post, please do share.
- How Much Can Teens Handle? On Young Adult Literature and Young Adults in Literature with Shay Fabbro (quillshiv.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on “Adults Should Read Adult Books” article from NY Times (annalisegrey.com)
- Inside the Author’s Mind – Thea Atkinson (edenbaylee.wordpress.com)