Wednesday, August 8, 2012

'Hot Topics in YA Literature' Guest Post by Jessica Therrien

Hi! I’m Jessica Therrien, the author of Oppression (Children of theGods #1), and I’m here to discuss hot topics in YA literature. Thanks for having me Andi!

As YA literature has gained popularity it has sort of taken on the traits of its youthful readers—it’s trendy, and a topic that was hot a year ago, may be old news today. So how do authors know what will be the next big thing? Honestly, they don’t (or at least I don’t).

One of the hot topics in YA literature right now is mythology, and especially retellings of ancient myths in a modern way. I would love to say that I knew it was coming, and that was why I chose the topic. Really it was just coincidence. I started writing my book specifically because I hadn’t read anything like it. As it happens, many others had the same idea. However, I did get lucky in the sense that the premise of my book is much different than most of the mythology themed YA books out there.

Like I said, many are retellings or are based on the ideas that the actual gods are living amongst us today. Instead of sticking with the traditional ways of writing about the Greek gods, I set out to write a book that claimed the Greek gods were never really gods at all. In my books there is a separate race of people called Descendants that live long lives and have supernatural abilities. When they exposed themselves to humans for the first time in ancient Greece, they were mistaken for gods, and the stories of them were embellished. My story takes us to today’s world, where Descendants still live secretly amongst us, and a war is brewing between them. One girl, the last healer, is prophesized to save their race from oppression.

So what topic is next for me after Children of the Gods? I have ideas, but none of them are based on what is hot or what may be trendy in the future. I try to write what I feel is interesting, regardless of the fads in the genre.

What is your favorite trend in YA mythology right now? Mermaids, Dystopian, Time Travel, Mythology, Steam Punk, or something else that is just starting to emerge?

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult paranormal fiction series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, was published by ZOVA Books in February of 2012 and became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. The second book in the series will be available in February of 2013.

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica’s work can also be found in a published collection of flash fiction stories called Campaigner Challenges 2011. Out of over 350 submissions her story, The Soulless, won first place for people’s choice and fourth place in the judging round of Rachael Harrie’s Writing Campaign Challenge. Her story, Saved, is also available as part of the anthology.

Jessica spent most of her life in the small town of Chilcoot, California, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In this town of nearly 100 residents, with no street lights or grocery stores, there was little to do but find ways to be creative. Her mother, the local English teacher, inspired her to do all things artistic, and ultimately instilled in her a love for language.

In 2003, Jessica attended California State University Long Beach where her passion for language found her studying Chinese, and in 2005 she moved to Taiwan to study abroad. From 2005 to 2006 Jessica was fully immersed in the Chinese language as she attended National Taiwan University, and in 2008 she graduated from San Diego State University magna cum laude.

Jessica currently lives in Chula Vista with her husband and is working on book three in her Children of the Gods series.

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Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than the average person, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Among so many of her kind, she should not be very remarkable--except for the prophecy. Some believe she will put an end to traditions, safeguarded by violence, which have oppressed her people for centuries. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning--and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

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