Writing Y.A. means a couple of things. One? You gotta have romance. Why? Well, to begin with, kids' hormones are going haywire and you have to appeal to their coming-of-age with the whole sexuality thing. Besides, all of us have that adolescent inside of us, wanting to meet an interesting new boy/girl who is edgy and misunderstood. Twilight capitalized on this for crying out loud.
I am not a good romance writer, mostly because I have my own androgyny issues to deal with. (See profile picture.) However, I am a romantic at heart and I do like a boys a great deal more than girls (even as friends). So my problem is keying into my fascination with relationships and combining it with my firm belief that friendships blossom into compelling romantic relationships if done the right way. Friends see each other as equals far more than lovers. And you don't have that messy obsession factor or the problem of adoration, which pretty much irks me to death. At the same time, I personally need to be careful because the characters must be accessible to the teenage mind, therefore making them accessible to adult minds as well. (We've all been there.) I remember getting unbelievably excited reading that Harry and Ginny were going to be together. And I was in college then.
As I learned in my critique group with Bonnie Hearn Hill (she's amazing), the best sexual tension emanates from conflict. The boy and the girl fight and battle. Not to the point where it's unrealistic that they'd be together, but rather that fascinating dynamic that comes from two people who enjoy locking horns. I mean to capture that. I hope I do.