I've been asked this question a few times and I've decided to blog about it because I think it's an interesting topic.
"YA" refers to Young Adult literature. So then the question is "What is a young adult?" Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer. Usually books are broken down in the following genres (for age groups): preschool, children, middle grade, young adult, adult. That's quite a span. Young adult books could be read by twelve year olds or for twenty year olds. And that's a problem. What might be appropriate for someone at the far end of the teen spectrum is not appropriate for someone just finishing middle school.
I have read many YA books (even as an adult) because they are (usually) entertaining but do not have extreme violence or scandalous scenes in them. (If you know what I mean.) It really, really bothers me when I find a "YA" book where there are scandalous scenes. I want to scream at the author, "Why did you write this knowing it is going to classified as a young adult book??" I think it is SO important for parents to know what their children are reading, even if it is a YA book. If you are not a reader, ask a friend who is a reader to preview books for you. (Hmmm...I'm getting an idea for a future blog post about age appropriate books...)
Why do I write YA books? One, for moral reasons. I believe that to be honoring to God, I must not write about certain things. Second, I want to write books that my kids can read and I won't be embarrassed that they are reading it. I also want to write books that my younger friends can read and can discuss. I believe that it's possible to write a good story without gratuitous violence or other situations.
Why do I write fantasy novels? I love fairy tales and fantasy novels are just grown up fairy tales. I try to find some fairy tale to root my story in and then let my imagination go from there. I love the idea of another world that is similar to ours but just different enough to support the idea of fairies and magic.
Have I written more stories? Yes, I have! :-) I've finished my second story in the series and am currently writing the third story. The second book is (SPOILER ALERT!) about Samantha's daughter, Emma. The third book is about Emma's cousin, Holly. Things may change and the story might morph a bit but...I'm quite happy with it right now. I don't know how many books will be in the series. If I get picked up by a big publishing house, maybe they will have a better idea for that.
I must get to "Christmas-ing" my house now. :-)