New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young might not appear to be a master of the dark teenage soul at first glance, but she is. Bright-eyed and cheery, Young was tired of freezing her ass off in her home state of Utica, New York, so she took extreme measures to thaw out and moved to Arizona. She currently spends much of her time sitting on her patio in the scorching heat writing about topics that are anything but sunny.
Some might describe her as a magical word-creating wizard, pumping out content left and right on a daily basis. She’s published a plethora of books but also cautions budding writers that she has many novels left unpublished, rejected by the sinister publishing powers that be. The message here? If at first you don’t succeed, screw them just keep writing.
She is most well known for her series surrounding the overtly depressing topic of suicide, The Program. Set in a world where teenagers have started offing themselves left and right, suicide is ruled an epidemic. The only treatment is The Program in which memories are unwillingly erased from the minds of troubled patients. The Treatment follows the same characters in their attempt to eradicate this seemingly cruel abuse of power and ward off the feared lobotomy. In a set of precursors to The Program, she follows a different set of teens in the world building up to the eventual suicidal mess. The Remedy was just released this April, and The Epidemic is currently in production. Read them, they’re good.
While there is certainly a lot of doom and gloom in her writing she also focuses on badass strong females who can conquer everything from perverted dudes in a position of power to paranormal demonic entities. There’s also a lot of lust; we’re talking teenage sexcapades at their finest. Plenty of talk about boobs, kissing, and shirtless males to tie anyone over. And seriously, what’s a good Young Adult novel without a bit of sex and complication?
Her content depicts notions that are currently only fiction, but they tangle with reality just enough for the readers to sense the possibility of that world existing. She delves into the dark recesses of society able to capture the agony and misery humans manage to keep cooped up inside their minds. After reading a letter from a series entitled Dear Teen Me, in which authors pen letters to their former teenage selves, it’s clear where a lot of Young's inspiration derives from. Key themes in her novels relate to feeling invisible and individuals being told that they don’t matter, issues she dealt with personally as a teen. She not only struggled with being on Welfare, she was forced to wear clothes from K-Mart. Any kid knows that’s often a red flag for abuse from dickhead bullies.
It may seem like a difficult task to maintain any relevant connection to teenagers the older we get, but Young has a secret weapon. She is a high school English teacher. When in doubt, she uses her pupils for advice and confirmation that she’s on the right track. It’s a wickedly brilliant way to bring focus to the ever changing dynamic of the most angsty and terrifying characters on earth, the teens of this world.
At an event at Changing Hands Bookstore in Arizona entitled Women Gone Sci-Fi, Young stated, “I like to write the villains. I like to write the dark, tortured characters.” Why? She simply states that villains are just more fun. I don’t think very many people would disagree with that; writing about rule-breaking hooligans who don’t give a damn about the consequences is more fun. Another thing I learned about her at this event? Apparently she will do just about anything for pizza. So next time you want something from her, try the pizza approach, it just may work.
After a seven-year stint in Oregon (where many of her novels take place), Suzanne moved back to Arizona with her husband and two kids as they considered it their “good luck state.” They bravely subjected themselves to reality television and were featured on an episode of the HGTV show House Hunters in which she describes water closets as “kind of like going to the bathroom in a coffin.” Amen, sister.
Make sure to check out Young’s other novels like The Naughty List, The Willing, and A Need So Beautiful. They cover topics from ninja-spy cheerleaders, the spawn of Satan, cheating boyfriends, and psychic angels on Earth among others. Also releasing this fall is Hotel Ruby, which centers on a mysterious place in which not all is as it seems.
Young’s mastered the tortured and twisted brainwaves of the teenage variety and the ability to write sexy prose. These are just some of the reasons why she was the perfect choice to pen the first novel of the Poet Anderson series entitled Poet Anderson . . . of Nightmares with Tom DeLonge.
“POET ANDERSON...OF NIGHTMARES is a story about Jonas Anderson and his older brother Alan who are lucid dreamers. But after a car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.”