We here at Hollow Tree would like to welcome our very first featured author, Heather Ingemar.
Heather S. Ingemar has loved to play with words since she was little, and it wasn’t long until she started writing her own stories. Termed “a little odd” by her peers, she took great delight in exploring tales with a gothic flair, and to this day, Edgar Allan Poe continues to be her literary hero.
Heather completed a B.A. in English Literature in December of 2006, and she and her husband reside on the family cattle ranch, with two dogs, two house-cats and many rogue turkeys.
Her work has appeared with Echelon Press, Membra Disjecta, MicroHorror, and the Gothic Revue.
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Rise of Gothic Blog Tour Post: How I got into YA
By Heather S. Ingemar
When I was a kid, there was no such thing as “young adult” literature – at least not that my library stocked. And, being a precocious reader (I had a college reading level by 6th grade), I wasn’t afraid to tackle the “big stuff.” So when I grew tired of all the Bonnie Bryant, C.S. Lewis, Walter Farley, and R.L. Stine books, I headed straight for the adult fiction section of my local library.
For a long time, I thought this was how everyone read: picture books, then chapter books, then adult books. It wasn’t until college when I began hearing the term “young adult literature” bandied about.
Fast forward a few years. I’m now a fledgling short story writer, and working as a new library assistant in my husband’s hometown. My work is going through administrative changes, and at the very first staff meeting with my current boss, I’m informed I’ll be ordering for the YAs.
Over the next couple weeks, I scrambled. I read every review site I could get my hands on. I searched out book review blogs written by teens, for teens, and read. I scanned Amazon, I flipped through LibraryJournal. Anything that said “young adult” on it was like a neon beacon flashing my name. I was there.
My first order of books came in the second to last week of January. A couple books by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, some Brian Jacques, and a few others that slip my mind. Eight books. Over the next couple weeks, I read half of them. Then, I began exploring the section under my watchful eye, and in between orders, I read books already on the shelf.
Eventually, my protagonists in my fiction got younger, and younger. About the time I stopped reading books from the ‘adult’ section of the library, is about the time I wrote my first truly ‘teen’ piece (“Dream-Drinker”).
One of the things I love the most about YA is how ‘fresh’ it can be. Adult literature – in my humble opinion – is suffering right now with a sense of jaded-ness. Their characters have done everything, seen everything, and the world has nothing to offer them anymore. Children’s lit is the polar opposite, but there’s a lot of pressure on writers to write something “appropriate” for growing young minds. But teens… they’re young and strong. Fearless. Yet they have that understanding of the sometimes scary, sometimes frightening and dark world we live in. They face that every day (no matter how much their parents don’t want them to). And they can still come home and be excited over things like a first kiss, a first car, or a first job. YA can stretch the boundaries, can look the darkness in the eye and laugh, because that’s what teens do.
As a writer, that’s the best part.