I have been a reader since before I could read. When I was small, my parents would take me and my older sister to the library. My sister could read, but I couldn't yet. I remember holding books in my hands and making up stories for them based on the pictures. When I was older, my mother would enter us into summer reading challenges at the library, and my parents would try to buy me and my sister as many books as they could afford. I may not have had every toy I wanted, but it was pretty rare if I didn't get a book I wanted. I don't think it's a coincidence that 30 some odd years later, I'm still reading books similar to those that I was reading in my younger years.
I've never stopped reading throughout my life, but it's only been within the last two years or so that I've gotten more into YA fiction. Oh, don't get me wrong. Like most people, I read and fell in love with Harry Potter back in 2000 and was zoomed through all the previous books and pre-ordered each book before it came out. But back then, most of what I read was more "grown-up" stuff. I got more into YA books when I started watching Gossip Girl on the CW, and decided to start reading the books. This was in early 2008, right before the height of Twilight mania. I kept seeing the books at my local Borders, and I couldn't help it. I thought the covers were beautiful, so I bought the first book. It ignited the fire in me to start writing again, but not for the reason most would think.
It was by this time that I decided to start writing, mainly because something clicked into place for me. Writing didn't have to be this horribly pretentious thing. Stephenie Meyer's writing may be a tad simplistic (at least to me, I'm really not trying to insult any Twilight fans) but it made me think that instead of focusing on writing an adult novel, perhaps I should give young adult a try, because it was a better fit for my writing style.
Since reading the Twilight series, I started peppering in more YA into my reading. Once I started writing my current WIP, I've reached the point where it's pretty much all I read. I still peruse the adult section in the bookstore and library, but I find myself spending more time in the young adult section just because it's where I feel more at home. I've also started seeing more adults there lately. On one recent trip to Borders, I saw only adults in the YA section, so that made me feel less out of place. There are a lot of us!
So, as much as I hate to admit it, I do owe a least a bit of my current inspiration to Twilight. Without it, I wonder if it would have sparked that old love of young adult books, and if I would have started writing again.
And now for a question if any of you would like to answer: Why do you write YA? Were you inspired by your children, (or children you know) your own childhood memories, or did a book inspire you to write for the genre?