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Young Adult Fiction?

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It's a time when you cease being a child and are expected to become an adult. Now, more than ever, expectations run high. You strive to make your parents proud and willingly outdo each other with spectacular achievements to leave your mark on the world despite the burnout it causes.

In 2024, failure is not an option.

And if that isn't enough, there's more! All of this is paired with several rituals like Friday night dances, impossibly hard exams, unwarranted detentions, and the pressure of attending unruly parties.

To end this challenging four-year span, a fantasy-worthy Prom and noble graduation complete this coming-of-age phase of life, eventually allowing you to be considered a valued addition to society. 

Teens don't carry the weight of the world upon their shoulders, even though they feel like they do most days. Some deal with it constructively, while others greatly struggle. Like John Hughes, I wanted to emulate his style by putting these issues and concerns into perspective and infusing every stitch of teenage emotion into my Young Adult stories. Despite being modern-day, I opted to incorporate a conscience to reinforce or punish a character's decisions and a moral compass to help them stay on the straight and narrow path. I kept the scenes edgy but clean, raw, and emotional - a turbulent rollercoaster ride for the soul, really. 

In the beginning chapters of BLACK LYON, the characters seem quite stereotypical, but as the story goes on, I deconstruct and mold them into more than what they were branded.

The connection between the reader and the characters builds quickly. Some have said they felt a part of Abi Acardi's life and the strange hierarchy these kids have been born into - like they had become friends.

Despite their wealth, the characters have difficulty dealing with the absence of parents and lack of guidance, self-worth, and love. Being left to their own devices makes way for life-altering mistakes and extremely bad decisions. The reader easily recognizes these errors in judgment. Some hold their breath as the scenes play out, while others are riveted by the choices made. The story is filled with peaks and valleys. But that's a good thing. When placed in certain situations, it sparks a strong, heartfelt response, which helps teens grow and mature. 

  

On the flip side, the Sci-Fi teen drama SURVIVING VALOR throws the reader into an impossible predicament that is absolutely inescapable. Gifted with wealth and extreme intelligence - wise beyond their years - these young adults are expected to survive the unthinkable. If you believe the pressures of modern-day are bad, wait until you read this book! You haven't seen anything yet. Nothing comes close to the insurmountable odds these teens face.

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Those my age would agree it was a difficult era to grow up in, but in hindsight, it was probably better in many ways versus the present day. Life was simple, with fewer distractions.

Looking back, what made those years iconic were the summer blockbusters, concerts, and prime-time television shows that drew us in and normalized our adolescent problems and stresses, leaving us 
no longer alone in our struggles. It opened our eyes to the world beyond ours. There was a comfort in knowing other teens were suffering through what we were. It somehow made life not seem so bad.

Those days, we didn't have social media to turn to for help. We were mostly on our own unless we dared to confide in a friend about our feelings or, heaven forbid, a parent or teacher.

Unlike 2024there was no internet, Netflix, or on-demand streaming services, so our lives revolved around what was available to us - movies, television, music, and teen magazines. Each was a lifeline to what we needed to survive those formative years.

I bet most of you don't realize that our television shows were on a specific day and time once per week. If we missed an episode, you had no choice but to call up a friend and ask what happened. There wasn't an option to record a show or the ability to watch them on a whim. I know. Stone Age, right? 

If we wanted to see a movie, we went to the theatre and stood in line for an hour to buy a ticket before filing into the place to find a first-come-first-serve seat quickly. As the opening credits rolled by, it did not take long to be utterly captivated by what was happening on the grainy screen. 

Movie nights were our social outlet. Congregating in groups after the show at the nearest fast-food joint, we'd discuss our experiences. No phones. No distractions. Just pure conversation. Imagine that.

Despite the absence of modern conveniences many teens currently take for granted, it was still an amazing time in history.

Admit One

I was born in the seventies and survived my high school years in the eighties. 

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I remember when...

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Movie advertisements started flooding billboards and mall kiosks, intent on building excitement and anticipation for filmmaker John Hughes' new releases. From Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club to Sixteen Candles, this era-defining writer and director perfected the formula to capture the hearts of teen audiences nationwide. Hughes transformed how the industry told stories surrounding adolescents on screen. He understood their stresses and respectfully shaped them into a series of unforgettable films.

These iconic movies came at a time when most teens were focused on good grades, friendships, social pressures, love, and relationships, all the while deciding what the future would hold. Without any guidance, they were trying to balance their life with a whole other person developing inside them - a person they were too afraid to show the world yet.

Without John Hughes, most might have stayed naive, unaware, scared, and alone. We wouldn't have had the courage to embrace who we were becoming or stood strong through those pivotal years

Unavoidably stereotyped as geeks, headbangers, plastics, jocks, prom queens, brains, or nerds, we learned that at home, each of us probably led a very different life behind closed doors. Through film, we discovered it was normal to feel the way we did - that we weren't the only one.

In the eighties, growing up was focused on responsibility. The one single topic that saturated all the teenage movies John Hughes created. Each storyline had the characters face this reality one way or another, but he added a very important element: one's self. They learned they didn't have to stop being themselves to evolve, which is an essential lesson in life. He infused the stresses of growing up with humor and truth, unlike anyone else at the time. This set the tone for how other movies portrayed teens from then on. It was life-altering.

Writing YA fiction is an opportunity to make a positive impact on young readers, providing them with engaging stories, valuable life lessons, and a sense of belonging in the literary world. My hope is that the stories I create will resonate with them during this crucial and formative time in their lives. 

 

Ultimately, I want teens to evolve into lifelong readers who not only explore other genres but, ideally, take a leap of faith into the realm of writing themselves. This transition into the role of a writer not only secures the survival of authors but also perpetuates the enchantment of storytelling for generations to come.

As the series continues with DARK DEMON and RED DRAGON, the group faces an ever-evolving number of mountains to conquer, with relationships teetering and friendships tested. Thrust into an adult world, they face danger and uncertainties, even death and grief. The moral compass remains, but drawing a hard line in the sand is much more complicated.  

Today, high school is still the most painful and complex for anyone.

Admit One

To Conclude...

To listen to SIMPLE MINDS as you read - Don't You Forget About Me --->  
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WHY TEENS READ MY BOOKS?

Moral / EthicalLessons

RelatableCHaracters

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Tackles ImportantIssues

ESCAPISM

INSPIREs EMPATHY

ImmersiveExperiences

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Strong EmotionalImpact

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Explores FriendshipsAnd Relationships

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Real WorldChallenges

Conflicts

Coming of AgeThemes

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Click here to start your reading journey!

Click here to ask me a question! 

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