CJ Lyons Takes On Young Adult
New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons is best known for her high-octane thrillers. With her young adult debut Broken, CJ is returning to her medical thriller roots. She shares why she decided to tackle the world of YA, and what readers can expect from this new direction.
I’ve always loved reading YA and everyone kept telling me that as a pediatrician, I should write it. But honestly, I never found a story that I thought was worthy of my kids—my patients—until Broken. Writing for kids is tons tougher than writing for adults. Most grownups read for entertainment, but kids read for so much more. They want to vicariously experience the world and the choices they’ll be expected to make as adults. They want to learn who they are and how they can fit into that larger universe once they’re the ones in charge.
Funny thing is, once I began Broken and found my YA voice (very different than my adult thrillers’ narrative voice), I realized I could be much more emotionally honest than with my adult work—which also meant I could tell edgier stories. After finishing Broken, I now have ideas for more YA thrillers and can’t wait to write them!
In fact, I just turned in my second YA thriller. It deals with two kids, Jesse and Miranda, being blackmailed by a cyber-predator using capping (screen capture images) and how they find the courage to stand up to him (with the help of their parents). They go through hell and some of the things that happen to them were so painful to write that there were times I found myself weeping as I typed—but then I was crying again when I wrote the ending as they rose above it all and triumphed.
I thought it would be a stand alone, but after I finished it (the working title is Damaged, but I’m not sure if we’ll be keeping it) I realized there aren’t many books out there that tell you the rest of the story, the price to be paid for defeating the bad guys, so I’d love to tackle another book with Jesse and Miranda and show how their courage, strength, and relationship continue to evolve.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 21 novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. Winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
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