Friday, 14 May 2010

Guest Post: Erica Chapman - Why I Write YA?

Hi Everyone!

Big thanks to Dolly for inviting me to “share time” with all of you ;o) I’ve enjoyed the other posts in this series and can’t wait to see who’s next!

In the beginning…

I didn’t start out writing YA and most certainly not paranormal. In fact, I started with poetry. I’m going to get all “honest and sharey” here for a moment. The death of my dad was a huge catalyst for me to write. I wrote my first poem at sixteen after I found out he committed suicide. His death uprooted deeply hidden emotions that could only manifest on the white paper of my kitten journal. It was quite therapeutic, and I owe a lot to my early writing.

“ahh back to snarky, sarcastic me”

What came next was only natural…

I wrote poetry about boys! Once in a while I threw in something about life… blah blah. But boys were more interesting. Those poems are under lock and key, and will stay that way FOREVER. Ha.

So on came adulthood *sigh* I’m fighting it with all I got.

But. I have a confession. I’m a bit jaded. *gasp* I know. Hard to believe, but alas, I’m an adult and therefore have racked up some cynicism and intolerance.

You know what pulled me out of my humdrum life?

Harry Potter.

Yes. Harry Potter got me reading again after a long draught, after thinking life was just one boring political argument after another. I needed more. So thus began my love for YA (yes, I know Harry is MG, but it’s like my gateway book) *ahem* JK Rowling is brilliant. I realize I didn’t mention her yet, but she’s kind of like Madonna, when you say, “Like a Prayer” you know who sings it, right?

So after HP, I devoured the Twilight series in one week, Hunger Games series (well the 2 that are out) in 4 days, and lots of others. I loved reading about vampires/werewolves/ghosts. Put paranormal into a YA book and I’m sold. (yes, I also know that Hunger Games isn’t paranormal)It’s the first loves, complications, the angst that drew me in. You know, the stuff I wrote about as a teen. I immediately formed my own ideas and realized… I wanted to write my own story.

I began with a story that ended up not even being YA, in fact, it was a mystery. I moved on to an Adult Paranormal story about the Devil and the snatchers that took bodies from Earth (you know light stuff like that). But, something was missing. So. During NaNoWriMo, I decided I would try my hand at YA Paranormal. I fell in love. There’s something about re-living those first moments, about experiencing things as if it were my first time but with a paranormal twist, that fits me.

With YA there’s a great opportunity to express something to an audience I don’t normally socialize with. (not that I wouldn’t, just don’t come across any teens).

Writing YA is amazing. The voice has to be authentic; you have to make sure not to instill your own beliefs and jadedness into the words. It’s hard. I’ll admit it. I’ve had to go back and edit my cynical statements, but there’s something really rewarding about living as a teen again.


Would I ever consider going back in time and re-living my teen years if someone magically built a super-awesome time machine with a flux capacitor?

Not if you paid me a trazillion dollars.

Would you?

Come over and say “what’s up!” –
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Thanks ;o)


  1. Erica,

    Thanks for the lovely post :-)

    Funnily enough, I would go back to my teenage years. Well later ones -- from 16 to 19. Especially 19 was my favourite year.

    And if I get to go back with some of today's wisdom then I would go back to all of them. ;)

    I think your motivation behind writing YA is great, and true.

  2. Yay! Love the post, Erica! :)

    I wouldn't touch my teenage years with a ten foot pole. ;-)

    I'm a firm believer in the whole "everything that's happened has made me who I am," so I wouldn't want to screw anything up. :P


  3. Erica, you sure get around. You're here. You're in Kansas.

    Put me back into my sixteen-year-old body and I'd do it all over again, with a few minor changes.

    Thanks Dolly.

  4. Great post Erica!

    I wouldn't want to relive my teen years either. But my 20's though . . . :-)

    Another great addition to the series Dolly!

  5. Lovely post, Erica - good to know more about your path to getting "here", as always. :-)

    I wouldn't go back either...I've never fought growing up.

    Good luck with your ongoing revisions... ;-)

    And thanks for another great post, Dolly!

  6. I wouldn't want to go back in time either.

    I started out writing poetry, too. Bad poetry, but it was a start.

  7. That's great. I always love to hear how writers get started writing what they do. :)

  8. Hey guys! I'm so sorry I didn't comment yesterday. I'm on vacation and I don't have constant connection to the internet. Who would have thunk it ;o)

    Dolly - Thank you! Yes, I agree wisdom would have helped me out a bit...LOL

    Adam - Thanks! Yeah I could see that too ;o)

    Matt- LOL don't tell... ha. Fun ;o)

    Jamie - Thanks! I agree ;o)

    Medeia - Poetry can be tough can't it? Thanks!

    Jennifer - Thanks! Me too ;o)

  9. Ha! You couldn't pay me enough to go back either. The movies lie, it's so much better being a grown up.

  10. Let's see a trazillion dollars? Maybe...NOT!

  11. I wouldn't say I write because it's cathartic, but the fact that writing *is* cathartic is a tremendous perk! I've never experienced the loss of someone close to me, but the trials of my life definitely get worked out of my system by writing about the completely unrelated conflicts of my characters.

  12. Hey! Whew, just got back from vacation. I promise I didn't forget you!

    Natalie - They do don't they? LOL Gotta love the teenager movies though ;o)

    Southpaw - Ha! LOL

    KM - I could see that. Life always sneaks in doesn't it? I'm glad it works for you too ;o)

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!!

  13. Erica, I think we both fell into YA paranormal in a very similar way. It all started with HP for me, too. Great minds, yeah?

    I can't even imagine what that kind of loss must have been like for you when you were a teenager. I lost my dad, too, but not in the same way. But it seems that you found a very powerful way to deal with it. I know that writing has been such a crucial part of coping for me as well. And what a brilliant thing when writing becomes more than just a means for catharsis.

    I look forward to seeing what kind of things you're working on, luv ;)

    Big <3 to Dolly for hosting your post! What a great series.

  14. Thank you Carolina. What a sweet and sincere comment. It's funny, Harry Potter the healer... LOL That will always be my ultimate series! I'm sorry you lost your dad too :o( But happy we are both writing now!

    Thanks again, Dolly ;o)