From the very beginning of Coliloquy! So many people think “interactive fiction” and immediately go to male-dominated genres, like sci fi and fantasy. However, we knew from our social media and gaming backgrounds that women actually love engagement mechanics. Additionally, young adult novels, in particular, are a wonderful place to play around with different pathways, POVs, and group reading experiences, as well as for readers and authors to communicate.
What about writing for children/young adults appeals to you?
I love young adult novels that transport me back to a critical moment of “becoming”. When everything is a first (first love, first tragedy, first epiphany…) it is so much more powerful and raw. And the best YA authors take me there to relive those feelings.
Please tell us a bit more about your company’s journey.
Waynn and I founded Coliloquy because we felt like the revolution was ignoring the books themselves. All of the talk was about distribution, hardware features, and “augmenting” books with video or social sharing. But just as the printing press, for all of its technical glory, helped bring about modern novel, could we use technology to create new forms of storytelling?
We launched earlier this year with 5 authors writing serialized, choice-based narratives, and we now have 17 authors under contract, playing with personalization, live updating, and reader-participation…and we haven’t even unveiled the other 75% of our technical platform, yet.
What do you look for in contemporary young adult fiction for your publishing house?
Our first vets are for good writing, compelling story, and that magical “squee” in the pit of one of our stomachs. After that, the two biggest reasons we reject a manuscript are logic and author or agent concerns. By logic, I mean that the actions and interactions of characters have to make sense–because these stories can get complicated over time, we need the logic to be locked down. Often, we’ll talk with authors about potential issues, desperately hoping for a strong fix. One of the most soul-crushing parts of my job is when the author can’t get there.
Are there specific trends in the YA literary sphere? If so, what are they now? Where do you see them going next?
I am bullish on contemporary YA, because I think we all need a dose of reality. Also, we have some secrets up our sleeves that are going to help authors with the economics of what has been a tough genre to sell.
Who are the authors/works to look out for in the next year?
Georgetown Academy, coming this fall. It’s AMAZING, and you heard it here first. 🙂