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Literary Scene: Journey into YA fiction

“The Shadow Journey” books are exciting young adult novels set in a hostile world where friendships and courage are needed for survival.

The first two books by Robin Maderich in the series published by Potter Street are “The Shadows We Make” (283 pp.; $17.99 paperback; $5.99 digital) and “The Thrice Gifted Child” (275 pp.; $17.99 paperback; $5.99 digital).

Maderich, writing under the pen name, Jo Allen Ash, published the first book in “The Shadow Journey” series in 2022.

Young Adult fiction, known as YA, is a new genre for Maderich, who has authored 18 books, including Christmas-based fiction and historical and paranormal romance. The original “Shadow Journey” story came from one of her adult romances that she rewrote, eliminating the romance.

Maderich describes the books as “a dystopian mixture of science fiction and fantasy.

“There is technology to give it a sci-fi element, but it is also a fantasy as it takes place in a made-up world.

“I’ve always wanted to write young adult fiction,” she says during an interview at an Emmaus restaurant.

A third book in the series, “The Sleeping Myth,” is to be published in July. Maderich plans to write one or two books to complete the series.

“It is a fantastic setting but still relevant,” she says of her YA fiction.

“The world is crumbling around them, but they rise above that. Some of the problems that young people are facing today are not that much different.

“They face violence, hardships and changes in their world. But developing friendships gives them strength.

“Young people are also thrown into something completely different when they start high school.”

Maderich says that readers as young as 12-years-old can enjoy “The Shadow Journey” books, as long as they are prepared for some dark situations:

“There are mature themes, including addiction, death, abandonment and hopelessness.”

It is the ages of the characters, generally teenagers, that classify the genre as YA.

“I respect the readers. They are intelligent. I don’t write down to them. I expect that they will understand what I am writing. If they don’t understand a particular word, they can look it up<” says Maderich.

“I’ve had feedback that readers like the fact there is a strong female protagonist, and that the story has realistic people that are not one-dimensional.

“The characters are a part of me or what I would like to be, depending on the character.”

Maderich, born in Germany, grew up in Delaware. She has resided in the Lehigh Valley for 23 years. She lives with her son in Lower Milford Township.

In 2019, she was involved in an auto accident that affected her ability to write.

“There was a long recovery. I could not follow instructions or even remember one thought to the next.”

She wrote in her blog:

“My brain stopped functioning the way I had gotten used to it behaving for all the years.

“It was letting me down left and right and in the beginning I couldn’t even get angry about it because I couldn’t hold a cognitive thought long enough to maintain that emotion. I was scared.”

She says, “Writing again is a huge thing for me. It is thrilling.”

Maderich has written books for mainstream publishers, small presses and has self-published. Under her own name, she has written seven books in her “Connor Falls Christmas” series, a children’s book and “12 Days of Christmas Projects.”

She has written five romance novels under the pen name Celia Ashley and one romance novel under the pen name Alyssa Deane.

Manderich participated in the 4th annual Lehigh Valley Book Festival, March 22-24.

Robin Maderich blogs at: https://robinmaderich.blog

Her podcasts are at: https://anchor.fm/robin-maderich

“Literary Scene” is a column about authors, books and publishing. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

Robin Maderich