Thursday, May 29, 2008

Questions I get as a YA writer

It’s great to be blogging here today at TKA! Thanks to Elaine for arranging it. I was given the topic of “summer reading for the young at heart,” but I think Linda did such a good job with can I top what she said? I thought I’d share some of the frequent questions I’ve been getting since becoming a published YA writer.

I’ve been guest blogging a lot of places lately because of my May releases: SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS, from Puffin Books, written as Kate Harmon. These are my first published books and I’m just having a blast seeing them on the shelves and on websites and other blogs. Pretty doggone cool.

First question I’m getting...

“Why the pen name?”

Very simple. The series will be written by several authors, all under the name Kate Harmon, so the series can be shelved together. I wrote the first two books to kick off the series, and created the characters, campus and situation. I love the stories and the characters and hope you will too. Besides, the pen name is only for the SORORITY 101 series. My next series GHOST HUNTRESS, will come out in May 2009 from Houghton Mifflin and will be under my name. Very exciting! I’ve already seen some cover comps...just wait!!!

“Would your SORORITY 101 books make good graduation presents?”

Ummm...yeah! The timing is great, because it’s graduation time for high school and college seniors and what’s better to give a graduate than the gift of YA? There are soooooo many awesome books out there and so many ways to give through gift certificates, online e-cards, giving the book to someone, etc. I hope when you’re thinking of your grads this year, you’ll think about getting them a fabulous book. (Mine, mine, please!)

“When do you find time to write with a full-time job?”

I just did a guest blog with the Plotmonkeys ( where I addressed this question. I don’t find time to write, I make time to write. I’m a full believer in the idea that you make time for the things you want to. You can make excuses until you’re blue in the face, but if you want something badly enough, you’ll just do it. Yes, I do have a full-time job, so I write on my lunch break and when I get home at night. I carve out an hour here, and hour there and it works for me.

“What can adult readers get out of your books?”

Well, with the SORORITY 101 series, an adult reader could relive her college experience. Or, if she didn't go to college, she can experience on the pages of the books. Same with people who might have been in a sorority. Hopefully, it will bring back memories of good times with your sisters. I've had people who decided not to go through sorority rush tell me the books were a great help to show them a world they knew nothing of. Some have even said they'd wished they'd rushed back then. With the GHOST HUNTRESS series, yes, it's a group of teenage ghost hunters, but the messages in the books are universal...a girl trying to fit in, make new friends, and try out her new talents. These are things that happen to adults, as well. Also, the ghost hunting community is very large, expansive and ranges from teenagers to their adult parents. It's something they can learn and explore together. Hopefully, adults will read the GHOST HUNTRESS books and pass them down to their children.

“What message do you want to send to kids through your young adult books?”

Message? Geesh...I hadn’t really thought I was sending messages. I just like telling fun stories about rich, interesting characters. I mean, I often have characters who are a fish out of water who have to find their place in the world. That’s a pretty standard theme in YA. I also just want teens to read. That’s the important thing...keeping the love of reading going from one generation to the next. When I was a teen, I consumed the First Love by Silhouette books (My critique partner, Diana, is rolling her eyes 'cause she's heard this story a zillion times! LOL!) like they were potato chips. I couldn’t wait until the first of every month to get each of the four new books. And I read them in a heartbeat. I want to see teens of today putting down their iPods and cell phones and pick up a book to disappear into another world for a little while.

“What advice do you have for someone who wants to write YA?”

Pretty simple: 1) read as much YA as you possibly can to see what’s out there; 2) be original and write what you know best; 3) just do it – don’t talk about writing, actually sit down and craft out the story from opening line until The End.

“Can you recommend some great YA reads?”

Tera Lynn Childs’ OH. MY. GODS.
Lauren Baratz-Logstead’s ANGEL’S CHOICE
Niki Burnham’s GODDESS GAMES
Dona Sarkar Mishra’s HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI
Jenny O’Connell’s THE BOOK OF LUKE
Stephanie Meyer’s TWILIGHT series
Anything by Judy Blume – they’re all classics
Gena Showalter’s YA series
The Bard Series by Cara Lockwood

And coming next year...with great anticipation...
Diana Peterfreund’s RAMPANT
Melissa Francis’ BITE ME

And, of course, my book, GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING in May 2009!

Thanks so much to TKA for letting me blog today! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to post here and I’ll be happy to answer. And, if we can get the comments up to fifty (50), I will draw one winner to get a copy of both of my SOROITY 101 books and announce the winner next week.

Marley = )


Blogger Lucienne said...

Hey, Lucienne here! Sorry I missed your launch party, which I hear was great and also that I just missed you! (I'm at the agency offices right now.) Good luck with all of your series, which I hope to read soon. Hugs.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 2:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Gerb said...

Hi, Marley!

Excellent answers to those questions. What's the weirdest/funniest question you've been asked? (One girl at a school I was visiting asked me how old I was when I wrote Death by Bikini! LOL)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 3:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lenore Appelhans said...

Loved your answers :)
I was never in a social club but I loved Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 4:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger stephhale said...


I love what you said about making time for something you want. This is SO true! :) Thanks for the shout-out!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 4:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger stephhale said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 4:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trish Wilkinson said...

Hi Marley,
Congrats on your success! Your new series sounds like fun, too. Thanks for the candid answers and usable advice. To squeeze in fiction writing every day, I have to carve out specific hours and set the timer. Sheesh!It's nice to know other people have to do stuff like that. You also mentioned a few YA books I haven't read yet and plan to check out. :-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 5:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trish Wilkinson said...

Hi Marley,
Congrats on your success! Your new series sounds like fun, too. Thanks for the candid answers and usable advice. To squeeze in fiction writing every day, I have to carve out specific hours and set the timer. Sheesh!It's nice to know other people have to do stuff like that. You also mentioned a few YA books I haven't read yet and plan to check out. :-)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 5:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Marley, I loved your answers here. And you DO know I was First Love from Silhouette fan, too, right? Thanks for the shout-out about my book!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 6:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Wendy Toliver said...

Don't put me in the drawing b/c I've already rushed out to buy both of your newest books, but just wanted to say hello and I enjoyed your post and (blushing)thanks for recommending my book. :)
Oh, and I'm looking forward to chatting with you tonight.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 7:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kwana said...

Thanks Mar. See you at the chat!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 8:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kwana said...

Oh you know I have the books so no drawing for me too!

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 8:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The Girl You Used to Know said...

Great blog, chica! And thanks for the shout out. What a pal. xoxox

Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 10:30:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for explaining about your pen name. I always wondered why take a pen name if you're going to sign "by MG written as KH." :) Now I know, and it makes perfect sense.

Cindy (another Kate in another life)

Friday, May 30, 2008 at 10:11:00 AM EDT  

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