Jessica Shirvingto​n: Love from teenager to adult – is there a book in there? And would l write it?

First of all, this is a great topic. Thanks so much to Natasha for inviting me to discuss this subject today. It is one I have given a great deal of thought to myself and feel very passionate about.

YA books generally focus on a teen hero or heroine. It is an interesting concept to consider the possibility of carrying a story over the line from teen to adult characters. Some might say it is not possible – that they must remain separate. I disagree.

The world of YA and Adult fiction is a hazy line at best. Publishers and readers alike struggle at times to clearly define the difference and, as a writer, I have begun to differentiate in a way that turns to a similar system as movie classifications. It is becoming more about content and suitability, rather than age of characters. How can age of characters define the genre when it’s commonplace for lead and secondary characters to have paranormal qualities that allow for extended, or eternal, lifespans? Yes, they look 16 years old … but really they are hundreds of years old, with long histories and experiences to tell us about. So surely we can watch our lead characters take their love story a number of years into the future and adulthood.

Actually, it is a very interesting discussion point. I welcome feedback and would love to hear what other people think on this subject.

As someone who personally fell in love at the age of 17 and has gone on to marry that person and have two beautiful daughters, I am a big advocate for young love. I support the ability of teenagers to recognize their hearts desires and their right to follow them (as long as they remain within the bound of the law, people!). Love is not defined by age and a heart does not improve its ability to love just because our minds mature and become more educated. Many will disagree with me but I believe when you find the one – you know it on an innate level.

So yes, I believe stories in books can travel over the genre. In fact, I think it is an element to story telling that is potentially a natural curve that will be followed. Some stories can be played out in a stand-alone novel – some take an unknown number of books in a series. At the same time, some love stories can be played out over a period of a few short weeks to make it seemingly clear that eternal happiness is guaranteed. Others take longer. Sometimes the best love stories play out over years and there is no reason why it cannot play out in the ages that span from teen to adult. After all, a very great number of real life love stories span that exact period of time.

As a reader, it is a fascinating subject. As a writer, it is one I have every intention of exploring.

WLP: First, thank you Jessica for stopping by today! And second, you guys!! You have to read Embrace, it’s truly one of my favourite YA reads of the year. You’ll fall in love with the characters, the setting and it’s full of fun plot twists! Trust me on this, go grab a copy ASAP!

  • SM Johnson March 6, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Yes, you can! And if your characters demand it, you should. But if you’re seeking traditional publishing, tread carefully. I had to make one of my characters 18 for my trad publisher, and therefore the rest of the trilogy. O e of the reasons I love the Indie track.

    • SM Johnson March 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Lmao, I may have misunderstood the question. My bad.

  • Emma Cunningham March 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I think that sounds like a fantastic project. I always wonder where YA couples ended up!

  • Wicked Lil Pixie March 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I’ve seen it happen backwards (Kenyon’s Dark Hunters to Nick series) but never a progression. I’d love to read it!

  • Petra March 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I think it’s a interesting concept. I read one book like that. I didn’t read the series when I was a kid, only the latest when the characters were in their mid-late twenties. The problem was the characters didn’t mature. That can be the case sometimes either because somebody was mature as a teen or just remains childish as an adult, but in the book it seemed none of the characters changed at all, apart from them owning their own homes and some having families of their own. Maybe it was so the characters would be familiar, but it felt unrealistic. Despite that I’d love to see a series start as a YA and makes a transition into adult. The characters could starts as teens (high school) and then we’d see them later on attending college or being recent graduates. In a nutshell: It would be fun to explore 🙂

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