Monday, August 8, 2011

The Dealers Who Got Me Hooked (On YA)

I think there’s a reason why writers usually stick to a specific genre.  At some point in every writer’s past there was ‘The Book’.

The one that got them hooked-  not just on reading…but on letting their imaginations wander even after the book was closed and storyline played out- the one that had them creating their own worlds and scenarios and characters before they’d ever picked up a pen and paper or opened a writing doc.  And in many cases, there wasn’t just ‘The Book’, but ‘The Author’ as well.

For me, this was L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine.

I read ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and ‘The Secret Circle’ in the mid nineties and they got me hooked on everything teen paranormal and supernatural. Some of you might remember the old-school cover art.  In truth I almost prefer them to the newer versions!

 Christopher Pike’s series were more magical realism and a bit mature for my age but I devoured them too. 

And R.L. Stine’s cheerleader series scared the crap out of me.  I’ll never forget the cheerleader who was hot-watered to death in the girls’ locker room.


After those, YA was my preferred genre.  I might have gone on a classic lit kick in college.  And I still have a soft spot for romance and chick-lit.  But I always come back to YA.  And when I write, YA is the place I like to be.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I heard the CW would be picking up L.J. Smith’s ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and I’m even more excited to see what they do with ‘The Secret Circle’.  I read both of these series over and over growing up and fell in love with the characters every time.

What book or author got you hooked on your preferred writing genre?

29 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Good question. There are so many books that inspire me. Most recently it's Revolution by Jennifer Donnely.

Jen Daiker said...

R.L. Stine! Eek! My sisters used to take those books camping and freak ourselves out before bed!! Those, along with the books that you choose your own ending! Gosh we loved those!

The book that made me want to write, Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I wanted to conquer love just as she had between those pages!

Happy Monday fabulous!

Christine Danek said...

I guess, technically, Judy Blume. If you consider that YA. Stephanie Meyer, I know, I know. But I love Becca Fitzpatrick, Suzanne Collins, and Jeri Smith-Ready. Those are most recent authors who really make me love YA that much more.

Shain Brown said...

My all time favorites and the ones I find myself going back to are Laurell K. Hamilton's, Anita Blake series and J.R. Ward's Vampire books. Though on occasion, I make time for a little humor with my friend Stephanie Plum, by Janet Evanovich.

April said...

OMG I so remember Christopher Pike and RL Stine! I agree that as WRITERS, we tend to stick to one genre. But as READERS, at least for me, well, I read YA, women's fiction, literary fiction, crime, historical fiction, memoirs and chick lit.

Perhaps the reason that, as a writer, I stick with women's fiction, is because of my two first loves; Little Women and Gone with the Wind.

I also loved the Anne of Green Gables series. That's YA...hmmm...I want to read those again, I think!

Slamdunk said...

Hot-watered to death? Now that is creative.

I enjoy mysteries and Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee series that weaves history, sociology, and American Indian culture in with murder was my hook.

Sarah Pearson said...

Before Christopher Pike there was John Saul. I don't know if he was marketed as YA back then but that's what his books were, creepy, frightening YA. I moved on from him as I got into Stephen King and the like but I still occasionally reread one of his books.

I just googled him and, oh my, he's never stopped writing. New ones to check out!

Talli Roland said...

I have to say Sophie Kinsella. She's probably the harbinger of the whole chick lit trend in the UK!

Old Kitty said...

I don't think I have a book genre that got me hooked on the type I tend to write now. My reading has always been eclectic - I read any genre. On the other hand I also tend to follow authors but I wouldn't dream of emulating their genre either! Then again I try to be as eclectic with my short story writing as I can! I sound thoroughly mixed up! LOL!

Take care
x

Emily White said...

I used to read R.L. Stine ALL the time! But I was really young when I read those cheerleader books (as in, not a young adult), so by the time I was a teen I was into adult books and classics. It was actually Stephanie Meyer who helped me rediscover the YA genre. Now I can't get enough of it.

storyqueen said...

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE inspired me to write picture books, but it was THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl that made me love middle grade. (Well, that and Harry Potter!)

Shelley

Eclectic Musings said...

I think of that shower scene from the R.L. Stine book sometimes as I'm about to take a hot shower of my own. Those were the books that got me hooked too. My mom accidentally bought me the second one in the series first when I had the flu in middle school. I sent her out for the first one the next day.

JEM said...

I was all about Christopher Pike when I was in middle school. I remember reading them and being shocked by some of the mature content (you can imagine how I reacted to my first accidentally purchased romance novel). The book for me as a kid, though, was anything by L'Engle, most notably A Ring of Endless Light. I wanted to live in that book forever.

Ru said...

Haha, these would be my exact choices! I was so bummed with LJ Smith never finished the Night World series with just one book to go - broke my junior high school heart :)

Laura Marcella said...

I’ll never forget the cheerleader who was hot-watered to death either! That scene horrified me. Every now and then when the shower water suddenly, without warning, gets really hot that scene flashes through my mind, LoL! R.L. Stine sure knew creepy for kids and teens.

My sister really liked Christopher Pike and I read a couple of them. Those books covers bring back memories! I prefer the original covers of the novels I read, too. :)

Charcoal Renderings said...

R.L. STINE. YEEESSSS. He was my hero. I'm pretty certain there is STILL a bookcase full of every YA book he ever wrote in my house. Along with all the other popular YA fiction series' that I loved, including "Replica" by Amy Candler. That series definitely paved the way for my love of distopian-conspiracy-theory-sci-fi-fabulosity. I devoured them.

Charcoal Renderings said...

GUH AUTHOR TABOO-- "Replica" is written by Marilyn Kaye, ABOUT lead character Amy Candler. Epic fail.

Matthew MacNish said...

J.R.R. Tolkien - Fantasy.

It will always be my favorite, but I'm not sure if I'll write it. I think I'm scared that I would never be able to live up to my expectations.

Kate said...

For me it was reading 'The Crysalids' by John Wyndham.

LTM said...

hmm... maybe that's my problem. When I was a kid, I wanted to write cool YA books like anything from Nancy Drew to Sweet Valley High... *snort*

Then I started reading Kingsolver w/The Bean Trees and graduated to other more "adult" fiction and wanted to write like that.

Now I'm just confused. LOL! :D

But that hot water thing... what IS that???

Creepy Query Girl said...

LOL- one of the cheerleaders gets locked in the girls locker room and all the showers come on blasting hot water. Apparently- by some miracle of locker room insolation, the water fills up the room and drowns/boils the girl so that she's red like a lobster when they find her. Thank you RL Stine. I haven't read that book in 16 years but I still can't get that scene out of my head.

Johanna Garth said...

I LOVE the cover art on these books! It's kind of refreshing from all the slickness that abounds.

As for what got me hooked, no answer. I think it's that I'm such an omnivore when it comes to reading that I have a hard time pinpointing...oh wait, maybe it was Stephen King!

Meredith said...

I used to love Ann Rinaldi when I was an actual teen. And then Harry Potter got me hooked on the idea of writing kids' or YA books. Can't imagine writing anything else!

Cynthia Lee said...

I was an English major in college and very much locked into the literary world until I read Harry Potter on a whim. That's when I remembered that reading can be fun!

Before HP, I tried to write literary stuff and boy, will I never unearth that stuff! It was wretched. ;)

I still love some of the classics and I will occasionally read them but I'm all about genre fiction these days. I'm not going back.

Anne R. Allen said...

I'm outing myself as a geezerette here, but I have to confess the author who most made me want to follow in her writerly footsteps was Mary Stewart. Her Merlin trilogy is awesome. And before that she invented the contemporary romantic suspense novel. They would have been called YA if YA had been around in the 70s--books like The Moonspinners, and Touch Not the Cat. They were set in exotic places and there was always a mystery AND a hot, mysterious guy. What's not to like? I hear her books have recently been reissued. I hope they're still as great as I remember.

Medeia Sharif said...

Great question. I actually read many things outside my genre, but when I began writing MG and YA I was inspired by Lisa Yee and R.L. Stine. I was also inspired by the Adrian Mole Diaries, which was marketed for adults but it's a funny series in diary format written by a teen male MC.

Susan Oloier said...

Received my BA in English, so I was always very much a classics snob until I graduated and life happened. Since then, I have found so many genres and authors I like. There is no one particular genre on which I am hooked. I like YA, literary, nonfiction, memoirs--as long as they are well written.

Lola X said...

Great Blog!!! Love it!!!

Lola x
http://lola-x.blogspot.com

Carolyn V said...

Ohhh, I can't say. It's too embarrassing. ;p But you have a great list!

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