I am currently writing my third and final novel for ‘The Painted Maidens Trilogy’. The first book ‘The Rising’ is available now on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, and iTunes. The second book ‘The Betrayed’ will be available this fall.
Without giving too much away, in the third book (tentatively named ‘The Taking’) the main character, Serena – who is 18 – makes the decision to share herself with her boyfriend. This is not within the confines of marriage because well, they are mermaids and they don’t get married.
I’ve done my fair share of research on sex in young adult books and am admittedly nervous to include it. I want to do it right. The best article I found so far is by ‘Writing Teen Novels‘. Advice in writing sex in young adult novels includes “how important it is to be honest, to be sober and to be in a committed respectful and loving relationship before you take the leap” and “girls should decide that they are in control of their bodies and of their decision-making”.
Another great article I found is by Amber Skye Forbes. Here the author says “Sexual experiences vary widely among teenagers, which is what is so great about YA literature. It encompasses experiences from a myriad of teenagers from all different walks of life” (like mermaids – LOL) and “sex between two teenagers doesn’t always have negative consequences”.
My next conundrum is how graphic should I get? I have to keep it PG-13 but I don’t want to completely gloss over the event.
One big benefit I have to this is my oldest son just turned 15 – and he reads this series. I can keep myself in check knowing he will be reading the book, but I can also include everything I want him to know about it wrapped into an entertaining fantasy story.
I would love to hear your advice on the subject – especially coming from avid readers, other YA authors, parents, and even teens. What lessons should I preach (without sounding too preachy, of course)? How graphic can I get? What were some of your favorite YA books that touched this subject?
Several days ago, I clicked ‘save’ then closed the document on the first draft of my sixth novel. ‘The Rising; Book One of the Painted Maidens Trilogy’ is now with my awesome editing team, and an equally awesome bunch of beta readers. I welcome the break as I wait for the feedback, but my fingers can’t stay idle for long – it is a curse and a blessing. They itch to get back to the keyboard.
I’ve already started on the second book of the trilogy, but want to take some time to reflect on my writing journey, and how it came to be. My first novel, ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’, took nearly ten years to write. It started in high school, when I would be stuck in class daydreaming. I daydreamed of a cute boy coming into the classroom to sweep me off my feet. I’d dream of an equally cute villain coming into the classroom to take us all hostage. I dreamed of fighting the snobby girl next to me. How would I react? What would I do?
I went through the same daydreams over and over in my head, changing minor details until the scene was perfect – then I’d go over it again. I couldn’t stop. Finally, in order to keep some level of sanity, I began writing them down. They were just scenes; not even complete short stories. It worked well in class, I looked like a very studious note-taker.
I graduated high school and tried my hand at college. It was…boring. So, I joined the Marine Corps. Boot camp wasn’t so boring. And neither was the first two years in the corps. But things settled down, and the daydreams started as once again, I sat behind a desk, this time at work but in cammies and boots. I can’t sit still for long.
I got married, had a child, and went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree. I also resumed writing.
After five years, I left the corps for a career in the translation business. The job was good, but I still continued to write. Eventually, I took all these little ‘scenes’, saved in a folder from my high school years, and melded them into a story. I typed them up, working on my lunch break at work, in the early morning, or in the evenings.
In September of 2011, more than ten years after I started, my first novel was finished. My second novel, ‘Air’, only took two months. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of writing, editing, and marketing. I have six books and seven short stories to my name, and I still have so much to learn and do. The ideas are still flowing – I’m not sure I will ever be done writing.
One thing I’ve learned from writing on scrap paper, literally on the back of my biology notes, and eventually turning them into an actual published novel – even if it takes ten years, never give up!