Why I'm Branching Into YA (Plus a Cover Reveal!)

Photo Credit: Flickr Joaquim Pinho
By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

In a recent post I shared that I have a Young Adult (YA) book releasing next March 2015.

I've been writing adult historical romance for the inspirational market for the past four years and currently have six full length novels published through Bethany House Publishers with three more slated to release through 2016 (including an enovella releasing in October to kick off my new lighthouse series).

Things are going relatively well. Bethany House has been an all-around excellent publisher to work with. With all the horror stories out there about traditional publishers, I really have nothing to complain about.

So why branch out? Why bother writing more? Why start writing young adult (YA) books too?

There are many reasons I wanted to try something new and why I chose to write a medieval YA series. Here are just a few:

1. I'm a prolific writer. Once I complete a first draft of a book, I'm always eager to start the next one. In fact, if too much time passes between first drafts, I become somewhat discontented. I'm most satisfied when I'm in the creative mode that comes with the writing process. In addition, my writing muscles are honed after years of constant practice. Thus, I'm willing and able to write more than one book per year.

2. I'm an ideas person. I count myself blessed that I don't struggle to come up with new story ideas. Sometimes I find myself having too many. With the ideas clamoring for my attention, it's difficult to be content with just one genre.

3. I want to have versatility. In today's turbulent publishing industry, nothing is certain. Authors could once count on reaching a sustainable livable income. But once-popular authors now struggle to keep readers and maintain adequate sales. As genre popularity comes and goes, some authors don't have contracts renewed. Others have quit altogether. Having some versatility seems wise in today's market.

4. I'm writing what I love. I love historicals AND I love YA books. With three high school students, I've tried to stay current with popular YA books so that I can discuss the books with my teens. In the process, I've found myself falling more and more in love with the YA genre.

5. I'm fulfilling my dreams. During my childhood, some of the first stories I wrote were about handsome knights, strong castles, and daring damsels. Those fairy-tale like stories have always been at the back of my mind. I've always wanted to write them. The dream hasn't died. It's only gotten stronger, until I've realized I needed to give it birth.

As part of the process of branching out, I had to consider quite a number of factors, including whether I should take a pen name. After all, I don't want to confuse my brand. Most of my readers know me for my adult historical romances, especially for basing my stories off of real events or people. Wouldn't writing medieval YA confuse readers?

After much debate, I decided that since medieval fits under the umbrella of a historical writer, that I'm still staying fairly close to my brand. And I've found that most adults enjoy reading YA almost as much as teens. Ultimately, I believe that my current readers will enjoy my medieval YA as much as any of my other books.

So there you have it! My reasons for branching out into YA!

And now . . . drum roll please! The cover of my first YA, An Uncertain Choice!

An Uncertain Choice

One beautiful lady. Three handsome knights. 
And a life-changing choice.

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.

How do YOU feel about authors writing in more than one genre? Do you give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Why?


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