Today we've got an interview (and some extra special contests!) with the fabulous Jill Myles whose debut novels Gentlemen Prefer Succubi and Succubi Like It Hot are impossible to keep on the shelves (and not just because they're so steamy). I ended up having to order them from Amazon because all of our local bookstores were sold out!
Lucky for us, Jill is also working on a young adult novel and agreed to talk to us about the difference between writing smoking hot paranormal romance and YA.
LiLa: Gentlemen Prefer Succubi (click here to read the first chapter) follows Jackie Brighton after a dark stranger's bite transforms her into an immortal siren with a seductive itch. Not exactly PG...I'm assuming your YA is somewhat different.
Jill: Yes! My YA is about a girl in an alternate United States who can turn invisible, and keeps it a secret. But the government finds out and whisks her away to a secret compound which is a school for 'augmented' kids. It's about her trying to figure out her place in the world when the world is definitely not what it seems to be. It's very 'coming of age'. We'll be shopping it (hopefully) in January, so cross your fingers for me!
LiLa: Sounds like a ton of fun! So, why did you decide to try your hand at YA? Did you know right away that the story was young adult or did that become clear after you'd already started?
Jill: I actually didn't start out writing the book as a YA! I wrote the book and it involved a 24-year-old who'd been whisked away to a school of super-powered teenagers, and she was the oldest one there. And I sent it around to my beta readers and everyone liked it, but they all said it was missing something. No one knew what. And then the YA market really started to boom and I wondered if I had a YA on my hands instead. I sent it to my agent (who had quite a few YA sales) and asked her if it was something that would be better off as YA. She more or less said "Duh" (hee) and so I basically rewrote the story from the viewpoint of a teenager. It works much better now. I just love the book so much and I've rewritten it easily a dozen times trying to make it "right".
LiLa: Voice is so important in young adult lit, it's impressive that you were willing to put in the time to get it just right. Was your process any different writing for teens versus writing for adults?
Jill: Well, yes! I pretty much did it all wrong! I basically had to start over when changing the story to YA. Rewrote a ton of stuff. And then I had to rewrite it over and over again (and OVER AGAIN) because I continued to add adult things in. My radar was set to 'adult' stuff so it was hard for me to get character reactions just right. For example, I had one guy in the story that was very cocky, and swaggery and alpha. Which is great when you are writing adult romance, but in a YA, he came across as...an ass. Unlikeable. So I had to sit down and really think his personality through and what had shaped him, and had to basically "backpedal". Sure, he was swaggery as an adult, but would he be the same at sixteen?
Did I mention it involved lots and lots of rewriting? ;)
LiLa: I love that you took a fully developed adult character and imagined him as 16. We'll have to remember that trick! Is the voice in your YA similar at all to the voice in The Succubus Diaries?
Jill: Yes and no. I think pretty much everything I write has a similar 'tone' to it, but my YA has a different narrator, so she sounds different than my adult heroine. She's less flip and a little more vulnerable and secretive. But I still think you could pick it up and get that it's a Jill Myles book, if that makes sense.
LiLa: That makes perfect sense! Do you think it will be easier to sell a YA novel than it was to sell the books you've written for adults?
Jill: Well, yes and no! There are so many factors that come into play when selling each individual book. I mean, if my adult book somehow takes off and hits the bestseller list (excuse me while I giggle to myself at the thought) and stays there for like, a dozen weeks...then I do think it'll be easy. Who doesn't want a piece of the next bestseller, right? But on the other hand, if it sinks like a stone, it'll be a lot harder for me to sell anything else (YA or otherwise) because I'll have a failed book on my record.
But I don't know that it'll be 'easier' to sell a YA novel because it still depends on the novel, you know? What if every YA line has already bought up similar stories? What if my voice is all wrong? There are so many factors - and not to mention the fact that everyone is shopping YA right now because it's so popular. So easy? I don't know about that. :)
LiLa: Yeah, so that's totally terrifying. Let us never speak of debuts sinking like stones ever again. Rumor has it Gentlemen Prefer Succubi is pretty steamy. Do you have sex scenes in your YA? Did you approach them differently when writing for a younger audience?
Jill: Gentlemen is very steamy! I think it's because of the subject matter (a succubus). And no, there are no sex scenes in my YA (which is another reason why it seemed to confound everyone). I wrote the story and sex didn't seem to be on my heroine's mind, so sex didn't come up. There is a kiss, though! And I don't know if it's more or less steamy kiss than an adult one. The scenario in which it happens is a little more innocent than the scenarios that my succubus normally gets into, so there's a bit of a difference there.
LiLa: I can't wait to read all of these kissing scenes. They can be so hard to write for prudes like us! Will you use a pen name for your young adult work or are you hoping to stick with Jill Myles?
Jill: Whichever the publisher prefers. Jill Myles is a pseudonym as well, so I'm happy to go with whatever name they prefer for me to use. I wouldn't mind keeping Jill Myles, but I totally understand if it gets contracted and a publisher decides that they don't want the audience crossing over. Wouldn't blame them! :)
Now cross your fingers for me and hope it sells!
LiLa: Fingers officially crossed.
And now for the contests!
- And even better, Jill is hosting a contest to win a personalized query critique from her agent Holly Root! For more entries in this contest, comment on the other blog tour posts (a full list of participating blogs and a schedule can be found at Market my Words). You can earn one entry per blog per comment. Winner will be chosen at random by Jill Myles and announced on her blog on Wednesday, January 27th along with an interview with Holly.
Next stop on the tour: Tomorrow Marissa Burt is going to be talking Jill about what inspires her to write.