When I walked into the first panel of the morning in Anaheim at ALA, I wasn’t quite awake and hadn’t had my coffee. I was a little nervous about how I was going to take notes, but luckily “Not Another Boring Vampire Romance: Going Beyond the Norm in YA Paranormal Literature” was the perfect way to start off the day.
The panel was made up of Jackson Pearce (Fathomless), Kenneth Oppel (This Dark Endeavor), Cindy Pon (Fury of the Phoenix) and Kendare Blake (Girl of Nightmares) and they were on their game for it being such an early hour. Topics ranged from “why paranormal?” to having the authors classify their own books (Oppel: “I’m just trying to write a book.”) and the issue of families in young adult literature (Pearce: “Hard to adventure when your mom’s there.”). The broad range of topics was fascinating and very entertaining to watch.
All the authors are happy to be writing in the broad paranormal range. Pearce said she felt like she was filling in for what wasn’t there when she was younger, and Blake said that heroes and monsters are cool. Both Oppel and Pon attribute the surge in paranormal to Twilight. Pon added that paranormal was always there in television with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Supernatural;” Twilight just brought the genre to the forefront. Hearing Pon explain the romantic elements of paranormal books, it seems like they should always go hand in hand. She likes the unrequited love that can occur in paranormal romance books. She added a love story element from the perspective of a eunuch!
One of the (many) hilarious moments occurred when Pearce and Blake were telling stories about how people react to them writing young adult fiction. Blake said she explained that she wrote YA horror and learned to over-enunciate “horror” after a woman introduced her and said Blake wrote about “underage prostitutes.” Pearce mentioned that people assumed the “young” in young adult meant she wrote porn for the younger crowd.
Despite the early start time, I’m really glad I was able to attend this session and have become a fan of all the authors!
— Faythe Arredondo, currently reading It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini