Tuesday, March 18, 2014
A High School Visit
This Saturday I traveled to a local arts magnet high school to talk with some teens who loved writing about writing. I was supposed to have inspired them and I think I did, but more so meeting them and discussing why they loved writing and reading inspired me.
I haven't written YA in a while. I'd been focusing more on my NA and Adult books and seeing them reminded me why I wrote YA in the first place. Why it's important to share my work with teens.
Their response to my books cemented that they need people who understand them, they need books that speak to them, they need authors who write like they are listening.
My two YA books Pretty Amy and Dear Cassie came from this place. I wrote them because I wanted to give that feeling to teens, because I wanted to explore the issues I had as a teen. I'll admit that before spending time with the students on Saturday, I had forgotten that.
I had become caught up in selling books. Those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive, but for me they felt that way. See my YA books tend to be hard reads. Not really the kind of book you pick up on a whim, or to read at the beach, or on a lazy Saturday. My YA books make you feel like your heart has been ripped out, they are emotional and dark and unflinchingly truthful and for some people that can be a tough sell.
I guess I was tired of being a tough sell.
I see now that my essence is these books. They are my heart. The work I was meant to share.
I have one more book to write in the Pretty Amy series and I only hope I can continue to write books worthy of the teens I visited with on Saturday.
I only hope I can continue to write with my heart first.