Writing outside the lines means telling uncomfortable truths

Because I write about violence and the terrible ways that adults sometimes betray others, I write outside the lines.

Shock Point is based on the experiences of real teens at many overseas bootcamps. My editor actually had me tone the book down, but in real life many teens have suffered savage beatings – and worse.

Torched, which is about a girl who goes undercover with an extremist environmental group, shows that even the “good guys” aren’t above manipulating others – and that it's sometimes not so clear who the good guys are.

And Girl, Stolen again shows that there are often shades of gray. The "good" character, a blind girl who is accidentally kidnapped when the car she is in is stolen, ends up doing something very bad. And the "bad" boy, the one who was stealing the car, eventually reveals his good heart. There’s even a mean dog that turns out to be not quite what it appears.

Other ways I write outside the lines:

  • I write for adults as well as teens.
  • I write mysteries and thrillers, which are seldom seen as literary.
  • I write realistic fiction - no werewolves or vampires or magic powers.
  • Sometimes my young adult books are in third person - and any more, that's really unusual.  

Do you write outside the lines?  Can you think of any authors who do?


  1. Gorgeous covers and breathtaking stories! Keep on writing outside the lines, April!

  2. I've just added three books to my must-read list. They sound amazing!

  3. I write young adult realistic fiction as well and love when some adult reads it and then asks, "Do kids really do those things?" Believe me I tone down my realism a lot and am so surprised how clueless adults are. Funny, all the kids get it.

    I've got to read Girl Stolen!!

  4. April, I love your stories and how real they are, plus they feed my love for thrill and mystery that my mother instilled in me as a child. Come to think of it, I need to buy some of your books for her. I'm proud to be outside the lines with you!


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