3 S.R. Johannes: Guest Post: Sean Beaudoin (author of You Killed Wesley Payne and Fade to Blue)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Post: Sean Beaudoin (author of You Killed Wesley Payne and Fade to Blue)

Note: If you were a winner in the Pitch contest - do not forget to post your query letter on the winner announcement post by today at 5pm PT/8PM EST time.

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Sean Beaudoin has three books out: Going Nowhere Faster,
Fade to Blue, and his newest, You Killed Wesley Payne.

Comment on this post and receive a copy of one of Sean's books.

You Killed Wesley Payne

He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.
You Killed Wesley Payne
is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. It'll tease you, please you, and never ever leave you. Actually, that's not true. It's only a book. One that's going to suck you in, spit you out, and make you shake hands with the devil. Probably.

Here is Sean Beaudoin discussing how to write a noir mystery and crime novel for teens:

I think a noir mystery/crime novel for teenagers is really no different than one marketed for adults. At least that's the way I approached You Killed Wesley Payne.

Of course, some of the violence and sex might be toned down. Or it might not. My impression in general is that a book that panders to a younger audience is a book that ends up not having much of a spine. I hope the books I've written have been challenging to the teens that have read them, mostly because those were exactly the kind of books I wanted to read when I was sixteen.

Of course, back then, YA didn't really exist. There was no online branding, specific bookstore shelving practices, or row after row of lurid covers. We made it through elementary school without a single precocious wizard to help transition into high school’s chaste vampiric longings. There were a handful of titles, like The Outsidersand Go Ask Alicethat were known to be specifically for teens, but if you go back and read those books now, they’re pulling very few punches. Flowers In the Attic and The World According to Garp and The Basketball Diaries were all books that were sort of being handed around on the "black market" at school. We knew they would be confiscated if discovered, so we highlighted the salacious pages and giggled knowingly over them during study hall.

I feel very lucky to be writing YA in 2011. The audiences are incredibly smart and sophisticated. Tastes are eclectic and passionate. Noir can battle zombies, either on the page or at the register. YA is like the wild west--even though the breakout YA western doesn’t yet exist--in that everyone’s a gunslinger, pretty much writing about whatever they want. The limitations of the last few decades, in publisher’s imaginations and reader’s choices, have completely disappeared.

So I like having my back against the saloon wall, twin revolvers in my hands, plenty of bullets just a laptop away. It’s up to me to come up with something excellent—either an impossible shot or an brilliant escape plan. Which is exactly the way I wanted it way back in junior year, when I looked up from a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan, busy understanding only half of it (gleefully so) and said “Hey, man-I want to be a writer!”

Some other links:
Free Excerpt for a Tweet
YKWP Trailer
Follow Sean on Twitter and Facebook


6 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

I hadn't thought about the non-existence of YA way back when. We are pretty lucky to have such great books for YA around. And there are so many I can't keep up!

Fun post! If Sean's books are like this, I'm sure they're great reading. :)

Jess said...

This was a delightful interview to read (loved "busy understanding only half of it (gleefully so)")! Noir is such a cool genre, and Fade to Black sounds like an awesome read. Thanks Sean and Shelli!

Marie Rearden said...

Wow. I want to read this book, and that's different. I'm not a crime/mystery fan, but this voice sounds smart. Like, super smart...maybe. Kindle-ing now. :)

lisanowak said...

Sounds like a great book.

Gail said...

YA Noir- I can hardly wait to read it!!!

B.J. Anderson said...

Great guest post! This looks like an awesome book. I love crime noir type reads.