What’s the hardest part about writing YA lit?:
Getting the writing done.
Generating ideas is pretty easy, as ideas are everywhere. Editing and revising are hard work, but generally simple processes, once you know what you’re trying to say.
For me, telling the story to completion on paper is the truly difficult part.
When exactly did you know you wanted to be a writer?:
First grade. My first grade teacher, Jim Aylesworth, was a popular children’s author, and he showed me that being a writer was possible. The desire cemented in me in third grade when I read my first Hardy Boys book and thought, “Hey – I can do this!”
Have you found any clever ways to market your books to YA readers?: Several. It’s a good idea to have your book in physical as well as ebook format, since a lot of YA readers don’t yet have e-readers, and YA hardbacks or paperbacks tend to be designed to attract attention.
Once you have a physical copy, try to get an Artist’s Alley table at a local Comic-con or other fan convention. Have custom bookmarks to hand out for free (these are better than business cards!), and a nice display to show off your books. Start conversations with everyone who comes by. Even if you don’t sell much at the con, you can stir up a lot of word-of-mouth interest this way.
My second method is a bit of a cheat. See, I’m a middle-school English teacher, so I have a captive audience that I can bribe or cajole into reading my books and telling their friends about them. I feel no guilt for this.
What YA books have had the biggest influence on your writing?: I’ve never been precisely sure where to draw the line between “children’s” and “YA” fiction, so I’ll just talk about what I love, and go from there.
My favorites growing up were Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. I also loved the kids work of Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling, and E.B. White. In my early adult years I caught on to the Harry Potter craze; later my son introduced me to Percy Jackson and the Hunger Games.
Nowadays, though, my favorite authors to read and re-read are the likes of Poe, Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman. So my own YA fiction tends toward a touch of the creepy and macabre, mixed with humor and magic and deeper themes. At least that’s my goal.
Short author bio: Who says creepy can’t be fun?
I’m Luke J. Morris, and I write weird fiction.
What is “weird fiction”, you ask?
I like to tell tall tales that twirk the tender imaginations of young and old alike. If you get a laugh, a shiver, and a jolt of surprise from my stories, I’ve done my job.
Having worked in corporate America in Chicago for many years, I moved down to Phoenix to teach English and creative writing when the cubicle life kicked me out. In the spare time I don’t have, I study for my masters degree in creative writing, train jujitsu, read books, and play with my son.
Check out my work at http://lukejmorris.com and elsewhere.