Genre Specialty Spotlight: Young Adult Fantasy Novels
Updated: Nov 3
Now that Courtney Diles Writing & Editing Services has moved from freelance marketplaces and word-of-mouth clientele to an independent website, let me tell you more about the kind of work I've done over the years.
After spending years in critique groups, I have experience editing in every genre out there, but I professionally specialize in YA fantasy, paranormal romance, and comics. Today, let's start with YA fantasy.
I have been writing YA fantasy since 2005. was my bread and butter when I first started going to critique groups and learning my way around the industry. I started editing it professionally in 2012. I had a YA fantasy novel up on the former SwoonReads website for a while! (It was called Nightmares of a Daydreamer.) This genre lends itself spectacularly to world building. As a young adult comes of age, they recognize new things about the world they grew up in and choose and build a world of their own. Fantasy and science fiction inspire teens and juveniles - and many of us still building our own spaces and places within the world today.
In the 2000s when I got started writing and reading YA fantasy and sci-fi, many popular stories were exceedingly dark and featured borderline abusive relationships. I'm relieved for the movement toward lightheartedness and healthy representation. In hindsight, the things the industry looks for now are more like what I wanted to write in the first place.
Here are some of the middle grade and young adult fantasy stories I've edited.
The Debut Fantasy Adventure from T.K. Kiser
Ever since the ash dragon Kavariel killed her sister, fourteen-year-old Carine has hated dragons and the magic they bring.
Every year she endures the Festival when the dragon delivers his flame to the capital city of Esten. The dragon's flame is powerful. It kills, but also provides magic that keeps the Heartless Ones at bay.
Until this year, when the dragon doesn't come.
Instead, a Heartless One enters Esten and threatens the safety of Carine's family and beloved city. Forced to leave her parents behind, she joins forces with two princes and sets off on a death-defying journey to save all she holds dear.
But when restoring her home means confronting the powerful language she has come to hate, and when unraveled secrets threaten to destroy the world she is trying to save, Carine's only hope is in her enemy...
(Developmental and Copy Edit)
Would you betray yourself for someone you love?
Despite the Carine and the princes' efforts, the ash dragon Kavariel still hasn't come back to Navafort. The dragon's absence unleashes a plague that unhinges the royal family and puts everyone Carine cares about at risk: her family, her friends, and...David.
As death spreads throughout Esten, Carine and the princes battle stealthy creatures and journey deep into Navafort to unravel its mysteries, all the while shadowed by a mysterious girl from a foreign land. Desperate for an answer, Carine finds herself teetering precariously on the moral edge between good magic and bad, forced to make an impossible choice between the person she wants to be...and the person she loves.
(Developmental and Copy Edit)
If you love dark fantasy adventure books, you'll love Arias Archer. Delve into Falasia, a diverse dark fantasy world brimming with danger, mystery and magic. Arias is a fantasy adventure for children and adults alike. A mysterious world of lost souls. A boy thrust into a deadly adventure. An unshakeable sibling bond. When Kara's soul is snatched from her body on her 13th birthday, Arias will do anything to find his sister - even if that means crossing into the deadly land of Falasia, the realm of forgotten souls.
Discovering the demonic King Kazzabus intends to stitch Kara into the dreaded 'Shadow Cloak' to fulfil an unspeakable plan, Arias desperately seeks the help of the legendary Sakundra, a mysterious woman who leads a group of ruthless rebels with secrets of their own. Imbued with immense powers he could only dream of, Arias prepares to cross blades with Kazzabus, the most deadly warrior in Falasian history, in a deadly duel for his sister's soul and the future of Falasia itself.
When her destructive faery magic is unlocked, Deirdre fights for control of her power and for her life.
Seventeen-year-old orphan Deirdre moves to Neo-London, a city created after an attack by Unseelie faeries, and becomes caught in the tension between the city faeries and the human military. Deirdre develops uncontrollable magical abilities after having her fortune told—making her the target of Alan Callaghan, an extreme anti-faery general. His sons, Iain and James, cross paths with Deirdre and are pushed towards the opposite sides of the conflict between humans and Fae. Iain is a rookie soldier in the Iron Guard trying to atone for past mistakes and keep his family together. James is a fourteen-year-old aspiring scholar fascinated by faeries and eager to leave his life in the city behind.
As Alan conspires to control the city, Deirdre and James plot to leave, seeking answers about her magic and James’s disappeared mother. However, when Deirdre is framed for a treasonous crime, their quest for answers becomes a desperate quest for freedom. The Changeling’s Fortune is the first installment in a seven-book series.
Magic never plays fair...
Though Deirdre and James have escaped Neo-London and survived the monstrous Fachan, dangers both human and Fae close in on them. General Alan Callaghan, James’s father and the leader of the Iron Guard, hunts Deirdre to harness her magic as a weapon against the faery Courts. And a dark curse is attached to James, connected with the disappearance of his mother. But their greatest worries are close at hand—James’s brother Iain, a soldier sent to capture Deirdre, is traveling with them.
After discovering his father's role in the king's assassination, Iain’s loyalty to his father and the army is tested. Although he is wary of Deirdre's powerful and unstable magic, he believes in her innocence. But by aiding Deirdre, a fugitive, Iain risks treason. With the appearance of Alvey, a young half-elf runaway from the Summer Court, new truths about Seelie faeries come to light, making Deirdre doubt both her search for her parents and herself. But as they clash with both the oppressive Iron Guard and bloodthirsty Unseelie faeries, Deirdre will have to decide if she can trust those around her, as well as the magic within her.