Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Introducing a great Young Adult author

When I was young there wasn't much in the way of YA fiction.  I found myself at the age of 12 reading Wilbur Smith, John le Carre, Robert Ludlum.  At age 14 I'd progressed to Leon Uris, Frederick Forsythe, Thomas Hardy, E.M. Forster, Chaim Potok.  After that I devoured anything and everything, except science fiction and horror.  Those gave me nightmares.
Nowadays there are far more choices for YA readers.  It is always exciting to find a worthwhile YA author who writes books with a high interest level for teens.  Joana James is one such author.

Joana James is a 28 year old author from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. She is an I.T. professional by day but in her free time she escapes from the logical world of technology into the artistic world. She is an avid reader and her kindle is her favourite piece of technology. Music is her best friend and that manifests itself through her love for dance and singing.
Joana writes stories that portray the reality of her world. Her first book, a two-part short story series called Rise from the Ashes featured the lives of two young girls struggling in dire circumstances.

Her latest book, Nightmare at Emerald High, brings to the fore a world that everybody knows exists but no one talks about.
I asked Joana if she could write a post telling how she got into YA fiction.  Here are her words...
"My love for writing met my love with youth about two years ago and formed an inseparable bond. For approximately six years, I worked with my church youth department helping to mentor and lead teens. When I decided to take my writing seriously, teens found their way into my books quite naturally.
I’ve seen several situations unfold before me where I’ve had to offer advice and a shoulder to lean on. These situations often find their way into my books.  Reaching out to teens through my writing is my number one goal. 

For me, being able to tell the stories of those who find it difficult to do so themselves is quite rewarding. I love to tell the stories of those who may be hurting or are forgotten. With every story, my hope is that some young person may find enlightenment or, they may just find the answer to a question they found difficult to ask.  If I could touch just one life, prevent one suicide and encourage one person, my job is done.
Nightmare at Emerald High may seem a bit controversial with its subject matter being secret societies and organizations, but in the society that I live, it’s an everyday thing. Our children get tangled up in so many things that warp their thinking and confuse them and their perception of good and evil and right and wrong.  My hope is that Nightmare at Emerald High will be an eye opener for both parents and teens.

I will never stop writing for teens or young adults. They hold a special place in my heart because of the work I’ve done with them. However, I do hope to branch out into other genres."  Joana James

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