Why I Love YA by Guest Author Nikki Kelly
The reason I love YA above all other genres is because the stories themselves are faster-paced than in other genres. In a YA novel, there aren’t heavy chapters full of very slow world-building and character introductions. Instead, we get a ‘status quo’, usually no more than one chapter in length, and then the main character is thrust into chaos!
I like this because, as a reader, I can become bored very easily, so I like to connect with the main character in his/her ‘status quo’ world fairly fast. I then like to learn about the other world(s) along with that character as the story progresses and they go on their journey.
A great example of a novel that establishes a world and a main character within their status quo is Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo. By chapter two, Bardugo had me in tears! (Bardugo also hits the nail on the head for all things swoon-worthy with her main character Alina’s love interests – FYI I am a #DarklingDarling!
In YA, the main characters tend to be in their teens – usually around 16 or 17 – and I like this age because it’s at that time in your life when all the highs are right up there in the clouds and all the lows feel like bottomless swamps! It’s when first kisses, first loves, first heartbreaks and all the other firsts tend to happen, and so, when I read YA, it allows me to connect with my inner-17-year-old self! I love falling in love all over again, and I have a large collection of book boyfriends!
Above all else, I love nothing more than to swoon! In my humble opinion, to be swooning is as natural, as easy and as important as breathing! The advice I received before I started to write was to ‘write what you know, and write what you love’, and for me that was YA fantasy (full of swoon-worthy romance, of course!).
In Lailah – the first book in The Styclar Saga – the main character is 17, by all appearances. (She is in fact far older, but simply does not remember.) Despite the fact that Lailah has perhaps more things to contend with than your average 17-year-old – you know, being immortal and all that – she in many ways embodies the extensive array of feelings that any 17-year-old girl has.
I like to write in a very action-packed, twisty, high-emotion, ka-boom-esque way! And so, naturally, YA suited me. Lailah is fantasy, with other worlds steeped in history, but the story has a heavy element of romance. And due to ‘what’ Lailah is, her emotional states within the romantic relationships that she forms tend to be quite extreme. This is wonderful for me as the writer, as there are tons and tons of uber swoon-worthy moments, and I immensely enjoyed writing all of those scenes!
Lailah’s journey of self-discovery is helped along by her relationships – swoony and otherwise – with the other characters in the story. But what really catapults her – stratospherically – into uncovering the truth of her nature are her romantic attachments to the two gorgeous ‘guys’.
I, personally, have a love of all things ‘meant to be’ and ‘destined to be together’. True love conquers all, you might say…
But, equally, I have a love of all things risky, bad-ass, and so wrong it’s right – the stuff throwdown is really made of…!
And therein came the introduction to the story of choice. Nothing is inevitable if there is choice… That goes for everything, including the romance. So let’s put these two titans to war and see who gets the girl!
And with two very different ‘guys’ tugging at Lailah’s heart strings, each appealing to the very different parts of her undiscovered nature, we therein have a character in a constant state of inner-conflict!
If you love YA and you enjoy a good swoon, as I do, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Lailah… And, yes, I did just plug my own book…