#TTBF14: Scott Westerfeld Talks Books & YA

Reported on by Emily K. and Kendall, Teen Press Corps~

Scott Westerfeld in our author photo booth.

Scott Westerfeld in our author photo booth.

Scott Westerfeld started off his “special talk” by discussing his novel, Uglies, and the development of the YA market. Uglies came out in 2005, the year that the YA market really exploded. The interesting thing about huge YA books is that they’re popular around the world. Most of the people who read YA books are adults, but teenagers are the ones who drive the market. He told the audience, “What y’all read is what becomes the big books! Young Adult is basically like rock and roll!” But it’s not easy being like rock and roll.

Westerfeld spoke about how the term “teenager” came about, and how many people were afraid of teenagers along with things made specifically for teenagers because teenagers were an unknown entity and new consumer base. Westerfeld loves writing for teenagers because they’re still trying to figure out who they are, which is what his new novel Afterworlds is about.

Afterworlds is also about how the YA market has changed over the last ten years. He explained the premise of Afterworlds, and talked about the three worlds that existed in the story: Darcy’s world, Lizzie’s world, and the real world outside of the novel. Afterworlds is his 600-page love letter to YA.

Then it was time for Q & A:

Q: How much freedom to you have when writing YA stories, because teens are so dramatic?
A: I have lots of freedom because teens go through a lot of firsts and a lot of drama that makes for great stories.

Q: How do you come up with your characters’ names?
A: Uglies has weird names because it’s set 300 years in the future and I wanted to make names that are close to names we have now but slightly different. David is the only normal name in the series. In Leviathan, I used historical names because of the book’s setting.

Q: What got you writing and why do you keep doing it?
A: I had a couple of uncles and an aunt who told great stories. I realized that stories have great power and they bring people together, so that’s why I keep writing.

Q: Is the Uglies series a love story?
A: It does have undertones of romance, but it isn’t completely centered around the romance. Love is important in the series, though.