Writing for multiple age groups–author Emi Gayle vs. Aimee Laine

Today I have a special visitor, Ms. Emi Gayle (aka Aimee Laine for the adult readers). With so many writers now dipping a toe into the young adult fiction market (myself included), I nabbed the multi-talented Emi to tell me about the joys and pitfalls of writing for multiple age groups and maintaining multiple pen names.

Welcome, Emi, first of all.

You also write as Aimee Laine. Why a different pen name for YA?

Ah, this is an easy one. My adult stuff is ‘not suitable for children under 18’. I wouldn’t want anyone to confuse what I write for adults with what I write for kids.

What’s your strategy for keeping the pen names distinguishable but still capturing Aimee’s adult readers who also enjoy YA?

No strategy in fact. Like most of my writing (I’m a pantser), I just write and if it’s good enough, out it goes for consideration. Luckily, so far, my adult beta-readers have loved After Dark just as much.

Tell me about some of the things you do differently as Emi than as Aimee.

Heat level is far, far lower. What’s not ‘off camera’ in my adult world, but not appropriate for that under 18 age, fades to black so to speak. Another difference is that I write 1st person for my YA novels.

So, it sounds like you draw the line at sex in YA books. That said, where do you draw it?

(Sex) is a huge element of a teen’s life and while yes, I realize it happens, and my characters are ‘normal’ teens with those feelings, IF they ‘go there’ it will not be described. I leave that to my adult books. 

You have a different author photo for Emi (no glasses, more casual hairstyle and clothing) vs. Aimee. Was that deliberate and if so, do you think the age of the author influences readership of YA books?

It was deliberate. Though I wish I’d had my glasses. 🙂 I’m partial being able to see! I also wanted to be a little more relatable vs. professional.

What’s one of the biggest challenges for you in writing YA?

1st person perspective. 🙂 Oh and remembering what it was like to be a teen – meaning what I did or did not know. I knew a lot (was too mature for my age) but was also quite naive. Gotta remember that my experiences as an adult do NOT translate to when I was 17, 18, or even 20! 

What are some of the biggest changes you see happening in YA books?

I love the New Adult concept for the 19-21 years old (ish) … I see that breaking off from the traditional YA.

Do you see the traditionally longer timetable for YA books being compressed closer to that of adult novels, especially the digital model of indies, or do you think the longer to market model the big publishers use will influence the indie YA publishers? Why?

I think it depends on the writer. Many YA stories are actually more than one story (trilogies for example). And many aren’t written beyond book 1 at the time the trilogy is thought through. So some of that time needs to be writing and finalizing while the first book is out. So could it be faster? Absolutely. Will it be? Depends on the writer and probably the success of the book(s).

Adult readers comprise a large percentage of total readers of YA novels. When you write as Emi, are you targeting your YA reading contemporaries or are you thinking of the teen readers? Do you think it matters?

Mine will always be targeted to the teens, but I expect all age groups might be interested. 

OK so enough about writing YA, let’s talking about reading YA books for a bit.

Tell us who some of your YA book boyfriends are (not counting those of your own creation because they have an unfair advantage) and what you love about them.
Gray Mathews from Crux. Gotta love him. (Claire’s note: Crux is written Julie Reece)

What makes a YA book memorable to you?

Great characters, but that applies to adult books, too.

Do you like the generic heroines that your teen readers can easily project themselves into or do you prefer a strong, well-defined character or is it purely story-driven?

I’m always about the strong, well-defined character. I really want the character to come to life, but the story has to sing, too.

Love triangles in YA–love ’em or tired of ’em?

Hate them. And I’m sorry, but they are not real, either. Most people do not ‘pine’ for two other people at the same time. I think most of us think we’re lucky if we can get 1 person to love us or 1 person is there for us to love. It’s a contrived, plot conflict and I truly despise them.

As a teen, what were some of your favorite fiction books?

Do you know I didn’t read a lot of fiction, or a lot of fiction that I liked, when I was a teen. One of my ‘chores’ was to read, so I read whatever was around and sometimes, it was boring as sin (yet sin’s not boring in most cases, so not sure how that expression applies).

Thanks, Emi for giving us a little more insight into the mind of a multi-age group author and into the YA part specifically, and for sharing some of your YA influences and thoughts with us.

Before we let Emi get away, let’s take a quick peek at her debut novel, After Dark:

What eighteen year old Mac Thorne doesn’t know will probably kill her.

In exactly eight months, five days, three hours and thirteen minutes, Mac has to choose what she’ll be for the rest of her life.

She has no choice but to pick. As a Changeling, it’s her birthright. To Mac, it’s a birthchore. Like going to school with humans, interacting with humans, and pretending to be human during the pesky daylight hours.

Once darkness descends, Mac can change into any supernatural form that exists—which makes her as happy as she can be. That is, until Winn Thomas, the biggest geek in her senior class figures out there’s more to what hides in the dark than most are willing to acknowledge.

In this first of the 19th Year Trilogy, Winn might know more about Mac than even she does, and that knowledge could end their lives, unless Mac ensures the powers-that-be have no choice but to keep him around.


Where to buy After Dark:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Emi Gayle:

Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years.

Ironically, those years were some of Emi’s favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she’s still in love with him to this day. She’ll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.

Find Emi Online :
Web  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

9 thoughts on “Writing for multiple age groups–author Emi Gayle vs. Aimee Laine

    • Thanks, Terri. I love the triangles, but not as much when the girl says, “but I love you both!” No, she should prefer one.

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  2. Great questions Claire! I didn’t know Aimee wrote under another name.
    Aimee/Emi, I agree, strong characters can carry a weak story but a strong story falls apart when populated by weak or stereo typical characters. But then that’s the literary writer in me emerging.
    I envy you being able to YA.
    Great interview!

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