Get Fresh in ’15 Presents…

Session Spotlight: Going All the Way: Romance and Sex in YA

Ellie Marney will present this session on Saturday 22nd of August at 12:00PM.

Writing romance for teenagers involves a number of extra considerations including content, language choice, and ‘gatekeeper’ issues that are well worth exploring. This workshop offers a number of key ideas for tackling romance within the YA category.


Your Presenter – Ellie Marney

Ellie Marney was born in Brisbane, and lived overseas for many years before finally settling on ten acres near Castlemaine, north central Victoria.  Ellie’s YA romantic crime novel, Every Breath, was shortlisted for the 2014 Ned Kelly Award (Best Debut), the Centre for Youth Literature 2014 Gold Inky, and the 2014 Davitt Award (Best Debut; Best YA Crime).  Follow-ups Every Word and Every Move have been released to critical acclaim, and the series is being published in North America and the Philippines. Ellie’s partner and four sons still love her, even though she often forgets things and lets the housework go.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

Tall, gorgeous, stylish…  Hang on, sorry, got carried away.  Let’s try that again.

Short, tenacious, mother-of-four, YA-writer with a wicked pen! (that’s more like it)

What prompted you to put together this workshop for Get Fresh in 15 conference?

I guess my first interest in putting together ‘Going All the Way’ was finding out how much people knew about Young Adult lit, and the type of romantic content that’s available or acceptable.  If you’re considering writing YA romance, it’s good to know what’s out there, who’s doing it well, and what publishers (and teachers, and parents…and teenagers themselves!) are interested in.  YA lit is gaining strength (and sales) every time I look around, and more writers are hoping to break into the category.  I thought some RWA participants might be keen to check it out!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations?

I’ve presented on panels at Melbourne Writers Festival, and for the Centre for Youth Literature and the Emerging Writers Festival.  I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime (Aus), and have had a lot of opportunities to talk about YA literature, teenaged detectives and all things dastardly mystery on panels and at conferences like Death in July (Ballarat).

What will participants take away from this session?

Writing romance for teenagers involves a number of extra considerations about content and language choice, in addition to ‘gatekeeper’ issues, that are well worth exploring.  I’m hoping that participants will go away from the workshop with a better idea of the nuts and bolts of YA lit, and with a number of key suggestions for tackling romance writing within the category.  I’m also hoping to point people in the direction of some fantastic YA romance!

Will there be hands-on exercises or audience participation?

Yes!  I’m planning a session that allows the audience to provide answers, take notes, brainstorm, ask questions galore, and hopefully contribute in a hands-on way. (That’s my old classroom-teacher roots showing ☺)

Do you use examples (from your own books, other books, movies etc)?

I’ll be including examples from my own books – the YA romantic crime Every series – but I’m also planning to highlight some of the best YA romance I can find.  In fact, I’ll probably arrive at the session with a huge load of books in my arms to show around…

What is your latest book release and where can members find out more about you?

Every Move was released in March this year.  It’s the final follow-on from Every Breath and Every Word, the first two books in my Melbourne-set, Sherlock-inspired YA rom-crime series.  In Every Move, our two teenaged sleuths, Rachel Watts and James Mycroft, find themselves in deep trouble back in Rachel’s old country hometown with Mycroft’s personal Moriarty, Mr Wild, hot on their heels.  You can find out more about me and the books at, or at the Allen & Unwin website.


Social media links –



Twitter: @elliemarney


Instagram: @elliemarney

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