Sunday, August 5, 2018

by Fae Rowen

I wrote my first book in the fifth grade while waiting for the next Nancy Drew book to come out. Of course it was a Nancy Drew mystery, about drugs hidden in a stuffed animal Nancy won at a carnival. No one ever read it but me.

I wrote my second book, decades later, for the same reason. I was waiting for the annual release from my favorite author. That book, my first YA medieval fantasy, will forever remain "under my bed."

But it marked the start of my journey as a writer.

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I've had to deal professionally with some men who believe "girls" can't think. I didn't realize this recurrent theme until my fifth book, which I was working on when The Hunger Games was published. That book, and the subsequent movies, hit me where I the area of How can people treat each other so badly?

I write speculative science fiction. That means I write about future societies, their culture, what makes them what they are. I find my hope in the youth of those societies. Those brave young souls who push the barriers that adults have erected to keep them strait-jacketed. Sometimes they are wealthy; sometimes they are dirt poor. Always the struggle involves misguided, sometimes wicked, adults, resource allocation, trust, self-reliance, an "interesting" skill set, fighting for a higher cause, and first love.

Did I mention that the first movie I remember ever seeing was Disney's Sleeping Beauty? Although it's not set on a prison world, it does have all the hallmarks of every one of my books. Not just the YA series.

Back to The Hunger Games. I'd never intended to publish any of my books. Somewhere that first premise of, "These books are just for me," became my reality. But I shared P.R.I.S.M. with a critique group. I entered contests, just to see if it was good enough. Gradually I began thinking that maybe I could share the book with the world, though that was a very scary proposition. There were dark spaces in the book. Dark spaces that might cause people to raise an eyebrow. Might make them wonder about where I got those ideas.

Back in the fifth grade, I didn't know anything about drugs. Really, nothing. But I knew they were bad. Illegal. I don't have those one-finger-at-a-time typed pages, so I can't go back to see how childish it was, but I do remember pouring my heart and soul into that book. Like most future-writers, I was a voracious reader, so even at that young age, I got story structure.

I'm working on the second book in my P.R.I.S.M. series. It finishes the story that began in Book One. And every time I sit down at the computer, I feel that youthful reader urging me to dig deeper, throw more obstacles at my characters, burn bridges so they'll have to construct new ones. I feel the love for the imaginary characters that live inside my head. And I hope that someday, the love I have for my characters will be translated into the love that my readers have for them.

That's what the Hunger Games series did for me. It made me bond with more than one character, made me the feel pain, hope, and joy of those characters. The Hunger Games taught me that we fall in love with books not just for plots, but for the characters who live through those thrilling plots, surviving every obstacle nature and man place in their paths. We remember how we feel about the characters. And those feelings can make us better people.

That's why I write YA stories.

Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes  that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.
Punished, oh-no, that’s published as a co-author of a math textbook, she yearns to hear personal stories about finding love from those who read her books, rather than the horrors of calculus lessons gone wrong.  She is grateful for good friends who remind her to do the practical things in life like grocery shop, show up at the airport for a flight and pay bills.
A “hard” scientist who avoided writing classes like the plague, she now shares her brain with characters who demand that their stories be told.  Amazing, gifted critique partners keep her on the straight and narrow. Feedback from readers keeps her fingers on the keyboard, putting the finishing touches on P.R.I.S.M. Book Two.
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, lies, and love.
When she’s not hanging out at Writers in the Storm, you can visit Fae at  or


  1. Great post, Fae! I love how you write to please that young reader in yourself. I bet she's demanding, but makes you work harder to get it right!

  2. Totally agree--it's all about the character.