Takeaways from YA panel at Crime Bake

During the New England Crime Bake conference a couple of weeks ago, I sat in on the panel titled “High School Murder: Writing the Young Adult Mystery.”

Our own Julie Hennrikus moderated the panel that consisted of: Peter Abrahams (aka Spencer Quinn), Kathryn ‘Kate’ Burak, Kim Harrington, and (our own) Beth Kanell.

The conversation moved right along with everyone contributing to each question asked. I came away with a few key items of particular interest to share.

In no particular order I opened my eyes to learning that:

  • The YA market is begging for great books
  • Young adult is the age where everything is the first time/new
  • Writing YA gives you the vantage of an ‘unreliable narrator’ because he/she doesn’t know how to evaluate experiences yet
  • The YA character is solving the mystery (or crime) and coming of age / learning about life at the same time. He/she deals with unfairness and has to work through it at every turn.

A brief discussion on middle grade (MG) marketing touched on the fact that the author/writer needs to market to an adult buyer because (most) middle graders don’t have the money to purchase their own books or have access to social media. The person who purchases MG books include librarians, teachers, and parents.

That’s fodder for thought! Marketing to teens and adults is one-to-one, but MG and younger is marketing to the buyers.

I love learning new things, and having the “oh, yeah, I hadn’t thought of that, but now I won’t forget it” moments.

I enjoy reading YA novels — they may have a cast of younger characters, but the experiences are (usually) something I can relate to, seeing as how I was a young adult once!

How about you? Do you read young adult novels and find them as good (or better) than adult fiction?

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About Lisa Haselton

Lisa Haselton has had several short mystery stories published and has a couple of novels in various stages of completion. She always enjoys learning new tidbits about other writers, and takes great pride as an editor when working with writers on polishing their manuscripts. She's living a life around her passions for writing, photography, volunteering, and anything related to New England, particularly New Hampshire.
This entry was posted in Beth Kanell, Book promotion, Conferences, Craft, Crime Bake, Event Recap, Lisa Haselton, Opinion, SinCNE, Writers, Young Adult. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Takeaways from YA panel at Crime Bake

  1. Lisa, I loved moderating this panel. And really loved reading the books. My big take away in preparing for the panel was that the writers respect their readers. Enormously. It showed in the writing.

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