I have a confession to make. I love young adult fiction, also known as YA. Imagine that. Me. A guy for whom the word hard-boiled was invented. But still, I appreciate the talent it takes to write YA and make it interesting. I appreciate the dedication to the craft. And I appreciate that sometimes YA is more fearless than adult fiction.
That brings me to three young women I’d like to tell you about. First up, Stephanie Sinkhorn, whom I’ve known for … well, heck, it’s been years. I’ve watched her grow from a girl into a woman. Along the way, she became a talented writer. Here, read this story: Chasing Shadows, and tell me that’s not talent. The story took runner up in the 2010 Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Literature. And she deserved it. Way to go, Stephy. If you want to catch up with Stephanie, you can find her at Maybe Genius.
I met Lauren Ward on an internet message board late last year. I was pimping my novel, Prodigal, hoping to get some people to buy it. Long story short, I think Lauren was surprised by the quality of the work in the first chapter, which you can read here: SNEAK PEEK. Lauren has her own site at yaylaurenward.com, and she normally posts a new short story every week or so. Some of those stories are excellent, and I’m looking forward to her first YA novel coming out. She’s got an agent from a pretty high-profile agency, so you know something good is going to happen for her. And soon. She’s worth a read, so please take a look at her. You’ll be able to say you knew her when. Also, I have found her query letter advice to be uber-helpful.
And last but not least — and the person who got me thinking about this: Hannah Moskowitz. I ought to hate her. I really should. She’s young. She’s brash. She’s talented. And she’s already had one book published, with more on the way. Here’s the thing: someone that talented and that self-effacing, you really have to like. I’ve no interaction with her except briefly on twitter, and through reading her blog. But what I see, I absolutely love.
And here’s one of the reasons why:
Watch that video. Listen to that voice. That kid right there is smart. She knows what she’s talking about, and I think she sounds fearless. I envy that youth and fearlessness, and I admire it. Writing without fear is a hell of a noble thing. So this girl, whom I’ve never met, wrote a book called Invincible Summer, that’s due out this spring. I’ve got no idea what it’s about, but I’m going to buy it and read it, because I want to support writers who are fearless. She deserves that kind of support.
All three of these YA writers inspire me, for various reasons. I appreciate them for it, and one day soon, I think you will too.