Monday, March 16, 2015

Why I Decided to Be a (Catholic) YA/New Adult Author

Recently I've been re-reading the books that I read as a teenager and a young adult. Yes, I'm still technically a young adult at 29 but I'm talking about my early to mid 20s. If you're following me on Goodreads, you know which books I've re-read... and have re-rated. Part of the reason why I'm re-reading the books is due to nostalgia and the other part is research. Both When Two Worlds Collide and London Calling are considered New Adult books so I'm curious to the kinds of stories other YA/New Adult authors write. The research has led me to the decision to be a "Catholic author."

Most of the books I'm re-reading were read prior my reversion... and I have to remind myself of that fact whenever I read something that makes me cringe. I made it only 28 pages into the first book in a series I used to like because I couldn't stomach the protagonist of the series. It's unlike me to not finish a book but I couldn't continue. The main character becomes mortified over the fact that she wasn't aware that she was being sexually harassed by her best friend's older brother... but she's upset over the "clueless" moment rather than the act itself. She also comments that she wishes that her crush would actually sexually harass her. A few pages later she expresses disappointment that the only guy to ever "feel her up" was a blind man and not someone else worthy of the act. *headdesk* Please. Stop.

A big reason why I decided to become a (Catholic) YA author is because I've heard friends lament over the fact that they can't find contemporary YA novels that aren't saturated with questionable content that goes against Church teachings... or outright drags them through the mud. I've had friends who have teenage daughters express disappointment over the content that it out there for their daughters. I had these comments in mind when I edited the first Will and Lina novel and wrote the second one. Spoiler alert: I infused Faith into the books for obvious reasons... though I tried to do it in a way that wasn't preachy.

When I started writing, I didn't set out to be a "Catholic author." I just wanted to write books... even if no one but my friends read them. As my novels progressed, I knew that no one could deny that I was a Catholic writer. Catholicism is infused into the stories, even if it's not immediately obvious. I'm nowhere near the likes of Catholic authors like G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, Dean Koontz, or even Regina Doman (who has written great YA novels). However, I've made the decision to be the kind of author that young women (and, really, anyone) could read without having to worry about content that would go against Church teachings. Sure, some characters do some really shady things (for those who've read the first novel, one word: Candace) but even through the bad times, there's a light present.

I know the fact that I've chosen to be identified as a Catholic YA author means I've already alienated many readers, but I'm okay with it. I'd rather lose readers who would rather not "deal" with Catholicism in their novels than risk leading others down the wrong path (a path away from God) for the sake of making money or becoming popular. If it goes against Church teachings it's either not going into the novels or will be dealt with according to our beliefs. If I would never say it to my nieces, nephews, or my godson, it won't make it into the novels. There's already too much garbage around and I refuse to contribute to it.

For those of you who are worried that the novels will be preachy, I can tell you that I hope to never do that. Like I said, Catholicism is infused into the novels but sometimes the themes are not glaringly obvious. Sometimes the theme is on mercy and redemption. Sometimes a character is Catholic and they attend Mass in the story before they do something else. See? Nothing too "believe this, you heathen!" about it. lol. I'm not going to shove my beliefs down people's throats but I'm not going to shy away from the fact that I believe certain things. Seriously, just ask anyone who's read one or both of my novels.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. Originally I was going to write about all the cringe-worthy things I'd read in YA novels but 1) it wouldn't have been very charitable of me and 2) I'd really rather use my money to pay for grad school than to pay off lawsuits from miffed authors. lol. ;)

I hope y'all had a great weekend and have a stellar week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

2 comments:

yesimcatholic said...

Okay so I've just found your blog and holy cow I am SO EXCITED AHH
I blog over at yesimcatholic. I'm a 21 year old student, and I hope to be a writer/editor! I was so excited to find a blog that collided with both those things! I was wondering if you could give me a recommended reading list (I will be tracking your books down to buy when I'm back in England as well) and perhaps any advice on writing as a Catholic? Though I've yet to publish anything, I'm constantly writing (who said anything about fanfic? *cough*) and I always make it a point to, as you say, "infuse" my works with my faith if I can. Sometimes that's as little as retaining traditional values of the family/love/marriage and refusing to write smut, but it's there.
...Crazy fangirling over, I would just really appreciate some kind of contact from you. I feel we Catholic writers should stick together and I can learn a lot from you! I can be reached at yesimcatholic@hotmail.com and I'd just be over the moon if I could hear from you. You are essentially what I aspire to be in a few years' time.
God bless, Emma

Emmy Cecilia said...

Emma - Thank you for your kind words! I'm not sure what kind of books you're looking for, you'd have to be a bit more specific.

As for writing, definitely never shy away from expressing your beliefs out of fear of what others may think. As a writer, I tend to write what I know (cliché but true) so what I know about the faith gets written about... and anything new I learn occasionally pops up in the next work (or blog post). Just keep writing and never compromise what you believe to fit in what anyone.