I often interview authors who have published books similar to my genre—historical/Biblical fiction. But today, I'm not only interviewing a debut author whose novel is soon-to-be-published, but she writes YA Fantasy. It is probably the fastest growing and sought after genre, by readers and publishers alike!
Since Write2Ignite is holding it’s Master Class in September on Writing for Young Adults, I thought I would interview Candice Yamnitz, a fellow member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) who has a YA fantasy novel Unbetrothed debuting with Illuminate YA an imprint of Iron Stream Media, in February 2022.
THE SYNOPSIS OF UNBETROTHED
Around Agatha Sea, princesses are poised, magically gifted and betrothed.
So, when seventeen-year-old Princess Beatriz still fails to secure a betrothal, her parents hold a ball. Forming an alliance could mean the difference between peace and war, but Beatriz doesn't just want any suitor. She's in love with her best friend, Prince Lux. Marrying Prince Lux will always be a silly dream as long as she has no magical gift.
Princess Beatriz will do whatever it takes to obtain a touch of magic, including make a deadly oath to go on a quest to Valle de Los Fantasmas. A valley where no one comes out alive.
If she can manage to succeed, Princess Beatriz could have everything she desires and secure peace for her kingdom. If she fails, she’ll lose not only her greatest dream, but her kingdom, and maybe even her own life.
MY INTERVIEW WITH CANDICE YAMNITZ, YA FANTASY AUTHOR
What sparked the idea for “Unbetrothed”? The idea started when I went through a hard season. I couldn’t help feeling inadequate. Then, I mentored teen girls at the time, and I saw how they struggled with the same feelings. Soon the story about a princess took root.
Did the writing come easy to you? It did! Most of the time I struggle to write but this story kept me coming back to the keyboard one very hot July. Most of the time I struggle to get the words down too.
Which character is your favorite? The most challenging to develop? Why? I love Laude. I just love her perky personality, her boy crazy nature, and the way she wears her heart on her sleeves. The most challenging to develop was Lux. I can’t share too much about him, but I wrote a prequel to understand him better.
Why is this a good story for Young Adults? This story is a fun adventure and has a swoon-worthy romance. I hope for anyone who picks up the book to feel like they are walking through the back country in Puerto Rico and swimming through the waterfall region in Huasteca, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. They’re all places I loved to explore when I was younger. Unbetrothed also challenges why Beatriz feels inadequate.
What do Young Adults generally look for in a fantasy novel? I think young adults look for a fun escape with characters they love. I’m pretty sure that’s why I read YA.
Why fantasy and not contemporary or sci-fi? I write the other two genres. I love them most when they’re mixed together in some way. I must have been reading a lot of fantasy books when I wrote Unbetrothed.
How did you create your fantasy world and keep track of all the nuances? I have a notebook where I sketch the characters and write details. When I’m in writing mode, the story world runs through my mind over and over again. I also wrote an extensive backstory—60,000+ words—and part of the sequel.
What is your go-to for inspiration? Life. I can never say what will inspire me.
Are there any biblical themes or concepts running through your novel? If so, what are they?
Yes, there are many biblical themes. One is where we find our worth. Though God gives us gifts to build up the church, our value still is found in God and our relationship to him.
What were your favorite books as a child?
I didn't like to read as a child. I played kickball and used books as makeshift toy houses. My senior year of high school, I enjoyed the Lord of the Ring movies and decided to read the book. I haven't stopped reading since then.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I wasn't finding the book for me. I really wanted more clean teen books with messages I could stand behind.
Describe your writing space and routine. . .
My writing space is my eating space, my drawing space, and my living space. They're not three separate locations. It's at my kitchen table. I have three young children so the bulk of my writing is done at night. I write every week day for at least 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Any advice to young adults who want to pursue writing?
Start writing today and learn as much as you can about the craft. Find yourself a group of writers. Try to find people who are farther along and other people who are just getting started. Your first novel may or may not become a published book, but it does teach you a lot about how to put together words and stories.
Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us, Candice! We look forward to reading Unbetrothed when it comes out early next year!
Candice Pedraza Yamnitz fell in love with Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice in high school and hasn’t stopped reading since then. She taught in a bilingual elementary education classroom for years until she decided to stay-at-home, teaching a crew of imaginative children. So in between reading lessons and converting cardboard boxes into pirate ships, she writes YA novels with a Latin twist. She lives in her native Chicagoland.
A MASTER CLASS FOR WRITERS OF YOUNG ADULTS
And don't forget the Write2Ignite's Writing for Young Adults Master Class, if YA is a genre you'd like to pursue.
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.