No, of course we aren’t. Or, actually, we are. Kind of.
You see, we love speculative fiction. We can’t get enough of young adult and new adult science fiction and fantasy stories. We love them so much that we want to share our love of them with the broadest audience we can reach, which is why we banded together to make better use of our astounding super powers.
Okay, we don’t have super powers, but we could totally write about having them!
Why do we love YA/NA spec fic? Strangely enough, we all have very similar reasons—imagine that! As Kea says: “The imagination has to work double time to pull off spec fic, creating a fun challenge for the writer and, hopefully, the reader.”
I think she’s onto something. My reason for loving spec fic is simple: it allows me to invent a world and do anything I want with it. You know those stories where authors say they wrote a book because it was what they wanted to read about? That’s exactly what I did. I wanted to read about a warrior princess who had to rescue her prince, so I rebooted Sleeping Beauty, and Asleep was born.
Zoe’s thought process was similar. “I wrote the Internal Defense series because I wanted to create a more realistic-feeling dystopia. I wanted to combine that kind of atmosphere with contemporary American culture, and show what that world would look like from the perspective of someone who has never known anything else – and then turn that ordinary person into a hero.”
Spec fic allows us to wander the realm of what could be. As Sandhya says: “It's vastly fascinating to me how people would react if their realities were vastly different from my own. What if the man you loved wasn't human? What if the world was just struggling to its feet after a nuclear war? What if you learned a secret about yourself that made you question every single thing you knew to be true?”
It lets us explore all those interesting “what if” questions. “The possibilities are endless. One thought took hold of me as I was hiking the canyons of San Diego on a particularly hot day--I wonder how hot it would have to get before society could no longer function during the day? That one seemingly fleeting thought became an all-consuming world as I imagined the impact of flipping days and nights--on society as a whole and on individual people,” Megan says.
The possibilities fascinate Shelbi as well: “There's so much to explore about human nature and behavior, and that is at the heart of most books in this genre! When I wrote Virulent, I wanted to start pre-dystopia and show how it could develop; and I wanted it to feel like something that could happentomorrow, with no warning. That excited me.”
So what gives with all the evil villains and oppressive regimes? I’m with Katie on this one: “There's something so magical about basic human survival. When all this commercial garbage is stripped bare, the human soul and its capacity to overcome is astounding. We know that about our race: we never go down without a fight.”
That urge to create, to explore, never seems to die, even for those of us who didn’t originally intend to be authors. “I had an idea for a novel (in the shower, where the idea fairy clearly lives) and I sat down at the computer one day and typed CHAPTER ONE on a blank document,” Aimee says. “The rest—as they say—was many late nights on my laptop, lots of research on improving my writing craft, and countless hours of time spent learning about the business side of the publishing industry. Oh, and history. So, no, I haven't always wanted to be a YA author, or any other kind, but I couldn't imagine being anything else now.”
I’d love to take credit for summing it all up, but that credit goes to Ash: “I love monsters and magic and make-believe. I love characters who do things I'd never be brave enough to do. I love writing with an intensity and an ownership so strong that people would often ask me if my books were autobiographical.
“And I always reply: Of course not. My real life is way too boring!”
Who wants to spend precious reading time with something boring? We’re committed to taking the road less traveled, and we’re committed to you, our readers, the whole reason we engage in this crazy business in the first place. Without you, we couldn’t spend our time frolicking in the playgrounds in our heads.
Thanks for all that angst, by the way. You owe us. We’ll accept payment in the form of chocolate, and you can send it all to me. I’ll make sure the others get their fair share. Really, I swear. ;)