Guest Blogger: Krista McGee

Krista McGee 2
New Release in Young Adult Christian Fiction

The selection of young adult (YA) novels in the Christian market gets better and better each year.  One of the most popular authors is Krista McGee.  She just released Anomaly and it’s now available at LifeWay Christian Stores.  Krista is trying her hand at a different genre with this book… and I think it’s going to work!  Here’s a glimpse at the story…

AnomalyThalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong-and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.

Welcome, Krista!

 

From Chick Lit to the Apocalypse

Krista McGee 2“You’re writing what?”

I’ve been getting that question a lot, lately. Usually followed by, “Why did you switch genres?” It almost feels like breaking up with a long-term boyfriend – friends wanting to know why it didn’t work out, will we ever get back together, am I all right?

My first three books were YA contemporary fiction – humorous adaptations of biblical characters. First Date is loosely based on Esther, Starring Me on Rebekah and Isaac, and Right Where I Belong on Ruth. Though some of the characters travelled from book to book, it wasn’t a series. They were distinctly Christian, though, as my desire is not just to entertain, but to point readers to the Savior.

My newest book, Anomaly, is the first of a trilogy. It isn’t based on a biblical character, it isn’t contemporary, and it isn’t funny.

So what’s wrong with chick lit? Absolutely nothing. It’s one of my favorite genres. But I also love science fiction – all kinds of science fiction. But especially dystopian. In a dystopian, the future world is messed up – dysfunctional – and the hero tries, sometimes successfully, to make it better.

While Hunger Games and Matched (and Uglies and Divergent and Maze Runner…) have made this particular genre popular among today’s readers, I fell in love with it years ago. Twenty years ago, to be exact, when my 12th grade English teacher made us read 1984. I loved it. I was introduced to Brave New World in college (loved that, too), and as a teacher, The Giver was on my required reading list (my students, sadly, didn’t love it). But I always wished someone would tackle that genre from a Christian perspective.

Last year, I was given that opportunity. My editor at Thomas Nelson asked if I’d be willing to write a Christian YA dystopian series. I was both honored and nervous that she thought I could make such a big change. I love the Thomas Nelson Fiction team, and I didn’t want to disappoint them or prove unworthy of their faith in me. But God delights in placing us in situations where we feel weak so he can demonstrate his strength. I have no doubt he orchestrated all of this to stretch me in my relationship with him and, hopefully, to touch others with the story he gave me.

So I began to work on the story that would become Anomaly, starting with the idea that in my future, the rulers of the world would do their best to eradicate God. How would they do it? And how would people behave? And how would God reveal himself? Those are questions I try to answer in this series. There is romance, and there are plot twists and turns, but at its heart, Anomaly is no different than any of the other books I have written – one that, hopefully, entertains and, prayerfully, points readers to the Savior.

 

Guest Blogger: Becky Mond

Anomaly

Yesterday I shared with you some of the new titles that are available at LifeWay Christian Stores for the young adult reader.  Today we have one of the best editors in the business here to share why young adult (YA) fiction is so important.  Becky Monds is an editor with Thomas Nelson Publishers and loves all types of books but there is a special place in her heart for YA novels.  It’s easy to see how passionate she is about this genre when you hear her talk.

Welcome, Becky!

BeckyIt is no secret that YA fiction is booming in the general market. Series like Twilight and the Hunger Games brought a spotlight to the section, and now more and more authors are throwing their hats into that ring, with great success. There are some amazing stories of strong teens facing incredible situations—both in real-life and fantasy—in the general market, and young readers are devouring them. I love that all of the YA fiction available is bringing teens back to the bookstores.

Fiction is a wonderful outlet to sort out some of our most pressing human questions. Witnessing how a character reacts to a certain situation speaks to our subconscious and can ultimately inform our own decisions. So, I believe it is of the utmost importance that we bring along Christian YA fiction that can compete with what the general market is putting out there. Teens are constantly bombarded by worldly pressures, perhaps more than at any other time in their lives, so we need to provide a Christian alternative to all that madness. We need Christian teen characters who walk their faith in all situations—ordinary or supernatural—and who face the same real, “unsafe” problems shown in the general market YA.

At Thomas Nelson, we have some truly gifted authors writing YA novels that can easily be compared to popular series that teens are reading from the general market. Shannon Dittemore’s Angel Eyes Trilogy—the second, Broken Wings, just now available—is a supernatural story of an ordinary girl drawn into a battle between Heaven and Hell. Krista McGee’s new dystopian series, starting with Anomaly in July, hits on that ever-present question of identity set after nuclear war has decimated Earth. Andrew Klavan’s If We Survive is a heart-pounding adventure about a group of American teens on a mission trip trying to escape from a South American country thrown into a revolution.

Broken Wings   Anomaly   If We Survive

All three of these—and this is just a small sampling of what we have to offer—have strong Christian elements, but above all, they are incredible stories that will keep teen readers coming back for more. And that’s important in reaching this market. Teens are in school more than they are out of the classroom, it seems, so they know when they are being taught something. So, when they choose to pick up a book, it is important that they are entertained first, but our hope is that they are also exploring their own identities and perhaps starting a dialogue about what it means to be a Christian and how that looks in their everyday lives.

What are some of the YA books you or your teenage child is reading? What were some of the books that had the greatest influence on you as a teenager?

 

Becky Monds is an Editor for Thomas Nelson Fiction. She is a Nashville native and has been with the company since 2007. Aside from reading, she also enjoys spending time with her husband of nearly six years and her pup, Gracie.

YA Fiction

Crazy Dangerous

Sure, a lot of teens today have more interest in their phones, iPads, and other fancy devices, but many still love to read the old fashioned way… with a book.  The Christian market continues to get behind quality fiction for young adults (YA).   Here’s a snap shot of some of the books that are relatively new on our shelves.  Oh, and if your teen just doesn’t want to read a book with pages and ink, don’t worry.  Many of them are available as ebooks through LifeWay as well.

Crazy Dangerous   Broken Wings   Fortress of Mist

Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan

Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

Starring Me   Fairest Beauty   Prom Queen

Starring Me by Krista McGee

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

The Prom Queen by Melody Carlson

Crater   Domination   Perfectly Rid

Crater by Homer Hickam

Domination by Jon S. Lewis

Perfectly Ridiculous by Kristin Billerbeck

Broken Wings by Shannon Dittemore

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Novelist Shannon Dittemore has just released Broken Wings, book two in the Angel Eyes Trilogy.  The first book in the series, Angel Eyes, was a great addition to the young adult category last year and helped to set Shannon up as a new novelist to watch.

Broken WingsBrielle sees the world as it really is:  a place where the Celestrial exists side by side with human reality.  But in the aftermath of a supernatural showdown, her life begins to crumble.

Her boyfriend, Jake, is keeping something from her – something important.  Her overprotective father has started drinking again.  And he’s dating a much younger woman who makes Brielle’s skin crawl.  Haunting nightmares invade Brielle’s sleep, and flashes of Celestial vision keep her off kilter.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s been targeted.  The Prince of Darkness himself has heard of the boy who healing in his hands and of the girl who sees through the Terrestrial Veil.

Brielle has no choice.  She knows evil forces are converging and will soon rain their terror down on the town of Stratus.  She must master the weapons she’s been given.  She must fight.

But can she fly with broken wings?

Have you pre-bought 2 of the spring’s biggest novels?

Chance   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury releases on Tuesday, March 5 (that’s next week) and you can pre-buy your copy for just $13.79 ($22.99 regular retail price).

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis releases on Tuesday, March 26.  You can pre-buy this soon-to-be best seller from Beverly for just $9.99 ($14.99 regular retail price).  But wait!  If you pre-buy now, you will also receive a copy of Beverly’s novel The Postcard free!  That’s a $10.99 value!

Both of these offers are good at your friendly local LifeWay Christian Store or on lifeway.com.

 

$2.99 Young Adult Novels

$2.99?  What?!  Yes!  Our kids buyer, Greg, is going nuts with his pricing!  He’s wanting to get kids to try out some of the great novels that are available here at LifeWay.  Through January 26 you can get either of these books for just $2.99.  They are the first in a series so it’s an inexpensive way to check out a new set of books.

Raising DragonsRaising Dragons (Book One in The Dragons in Our Midst Chronicles) by Bryan Davis

Action, adventure and inspiration as two teens meet their dragon past
A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil dragon slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.The kids at school call Billy “Dragon Breath” for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn’t the normal morning-mouth bad; it’s the hot-as-fire, “don’t-you-dare-get-near-me” bad. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys’ restroom at school, and his parents learn they they’ve kept their secret for too long. Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that’s a piece of news a guy doesn’t deal with everyday! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When the dragon slayer traps him on a cold mountaintop in West Virginia, Billy learns to battle with weapons of steel and spirit while relying on a power he doesn’t understand, a power that helps him lean to trust again.Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even thought she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity. But this unusual feature becomes a life-saving attribute as she discovers that her love for others and her faith in a creator hold the answers she’s looking for.

Raising Dragons is a contemporary fantasy novel that inspires you to dig deep within to find your God-given strengths and use them to overcome any obstacle. It is both a hair-raising, modern-day adventure and a glimpse into another world — a world of knights, dragons, and fair maidens. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

TheArk Reed Ark, The Reed, and the Fire Cloud (Book One in The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz Series) by Jenny Cote

When Max, a Scottish terrier, takes his usual morning trot to the loch one day, he hears a mysterious Voice humming in the reeds. “Come to Me,” it says, “follow the fire cloud.” He embarks on a strange journey from Scotland, meeting other animals along the way including Liz, a brilliant petite black cat from France. Max and Liz become the brave leaders for their group. The mysterious journey leads them across Europe to the Middle East, and is filled with danger, humor, trials, and triumphs. At the end of their travels, they find Noah and his family enduring ridicule from villagers while building an ark.

The moment these animals enter the ark is a spectacular one as the ark is magically transformed into the animals’ natural habitats. As they enter their stalls, ice forms on the walls for the polar bears, a desert climate emerges for the kangaroos, a rainforest develops for the monkeys, and a waterfall flows from a rock where the crocodiles and tropical birds dwell. During the year aboard the ark, Liz finds ways to keep the animals occupied, including daily exercise led by the flamingos and talent night where the animals entertain each other with their natural abilities. But a sinister plot develops. Someone is out to kill Noah and his family. Liz follows clues that lead her to discover a stowaway who has deceived them all. Max and Liz foil the plot, but at a high price. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, readers find themselves wavering between despair to hope.

The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz is a magical fiction series that takes Max and Liz through biblical to modern times, causing amazing things to happen behind the scenes in human history. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.