Q/A with YA Author Chad Swayden

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

The hardest part about writing YA lit is keeping the reader engaged. Of course, that applies to writing for anyone, regardless of your target audience, but I think that young adults have so many other interests and things that bide for their attention that you’ve got to keep them hooked.

Another thing that’s hard is subject content. A lot of YA can read just about anything. But should they? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So I strive–and sometimes it’s difficult–to keep the subjects light and fun. My books are action and adventure. There’s perils and traps and bad guys but you’ve got to know who you’re writing to so that you don’t go too far. With adults it’s easy to cross the line and be okay, but not with kids.
When exactly did you know you wanted to be a writer?: I knew I wanted to be a writer when I graduated college at age 21. It wasn’t until then that I really enjoyed reading. And I had read a couple horrible books and couldn’t understand how they got published. I also read some amazing books and thought that I could contribute in some way. That I could write something like that.

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

I think the cover, if you are writing to YA readers needs to grab them. My YA book is a science fiction, action book so I wanted the cover to grab them and make them think, that is so cool, I wonder what that book is about. You’ve got to have a great cover. And then most teens are on social media. You’ve got to be able to connect with them on their platforms. You’ve got to be cool!

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

The YA books that made me want to be a positive influence in writing for kids is Harry Potter. Those books made millions of people stop what they were doing and read. That is very cool and I want to do that too with my stories. There are other authors that have influenced my writing: Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Sandford.
Short author bio: I write for YA and for adults. I have books for both and I live in the desert southwest with my wife and children.

Website: http://www.chadswayden.com
Twitter: @chadswayden

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