Hello everyone! Welcome to day three of the epic I Read YA week. Let’s jump in today with an awesome interview with my good friend and fantastic debut author, Robin Reul!
ABOUT ROBIN REUL
Taken from Robin’s website: My name is Robin Reul, and I’m a YA author represented by Leigh Feldman at Leigh Feldman Literary. I write contemporary YA fiction, and in my spare time I love to foster my Facebook addiction, drink copious amounts of caffeine and enjoy my good standing as an equal opportunity cupcake lover.
You Can Find Her:
Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.
Robin: I’ve always been drawn to this period of time because I think it captures something so exciting. It’s a time filled with firsts, awakenings and being on the verge of things – not who you’ve been and not yet who you’re going to be. I find the kind of stories I love to tell (and read) are the ones that tap into the current of that, those moments and experiences that shape us and change everything.
Robin: I tend to gravitate towards contemporary YA, and usually stories that are character-centric with great dialogue. Some of my favorites include THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven, SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, WINGER by Andrew Smith and SIMON VS. THE HOMO-SAPIEN AGENDA by Becky Albertalli.
Robin: That it isn’t “quality literature” and that it isn’t taken as seriously as adult fiction simply because the target age of its intended readership is teenagers. There are an amazing amount of crossover readers that are well past their teens so to pigeonhole young adult novels as being suitable merely for a teen audience is simply untrue. Young adult protagonists can be deeply complex, the stories layered and filled with a certain raw honesty that is inherent to that time of life, the world-building vivid and wildly creative, the plots engaging and as high concept as any Clancy novel, the romance no less satisfying. Good writing is good writing, period.
Robin: I think it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of how many fantastic books are out there for teens today. When I was growing up, there was never the kind of variety there is available to teen readers now. It’s an opportunity to introduce readers to smaller books that may have been buried on the radar but may be similar to other books they’ve enjoyed. It’s a chance for authors to interact with their readers, whether they be fourteen or forty. Young adult novels give us a unique window into ourselves and the lives of those around us. Getting people to rally around a love of reading and celebrating books is always a great thing.
Robin: Last day of high school
Robin: That’s a tough one to go through, I know. First of all, know that while it does happen, it is rare that someone sells their first book right out of the gate, as much as we all dream of that scenario. It’s easy to feel discouraged, but this business is about being in it for the long haul, not a single book. Writing a book is a HUGE accomplishment – so first of all give yourself credit for that – but also know, should this not sell, that you are capable of doing this and will be able to do it again. And again after that. Because that’s what writers do. We have more than one story within us, and although it may take a bit to mourn the loss of your project not finding a home and shifting gears to let new characters and ideas in, it WILL happen. You can’t shake your belief that this is what you want to do, and you keep writing until you find the story that connects at the right time. Because often that really is what it comes down to – a perfectly great book may not sell at any given time because that is not what the marketplace is looking for. For publishers, it’s business. They are looking to buy what sells. For writers, it’s personal. We write the stories we want to tell. Sometimes those factors align, sometimes they need to simmer on the back burner, and sometimes, years can go by and you can revisit and realize that that particular story was honestly best served as kindling. Just keep working at it. One thing is for certain – it will never happen if you stop writing.
Robin: I can’t say much about my next project yet, only that it’s another YA contemporary stand-alone with a lot of humor and heart and characters that I hope will really stay in the readers’ hearts. Contemporary is my jam – even if I were to write something with more serious overtones, it would definitely still be contemporary. One day I would love to also write adult fiction, but for now, the stories I want to tell all seem to fit right here.
A huge thanks to Robin for hanging out on What A Nerd Girl Says and talking about My Kind of Crazy.
Don’t forget to tune in all week for all the guest posts and interviews. And don’t forget to head to my instagram to win the epic prize pack pictured below!