Why I Write Young Adult Books by Jason C. Joyner
We’re continuing our series this month with insight and inspiration from our authors by asking each of them a variation of the question, Why do you write children’s books? We loved their answers and we think you will too! We will be sharing the author’s thoughts with you each week here on the blog. So, get comfy, grab a glass of sweet tea, and be inspired.
Have you ever fallen into something that you didn’t intend to, but you found it was where you were supposed to be?
The question sounds like the premise of a movie, where the main character gets caught up in a spy ring because they ran into an agent at just the right time. For me, it was becoming a YA author, but my journey wasn’t quite as spicy as a secret mission.
My day job is as a physician assistant. I’m busy taking care of patients, but I found myself getting back into writing after getting established with my career. Once I had gotten past all the schooling, I had time for hobbies again.
It started with isolated short stories, then it moved into connected short stories. Finally, I started working on a novel. My first book took seven years to write, a medical suspense. I love that story, but when I sent it out to find a publisher, I was told that my writing style was too light-hearted for the suspense aspect of the story.
Disappointing, but it gave me direction. I had been part of an ongoing blog tour that reviewed Christian fiction, and I had read several young adult books. I enjoyed the voice—the way the writers would tell their story. The youthful narrative and the way these books entertained and could speak healthy messages appealed to me.
As I considered ideas for my next book, I started picturing an African-American teen racing around with superspeed and the scent of burnt rubber following him. A girl with blonde hair was depressed and tried to dye her hair black, but the light within her burned the dye away. What was going on with these two? What if God gave gifts, what we’d call super powers nowadays, to teens to battle a rising evil?
A new story emerged, and I found my voice gelling with these characters. Demarcus had a heart of gold along with his speed. Lily battled some dark things in her life, but the glow growing in her was inspiring. A plot developed of kids deciding what kind of choices they would make with the gifts they were given. Even though the characters faced daunting challenges, there was a lot of fun to have along the way.
Now that my debut book Launch has been out, it is so heartening to hear about kids and adults enjoying the story. Not only that, but knowing that people have been encouraged by the themes of the book is so satisfying.
I did not set out to be a YA author. However, God was faithful on the journey. I’ve been able to ride the waves, make it past the rocks and the rapids, and find myself on a new stage of life. It’s very exciting, and I am looking forward to seeing how the journey continues with this series. Spoiler: it’s getting crazy for my characters.