Interview with YA Author Leigh Mitchell

What’s the hardest part about writing YA lit?:

The hardest part about writing YA literature to me is creating ideas that haven’t already been done a hundred different ways. No matter what plot you create, you’re still going to be compared to another big YA novel. If you’re dystopian, you’ll be compared to The Hunger Games and/or the Divergent series no matter how unique your story is. If your paranomal romance, then you’re “just another Twilight.” It’s just the way of our target audience. So the hardest part for me is taking my original story and making it totally incomparable to any other YA fiction out there.

When exactly did you know you wanted to be a writer?:

I first realized I wanted to be a writer when my life hit rock bottom. I’d just dropped out of college, become homeless, and lost all meaning. When my mother-in-law took me and husband back in, she treated me horribly and my life was miserable. At one point, I was even suicidal. Then I discovered writing and how much doing a few simple prompts here and there could take me away from reality for a few hours and make me feel so much better. I realized that not only did I enjoy, but I had a true talent. Knowing that there are probably hundreds of other people out there who are miserable with their life and could benefit from my writing, I decided it was time to take up writing and start publishing.

Have you found any clever ways to market your books to YA readers?:

Marketing to YA readers is probably more difficult than marketing to any other age group. If you ask me, young adult is a very deceptive title for a genre. It isn’t just young adults who read YA fiction, which means that YA readers aren’t all the same age group. But this creates a problem in that even though each age group enjoys the same types of stories and the same elements of those stories, each age group of readers is drawn in by different things. I’ve yet to publish (my first book releases December 21st of 2015) so I haven’t had to worry about this much. But I am a part of YA Author Rendezvous and this was a topic of interest recently. Based on what I’ve heard, the easiest way to market these books is by making public appearances and pitching the book differently depending on who you come across. That way, you can be sure that you’ve definitely given each individual reader the perfect pitch.

What YA books have had the biggest influence on your writing?:

The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey. When writing my first book, I had a lot of backstory and the first draft was full of info-dumps. I didn’t have proper structure to even it out and make sure that I gave the readers all of the backstory that they needed to know without overloading them with boring facts. After reading The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea, I was inspired and able to structure my novel in the following drafts in a way that made it easier to give the readers what they needed, as well as exactly what they wanted. Hats off to you, Mr. Yancey.

Short author bio: Leigh Mitchell lives in the small college town of Murray, KY with her husband and their two dogs. When she isn’t writing, or thinking about writing, she is usually found binging her favorite TV shows on Netflix with her husband, playing with her dogs, and working towards a degree in psychology.



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