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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Author Guest Post + {GIVEAWAY!}: Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her military husband and two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she's not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she's helping her husband with DIY projects in their home (he woodworks - she paints) or she's lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
What’s your recipe for the perfect YA book?
by Heather Hildenbrand

This is a sensitive question. It might sound easy at first glance. I’m sure some answer popped into your head or onto the tip of your tongue, but that’s just it. Everyone’s answer would be different. The “perfect” recipe is subjective. It depends on each individual reader.

Some need werewolves. They love the “animal” side of the hero… or villain. Some need vampires; the potential for violence coupled with limitless power – or the hero with monster cravings who tries to control it and retain their humanity. Some readers are probably sick of both of those and would answer with something totally different like “fairies” or “anything without a love triangle”. Some WANT a love triangle, some want to expect the unexpected – a character dies just as you’re beginning to like them – some want no romance. (WHO are you people?!)

So answering this question isn’t as easy as it sounds; my answer may not be your answer. But there is one thing I think we can all agree on (and if you disagree with this then you don’t love YA. You’re an imposter. Someone will remove you from the room in 3… 2… 1… BYE!!!!) Okay, now that it’s just us, here’s the thing. The commonality is this: Every successful YA story – and by successful I mean the ones that get their own hash tag on Twitter – is the GUY. (Or if you’re a dude: the girl, I guess???)

Whatever. The ROMANCE.

The leading man. The brooding, love-torn, angsty male hero. You know the one. He has an attitude - with just enough mystery to keep himself interesting and he’s a bad boy - with just enough redeeming qualities to make you believe there’s still good left in him. “He” is in every YA story out there in some shape or form, and “he” is the reason we’re hooked.

But we’re not faithful are we? Maybe you are, but I know I’m not. I get excited about or fall in love with one but then along comes another and I’ve moved on. Just like that. Team Edward. Team Ash. Team Jace. Etc. Etc.

Wait, time out for a second. Here comes a tangent:
If you’re wondering, because most Twi-hards are after that “team” reference, here’s my answer: I can’t decide. Sorry, but it’s true. I can’t ever pick one and stick with it. (Further evidence of my cheating YA tendencies) I try to choose but it’s no use. I’m Team Jacward or something. I read the books like 18 times and then read them again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. So, yes, I’m a Twi-hard. But I can’t pick a side. It’s ridiculous. On a side note intended to make you jealous, I met the actors that play Angela (Christian Serratos), Demetri (Charlie Bewley), and Paul (Alex Meraz) and had my picture taken with them right after New Moon came out. Alex put his arm around me and I’m pretty sure I didn’t wash my shoulder for about a week.

*tangent over*
What were we talking about again?
Oh yeah, the YA recipe… Okay, so you can’t have a great YA book without that guy. Whether he’s your MC (Exiled by MR Merrick has Chase. He’s a great example of the MC being the hottie) or the MC’s love interest. (example: Wes from Dirty Blood by ‘yours truly’ or even better, Cassandra Clare’s Jace or Richelle Mead’s Dimitri) Either way, he’s essential.

Other ingredients for a winner are:
Throw in all of the obstacles you can think of and then marinate in IMAGINATION.

What do you think? I’m sure you guys all have something to add. Leave your ingredient in the comments!

P.S. If you want to check out my books and see if I’ve used the above recipe, you can visit the blog at for a complete list of titles and pricing. Pick up Dirty Blood for just .99 for Kindle right now! Thanks, Ashley, for having me!

Heather's Books

Rules & Guidelines:
  • Must be 13 or older to enter.
  • Winner will be chosen at random and emailed, and will have 48 hours to reply back, or a new winner will be chosen.

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  1. This is a great recipe for awesomeness, Heather! I can't think of anything to add to it. And yes, the hottie is essential. Great post!

  2. For me, you can either make or break a book with a love triangle. Rarely have I read a book or series with a love triangle that was well written. Most of the time, I'm annoyed at the protagonist's indecisiveness. :/

  3. I don't much care for love triangles. They rarely are well done.

  4. If you're a well-read YA enthusiast, you can often tell who the protagonist ends up with straight off the bat. Sometimes I wish it was little less obvious who the girl ends up with...
    Rachel C.


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