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March 6, 2015

Guest Post by Megan Tayte: Writing ‘mature’ young adult fiction

Hi guys!! Please welcome author Megan Tayte. She was very kind to offer a guest post for all of you readers, I really enjoyed reading it and have the same opinion myself, so I hope you enjoy it too!:)

Writing ‘mature’ young adult fiction

‘Write about what you know’ is an old adage, but a good one. I could write fiction about my life these days – about being a frazzled businesswoman and mum who’s bumbling from one culinary disaster to the next. But, frankly, it doesn’t appeal. Instead, I cast myself back to my teens – when life was stretching out in front, full of possibility; when love was new and exciting and full of lessons to learn; when the potential to screw up hilariously and horrifically was enormous; when being myself was essential, but frequently difficult. I write the kind of books I’d have loved to have read in my teens – and that I love to read now. Books full of wit and sass and poignancy and emotion.

Young adult fiction.

A reviewer of my book Death Wish recently pointed out that it’s ‘mature’ YA. I think that’s a pretty good term to describe my writing in the genre. Why aim for mature? Why not simple and light? Well…

1. The YA readership not only handles depth well, but seeks it in novels. Pretty much any subject is up for discussion in YA, and that’s one of the reasons I love the genre. In the course of my first book, Death Wish, I deal with some difficult themes – suicide, grief, isolation, disability, depression – some intrinsic to the story depth, some just briefly touched upon. There are touches of humour to balance as well, but overall I’m not afraid in the book to dig deep. The YA genre is liberating in that sense: I feel I have free rein as an author to step into the shadows.

2. YA readers don’t require dumbed-down narratives and writing style. I work in publishing, and I’ve been hired in the past to strip back YA books with seventeen-year-old heroines like mine: all sentences short; all words the shortest, simplest possible; little description; little depth. I’m not convinced that’s necessary. Even back when I was at the younger end of the teen spectrum myself, I was reading complex adult fiction quite happily. Sure, there’s no need to be overly verbose or complicated in writing. But deliberately opting for ‘immature’? Seems unnecessary to me.

3. Many readers of the YA genre aren’t young adults at all. A Publishers’ Weekly survey found that 55% of readers are over the age of 18. Writing ‘mature’ YA makes a lot of sense, then, if you’re writing for the market.

Writing in any genre comes down to having a lot of respect for your readers, whoever they are, whatever age, whatever persuasion, whatever walk of life. I love the YA genre because its readers are an inspiring, thoughtful, imaginative, courageous, dedicated and yes, mature, bunch. There’s no one else I’d rather write for.

Death Wish by Megan Tayte


Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.

(only 0.99$)

Author's Bio

Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. 'Write, Megan,' her grandmother advised. So that's what she did.
Megan Tayte

Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it's the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she's always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she's a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those 'life is so breathtakingly beautiful' moments.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood's county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

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