Monday, September 12, 2011

YA Writing with K. Dawn Byrd

Pepper here, and I am THRILLED to have my last year ACFW roomie, encourager, and friend, K.Dawn Byrd as a guest here today. Here's a pic of me and Dawn last year.

Dawn likes to cover lots of different genre, but her newest (and her current favorite) is Young Adult. What's drawn you into the world of teenagers, Dawn?

Thanks for hosting me today on the Writer's Alley! You asked me to talk about writing young adult fiction. First of all, it's a new genre for me and it's so much fun to write! After writing my debut young adult novel, Mistaken Identity, I was hooked. I love the spark of first love, the magic of a first date, the wonder of a first kiss and the innocence of youth.

The biggest challenge for me starting out was to get my voice right. I've always written romantic suspense for adults, which can be pretty dark and serious. I had to tone that down and bring in what was hopefully a more youthful and light-hearted voice. I ran the first chapter by a good friend who is also a published author and when she said the voice was right, I continued on. I've found that it's so important to have a good sounding board when venturing out into unchartered waters.

The teenage years can be so difficult and so full of drama and I wanted to portray this in my story. I added quite a bit of drama in Mistaken Identity by developing a love triangle. Two best friends, one a gorgeous party girl and the other a sweet Christian, fall in love with the same guy. Eden, the Christian, believes he's the perfect guy for her, but feels that she'll lose him because a guy would have to be crazy not to fall for her gorgeous best friend, Lexi. Drama can add tension in just the right places to keep the pages turning.

 Teenagers are smart today and a lot of things compete for their attention. The internet. Their friends. Cheerleading practice. Homework. That's why it's so important to keep the plot moving forward. After all, the goal is to keep the pages turning. When I edited Mistaken Identity, I cut a couple of scenes before turning it in because I thought they slowed down the pacing. If I'm getting bored, I KNOW teenagers will be!

 I enjoy writing for the young adult market so much that I've signed a three-book contract for a mystery/romance series that will debut in January 2012, with two more to follow in June and December. The Zoe Mack Mystery series will be heavier on the romance than the average mystery series because I love romance as much as I love mystery and it's not easy to find a mystery with a strong romance. You can follow my progress on a new blog where I'll give updates from time to time about the series. And, if you like Christian fiction, authors give away 3-5 books per week on my blog at    

 In addition, my publisher recently gave me the green light for a sequel to Mistaken Identity. Several readers had written in and asked for more, so in Shattered Identity, I'll be telling Lexi's story. Shattered Identity will release in April 2012. I've already started plotting and am adding lots of drama and consequences for bad decisions. The gorgeous Lexi, seems to never learn from her mistakes and hopefully, her form of drama will keep the pages turning!

Thanks for being with us today, Dawn. I love hearing about your new adventure in the world of YA - and I can't wait to meet Zoe!! It's like Nancy Drew with a twist.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great interview! It's fun to hear K. Dawn Byrd's "voice" and get a feel for her stories. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I think writing YA would be so, so challenging--so kudos to Dawn for undertaking this and doing it well. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her thought process.

K. Dawn Byrd said...

Thanks Pepper for hosting me and thanks for the comments!

Casey said...

Thanks for being here today on the Alley Dawn!

K. Dawn Byrd said...

Hey, Casey! It's good to be here.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Great interview, Pepper.
Thanks for sharing your ideas and plans, Dawn. Sure enjoyed this post:)