What are the differences between YA and adult, and why do I have to pay attention to them if I want to write something in between? Emily Ross and Desmond Hall help us navigate this thorny issue that involves voice, content, audience, marketing, and what it means to stay true to your vision (and how genre rules might just help you).
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Emily Ross is the author of Half in Love with Death, an International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards finalist for best young adult novel, inspired by a true crime from the sixties. She received a Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award in fiction for Half in Love with Death. Her work has appeared in Boston Magazine, Five South, and other publications. She is an editor at Deaddarlings.com. She used to work in tech. Now she writes full time and is currently working on The Black Sea, an adult mystery set in a fictional version of her hometown of Quincy MA.
Desmond Hall was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He has worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn; counseled teenage ex-cons after their release from Rikers Island; and served as Spike Lee’s creative director at Spike DDB. Desmond has served on the board of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Advertising Council and judged the One Show, the American Advertising Awards, and the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. He’s also been named one of Variety magazine’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch. Desmond is the author of the gritty YA novel Your Corner Dark which confronts the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family. It’s been listed among the best YA books of the year by Bank Street, Essence Magazine, and was a New England Book Award Finalist. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and two daughters.