Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. She is the author of the Spellbound Trilogy and upcoming Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series.
Nikki married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They now reside in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands, 70 miles northeast of Forks, Washington.
Taking Risks in Young Adult Romance
I don’t know about you, but when I was in high school I was super interested in boys and curious about kissing and sex. I gathered what information I could from magazines like YM, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan; and TV series like Beverly Hills 90210.
I’ve always loved reading, but by the time I was a teen, teen novels didn’t have enough heat in them so I switched to reading historical romance.
One of my favorite things about being an indie YA author, is having the freedom to write and release the kind of book I would have loved reading when I was growing up.
There’s a prank scene in the first book of my Spellbound Trilogy, Entangled, where the main character wakes up in a boy’s bed instead of her sister’s after “The Switch” (they’re sharing a body every 24 hours). This disturbed a couple of readers who sent me emails, but the majority loved being surprised throughout the book and appreciated an author who took risks.
If this went through New York, I know they would have made me take it out because they don’t want to offend readers or, more likely, parents. In my opinion, if you’re not offending anyone, you’re being boring.
At the same time, if you self-publish, you have to watch that you don’t get too carried away. My copy editors make minimal comments as to things that could cause problems, but ultimately I make the final call.
I’m releasing the first in a new vampire slayer series, Aurora Sky, this winter and have struggled with the sexual content for over a year and whether it’s appropriate or not. I ended up removing a sex scene before sending it off to my copy editor. I feel much better about that. It took place in an already heated situation and overall I think it detracted from the scene and relationship.
There is another sex scene I’m leaving in and I am very curious (and nervous!) to see how it will be received. It’s awkward and comical. The safer bet would be to remove it, but I can’t bring myself to cut it. It reminds me of a scene in the 1992 comedy This Is My Life, starring Julie Kavner and Dan Aykroyd, when one of the daughters has sex with her boyfriend and it’s the ultimate letdown. I was cracking up during the scene. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.
But it was great! I saw that as a teen and was like, “Oh my God, that’s probably what the first time is truly like.”
One of my top priorities when writing is to surprise people as much as possible and give them a truly enjoyable reading experience. I’m not out to write an award-winning novel or brilliant prose. The best compliment I can receive is a reader telling me they couldn’t put my book down until they knew how it ended.
That’s how I know it’s worth taking risks.
**Contact Nikki at the below link: