Karen Mahoney ( a.k.a. Official Honorary Book Smuggler) is a Young Adult writer whose first story, Falling to Ash has been published in The Eternal Kiss Anthology (reviewed today by Ana) . She is also one of the Deadline Dames and can be found writing about writing, reading and other cool stuff in her livejournal. When we were organising the YA month ,we just knew we would invite her over.
We are more than happy to give the floor to Karen Mahoney and her post on writing YA.
I write YA fiction because every time I sit down to write something, my characters turn out to be 17 or 18. Apparently, this means I write YA. 😉 I think I’m drawn to these ages because this is when a lot happened in my own life, and those experiences always seem more important and powerful when you’re going through all the inevitable changes that the teenage years bring. All those ‘first times’ that we go through… It makes for wonderful drama and conflict in fiction. The potential for emotional writing is huge, and I love writing big emotional scenes. I remember how brave I could be at 17 – there’s a fearless quality to being a teenager that I wish I could get back.
I used to work with older teens, as a student advisor, and I learned so much during that time. I think it was then that I realised I wanted to focus on the teenage years in my fiction. Now that I’m writing YA urban/contemporary fantasy, I can allow my imagination to soar while still grounding myself in the very real issues of what it’s like to be growing up in today’s society. To think that I’m writing books and stories that might one day be read by young adults who experience things so passionately… that just blows me away!
My story in THE ETERNAL KISS, ‘Falling to Ash’, is about an 18-year-old vampire called Moth. She was Turned into a vamp over a decade ago, so she’s really a 28-year-old woman stuck in the body of a teenager. I love thinking about all the questions and issues that raises: imagine being trapped as a teenager for eternity… How would you change and grow? Would you develop as a regular human being should do, or would you always be just a little immature? (Moth can be quite immature and impetuous, but at the same time the wisdom of her years shows through when she needs it.) How would it feel to see ‘real’ teenagers enjoying life, while you just continue on the way you’ve always been? Never growing physically older, but perhaps feeling the weight of years as each one passes. Imagine how it would affect your family and friends. What would you tell them? Would you tell them? All these things I’ve explored with Moth, and packing it into 32 pages wasn’t easy! Luckily, I’ve now written a novel about her (BEAUTIFUL GHOSTS) which I hope will be picked up by a publisher one day. Watch this space… 🙂
In her varied career Karen Mahoney has been a professional Tarot reader, a college counsellor, a dating agency consultant and a bookseller. Ever since she was six years old what she really wanted to be was Wonder Woman, but has instead settled for being a writer which she thinks is the most fun you can have without bulletproof bracelets.
Her YA contemporary fantasy, THE IRON WITCH (Book 1 of The Ironbridge Chronicles), is currently on submission in the US. Among other work she has recently completed a companion novel, BEAUTIFUL GHOSTS, which is set in the same world but completely stands alone. It continues the adventures of Moth, the teenage vampire who was introduced to readers in her recently published short story, ‘Falling to Ash’.
A huge thank you to Karen for the great post.
Now for the giveaway:
Karen is generously offering a signed copy of The Eternal Kiss to one lucky reader! The contest is open to anyone, and will run until Saturday August 1st 11:59pm (PST). To enter, simply leave a comment here. Good luck!