1. The heroes are so sweet. I love this about YA. We get to see teen boys being sweet, which we don’t always get to see on TV and in the media. Most teen boys are really, really good-hearted people who like girls just as much as girls like them. And are just as nervous and giddy about first dates etc. this is such fun to explore and highlight.

 

  1. The heroines are awesome! By default, in YA contemporary, we get introduced to a heroine with mega weaknesses (usually) who ends up defying all odds and saving the day (either for herself, her besties, hero hero etc.). It’s so rewarding taking a broken girl with a haunted past, like Paige in Paint My Body Red, or an uptight, perfectly-planned girl (like Hazel in Not Okay, Cupid) on a journey that may hurt a big but will ultimately end with some seriously memorable life experiences! If my characters are lucky, which they usually are, some super hot make out sessions with adorable boys is a signing bonus.

 

  1. Setting. My settings are characters in and of themselves. In my debut Sea (re-launching with Entangled next year with a brand new title) Sienna and Deni’s backdrop was sultry Indonesia. In Paint My Body Red it’s both the action-packed Silicon Valley and a sexy Wyoming ranch. In Not Okay, Cupid it’s the charming Nor Cal beach. Who doesn’t want to spend time in these interesting or romantic locales? I’ll likely never write a book without a setting I would want to spend time exploring.

 

  1. Side characters. For me, the supporting cast is as important as the hero and the heroine. This is when I get to introduce my readers to the colorful and the quirky who cheer the main characters on, or get in there way, like Sarah, the jealous nemesis in my forthcoming Masquerade Girl. Parents, too, are important, and I try to make mine as memorable as possible.

 

  1. FUN DIALOG! A reader compared my dialog in Not Okay, Cupid to Gilmore Girls and I was flustered with giddiness for days. (Still am.) I love writing both fun and flirty banter and more serious, contemplative dialog that pack and punch. Contemporary romance provides so many opportunities for this.

 

Thanks for reading!