I’m not sure I was that big of a YA fan when I was younger. Like most other writers here at the blog, YA wasn’t much of a genre when I was myself a YA. I remember a few YA-ish titles here and there: in junior high, I LOVED Christopher Pike. Before that, I’d read Blume’s FOREVER and TIGER EYES. I still have fond memories of a book I snagged from my summertime library called BYE, BYE, MISS AMERICAN PIE--I was really drawn to the cover, which featured a guy ‘n girl on a motorcycle. (I just Googled, and found it on Goodreads!)

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

But really, by the time I was 15+, I was pretty much over in the adult section.

When I got my Master’s, I took the face-first plunge into full-time writing. I was working on adult fiction, and amassing that really snazzy collection of rejection slips that everybody gets when they first start writing. In order to pay my bills, I started teaching music lessons out of the house. It was the perfect setup: I’d write all day, then, when the kids got out of school, I’d teach lessons until dinnertime.

I thought those lessons would be a means to a financial end. But then…

The kids were just so familiar. We’d had a bit of a technological revolution, and I kind of expected them to be savvier. But they could have been kids from my own pre-tech ‘80s and ‘90s classrooms.
And then, around the same time (in part because of that connection to my students), I drifted to the YA shelves in the library. I discovered Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK. And Sarah Dessen. And suddenly, I was drafting my own YA.

I never would have thought those music students of mine would have given me a new career direction. But I’ll forever be glad that they sent me back to that YA section…

That's my first book, A BLUE SO DARK, on the shelf of B&N back in 2010.


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