Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dana Davis Talks YA vs. Adult Fiction

Dana Davis is a four time award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction. She writes both for adults and young adults. I asked her why, and what she feels the difference is when writing for teens. You can see all of Dana's books here.

Why did you decide to write Young Adult books?

Actually, I began writing science fiction and fantasy for young adults because I wanted to have girls as the main characters. I wanted girls to have the same adventures as boys. And I want my readers to have fun. As a kid, I loved these genres but had difficulty finding books that featured girls, especially in sci-fi. While I have boys and men as important characters in my young adult novels, a girl always has the main role. At least, so far.
In fact, when I was shopping The Mask of Tamirella around, one editor suggested I change the main character Caitlanna to a boy to make the book more marketable. This was when Harry Potter had come onto the scene and everyone seemed to be looking for that type of novel. I declined to make those changes. And I’m very glad I didn’t give up on Caitlanna. I’ve been very lucky to have only positive comments from girls who have read my books. Many adults have picked them up and told me how much fun they had reading.

Do you have a different mindset when writing YA rather than your adult books?

I don’t censure my thoughts and let my muses have free rein, just as I do with my adult novels. But there are things those in the young adult field frown on, like excessive cursing, graphic sex, and too much violence. There is violence in my young adult books, you might see a mild curse word from an older character, and my adolescent girls can and do lust after boys, but I don’t put anything graphic into the books. Sorry kids.

I don’t preach in my writing because I don’t like being preached to. I write for enjoyment and want my readers to read my books to escape whatever might be going on in their lives. Though my main characters have problems, get into heaps of trouble, and don’t always make the best decisions, I want them to learn from their mistakes. I don’t want them to be afraid of asking for help when they need it, though some have more trouble with that than others. Just as in my adult works, I have to like and trust my characters. If I don’t like them, then my readers certainly won’t.

You can visit Dana at her website which is Her publisher is


Amanda Leigh said...

Great interview! I haven't heard of this YA series. I'm going to have to look into it!

Rox said...

Nice interview. I'm so glad you stuck up for your characters. Editors don't know everything.

Dana Davis said...

Thank you so much for the great comments!

I'm glad I stuck up for my characters too, Rox. The Mask of Tamirella has won 3 awards since publication and is now in the hands of a new publisher - SynergEbooks.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

The YA's have to have some enjoyment to get them to read. Some are not big readers and like to read just for fun. This sounds like a great basis and so great books too! Thank you!