Saturday, June 8, 2013

Words With Writers: Q & A with the authors of the YA Summer of Love blog tour

Welcome to the first installment of Words with Writers! Words with writers will run every other Saturday, right here on YA Stands. If you're interested in being featured and you write YA, please email jolene dot haley at gmail. dot com. 

Now, on to the awesome interview today!

Some of you may remember that I'm a publicity intern with Swoon Romance. Well, one of my favorite aspects of what I do is to talk to the authors about their books. These three ladies, Rachel Schieffelbein, Kelly Hashway, and Stephanie Wardrop are three writers amazing authors that write YA and they're all celebrating recent book releases!

I asked these three some questions I had about writing YA and this is what they had to say!

Q: Why do you write YA?

Kelly: My teen years are the ones I remember best. They were so full of emotion, both good and bad, and I love tapping into that again through my writing.

Stephanie Wardrop: The short, snarky is answer is that I am a classic case of arrested development, an adolescent brain trapped in an adult body, but that's only partly true.  I'm just fascinated by that period in our lives, adolescence, when there's so much wonder and horror, beauty and heartache, bliss and devastation -- sometimes all on the same day.  I just heard an interview with a neuroscientist who was talking about the brain and the concept of time.  She said that no matter how old a person is, the period of their lives that they remember most vividly, with most detail, is the years between ages 15-25.  I think that's my

Rachel: It's such an exciting time in a person's life. Things are fun and easy, crazy and difficult all at the same time.

Q: What does YA lit mean to you?

Kelly: Opening up every emotion inside me and pouring it out. I'm an emotional person, so I love this about YA. Being a teenager is tough, but getting to revisit that through books (others and my own) is both fun and therapeutic. 

Stephanie: On a personal level, YA books were the first ones I read way back when that made me want to be a writer -- Judy Blume and Richard Peck were very important to me.  Their books both opened up new possibilities for being and reassured me about who I was in the world I had been thrust into. I don't write to teach people lessons, but I think saying "Here's another way of looking at it" is okay.

Rachel: For me, YA is about finding out who you are, and who you want with you on that journey.

Q: What sets YA apart from other writing? 

Kelly: YA appeals to so many age groups, not just teens. I think it's a way for adults to connect to teens and remember what life was like at that age. And have I mentioned the emotion in YA? ;)

Stephanie: What sets it apart from other writing? Not much, really, when you get right down to it.  Good YA writing has all the elements of good writing, period, except that it is told from the point of view of an adolescent, not someone looking back at their adolescence.  But it can be funny, beautiful, eloquent, fantastical, brutally realistic -- all of the stuff of any good book.  And it's not about the level of complexity of vocabulary or ideas, either.  Libba Bray and John Green and Phillip Pullman and a whole host of others can
be so much more challenging than a lot of the "grownup" books out there.

Rachel: I think it's more honest. I think teens can spot bs better than a lot of adults! ;)

Q: What is the best YA writing resource out there?

Kelly: YA novels. Reading great books is the best way to learn how to write them.

Stephanie: I love YA Highway and follow them on Tumblr -- there are  a lot of great YA resources out there on Tumblr.  But I would have to say that YALitChat was the most important to me, and not just because that's how I connected with Swoon.  Reading and commenting on other people's work in a productive way taught me as much as receiving the comments on my own in growing as a writer.  I've been inspired by the way so many YALC-ers never give up.  They revise and then they come back, and I felt safe or empowered or whatever the right word is to do that, too. Because that's what writers do!

Rachel Schieffelbein: For me, being around teens. I coach speech and theater and it's a pretty laid back environment. It's great to find out what's important in their lives right now, and to see how they interact with each other.

Thank you so much to Rachel, Stephanie, and Kelly for being so awesome and for your helpful and interesting answers! Don't forget to check out their new books Secondary Characters, Charm and Consequence, and Advantage: Heartbreak!

What do you guys think? Have your own answers for those questions? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


  1. Thanks for being part of the tour, Jolene!

  2. Replies
    1. You should also know that I've been writing your last name so often that I can spell it without double checking. LOL. Be impressed! :)