I’ve been doing a lot of learning about the business of young adult publishing. And I am fascinated by it. After receiving several query responses from agents that included the notes: we like the voice, the story, the quirk of your world but it’s not right for my list (translation, I like it but don’t love it enough to sell it) I wanted to find out why. And the other day I learned something new from Lorin Oberweger, and it was reinforced by another friend who sold a book similar to mine a few years ago (dam and I thought I was completely original!) that the “paranormal” genre is done, passé, not interesting enough to sell unless it offers something new. First off, I never categorized What Death has Touched as paranormal. Liv isn’t a ghost, she’s a soul lost and trapped in limbo unaware of the fact she was killed. To me it was always clearly high concept…Liv is dead but doesn’t know it and is having one hell of a day figuring it out…in other what if words: what if a girl died and didn’t know it but thought her mother died then set off to save her from deteriorating into a maternal apparition that would haunt her forever and gets the chance to save her from dying in the first place?
I believe this story serves a higher purpose.
Our country is grieving murdered children, innocent victims of a terrible bombing and unimaginable “why did it have to happen” deaths. People, no matter what their age, need help processing grief. They need to be reminded each day is precious and to live without regret. What Death has Touched, gives the reader an opportunity to save one life, a mother’s life, and gives a seventeen-year-old girl a chance to say “I love you!” for the first and last time. It’s empowering and inspiring, and dare I say it…has a spiritual message as its subtext.
Dead girls in YA aren’t passé because our country is dealing with the horror in Boston, Sandy Hook, Texas, and all the senseless horrendous shit life deals out with and dead girls are one way to deal with it.
I believe What Death has Touched is an important message to share. I hope to find others who agree with me soon. #whyiwanttosharemystory