Another reason writing YA is so much fun

is because all the other writers are cool and supportive and wonderful to hang out with.

New-to-the-genre writer Sherman Alexie has been finding that out. He told galleycat that at every bookshop he went to on his YA tour, “two or three big-name YA authors have come to the reading. That never happened on my adult book tours.”

I certainly felt that way last night at the ALAN drinks hanging out with my peeps. Way too many to name. As well as the usual suspects were people like Lauren Myracle, Pete Hautmann, Sara Zarr and Kathleen Duey (who wrote the brilliant Skin Hunger that I raved about earlier—yes I fan girled all over her). All of them fabulous people and wonderful writers. Like so many of my friends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

I don’t think it’s just a YA thing, though. It’s a genre thing. Romance writers are very supportive of each other, science fiction and fantasy scribes also, not to mention the crime writers. We genre writers stick together.

I wonder what’s up with the adult writers of Literature?


  1. Tim on #

    possibly they’re too convinced of the sheer *gravity* of what they’re writing? or else they’re just too tortured?

    to be fair, I’ve read great accounts of the friendships formed between some of the heavies of contemporary lit: e.g. raymond carver was a close friend of both Richard ford and tobias wolff.

  2. Justine on #

    to be clear: I’m talking about community. The literary types don’t seem to have one.

  3. sylvia on #

    i dunno what it is about the literary types, but as a not-yet-published fantasy author i’ve had just wonderful experiences with established sff authors over on livejournal — they are just lovely, lovely people, not only fantastically supportive of one another, as you describe, but also really welcoming to me, and helpful and patient and all sorts. Incredible, given that really they don’t know me from a hole in the ground. It makes me happy to be even tangentially part of such a community 🙂

  4. ariel cooke on #

    you’re so right, justine. i have a dear friend who published her first mystery novel last year to rapturous reviews (field of darkness by cornelia read–shameless plug) and she has been so welcomed by that community.

    she and i often talk about how the best writing is actually going on in genre right now. so-called literary writing often seems to be more about the author having a big ego and having read too much post-modern literary theory. michael chabon got a lot of flack for writing a mystery recently and he is an outspoken advocate for plot, characters, etc. that’s probably why he’s the only non-YA writer i’ve read in so long.

    not to get off on a rant here or anything (i lie).

  5. sara z on #

    I don’t know about genre people in general, but YA people are the bestbestbest. I think what tim said about “gravity” is probably part of it. there is a lot of “being important” which makes it hard to relax and make some room in your life and heart for colleagues.

  6. janet on #

    I think the lack of community in the “literary” world may be partly due to a fear of being influenced too much by one’s fans. I think it may also have to do with a suspicion of the practice of having fun in groups.

  7. Kaleb Nation on #

    I saw Sherman Alexie at the Texas Book Festival by accident, and now I’m glad I was there! He was very funny. I think that’s one of the things that sets YA apart from adult authors – they can be funny without having to be filled with adult content just to show they’re ‘adult writers’.

  8. Jonathan Strahan on #

    just to bring it over here, you were right. completely RIGHT. skin hunger rocks the way that something that really, really, really rocks does. a great book. thanks for the rec. and great seeing you and scott!

  9. Lizzy-wa on #

    hehe. yeah. they just dont seem to care about other authors. cause there adults. and they no it. thats why they rite for adults.

    where as ya riters rite for ya. and when you rite ya, you start to become a ya. (i did a report on this. or did i…) and yas like to support someone when they think they ROCK! like you Justine-la! next time you come here, im totally gonna go.

    FINALLY got and finished the first book. i got it, then had it taken away after i got halfway threw. then had it on hold, waited almost three weeks to finally get it, then finally finished it! now to wait for the second one…

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! 😛

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