BOOK TOUR GUEST POST: Bayou Myth by Mary Ann Loesch
by Mary Ann Loesch
Genre: YA Paranormal/Horror
As a sixteen year old voodoo queen in the making, Joan Renault just wants to be like all the other girls in the small town of Monte Parish, Louisiana—obsessed with boys and swamped with social lives. If the other kids would quit calling her “hoodoo hag,” she might have a small shot at normality. It would also help if Joan’s weekend outings with her secret crush, Dave, weren’t always being interrupted by her dead Grandmere, the legendary Marie Laveau. After all, it’s hard to make out with your best friend when your grandmother is watching! But when you come from a long line of voodoo priestesses with dried gator heads decorating the wall of their huts, normal doesn’t come easily.
When Joan witnesses the brutal sacrifice of a child to a tree Druid, she learns her Grandmere’s scandalous past has come back to haunt those living in the present. Hera, a vengeful voodoo priestess is determined to use the residual energy of Pandora’s Box to revive a sleeping voodoo god and declare war on the descendants of Marie Laveau, especially Joan. Suddenly, Greek myths are being re-enacted all over town, and Joan has her hands full trying to sort it all out. With the approach of Samedi’s Day—the voodoo day of resurrection—Joan must learn to accept her destiny in order to stop the approaching threat to her family and friends.
Today I’m featuring a guest post from Mary Ann about romance in YA novels!
Romance in YA–How far can you go?
How far can you go when writing about romance in young adult? What kind of love are young readers looking for? Is sex allowed? How graphic should it be?
It’s a big debate for some writers, as well as, some readers.
Remember when the Twilight book series first came out? Keep in mind, I’m talking about before all the craziness of the movie versions. Most of the people I talked to about this series were really into the romance of it, the lingering looks between the two main characters, the blatant yet unsatisfied desire, the sexual tension! This is the type of romance that many older YA readers(20s-30′s) remember experiencing in high school or really wanted to experience. It’s just one of the reasons they like romance in young adult stories.
But then comes the sex.
I recall sitting around with a group of women at lunch and one of them was talking about how Edward and Bella were getting to the point of having sex in the book. This woman didn’t have a problem with the progression of the relationship, but she’d decided that she would not allow her daughter to read any further in the series until the daughter was much older. She also felt like once the writer brought sex into the book, the romance factor was gone. To me it sounded as if the story had taken a turn into adulthood that the reader wasn’t willing to follow.
I think that’s an interesting phenomenon and really very personal to the reader. And as a writer, it’s something you have to be aware of. Romance and sex can make or break your young adult book depending on how you use them. Sometimes it’s the factor that sells books. Sometimes it’s the factor that turns your audience off. It all depends on how you weave those things and what style of YA book you are writing.
When I write YA, I don’t intentionally set out to have a romance in the story. However, because of the age group, because of the hormone factor, because it’s virtually impossible to put two teenagers in the same room and not have them notice each other, some sort of relationship usually develops. That’s life though. That’s reality. That’s what YA readers cling to. When it comes to sex, I only let my characters get there if its part of the natural progression, but it’s still something I’m cautious about. In my young adult novel, Bayou Myth, sex is a factor in the story, though it’s not something my main character is doing. However, we do learn a lot about my protagonist’s thoughts on the subject! Though my book is mainly a YA horror novel, it does have a romance in it that helps drive the story along.
Going back to Twilight, think about when Edward and Bella finally consummated their love. After they got married. Very traditional and something that probably satisfied lots of mothers in the fan base. However, is that realistic? I’m not asking is it right or wrong, but is it how most teens think today? Hmmm….not for most of the ones that I know! In comparison, I’ve also read the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast. Their characters definitely are having sex and dealing with the norms (like them or not, parents) that occur in many teen lives. The same could be said for many other book series like Gossip Girl or The A-List.
In the end, a writer should let the romance and sex angle develop how it will. What would be the natural progression for your character? Put aside the audience you are writing to (yeah, I know lots of people will contradict me on that one) and allow your characters to just develop!
About the Author
Mary Ann Loesch is the author of Bayou Myth, a YA horror novel about voodoo, Greek myths gone wild, and a dash of betrayal. She has also written an adult fiction urban fantasy, Nephilim, and contributed short stories to the anthology, All Things Dark and Dastardly. Visit her website at www.maryannloesch.com or drop by Loesch’s Muse, http://www.loeschsmuse.blogspot.com.