Corrine Jackson has a grasp on contemporary young adult fiction that grabs, holds, and does not let go of the reader. It’s not as if she went looking to write in this genre. Dissatisfied with adult fiction, Jackson was turned onto YA books by a friend. The stories she read were anything but light and frivolous.
“I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and that was the end of that. From then on, I was reading YA like a fiend and it wasn’t long before I decided to try writing one,” said Jackson, who notes that YA offers some element of hope.
She also found the search for identity in YA literature intoxicating.
“This was missing from much of the adult fiction I was reading, and I felt like I’d discovered reading again for the first time.”
Jackson also discovered writing YA and how much fun it was. Her first YA story took a mere four months to write.
“Four blissful months when I knew nothing about deadlines,” said Jackson.
The story, Touched, is about a girl, Remy O’Malley, who has the ability to heal people with her touch, but it comes at a steep cost because every illness or injury she heals becomes her own.
“I started querying Touched in March 2009. My query got nowhere, until a very kind agent’s assistant (who had rejected my query, by the way) gave me some advice on writing queries. I revised my query and sent it out on a Friday. By Monday I had four requests. Within a month I had four more. I will forever be in that agent assistant’s debt.”
The agent who did take on Jackson (Laura Bradford) had originally requested a partial of Touched, followed by a request for the full in October 2009 and an official offer in January 2010. Jackson saw the whole thing go down on Twitter, as Bradford tweeted to followers about the great YA manuscript she couldn’t put down.
“I followed her on Twitter and she tweeted about my manuscript.”
Touched was picked up quickly and is scheduled for release in December 2012. In the meantime, Jackson set about writing the followup, Touched 2, and If I Lie, the story of 17-year-old Sophie Quinn, a girl who becomes an outcast in her small military town when she chooses to keep a secret for her Marine boyfriend who has gone MIA in Afghanistan. If I Lie is scheduled for release later this summer. Touched 3 is what Jackson is currently working on, as well as a new contemporary YA story.
“I don’t write full-time, though. I’m still working the evening and weekend shift to get my words in,” said Jackson, who noted that although she lives to write, she is balancing two careers in writing and marketing.
“I love both careers, but it makes things challenging at times since my writing happens evenings and weekends.”