Lev Grossman has a short article on the growing field of post-apocalyptic and dystopian young adult science fiction in Time (and the modern requirement of love stories therein). There’s a paywall, unfortunately, so you’ll have to subscribe or pick up a physical copy of the magazine.
“I knew [The Magician King] was a quest story, something like a hero’s journey, but I knew I didn’t want to tell it the way it’s usually told. I wanted to make it feel somehow more like the way our lives — real lives, modern lives — feel. In your classic quest story, if you’re brave enough and pure of heart enough and clever enough and kill enough monsters, you generally end up with what you were looking for. In my experience, anyway, life isn’t like that at all. Often you don’t understand what you’re looking for till long after you’ve found it, and being brave and good and handy with a sword aren’t always enough in the end to guarantee a good outcome. Sometimes they have nothing to do with the outcome.”
Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians and the just-released sequel, The Magician King, wrote a wonderful account of his process during the writing of the latter book. His methods are comfortingly human.