Guest Post: Dan Haring

I was excited to be included in the Oldsoul blog tour and thrilled about having Dan write a guest post for us. I had the opportunity to give suggestions for things he thought our readers might be interested in, so I asked Dan for his thoughts about what it was like writing in what’s been a genre so far dominated by female authors and if he felt any pressure to include romance in his stories considering his target audience. ~ Cait

First of all, thank you for being a part of the blog tour for Oldsoul! When I started writing Oldsoul, I didn’t have some grand design about what I wanted the book to be. I pretty much just set out to write a fun, action-oriented book. One that I would enjoy reading and that hopefully others would too. It wasn’t until I was well on my way to writing it that I began to learn more about the genre and market I was getting into. I’d read plenty of YA books throughout my life, but my tastes vary quite a bit so I didn’t ever focus on one area too much. As I learned more, I came to find out that the YA market is largely dominated by females.

For the most part, women are writing YA books and women and girls are reading YA books. And they’re writing awesome books. As I looked around, I saw a lot of books with beautiful, dramatically posed girls, or buff, shirtless guys. I was also seeing a lot of female protagonists and love triangles. I don’t know if the whole picking-the-team-of-the-guy-you-want-the-main-character-to-end-up-with-and-then-making-a-t-shirt-to-pledge-such-devotion thing started with Twilight or not, but pretty soon the phenomenon was everywhere. If you happened to catch The Hunger Games this last week, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (I’m Team Gale, by the way)

So there I was, a male, writing a story about a guy who was romantically interested in only one girl. Crap. Add to this the depressing idea (or reality) that teenage boys these days don’t read very much, and I started to wonder who, if anyone, would be interested in reading my story. I didn’t doubt the openmindedness of the women and girls out there, but it kind of seemed like maybe I was going about things the wrong way. But at the end of the day I pressed on and finished the book. And although I still have some reservations, I think (or hope) that it works for both male and female readers for a couple of reasons.

I knew all along I didn’t want to just have Strong Handsome Man saving Helpless Lass. (although I might make that a comic book someday, so nobody use it!) It wasn’t because I didn’t want to turn off female readers, it was because the real world doesn’t work that way, and good stories usually don’t work that way. Yes, Jason is the main character and yes, he has unique powers that allow him to do things no one else in the story can. But he wouldn’t be in the situation to save the day without the actions and abilities of two strong female characters, Erin and Mela. Erin, the soul he communicates with inside his mind, is a particularly huge help to him, constantly providing him with both vital information and necessary encouragement. Mela is no slouch either, and among other things can handle weapons with the best of them.

Speaking of Mela, I also knew I wanted a love interest. The best action and adventure movies and stories often have a strong romantic subplot. Think about Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. The romance doesn’t usually dominate, but it helps move the story along and creates an emotional attachment for the reader/viewer. And if done well, you don’t even realize how much you care about whether or not two characters are going to kiss. You might even be able to get a bedridden Fred Savage caught up in some of the mushy stuff.

So besides just trying to tell a good story, those were a couple of my goals: create strong male and female characters, and add a touch of romance to enhance the reader’s connection with the characters. I’ll let you guys decide how well I achieved those goals, if at all. But as I wrote Oldsoul, and as I’ve gotten to know more authors, bloggers, and readers, the majority of them female, I’ve felt very warmly welcomed and encouraged. It’s awesome to be part of a community that acts this way. In the end we read and write because we love stories and we love getting lost in the good ones. and hopefully I’ve been able to add a little bit to that.

Author Bio: Dan Haring has been drawing and writing for most of his life. He earned his degree in animation from BYU and has worked on such films as The Incredible Hulk and Disney’s Tangled. He lives in Southern California with his wife and children.

Biography courtesy of Goodreads

Where to find Dan:
Dan’s Website
Twitter
Oldsoul Facebook Page
Goodreads
Dan’s IMDB Profile

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