Friday, August 21, 2009

Ground Breaking New Trend

It seems my Nathan Steele series will be the first in the new trend to sweep once more over YA and middle grade readers the world over.

How do I know this?

Back in the 1970s and 80s, kids and teens from 7-17 were reading teen detective, teen thriller, and teen mystery books. I know because I was one of them. Couldn't get enough of The Famous Five, The Hardy Boys, or what about Nancy Drew or The Three Investigators.

As I grew, I wanted my fiction a little more sophisticated and moved into King, Koontz, Straub, Saul, etc. I also tried to read as many of the 'classics' as possible - Shelly, Stoker, Poe, The Bible, etc.

I think today's kids are a mix of that. They still like to read their thriller and mystery books, but it has to be a little more sophisticated: Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. But Potter started for younger audiences and kind of grew up with them. Twilight is even more finely targeted at teen girls. Enter Nathan Steele!

According to a recent poll over on Nathan Bransford's Blog I may be the only person currently writing something which has a teen trying to solve a mystery, while having to use his nous to create electronic aids, and dealing with the trials of getting his first girlfriend (without any paranormal tropes being used). In other words. I'm the only person writing a teen mystery action book. My vote didn't even register enough interest to allow the category of YA Mystery to tick over to 1%! So, me and possibly six other people (if I assume that over 0.05% would be rounded up) are heading the charge to the good old days.

I'm going to ask around at the local libraries and find out if kids are still borrowing teen mystery novels. My guess is they are, but want something new to reinvigorate the genre and get them all excited about reading again. I can dream...

So how did you measure up in the poll? Care to join me on the front of the wave?


  1. Horror got one percent. "Bucky's Luck" is on the odd side, so hopefully that will boost my chances ; )

  2. I have a feeling when it comes to choosing the front cover of your book, it will stand out so much that people will be buying it just so they can say 'have you seen the cover of this book - oh and by the way, it's a brilliant read!'

    I know I will.

  3. That would be awesome to ride the crest of the wave and I believe you're right. The YA market is flooded with vampires and wizards. Teens will start looking for something different.

  4. YA Male in the UK is mainly spies, as far as I can see. Alex Rider, the young James Bond, CHERUB etc etc.

    Little Brother by Doctorow will spawn a thousand "terrorist jnr" imitators.

    Techno-mystery could definitely find a niche.

  5. Horror - 1%.

    I loved the Three Investigators when I was a kid. I just ate them books up.

    Here's to you conquering the YA mystery action genre!

    Word verification: occaturd

  6. occaturd - go on - I dare someone to write a Friday Flash with that as your inspiration!

    That's funny :c)

  7. I want a category of my own - it's a little bit horror, a dash of fantasy, definitely surreal, and a trace of fairy tale.

    You're right about the books we used to read - The Famous Five, Nancy Drew, The Secret Seven and how we all still love The Goonies. You might be onto a winner.

  8. And did you just call 'Twilight' sophisticated!!! :D

  9. I think I have read every hardy boys book out there, and a good chunk of the Nancy drew ones as well. I also remember the three investigators. good times. I hope you are onto something.

  10. I was one of the six trillion people writing fantasy. Sigh.

    I used to love those teen detective kind of stories when I was a kid. There was a series of "trick" books--The Lemonade Trick is one I remember especially fondly--that my friends and I were all nuts about. I never really got into Nancy Drew, though.

    It's a cresting wave, man, and you're a surfing bird!

  11. Cate - I meant the themes being covered. Isn't Twilight all about the issues female teens have with sex, but handled in a subtle way? I could be wrong, I haven't, and don't intend to, read it.

  12. I was a huge Famous Five/Secret Sveen/Nancy Drew fan as a kid and I'm sure there are a heap out there today that would love a good mystery/adventure as well.