Writing my new book, Trust, required a slight shift in genre and thinking for me. It’s not only my first Indie release, but it’s my first ever Young Adult book as well. While the story is still first and foremost a romance, it is set firmly within a YA world. The hero and heroine are both seniors in high school so Trust takes place within and around all of those signature situations: lunchtime in the school cafeteria, sneaking in a conversation during class, and hanging out with friends. Portraying younger characters was a great challenge, one I thoroughly enjoyed.
While Romance and YA can cover quite different territory, there’s also overlap. Both zero in on what can be the most important time in a person’s life. YA covers that formative period when you first start having the freedom to shape how your life will go (planning for work, college, etc). Romance explores that period when you open up to someone else, and work out whether you can be life partners. Both are massive times of change, and the personal journey sits at the center of each story.
Writing YA required me to reflect back on those periods in my own life (no time travel involved, sadly). I also had to research what the main issues are now. The world has changed since I was seventeen, though the fundamentals remain the same. Normally when I’m writing, I try to avoid reading anything that’s even slightly similar to my book. Otherwise another author’s ideas can infiltrate my story. The subconscious is a tricky thing. But in this case, I was trying to craft a story and style that would meet the expectations of both romance and YA readers. It was a terrific excuse to do lots of new reading!
My top recommendations for contemporary YA with romance are: Night Owls by Jenn Bennett, Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas, Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott, The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Fallen Crest High by Tijan, Shuffle Repeat by Jen Klein, and Attraction by Penny Reid. Honestly, the list could go on and on. And I’m not even getting into amazing fantasy, urban fantasy, and sci-fi.
But back to me and my book. Trust melds YA and romance by telling the story of two young people who suffer through the same harrowing hostage situation, but are driven toward opposite journeys. In the aftermath of the violence, Edie, the heroine, finds her nicely organized life no longer makes sense to her. While John, the hero, tries to claw his way out of a world of crime and violence. It’s only by coming together that they find love and understanding.
I hope you enjoy it!
Trust is on B&N bookshelves now.