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

Jocelyn Adams — How did she come up with her fae world?

A hearty welcome to my guest today, Ms. Jocelyn Adams!

For those of you who have read The Glass Man, Jocelyn’s first book in the Lila Gray series, I’m sure you already know book two, Shadowborn was officially released on October 1st and probably already grabbed your copy. For those of you who are not yet familiar with Jocelyn…well, I highly recommend you get there. Jocelyn is one of my Pen sisters so I knew her “way back when”. What a thrilling journey she has had so far!

Let’s find out a little bit about Jocelyn’s book and Jocelyn herself now.

Jocelyn, your series involves seelie and unseelie fae. Were you a fan of these types of stories prior to writing Shadowborn and The Glass Man, and did you do research or did you chuck the tropes and make up your own stuff? I loved the living houses in The Glass Man, for example, but admit I’m not fae-savvy.

Ah, thanks.  I’d read a couple of books with fae, but they didn’t really stick with me.  I chose fae for Lila’s heritage only because the legends were loose and diverse enough the powers I’d imagined for her might just work.  I did a little research, where I learned about the Sluagh and the different kinds of fae, but the culture in Lila Gray’s world is mostly made up and doesn’t follow usual fae traditions.

The whole for the living houses came from one thought … wouldn’t it be neat if, while Lila was playing terrified tourist in the fae city, the houses stared back at her?  I like a bit of creep factor in my stories, and that added just the right touch.

Is Lila Gray based on anyone you know? What about Liam Kane?

Uh … Lila Gray is … kinda … me.  *cough*  Okay, so I’m not QUITE as neurotic as she is, but I am blunt, often tasting my size nine.  Her voice is my voice, which is why it was so easy for me to write her story.

As for Liam, he just sort of fell out of my head.  If I based him on anyone, I’m not aware of it.  From a steamy dream, maybe?  🙂

What’s the anticipated release date for the final book of the trilogy?

The final chapter of Lila’s story will be out in June 2013.  Jeez, that’s not far away, is it?

It really isn’t. Any more fae books planned? If not, any more series planned and can you tell us a little bit about them?

Not right away, but I’m planning, at some point, to write Brígh & Cas’ story set in the same world as the Lila Gray novels.

For now I’m working on book two of a series opener that’s just been accepted for publication—Stone Chameleon, Ironhill Jinn #1.  Lou, the last of the Jinn, is a preternatural pest exterminator who survived when the rest of the Jinn fell victim to genocide.  Her secrets are all that keep her alive.  Add in a temperamental, gorgeous vampire who may or may not want to kill her, a dashing but vain man who likes to play sexy games with her, a murder-frame-up job, and you have the first installment of the Ironhill Jinn.

Wow! That sounds great!

Are you naturally shy or naturally outgoing?  Has this changed any since you published your first book?

I’m a complete and total introvert.  Don’t like crowds.  Or talking to people I don’t know.  Yeah, I’d be a total hermit if I could.  When my book came out, and I realized I actually had to do signings and readings and such, I admit I freaked out just a little bit.  I just write the dang things, you mean I have to talk about it, too?  Gah!

Thankfully I have a local writing group that welcomed me into their numbers, where I practiced reading aloud.  The more I did it, the easier it became, and now it doesn’t bother me much.  And I made some great friends as a bonus.  🙂

Finish this sentence for me, please. You know you’re a writer when…

… You bawl your eyes out because you did something mean to a fictional character.  Yes, I admit doing this just recently.

It wasn’t so bad with the first book, but by book three I loved them all to pieces.  My heart hurt as if I’d stabbed my best friends in the back.  O.o

Whose works do you read and then think, “I am nothing but a hack?” if you think that at all?  And if you don’t have those thoughts, how do you build that sort of self-confidence in yourself?

Oh yeah, there are lots.  The top two on my list at the moment are Karen Marie Moning and Nalini Singh.  Man, how do they create such rich, engaging characters?

When I’m done feeling inadequate, I read the books again, but not simply for my enjoyment, but to dissect what made it so damned enticing.  Not specific style or anything like that, but the elements and in what order they’ve used to build the story.  I take that to my own work and try to apply what I’ve learned.  Already my writing has improved.  Well, I think it has, anyway.  🙂  When you’re not the best, learn from the best.  I’ll continue to learn and grow until the day I lay my pen down when I’m old and grey.

If you became an overnight writing sensation (not that far-fetched for Jocelyn), would you embrace your celebrity and milk as much as you could out of your fifteen minutes of fame or would you withdraw, keep your head down working and protect your privacy?

I have absolutely no interest in fame or fortune.  I live in a quiet little house in the woods with my family in a small town, and no matter my status or wealth, you’ll still find me right here where I am right now.

OK, now for some random silly stuff. Please describe what’s in your purse. No, you can’t clean it up first.

Eeek!  Really?  Okay, let’s see here … *roots around in the cavernous space* My embroidered and well-loved wallet overflowing with receipts and business cards.  Should probably clean that out soon.  My beloved prescription Oakley sunglasses, and most importantly, my epi-pen.  Bees and I don’t get along so well.  🙂  As for the rest of what’s in there … there could be dragons at the bottom for all I know, but I don’t have the nerve to look.

Thanks so much for joining me today Jocelyn and for giving us a peek into your latest book, its author and what other wonderment we can expect from you in the very near future. Best wishes for many sales and high reader praise.

About Jocelyn Adams

Jocelyn Adams grew up on a cattle farm in Lakefield and has remained a resident of Southern Ontario her entire life, most recently in Muskoka. She has worked as a computer geek, a stable hand, a secretary, and spent most of her childhood buried up to the waist in an old car or tractor engine with her mechanically inclined dad. But mostly, she’s a dreamer with a vivid imagination and a love for fantasy (and a closet romantic — shhh!). When she isn’t shooting her compound bow in competition or writing, she hangs out with her husband and young daughter at their little house in the woods.

 Shadowborn Back of the Book:

Why me?

That’s the question Lila Gray asks every time yet another bad guy tries to destroy the earth, and she learns she’s the only one who can stop it. Once again, something’s on the prowl, leaving hundreds of comatose, soulless victims in its wake.

Couldn’t the deadliest assassins of the Otherworld go after someone else instead of the brand new Queen of the Seelie? One who still hasn’t adapted to her new role.

Lila would ask Liam Kane, King of the Unseelie, for advice, but something’s off with him, too. He’s holding back. In some way. About some thing. In fact, he refuses to tell her what’s going on.

The truth holds Lila back from the greatness of her role—the people she was born to lead—the man who she desperately loves—and the solution to the latest war raging around her.

To find the answers, she’ll need to fight through her own darkness and embark on a journey through her psyche.

If she doesn’t succeed, the Shadowborn will claim not only her world, but her soul.

Purchase Links:

You can find Jocelyn’s Lila Gray books here:

ShadowbornAmazon, Barnes & Noble

The Glass ManAmazon, Barnes & Noble