Guest Post + Giveaway: Reality In Writing And Keeping It Real By Devyn Dawson
Writing young adult books have opened my eyes and my mind about things that would have been more taboo to write about twenty years ago. As a parent of a young adult I wanted to stay true to what teenagers are doing today and close my eyes to my Catholic upbringing. I have always known I’d write both children’s and young adult books. Before I started writing The Legacy of Kilkenny, I wrote out a list of things that I enjoy in books and dwelled on them until I was sure I wanted to put it in my book.
1. Action – I enjoy books with action.
2. Multiple story lines – I like a story that is weaved out of many small stories within the main one.
3. Realistic – This is tough, especially when you’re writing about supernatural beings. To make it realistic I needed to add real things that teens face.
4. Strong characters – I love strong women in stories as well as manly men.
5. Morals – This is tricky because many teens don’t have any.
Number one and two and four were easy for me, three and five were tougher. I had to be realistic that teens face many issues in their lives. I didn’t want my main characters to have any bad habits such as smoking, drinking or drugs. I am aware these are subjects that teens in public schools are faced with every day. I decided that Shane would be the one that would travel down the wrong path, which is disappointing but real. In a day and age of sexting and drugs I opted to leave the sexting out of the story. Although I added a drug reference, it is barely mentioned but I felt that if I wanted it real, I needed to add it in.
Number Five. I decided that my character Pru would be 18; she was originally 16 until I thought about her in a relationship with a man. When I decided that my werewolves were naked when they shifted back to human form, I knew I’d have to talk about nudity. It isn’t realistic to think that people don’t notice another person is naked, right? I know that body image is important for girls, and I wanted to give the message that you can be okay with your body, regardless of the size of it. I didn’t want it sexual, I wanted it as acceptance. I made Dolly a size 14, the average size of American women. Why can’t she be beautiful at a size 14? Of course she is. We all deal with image issues, from size, to acne and being surrounded by people that we believe are better than us because of their perceived perfection. I also gave my characters manners. I made sure that respect was addressed as well as even if you are a person in power, don’t abuse it.
One more thing that is in the book that falls under the realistic part. Teenagers cuss. If you think that all the little darlings are saying gosh darn, you’re fooling yourself. Yes, there are teens that don’t cuss, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I did use cussing in the book; I decided they would only use the lower end of the spectrum for cussing. That is true, but I did bring out the big bad f bomb once. I did not originally have that word in it, but it bothered me that I wasn’t being realistic. I’m not going to give you a spoiler, but when a werewolf is over the top angry at a vampire, they are not sweet mild and meek. That is one ticked off were and it was something I dwelled on for a long time but I did it. It is only in the story once and I haven’t been whipped by parents yet.
I hope that when you read the book, you think of this list and decide for yourself how I handled each issue. Thank you so much for this opportunity to tell you about my book. I’m very appreciative to Lissette for allowing me to be featured on her blog.
If you’d like to hear more about The Legacy of Kilkenny, please visit www.devyndawson.com and like me of Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Devyn-Dawson/145383098868553
The Legacy of Kilkenny book trailer – http://youtu.be/dchkwF1Jb8E
GIVEAWAY TIME – GL with your entries!
1st place – $5.00 gift card to Books A Million and an e-copy of The Legacy of Kilkenny
2nd place – E-copy of The Legacy of Kilkenny
Synopsis: Ireland has many secrets… this is one of them.
After an incredibly boring summer, Abel Casey was looking forward to his junior year at Piedsville High School in his little town outside of Oklahoma City. But once he sees Pru Phelan, the gorgeous girl with the shiny red hair and piercing grey eyes he knows he is in for trouble. Abel’s boring little life is about to come to an end if Pru has her way. The stunning Pru has a secret to share with Abe, one that will change his life forever. Up until recently werewolf packs have been looking for the Great Wolf, a wolf of legend handed down over hundreds of years from Kilkenny Ireland. Her secret is she is a werewolf, and her secret is now his too. Abel learns that all the tales of werewolves and vampires is real and he is the wolf they have been searching for. To protect his destiny and his family the pack begins training him for his first shift, without a hold on to his humanity can cause him to shift to a werewolf and never return to his human form.
Abel is torn between the family he has grown up with and the pack that claims he is the one of Celtic lore. Pru’s mentor and bodyguard Oakley is the one that her heart craves but she fears he has feelings for her friend Josie. Pru’s father the alpha wants her to stay focused on her assignment and forbids the two from becoming lovers and he threatens to remove Oakley from the pack if Pru can’t stay focused. Everything is going as planned until Abel’s sassy and moody sister Allie starts hanging out with an aggravating vampire Arien. Arien knows the pack’s secret and plans to expose them if he doesn’t get his way. This story of friendship, family, love and betrayal will leave the reader breathless and someone dead.
The Legacy of Kilkenny an incredible journey for these young adults. The reader will be drawn into this romantic yet invigorating story of friends and lovers. The prophecy has been stated, now it will be lived.
About the Author:
My name is Stefanie Dawson but you might know me better as Devyn Dawson. I decided to use a pen name since there is a famous Stephenie that writes the same genre. I didn’t want to be “oh, you’re not THAT Stephenie” – sad but true. The characters in my head have been bugging me to be heard for a few years, after a big kick in the butt from a doctor telling me my eyesight was in danger; I flipped out. I quit my real job making real money and wrote like a lunatic to bring my characters to life. My husband and son survived on ‘man food’ for a year and allowed me to chase this dream. I have two children that aren’t so little – my lovely daughter is 21 and my son is 17. They grow up fast! I’ll never grow up as long as the characters want to be written about. I am proud to say that my eyes are doing fine and I’m eternally grateful to everyone that has read The Legacy of Kilkenny. It is incredibly wonderful when someone emails me to tell me how much they loved my book. I save every email so I can look at them when I want to give up. Thank you to all my Lovies!
My current projects are going very well and should be finished soon. The second book to The Legacy of Kilkenny is Malevolence and will be released at the end of November 2011. I’ve received a lot of emails asking to know more about Allie, Abel’s sister. Allie is a character in TLOK, and her journal that documents her journey as she dates a vampire will be released October 2011 as a novella. Allie is an unstable girl once vampire venom runs through her veins; her journal will give the reader an inside view to her life. The title of the novella is The Seduction.
Again, thank you!