It's that pensive in between time betwixt Christmas and New Year where little gets done besides self-loathing, promises to do better and eating. Best I can do today at The Blog Mansion is to cross link the questions for my recent MFA YA Q&A. See? I'm useful.
Today after a brief break to celebrate BEATRYSEL with the BEATRYSEL HOLIDAY EVENT, I'm back to talking YA. If you didn't see the BEATRYSEL post, well, you should go. There's still a give-away I think and some cool videos.
Today, to round out the year, I'm completing the MFA YA Q&A.
If you remember I was approached by a friend of mine who is getting her MFA and working on a project about Young Adult Literature. She gave me a five questions and I thoughtfully answered them. Liking them so much, and needing blog material, I've presented them here. Here are the previous questions.
Today Question 5: What do you believe the future of young adult literature entails?
One thing about literary books is that they often have reference to the history. To truly understand what a “literary” author is saying often requires a certain degree of literacy. From Sophocles to Salinger, there is a western literary tradition that needs to be understood. Young adult books tend to be more immediate, without the history or baggage of books traditionally considered to be literary, and that’s okay. They’re creating their own history. It’s a bit like fast food; it may not have all the nutrition you want, but it’ll keep you going. It might be the best shake you ever had, but there’s still something missing. The goal is to get readers interested with the flashy YA and lure them to keep reading and grow into intelligent, literate readers from any foundation.
With any luck young adult readers today will stay readers tomorrow. Young adult books are necessarily restrictive. Among other things, there’s a certain “limited attention span” prejudice about them shared by agents and editors as well as authors, (I’m not convinced about readers). Complexities aren’t really welcome in the YA universes as a rule. Black and white sides, clean exits, right and wrong, clear choices are a hallmark of juvenile literature. It’s comforting and popular to all ages and, as the average American claims less than an eighth grade reading level, it’ll probably remain the norm for all popular narrative for the foreseeable future. It’s a comment on our culture as much as anything and the arguments for and against long form fiction, literariness and complexities will rage on.
And so young adult fiction is here to stay. Consider this; if nothing else we are a “youth-loving” society and mass market narrative, be it books, film or TV is centered around the young who are said to have disposable income enough to consume such things. Art is one thing, but economics is another and the popularity and demographics of YA will cement it for a long time.
This week I'm celebrating the birthday of my first girl, my beloved BEATRYSEL. Three years ago she was first published, setting in motion my writing career. My lovely publisher Kate Jones at Omnium Gatherum has renewed our contract and so BEATRYSEL continues to haunt bookshelves.
Unsatisfied with the ancient grimoires, the Magus made his own. Unsatisfied with the ancient demons, the Magus made Beatrysel. She was a creature of love. But there is no love without hate, no light without darkness, no loyalty without betrayal. And demons are greedy for flesh. BEATRYSEL is a story of power and hubris, jealousy, love, and magick. Murder and sacrifice. It is a modern Faust set in the American Northwest where the cold winter rain melts the barriers between what is real and what is more real. It is a battle between power-hungry magicians, serial killers and jilted dying lovers.
Man I love this book.
Check out these videos about BEATRYSEL.
To celebrate and take advantage of the season, we’re putting BEATRYSEL on sale for a couple of days. The Kindle version is only 99¢ for a very limited time and if you order through OG’s web page HERE you can pick up the stylish paperback for a mere $9.99. An ideal stocking stuffer for big socks and occult thriller buffs. And of course, what literary celebration should be complete without a give-away? Sign up below and enter to win a signed copy.
This week: 4. Do you believe young adult novels have literary value? How so or why not?
Absolutely they have literary value. First, as art, it carries on the traditions of the art, whether it likes it or not. Second, and this is probably the most realistic and far reaching argument, young adult books are being read. Love it or hate it Stephanie Myer's Twilight cannot be ignored as a cultural artifact. Harry Potter is now ingrained in our western consciousness more than Dickens’ Oliver Twist(who was thought of as trashy throw-away literature in his time, by the way).
One of the arguments of literary value must be an artifact’s cultural impact. Young Adult is ruling this today. Though I’ll grant that it’s the films that are imprinting on the masses more than the books, the books have not been ignored and are read even by people who generally don’t read. Young adult books lead the way here. Since young adults read, and their minds are impressionable, the impact of YA books on the society cannot be downplayed or ignored for it’s influence there. Add to this the multi-media access to YA stories and it’s a perfect storm of influence in American culture. These are the heroes of our time. All respect to Jonathan Franzen, but his characters have nothing on Katniss Everdeen for longevity or impact.