Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hopeful, Not Necessarily Happily-Ever-Afters in Young Adult Fiction

with Guest McCall Hoyle




Being a teenage girl is tough. Believe me. I teach high school. I’m a mom and, although it was twenty plus years ago, I was once a teenage girl.

Willa Cather, one of America’s first well-known female authors, once said, “Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” I agree, which is why I enjoy writing young adult fiction. It is a gritty, emotional phase of life that shapes and molds all of us. Because I was less than perfect and because I made my own bad choices, it is important to me to deliver honest stories about the challenges of growing up but also to deliver a message that there is always hope—no matter how flawed we feel physically or emotionally, there is always hope.



Luckily, I found a publisher who shares this belief. HarperCollins/Blink defines their mission like this: Blink brings true stories and fiction to YA readers. The literature published by Blink is a positive reflection of what is inspiring and heartening while maintaining a tradition of imaginative and exciting storytelling that will bring readers to the edge of their seats, immerse them in a heartrending love story, or engross them in a story of a life well lived. Readers will see themselves in all facets of Blink’s literature and will find new levels of entertainment that enrich and uplift.




Blink books do not shy away from tough topics. My debut novel, TheThing with Feathers, deals with some heavy issues, a teenage girl grieving the death of her father and coming to grips with how her teenage life is affected by her epilepsy. The main character’s issues are not tied up with a neat little bow at the end. That would not be realistic to most of my readers. But my hope is that readers will be encouraged enough by Emilie’s strength and resilience and channel some of her character as they face the inevitable difficulties in their own lives.

There is a central romance to The Thing with Feathers, but it remains totally PG, which is where books in HarperCollins/Blink lineup generally fall. Blink had librarians and booksellers asking for what they described as “clean YA” and thought that was a need they could fill. Now Blink is home to award-winning and bestselling authors and dozens of beloved books. If you are interested in finding clean YA, check out the titles Blink publishes on their website. If you’re interested in writing clean YA, visit the “About” page on the Blink website as it outlines in much greater detail how the imprint came up with its guidelines.

I have another wish, in addition to writing hopeful stories, and that wish is that more teenagers with disabilities could experience the unconditional love that my main character receives from her assistant dog, Hitch. In fact, Hitch is symbolic of what we, as humans should aspire to. He is forgiving, patient, brave, and kind. I was thrilled when I learned my release date was September, as September is National Service Dog Awareness Month.



Blink made this debut author’s dreams come true in that I was able to write for my favorite audience—teens. I was able to write about tough issues in an inspiring way. I was able to include a service dog and an element of romance. But ultimately, The Thing with Feathers and Blink books, are about more than epilepsy. They are about more than relationships between young people and pets. They are about more than first love. They’re about enriching and uplifting.

If you want to learn more about Blink, The Thing with Feathers, or a growing segment of young adult fiction, I hope you will check out my book at mccallhoyle.com or check out Blink on their website at blinkyabooks.com.

If you are really interested in The Thing with Feathers, please let us know in the comments that you’d like to be entered for a chance to win a free copy. (International entries accepted.) Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

I’ll be around all day. I would love to chat, and I’d love to know what book stuck with you for a long time because of its inspirational or uplifting message. If it’s a young adult book, you earn a virtual gold star.



McCall Hoyle writes young adult novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she is not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.



Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.
Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.
Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”
From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.



108 comments :

  1. Hi McCall:

    Suicide is a leading cause of death for teenagers…especially males. Does your publisher allow themes that deal with suicide and suicide prevention?

    Please place my in the drawing.

    Vince

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    1. Vince, I've seen it dealt with in YA books before but can't remember which publishers. I'll be interested in hearing McCall's answer!

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    2. Hi Vince!

      Blink has at least one book that addresses the theme of suicide and its prevention. If you have a chance, check out IN 27 DAYS by Alison Gervais to see how the topic is handled. Hope that helps, Vince! Thanks for dropping in.

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  2. McCall, I'd love to read your novel! I tried for the Giveaway on Goodreads, but didn't win. Double drats (grin).

    Question: can a novel be considered YA if it is primarily through a teen/ young adult POV but also includes viewpoints of adults (such as the teen's parents)? Or, once you have these other adult views, do publishers then consider these stories family sagas?

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    1. Elaine, I've entered a few on Goodreads and haven't won. So many entries! :)

      Great question!

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    2. Sorry about Goodreads, Elaine! :) This is an excellent question. I think I've seen the adult (parental) POV included occasionally in YA. For someone like me, who is new to publishing, I think it would be a hard sell. The mother-daughter relationship in THE THING WITH FEATHERS is definitely central to the book but we see the relationship through the daughter's eyes. I hope I was able to portray much of the mother's feelings as well. You'll have to let me know. Thanks so much for stopping in. XO

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  3. Would love to be entered in your giveaway. Thanks for addressing such issues for the young adults out there....my children are fast becoming those young adults and I'm always looking for books for them, especially my daughter's....

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    1. MH, kids grow up so quickly. I blinked and mine were grown.

      I'm glad you're choosing books for them! I quickly learned that I needed to screen books for my daughter when she was a young teen.

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    2. You're in, and thanks for stopping by! Your daughters are lucky to have a parent who values reading and talks about books with them. :)

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  4. I'm so glad to hear there is a clean market for young adults. So much out there has too much adult material. I would love to read your book so put my name in the drawing.

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    1. Bettie, some of the books I've read are considered New Adult, and I would not have felt comfortable with my kids reading it when they were younger. NA is usually dealing with characters who are college age and young adult, so I guess it's not supposed to be geared for young teen readers. Still, I think they're probably drawn to it (to read "up" like I mentioned in my last comment).

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    2. Yes, ma'am, I'll put you in the drawing! :) Thanks for participating!

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  5. Welcome, McCall! By the way, I love your name. I've always enjoyed reading and writing YA, so I'm glad to hear about Blink. I'd love to be entered into the drawing. Your book sounds great! Thanks for visiting today.

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    1. Jill, I've always loved McCall's name! Very memorable! And a great author name. :)

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, Jill! You're entered. Good luck, and thanks for having me.

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  6. I've never read anything like The Thing with Feathers, but it sounds interesting. Stories that give people hope are always at the top of my list.
    Hitch is adorable.

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    1. Connie, I agree. Hitch is adorable! But I can't say that too loudly. My doggie is sitting on my feet right now and might get jealous. :)

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Connie! I'm a little biased but I love Hitch too. <3

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  7. Thanks, McCall. These are the same issues writers of adult inspirational fiction face: how to tackle the tough issues and still offer hope. It is a real challenge and I'm glad you're doing it for today's teens. These are perilous times.
    I can think of a couple of recent Seeker books that offered difficult situations and hope, without necessarily curing the problems in one book. Ruthy's with the special-needs child and Myra's "Hill Country Cowboy" with the PTSD and accident trauma. Nobody is instantaneously cured in either book, the real-life situations remain, but the protagonists have the tools to cope with them. The tools are a relationship and Christ.
    The fiction I read as a young adult didn't tackle difficult issues. It was the 50s and pretty much everything was swept under the metaphorical rug. It wasn't always shallow, sometimes the girls (and it was always a girl) experienced tremendous personal growth and always learned a lesson. But they didn't tackle anything tough. Good for you McCall, these stories need to be written.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Kathy, thanks for sharing those examples! That's such a good point about tackling tough issues without just wrapping it up in a neat little bow, all hunky-dory. That's not real life. I think readers enjoy seeing our characters become strong and victorious through the hard stuff. Like McCall said, it gives hope.

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    2. Thanks for commenting so thoughtfully, Kathy! And thanks for the encouraging words.

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    3. Thanks for mentioning my book, Kathy! I much prefer both writing and reading stories that deal with real-life problems, because if you dig below the surface, no one's life is really picture perfect. But those elements of hope and faith are the key to every happy ending, even when our human problems don't magically disappear.

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  8. Welcome, MacCall! We're so glad to have you today!

    I'm a huge YA reader. I've heard that pre-teens and teens tend to read "up." (reading books really meant for older kids) Have you found that in your readers? What age is your book geared for, and what ages are your readers?

    I'm sure you also have adult readers reading "down." :)

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    1. the thing is...with good YA, it is NEVER EVER reading down. Sorry to disagree. Good YA delivers.

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    2. Hi, Missy! My book is geared toward seventh grade and up. The sweet spot is probably about grades 7-10 although you're right, I've had a lot of moms give really positive feedback and reviews. Most of us remember the emotions of being a teenager and can connect to THE THING WITH FEATHERS in that way. Also, the mother/daughter relationship is central to the main character's story. And yes, I've experienced that most of my students read either books about protagonists who are older than them or who are dealing with really mature content.

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    3. Tina, I was joking about reading down! I read YA all the time and love it! :)

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    4. It really is interesting how many adults love YA fiction. McCall, I think you're right in that we remember those emotions so well.

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  9. WOOO HOOO!!! So excited to see McCall in Seekerville! Welcome! I've been stalking your Golden Heart career from afar!

    So delighted for your first sale and I know you will have many more.

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  10. I am a HUGE YA fan. Sarah Dessen, Paul Zindel (The Pigman is a favorite), Judy Blume, Lois Lowry Paula Danzinger, S.E. Hinton.

    I cannot wait to read your book!

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    1. Hi Tina!

      Sarah Dessen is my all-time favorite YA author! I aspire to write characters as developed as hers some day.

      And wooo hooo to you, Tina! I'm so glad to be here too!

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    2. Sarah Dessen is one of my very favorites too!

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  11. McCall,
    Love the cover. Love the blurb. Please include me in draw!

    YA can be so much fun to read, but it's also amazing (and not in a good way) how much language and such can be found in the YA market today. I read the information at Blink about what "clean" means and I'm excited to check out some of their titles.

    I'm not necessarily writing YA, possibly New Adult, but I am struggling a little with finding how to portray a difficult topic in the most acceptable way. I'm so glad to know there's a place to go to get a good clean read!

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    1. Hi Lara!

      You're included in the drawing. And you're right, a lot of YA might not be appropriate for younger readers. I find that parents are much less likely to be aware of what their students are reading than what they're watching on TV. I love it when parents read middle grades and YA literature with their children and talk about it together. :)

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    2. Lara, I started an inspy YA novel but never did finish it. Maybe I will one day. I had fun writing on it, anyway!

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  12. It's great to have you here, McCall! I will have to check out that website and those books. When my daughter was looking for clean YA reads, we couldn't find any that interested her. They all seemed to be about vampires and werewolves and that's not what she was looking for. How did you come up with the title for your book?

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    1. Hi Sally! The title of the book comes from a line of Emily Dickinson poetry--"Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all."

      Emily Dickinson plays an important role in the book and this verse is perfect for what Emilie (my main character) needs to learn.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. McCall, I love that! Now I'll appreciate the title even more. :)

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  13. Yay! McCall is in the house!!

    McCall, I just want you to know how happy I am for you to be published. You could tell by the awards you acquired from your pre-published days that it would happen for you someday.

    Now to ponder the comment about "most" things happen to a writer before the age of 15.

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    1. Walt, I've been really happy for McCall as well!

      Will we see you at M&M this weekend?

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    2. Hi Walt!

      It's so nice to see you here too. Hope to see you at M&M. Also... Willa Cather said, "most of the basic *material* a writer works with is acquired by the age of fifteen." I think she's talking about the *emotional* material. :)

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    3. I will not be at M&M unfortunately. I'm already marking my calendar for next year as I'm not going to miss next year.

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  14. Hi, McCall! I would love to win a copy of your book. I remember when I was in fifth grade wanting more of what would be classified as YA today. I loved Trixie Belden when I was in 3-5th grade (uplifting because she and friends worked together), then I read Judy Blume. Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret? has stuck with me because of the honest way Ms. Blume dealt with sensitive issues. But then since I love romance there wasn't a whole lot out there. When I read Anne of Green Gables, I fell in love with Anne and read the whole Avonlea series as well as the Emily books. I love your message about delivering stories of hope. Optimistic and forthright.

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    1. Oh, yes! "Are you There God, It's Me, Margaret?" definitely impacted me. I also read Sweet Valley High books and The Babysitters Club.

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    2. Josee, I remember Jessica and Elizabeth very well. I always felt Elizabeth didn't get as much attention as Jessica, but I liked Elizabeth better. My daughter loved The Babysitters Club books. I remember we were on vacation and went to a used book store. She found a bunch of them for ten cents each. She was so happy. (I love bookstores.)

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    3. Tanya, you mentioned some of my favorites! I adored Anne of Green Gables. And remember being really moved by Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?

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    4. Hi Tanya! I love seeing you here and can't wait to see you this weekend! I love, love, love Judy Blume. Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck in the drawing.

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  15. Hi, McCall! First of all, you have the coolest name. Is that your given name or pen name? Your book piqued my interest, having lost my dad at 14. One of my close friends growing up struggled with a dangerous and unpredictable disease. She was diabetic, requiring injections throughout the day. I sometimes gave her injections and we always had to closely monitor her blood sugar. Today, she's doing well and has a beautiful family.

    As for YA, I don't read a ton but I do enjoy Amy Harmon. Her book, Making Faces stands out as does Jenny B. Jones, "In Between."

    Congratulations on your success!

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    1. Josee, I enjoy Jenny Jones as well! I really liked "In Between."

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    2. Hi Josee!

      McCall is my given middle name--Frances McCall Hoyle--and it's what I've always gone by.

      I just read the blurb for MAKING FACES. It sounds amazing. I'm adding it to my TBR list.

      Thanks so much for popping in and sharing.

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    3. Josee, I'm so glad your friend w/diabetes is doing well. That's a tough disease for kids.

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    4. Josee...so happy to hear about your friend with diabetes doing well. Encouraging for me to hear. Our fifteen year old grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year...he is doing very well and such an overcomer!

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    5. Yes, he is, Kate! Kids who have to deal with diseases are some of the most compassionate, resilient people. And he's surrounded by such love and faith!

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  16. Hello McCall! Thank you for bringing much needed HOPE to young adults! Also, your fur baby is beautiful!

    Please enter me in the drawing for a copy of your book.

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    1. You're entered, Carly. Thanks so much for popping in, and yes, I adore my fur baby!

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  17. McCall, I'm so excited for you...and I'm confidant "The Thing with Feathers" will be a huge success!!!

    Love your promo on FB! You are your brand! Kudos!

    Looking forward to seeing you at M&M!!!

    I've judged two great YA stories in recent RITA competitions and gave both top scores. One book won! Last year, I had "Resisting the Rebel." The story took me back to high school. I was walking those halls and interacting with the kids!

    Looking forward to reading your story. I'm am rooting for Emilie! She has a heavy cross to carry, especially through those teen years. Want to know about the title. Will have to read the book to find out!

    Hugs and hearts!

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    1. Debby, isn't McCall great with promotion?! Amazing job on Twitter and FB!

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    2. Hi Debby!

      I'm honored to be here and feel the love and support in this group. As far as the title goes, you can read the book or read an answer above. LOL

      And I can't wait to see *you* this weekend.

      Hugs!

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  18. Hey, McCall (LOVE that name!), WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!!

    And OH MY GOODNESS, I am SO grateful for authors like you that can provide decent reading for young people who are SO inundated today with so many things that can hurt and trap them. Thank you for writing specifically for them and offering hope through stories they will actually read and love and hopefully emulate!

    To me, it seems so hard to write stories from a perspective of the teen, so it's definitely a special gift.

    Your book sounds WONDERFUL! God bless you in this important ministry.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Thanks for the kind and sincere words. I don't know what it says about me that the teen perspective comes so easily to me. LOL.

      Honestly, I think it's because I teach high school, and I'm surrounded by all these girls and their hurting hearts. And I just want to give them a bit of hope.

      Hugs!

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    2. McCall, I think working with teens truly must inspire your stories. I started writing my YA when my daughter was in early high school (I think) and wanted to teach teen girls to be strong in themselves, not to depend on a boyfriend for self esteem. Maybe someday I'll finish that book! Will have to write more from memory then since my daughter just turned 21. :)

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  19. Good Morning McCall and welcome to Seekerville. I'm so glad you joined us with such an inspiring post. And I learned something new. I didn't know September was service dog month. I love dogs so any month is good for me. chuckle. I'm glad you were able to show the way we as humans need to act through the pup. Yep, they do love unconditionally, don't they. Thanks again for joining us. Have a fun day.

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    1. Thanks so much for having me here, Sandra!

      And yes, dogs are the best. I've learned a lot about myself and the world through the eyes of my dog.

      Hugs!

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    2. Yeah, I think we can learn a lot about other people by how they treat animals and children. :)

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  20. McCall, I loved this post! About a year and a half ago, I sat in a workshop about writing YA. At the end, the presenter (Brock Eastman) challenged us to select certain items (pictured) and use ten minutes to write a YA scene. Can I just say I LOVED it?! And it got good feedback, which was encouraging. :) And, a few ideas of filtered through my mind for that story. I may write it one day.

    Though I don't know that this is my time to write YA, I love the genre, and I'm so glad there is clean YA. I'm thrilled for you and your debut novel coming out. It sounds really good.

    I'd love to be in the drawing for it.

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    1. Hi Jeanne!

      Thanks so much for popping in. If you enjoyed that activity, I bet there's a YA writer inside of you somewhere. And of course, you're in the drawing! Good luck.

      Hugs.

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    2. Jeanne, the story I started writing (but haven't finished) started with an idea of an opening scene. I may have done that in a workshop! I can't remember for sure.

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    3. McCall, the story is definitely one I want to explore someday. ;) Until then, I'll let it mull and come to life in my heart.

      Missy, that's fun that you have an opening scene ready for a YA. :)

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  21. I love the cover of your release, McCall. Did you get input on that?

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  22. McCall, you have touched my heart with your post...and with your book. My fifteen year old grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last January and it shook our entire family to the core! Fortunately, he was already a "healthy" eater and diet changes were no problem...he is physically fit and his only real issue was his desire to continue playing sports! Thankfully one of his football coaches played for the Oregon Ducks and assured him there were many football players with diabetes, they just had to be a bit more careful! He is such an overcomer and an inspiration to me! There's NO QUIT in him!!

    I have researched stories about professional athletes with diabetes (there are a whole lot of them!) and sent them to him, but have not yet looked for books about teenage boys overcoming disabilities. Would you happen to know about any? Seems like there are a LOT of stories for girls...just wondering about all those young guys with stuff going on in their teenage years?

    Thanks for being a wonderful role model for all the teenagers you are in contact with and for writing stories they can relate to!! Bless you!

    Would love to win your book...but whether I do or not, I'm going to get one for my granddaughter. (Younger sister to my teenage grandson)

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    1. Kate, that's a great point about books for boys. I remember at a conference a few years ago an editor said she really looking for books for boys. Maybe it's a growing area.

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    2. Also meant to say that's amazing how well your grandson is doing! What an inspiration!

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    3. Hi Kathryn!

      Thanks for participating. It's interesting that multiple people have commented on friends and loved ones with diabetes today, especially since that is an illness I've considered exploring after teaching many adolescents with diabetes.

      I'm thankful your grandson is well and that he has adults who love and inspire him. Not all the students who I teach have that.

      On a different note, you're right on the lack of "boy" books out there. I struggle to find an equal mix of books for my classroom library.

      Thanks again for participating! Good luck in the drawing. Whether you win it or buy it, I hope you granddaughter likes it. ❤️❤️❤️

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  23. Hi McCall
    I love reading YA. More sci-fi/fantasy YA than the Babysitter books and such, but I still love a good YA book. I think there may be a YA author lurking within me, but I'm guessing she won't emerge until something triggers a passionate response. I was an emotional wreck during my teen years - my brothers dubbed me Mount Vesuvius because I'd let things build and then blow.
    I will definitely check out Blink. I've got a second grader boy and we're currently reading Hardy Boys together for his daily reading homework. So far he likes the mystery/detective bit. I'm hoping he catches the reader bug. He does seem to like Star Wars quite a bit, so maybe he's a bit like mommy in genre taste...
    Thanks for sharing with Seekerville. I think service dogs are awesome. We have a rescue Akita that my husband refers to as his "therapy" dog since she's such a... well, DOG. Unconditional love and support.
    Please put me in the draw for your debut book. The blurb is quite catching.

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    1. Deb, I love that your son loves to read! I have three kids, and only one turned out to be a big reader like me.

      Of course, they all read Harry Potter. That one sucked in even the non-readers. :)

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    2. Thanks for participating, Deb! Good luck in the drawing. I love the Mount Vesuvius anecdote. I was that girl too. I wonder if we were all that girl whether we appeared to have it all together or not.

      If you feel the YA writer lurking, I bet she's in there! Hugs!

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  24. Sqquuuuueeeeaaaalllllll! I just discovered Blink this year and have been raiding my library for their books. Haven't come upon one that I don't like. Just finished reading It Started with Goodbye by Christina June.

    I'm not a Young Adult -- more like a Young at Heart Adult -- but I've never outgrown my love for YA books. I was also a school librarian and found it got harder and harder to find good clean YA fiction which is why I went a little giddy when I found out about Blink.

    My all time favourite YA author is Madeleine L'Engle. A Wrinkle in Time. The Young Unicorns, Meet the Austins, Many Waters....such happy reading memories and I still reread them from time to time.

    This Canadian would love to be included in the draw -- The Thing with Feathers has been on my radar for awhile -- written down on my September TBR wishlist -- but now that I know there's a service dog involved I'm over-the-moon rabid to read it!

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    1. Kav, I had heard of Blink but didn't know what the line was about until I heard about McCall's sale. It's exciting that HC is doing this!

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  25. Hi McCall,

    Congratulations on your book. What an inspiration you are. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. McCall, welcome to Seekerville! You must get a lot of story fodder from observing your students. The teenage years seem harder now than when I was growing up. I remember being very sensitive and self-critical, but I had a solid family where I could just be me and still feel loved and approved.

    It's great to see that Blink is allowing authors to tackle deep subjects. Your book sounds wonderful! Every teen needs the message of hope, but especially those with conditions or disabilities.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, I can just envision a middle school or high school teacher/writer jotting down idea after idea as they watch students interact. :)

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  27. I love YA, it's my favorite genre, probably because it's the most relevant to me. That's why I decided to write YA- that and when I first started writing I tried writing from the point of view of an adult and I really had no idea what to write. Like, at all. Lesson learned: stick with areas where you have more expertise. So I decided to write YA. I figured that if anyone knew what it would be like to be a teenage girl, it would be a teenage girl. I was right. Now I actually connect with my heroines and understand where they're coming from.

    My brother was telling me how he doesn't like my main character too much because she's too emotional and gets embarrassed too easily. And I'm like, well, you're not a teenage girl. You have NO idea, buster.

    Anyway It's great to meet another author of clean YA (virtual high-five!). I'd love to be entered for the drawing of your book. I've read a few Blink books, I actually think they're kind of edgy. Not as bad as some things I've read, but still I was a little surprised when I read them because I expected them to be a little tamer. I also really enjoy the YA books by Thomas Nelson. You read any of those?

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    1. Nicki, you made me smile! You're right about sticking to where we have expertise. :)

      I love to read YA books. In fact, I may read more of them than any other genre!

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  28. Hi McCall:

    Thanks for the info on "In 27 Days" by Alison Gervais. It seems to be a little like, "It's a Wonderful Life," except the heroine plays the guardian angel by making a deal with death to go back in time 27 days in order to save a young man who committed suicide back then.

    I think I'd call this a paranormal.

    When does the spiritual (like making a deal with the devil) move into the paranormal classification…or does it?

    Now I'm wonderding if you have elements of the paranormal in your new book, "The Thing with Feathers"?

    I'm a big fan of YA and midgrade. I think these books are much harder to write well. I also agree with C. S. Lewis that if a children's book does not make good reading for adults, it won't make good reading for children either. I especially like Newbery award winning books. I have not read one yet that I felt shouldn't have been an award winner.

    Vince


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    1. Vince, I have sometimes chosen books based on being a Newbery medal winner. I also try to read Rita and Carol winners. I figure they won for a good reason! :)

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  29. McCall, welcome aboard! It's nice to meet a Blink author... I have a love for solid YA stories and if the Good Lord gives me time, I'll branch into them because there's nothing like writing for a teen/tween audience... they are so GRATEFUL!!!!

    Thanks for being with us today! I brought fresh coffee and sweet tea to mark our unusual hot spell in Western New York... I'm ready for sweater weather, McCall!

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    1. Ruthy, I think you do need to write one! You'd have great insight with all the day care kids and grandkids around your house. :)

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  30. So glad to have you visit with us, McCall! When I first got serious about pursuing a writing career, my daughters were young teenagers, so I devoured their young adult novels. I still have several YA manuscripts languishing in my filing cabinet, and it's probably best they stay there! 😉

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    1. Myra, you should check out those manuscripts! You might want to consider publishing them.

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  31. I am so glad that the Christian market is devoting more time to young adult novels, especially since the general market has gotten so dirty. Even though I've moved on to writing new adult, I still have a great appreciation of my first published genre.

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    1. Boo, I enjoy Christian YA. But I also really like the idea of these sweet books that aren't in the Christian market. They're a nice choice for those reading in the general market, especially for younger readers.

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  32. Hi McCall:

    I was a military K9 dog handler and trainer and what those dogs could do was amazing. That was 50 years ago. Why do you think it has taken so long for service dogs for other than the blind to take hold? Those dogs could have done what they are doing today eons ago.

    Did this delay come up in your research?

    Vince

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  33. I'd love to read your novel.

    I am curious as to how close you could be to me. I live in NC but it is just over the Georgia line. I am in Franklin.

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    1. Wilani, you two may practically be neighbors!

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  34. My critique group is coming for dinner and I've been getting ready! Will have to catch up later. Y'all keep the great conversation going!

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  35. McCall, I am so glad you are here today and made me aware of your book! I haven't read YA in a long time, but read and re-read S.E. Hinton's books particularly (they were so relatable). Thank you for stressing 'hopeful but not necessarily happily-ever-after. There's a time for 'happily ever after' but there are also times when 'happily ever after' doesn't ring true.

    Thank you, most of all, for sharing your talents and time with teens!

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, you're right. I think a satisfying ending is a great thing for a book. Not necessarily neat and tied up.

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  36. Well done, McCall!

    Your novel sounds wonderful. Please do enter me in your drawing for a copy of "The Thing with Feathers." I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

    I loved reading stories about missionaries as a teen. They weren't geared towards my age bracket but they were uplifting.

    Your cottage in the woods sounds divine to me!

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Phyllis, I, too, thought that cottage sounds wonderful! I think maybe we should all converge on McCall for a writers retreat. ;)

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  37. Hi McCall!

    I'm sorry I'm so late to join in. Thank you so much for your post. As a life long teacher and dog mom, I CANNOT wait to get your book at the signing this weekend at M&M.

    Congrats on "The Thing with Feathers," and I hope you hear all of us from GRW cheering for you from the rafters! :)

    Only a few more days until I get to read page 1 of your book!

    Happy writing,

    Jeanine

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    1. Jeanine, I look forward to seeing you at M&M!

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  38. Travel day for me, hence the late hour. Your book sounds wonderful! I write middle grade, and my WIP features the stresses of living with a deaf sibling. I would love to read about Emilie.

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