Last week I wrote a blog about When Writers Ask the Wrong Question and found myself asked the wrong question as a follow-up.
I was asked: If you’re all for exploration in YA, why is your story so sweet?
First off, Yes. KISS is a sweet adult contemp. Second, Yes, all of my stories will be sweet. Third, what does that have to do with other people’s YA?
I’d start by saying that I’m not for free for alls in the YA world. There are things out there that are great books, but I wouldn’t hand to 90% of teens. But, for those 10% maybe their vital. I also wouldn’t hand sweet YAs to a lot of teens either. They’re just not interested or past that. Just because the audience that needs or wants a book is small, doesn’t mean that book shouldn’t be written. Sometimes, it means it should be written.
Teens (if you’ve bothered to talk to one lately) are individuals just like adults are individuals. They are not a Mass Group of Cyborgs. They have different tastes, needs and things they enjoy. And so, books for teens should be different, just like books for adults.
As for my books, I love Romance and Rom Coms and Chick Lit and Humourous Women’s Fiction and whatever else we’re calling these books at the moment. But, sometimes I max out on the sex! sex! sex! in some of them. Sometimes I want more than the how-fast-can-we-find-a-flat-surface I often feel bombarded with. Sometimes I just want the sweet part of falling in love.
And so the real question has nothing to do with what’s going on in YA. It has to do with what’s going on with me as a writer. I write sweet because I wish there was more of it. Because I think sweet is a great source of love. Because I don’t think sex is needed to fall in love. Because I think friendship and respect and laughter are great foundations for love.
Is hot sex to follow? Boy, I hope so. Do I need to write that to tell the stories I tell? Not really.
I’m a strong believer in “if it isn’t needed to move the story forward, then it isn’t needed” and that’s where my stories fall. That doesn’t mean my characters are dull or passionless. It just means you don’t get to spend time with them naked.
And seriously, naked strangers are typically just weird anyway, right?