Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog tour: Writing into the Void – dyslexia in Young Adult fiction by Katie Scott

Today I have the privilege of welcoming Kate Scott, author of the contemporary YA novel, Counting to D.

Now for those of you who haven’t heard about this book yet, Counting to D is a novel that tackles a topic that’s very much underrepresented in YA fiction: dyslexia.

When I first heard about it, my curiosity was immediately piqued.

For one, I’ve never read a book that deals with dyslexia, and secondly, it strikes me that this book must have had an additional and challenging aspect to it – not only in terms of writing, but also in terms of the fact that, because it’s a topic that’s generally swept under the radar, not as many people would generally consider reading it.

Especially when they have nothing to compare it to.

In today’s guest post, and as part of the Counting to D blog tour, Kate chats to us about why she’s chosen to write about a protagonist who has a learning disability, the marketing value of book comparisons and what she hopes readers will take from it once they've read it.


As always, here’s some information about the book, followed by the post.
 
About Counting to D:
The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate.

Sam is sick of it.

So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem.

Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust.

When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect.

But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret.

The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to readers will take away from this book once they’ve read it.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR pile.

Over to Kate.

Writing into the Void – dyslexia in Young Adult fiction

Comparable titles (a.k.a. “comp titles”) are a must-have in the publishing world. Readers who enjoy books by Meg Cabot might also like books by Marni Bates, and people who love Sarah Dessen should read Huntley Fitzpatrick.

This strategy works great for book marketing professionals and readers alike, assuming they only want to read within a narrow genre.

Fiction in general—but contemporary young adult fiction in particular—is startlingly lacking in diversity.

Have you ever noticed how many YA books are set at posh boarding schools? VERY FEW American teens actually attend boarding schools, but you would never know that from reading YA fiction.

There is a need for more characters of color in kid lit. There is a need for more LGBTQ books. And there is also a need for more books featuring characters with learning disabilities and other alternative thinking styles.

Counting to D is my young adult novel about a dyslexic teenager. My largest motivating factor in writing this book was that I knew it was a story people weren’t telling.

There aren’t any comp titles to it, but there should be. Because people like Sam exist, and they deserve to have their stories told.

Right now, the closest comp titles for Counting to D are probably OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu and Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. They are both fabulous books that should be on everyone’s to-read list.

Neither of these books have a dyslexic main character, but they do feature main characters with OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome, respectively. In today’s remarkably non-diverse market, that is considered close enough.

I hope a few years from now, things will be different. I hope Counting to D won’t stay the YA book about dyslexia. I hope it is only the first of many.

But for now, I’m a little short on comp titles. I can’t easily market to readers who loved book XYZ, promising they’ll love mine, too. Book XYZ doesn’t exist.

I am writing into a void and hoping, somehow, that my words can carve out a place for themselves. I’ve read some very fun stories about pretentious teens at New England boarding schools, but as a reader, I’m ready for something new.

As a writer, I hope Counting to D can be that something new for at least a few readers. The world is filled with seven billion individuals, and our diversity is what makes life here on earth so interesting. It should be what makes our fiction interesting, too.

Thanks so much for joining me on the blog today, Kate.  

More about Kate:
Kate Scott lives in the suburbs outside Portland, Oregon, with her husband Warren. Kate was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child but somehow managed to fall in love with stories anyway.

Counting to D is her first novel.

When Kate isn't writing, she enjoys listening to audiobooks, camping, and spending time with her friends and family.

Kate also spends a lot of time doing math and sciencey things and is a licensed professional engineer.

Where you can find her:
Twitter 
Facebook 
Website
Goodreads

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